Senate Vote On Extended Unemployment Benefits Coming Next Week
Senate Democrats plan to put the House GOP on the spot regarding last Friday’s lapse of extended unemployment benefits very early in the New Year:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told The Associated Press in an interview that the Senate will vote Monday on a three-month extension of federal unemployment benefits.
Calling the House a “black hole of legislation,” he offered no prediction on whether the lower chamber would take up the extension as well.
“We’ll see what happens,” he told the AP on Monday.
Reid had previously said taking up the extension would be his first priority when the Senate returns in January. Monday is the first day the Senate is back in session in the new year.
President Obama and Democrats are pressuring Republicans to pass an extension of the jobless aid, which expired on Saturday for about 1.3 million people.
The Senate is expected to take up a bill sponsored by Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.), which would temporarily extend the benefits without offsetting the cost.
“I hope we can get that done,” Reid said.
President Obama has endorsed the proposal, but Republicans in the House have insisted that any renewal of the extended jobless benefits be offset.
Reid commended Heller, his state colleague, for breaking “away from the Tea Party folks who don’t want to do anything” and sponsoring the bill.
It remains unclear whether the proposal can garner the 60 votes needed to advance in the upper chamber.
To say the least, it will be interesting to see how the GOP handles this one given that polling has indicated strong public support for the idea of renewing the benefits.