The unemployment rate in Nebraska is much lower than the average unemployment rate in the United States of America so this is what you get:
On Wednesday night, a bare-bones measure to keep federally funded unemployment insurance checks headed to the long-term unemployed failed in the Senate. Moderate Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine had signed on to vote for cloture on the $34 billion bill. But without Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), who passed away earlier in the week, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) — the majority leader who hails from the state with the worst unemployment rate in the country — once again found himself stuck at 59 votes. By the time Byrd’s replacement is in place, in mid-July, two million Americans will have lost their benefits, and the bill extending them will have languished for some 11 weeks.
Ben Nelson or Scott Brown would be the leading candidates to turn this around. Another possibility would be for the GOP to play with some state of sportsmanship. They know that were Robert Byrd not dead, this bill would have the votes to pass. And they know that in a few weeks when Byrd’s replacement is sworn in, this bill will have the votes to pass. Insofar as the Senate’s countermajoritarianism is supposed to be part and parcel of a regime of decorum, comity, etc. the respectful thing to do would be to recognize the “fair play” aspect of this situation and simply let the thing through. But of course that’s not going to happen.
And in case you’re wondering, note that Barack Obama got less than 59 percent of the vote and yet became president. George W Bush never got more than 51 percent of the vote and had two terms. The outcome of a presidential election is extremely important, and yet it doesn’t require a supermajority to win.