Coburn predicts likely defeat of his unemployment objection

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) conceded Monday that Democrats are likely to have the votes to overcome his objection to proceeding with a bill to extend unemployment benefits.

Coburn, who blocked efforts to pass an extension of unemployment benefits before the recent two-week congressional recess, had a blunt assessment when asked late Monday afternoon whether Democrats can pass a key procedural vote on the benefits at 5:30 p.m.

"They will," Coburn told a small group of reporters, after being asked if Democrats will have the necessary 60 votes. "We'll probably set in motion a structure, though it depends on if we get amendments and what happens, and then there's a cloture vote and a point of order... It will be finished up this week."

Democrats will need all 59 of their members plus at least one Republican to pass Monday's procedural vote.

Coburn also responded optimistically when asked if Republicans would require Democrats to delay a subsequent vote on the bill for up to 30 hours, as Senate rules allow.

"I don't think we need to make them do that," he said. "My goal isn't to delay it, it's to get it paid for. If we can get it paid for in two hours, fine. If we can get it paid for in 30 minutes, fine."