Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 14, 2016

Pelosi Prepared to Fight to Extend Unemployment Insurance, but Path to Victory Still Unclear

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Monday condemned GOP leadership’s decision to skip town before passing an extension of emergency unemployment insurance, set to expire on Saturday.

The California Democrat did not, however, offer a clear path forward in terms of how she would force Speaker John A. Boehner’s hand.

In an early afternoon conference call in which the minority leader was joined by other women of the House Democratic Caucus, Pelosi said she did not believe unemployment insurance needed to be “paid for.”

“Workers pay into a system as they are working,” she said. “We have always considered this an emergency that springs from a downturn in the economy and that, therefore, there does not need to be an offset to it.

“Let’s fight one fight at a time,” Pelosi added, “which is, we don’t think it should be paid for.”

But this is a sticking point for Republicans, and Boehner himself has said that he would be open to moving legislation to extend unemployment insurance only if the White House put forth a proposal that found reasonable offsets.

“I’ve not seen a plan from the White House that meets those standards,” Boehner said at a news conference earlier this month.

Pelosi would not say specifically how Democrats would seek to gain leverage in the new year to force a vote on the House floor.

House Budget Committee ranking member Christopher Van Hollen, D-Md., suggested in the days before the chamber finished legislative business for the year that he might urge colleagues to withhold their votes on a farm bill reauthorization until Republicans promised to allow a vote on unemployment insurance, imagining that the farm bill would need Democratic votes to pass.

But Pelosi wouldn’t say one way or the other Monday whether she was supportive of that strategy, and suggested that Van Hollen was perhaps looking to tie unemployment insurance to the farm bill where there could be opportunities for the elusive pay-for.

“I don’t know what the votes are going to be for the farm bill, but I do know … Van Hollen really sees an urgency for getting unemployment insurance matter settled and he is looking for wherever there is money,” Pelosi said.

Whatever strategy might crystalize in January, however, Pelosi and the rest of the Democratic Caucus are sending a clear message to Republicans: Extend unemployment insurance aid immediately upon the start of the second session of the 113th Congress, or face a public relations nightmare.

They are already showing how prepared they are to tug at heartstrings. They invited Mary Lowe, a registered Republican from Irontown, Ohio, onto the call to share her struggles ahead of losing unemployment insurance three days after Christmas.

“When they left for the holiday recess before renewing this, they deliberately shut down my lifeline for my family,” Lowe said through audible attempts to fight back tears. “I did call my congressman, Bill Johnson, before this ever came about. I’ve been calling, for, like, six weeks Speaker Boehner. And as a registered Republican in Ohio, I can’t believe they left before extending this unemployment insurance.”

  • F Michael Addams

    Teabilly a-hole..

  • papal

    Will Pelosi read the bill before she votes for it or will we have to wait and find out later.

  • David Ramirez

    You can only tug at heartstrings if there is a heart; which most republicans do not have.

    • chalons

      99 weeks of benefits for not working is very generous.

      • Rich

        99 weeks is generous, but it hasn’t been 99 weeks for a year. It’s now 73 at a max and it’s being cut to 26 weeks max. So shutup about the “99 weeks”

        • Marcus Maxon

          99 weeks was available for a longer period than the 73 weeks. but those people that made the horrendous decision to take the 99 weeks didn’t get jobs or many of them didn’t. This will be better in the long run.

      • Rich

        99 weeks? It’s 73 weeks max and we want it to stay that way, instead it’s being cut to 26 weeks max. So shutup about the “99 weeks”

        • Marcus Maxon

          a year and a half on the gravy train has to end so wave bye bye

          • Rich

            yep, gravy train….High living on that $300 a week…. Woo hoo come along for the ride

          • Marcus Maxon

            its free money and you’re taking it. it appears you have learned to adjust to the free money and will continued to take it as long as its handed out.

  • Marcus Maxon

    the gravy train is over. I’d say if you want to make it into the new year you ue had better pick something up and soon. so starting Thursday you need to be out on the streets, calling people or making other arrangements….you are not for long.

  • The Roadster

    The forces of today’s liberalism are the same forces that impelled its marxist, socialist, and communist ancestors.

  • Socialism is Evil. Organized.

    Is today’s liberalism really any different than its marxist, socialist, and communist ancestors?

  • Benjamin Dover

    Whether it’s murdering the unborn or attempting to deny care to the born, like Sarah Murnaghan, today’s liberalism is basically a death cult.

  • Liberalism is Nonsense

    Liberalism, like its marxist, socialist, and communist ancestors, is pretty much a death cult.

  • George Allegro

    Certainly, there’s no material difference between today’s liberals and the socialists, marxists, and communists of yore.

  • Defend The Constitution

    At this link we find another Bolshevik democrat openly waging war against Christianity and Western civilization:

Sign In

Forgot password?



Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...