The Senate has moved blazingly fast and passed
the unemployment benefits and tax cut deal. By an 81-19 vote
. This marks a major victory for the President, but even more importantly, a major victory for the American people: the poor, the jobless, the middle class and students in particular. Some Republicans, including Tom Coburn, waxed poetic about the deficit, but at the end of the day, it was a huge bipartisan majority.
The bill now heads to the House, where the House leaders are scheduling floor time tomorrow, reports the AP. It might pass the House by the end of the week, and President Obama is urging a swift passage.
In another note, the Senate has also voted 66-32 to advance the START treaty to the floor
; debate will begin tomorrow. The treaty needs 67 votes to pass, and Sen. Bayh was absent from today's vote. This is looking more and more likely.
Lastly, the House
is preparing now to vote has just passed
a stand-alone bill to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell. In the Senate, Senators Collins and Lieberman have introduced a stand-alone measure to do this as well.
Please feel free to use this as an open thread.