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Posts in "Unemployment Extension"
July 29, 2014
The Senate Tuesday approved a short-term patch to keep funds flowing to highway projects through Dec. 19, but Speaker John A. Boehner has already promised to strip the Senate provisions and send the House-passed bill right back.
After the Senate’s version of the bill passed 79 to 18 — Finance Committee ranking member Orrin Hatch, R-Utah called it a “free vote…because the House is going to send this right back, they are going to strip everything out — after they’ve left” for the August recess.
Boehner is playing hardball.
“I just want to make clear, if the Senate sends a highway bill over here…we’re gonna strip it out and put the House- passed provisions back in and send it back to the Senate,” the Ohio Republican told reporters Tuesday morning. Full story
July 16, 2014
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he would work as quickly as possible to advance a highway funding patch, but an unemployment extension isn’t likely to get a chance to hitchhike on it.
“The highway bill has to move forward, and I’m going to do everything I can to expedite it as much as I can, quickly,” the Nevada Democrat told reporters.
He signaled that he did not think extraneous items would be attached to the must-pass bill, regardless of which version advances. ”I doubt it” Reid said when asked if an unemployment insurance extension would be a piece of the Senate’s highway bill debate.
July 10, 2014
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday he hopes senators get a chance to add an unemployment extension to the $4.3 billion emergency spending bill.
“Well, there’s a chance,” the Nevada Democrat said when asked about the odds Sen. Jack Reed would be able to attach an unemployment extension to the supplemental.
Reed, D-R.I., said he wants to use the emergency spending bill as a vehicle for the unemployment extension.
“I would hope so, he deserves that,” Reid continued when asked whether Reed would be able to offer his amendment. “He and Heller deserve that.”
Reed and Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., have been advocating for bringing back emergency unemployment compensation benefits since they expired in December and have drafted two five-month long unemployment extension bills, including one that passed the Senate in April.
Reid noted that the earlier efforts haven’t gone anywhere.
The Republican-run House never considered the first measure, arguing it does nothing for job creation.
“We are losing some of our enthusiasm when the Republicans simply, other than Dean Heller, just turn a blind eye to these people who are suffering,” Reid said.
In the meantime, a bill that at one point had been considered a leading contender to carry an unemployment extension — a job training overhaul — has blitzed through both chambers.
Congress should add an unemployment extension to President Barack Obama’s $4.3 billion proposed emergency spending bill, Sen. Jack Reed said Wednesday.
“There is an emergency supplemental coming down the pike that seeks to deal with immediate threats like wildfires and the humanitarian situation on our border,” Reed said in a statement. “Helping Americans who’ve been hit hardest by the recession is an urgent priority and restoring UI should be part of that conversation and part of that supplemental package. I am going to work with my colleagues to try to find a way to get this done and get people the help they need.” Full story
June 24, 2014
Sen. Tom Harkin says an unemployment extension was kept off a job training bill intentionally.
“We have a good bill and we are not going to allow it to be tampered with,” said Harkin, an Iowa Democrat who chairs the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and is shepherding the bipartisan Workforce Investment Act through the Senate.
Harkin, asked if unemployment extension was left off because of concerns the House would oppose it, said that wasn’t the reason.
“No, it’s just that this is a WIA bill,” he said. “We worked five years on it and it’s a good bill and we are not going to let it get screwed up by anything.”
In April, a job training bill had been seen as a promising vehicle for a bipartisan compromise to revive an unemployment extension, on the theory it could get more Republican support in the House.
But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the House should make the next move on unemployment benefits.
So far, there is no sign of that happening.
It’s up to the House to act next on an unemployment extension, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Tuesday.
“We need to get some movement in the House,” he said at his weekly press conference. “We’ve already passed an unemployment extension over here and the House, in their typical fashion, has done nothing.”
An unemployment extension remains dead in the water in Congress, despite a new offer to ditch retroactive benefits by its primary Senate backers.
Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Dean Heller, R-Nev., unveiled a new proposal that would revive an emergency unemployment extension for five months, but it’s unclear whether it will be considered by the full Senate and doesn’t appear to impress Speaker John A. Boehner, either.
The key new wrinkle is they’ve given up on providing a retroactive check for five months of benefits to the long-term unemployed. They would only get a prospective weekly unemployment benefits check if Congress acts. Full story
June 10, 2014
Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., wants President Barack Obama to get more involved with talks to revive an unemployment extension, as he continues to urge his GOP House colleagues to act.
“The president needs to get more involved in this discussion right now,” Heller said Tuesday. “I know it’s important to him. … I do believe that if the president would be more engaged on this particular topic we could get something done.” Full story
June 5, 2014
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., pledged to have the Senate act on a new unemployment extension if bipartisan talks lead to a deal.
Reid said he hasn’t given up trying to renew emergency unemployment insurance benefits, which expired in December.
He praised the work of Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., who has been working with Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., to restore the benefits, so far without success. Nevada and Rhode Island have the two highest unemployment rates in the nation.
“My colleague from Nevada, Dean Heller, has been stellar on this,” Reid said. “He has talked about it at least once a week. What he is doing is scrambling to get few more Republicans.”
“Of course anytime that Sen. Heller makes any progress on this we’ll bring it back because people are just as [in need of aid] as they were two months ago,” Reid said. Full story
May 26, 2014
Rob Portman, who provided the key vote to pass an unemployment extension in the Senate, never pressed Speaker John A. Boehner to hold a vote on it in the House.
Portman told Gannett he didn’t try to press Boehner, his fellow Ohio Republican, to put the bill on the House floor because it wouldn’t have been a productive move.
“He’s hearing it from all sides within his own conference, which he has to keep together,” Portman said. “And that’s got to be his priority.” Full story
May 22, 2014
None of the long-shot scenarios for additional Senate action on an unemployment extension materialized before the Senate skipped town for another recess Thursday. Full story
May 21, 2014
Updated 6:17 a.m. | Prospects for an unemployment extension remain bleak, but Sen. Jack Reed isn’t ready to give up.
The Rhode Island Democrat told CQ Roll Call Tuesday he is still looking for a way to resurrect the emergency unemployment benefits for nearly 3 million people, assuming Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, continues to block the five-month unemployment extension passed by the Senate early last month.
In addition to an amendment Reed wants to add to a package of mostly corporate tax cut extensions, he’s also looking at hitchhiking a ride on the highway bill, which Congress must pass before the highway trust fund is depleted sometime this summer.
But there’s still no answer to a dynamic that has led to the current impasse. Boehner for months has demanded an offer of a legislative sweetener from the White House, which has yet to materialize, and many conservatives remain opposed to the idea of an extension regardless.
Reed continues to discuss what to do next with his partner on the issue, Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev.
The Senate bill they pushed through the Senate was offset by customs fees and other revenue raisers. It would provide retroactive benefits to the unemployed back to Dec. 28, when the existing benefits expired.
“There are two basic issues,” he said. “We need a legislative vehicle because the House is refusing to do the obvious and pass our bill, which is bipartisan and paid for.”
Reed acknowledged that they are also discussing whether to give up on retroactive benefits.
“We also have to think, because we are running to the end of our five months, whether it is all retrospective, do you reconfigure it to prospective, or do you try to adopt a whole year and even do both.”
The tax extenders legislation and the highway bill are the “obvious” need-to-do bills, Reed said.
Another vehicle that had been seen as a possibility weeks ago — the bipartisan rewrite of the Workforce Investment Act, a priority of the House GOP, appears to be off the table.
Senate Budget Chairman Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, told CQ Roll Call Tuesday that Senate Democratic leaders had decided not to attach unemployment benefits to that bill.
Reed held out a sliver of hope.
“If someone from [the House] called me up and said “hey guess what, we just agreed to include your proposal in WIA,’ I’d say great take the credit for it,” Reed said.
That probably amounts to wishful thinking.
“But we are not stopping, I’ve been talking constantly with Sen. Heller and I’m trying to figure out where to go,” Reed said.
Alan K. Ota and Steven T. Dennis contributed to this report.
May 17, 2014
Sen. Jack Reed wants to add a one-year unemployment extension to the Senate’s $85 billion tax cut bill, but his amendment is a long-shot to pass the Senate, let alone become law.
The Rhode Island Democrat’s proposal would be retroactive to December — so people who have gone without checks for months would be eligible for a sizable lump sum.
“I am committed to helping job seekers,” he said in a statement. Full story
May 14, 2014
An unemployment extension may be headed “back to the drawing board” with the Senate unlikely to attach it to a package of tax breaks and no sign of movement in the House.
As time runs out for the House to act on a five-month, Senate-passed unemployment extension, Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., the main Democratic sponsor of the unemployment benefits bill, said the odds of attaching it to a tax cut package on the Senate floor are long given what just happened with the bipartisan energy efficiency bill.
“We couldn’t get the bipartisan Shaheen-Portman bill through,” Reed lamented. “I think we have the same old dilemma here.”
Reed said he and the chief Republican backer of an unemployment extension, Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada, did discuss the extenders as a possible vehicle. Full story
May 12, 2014
Senators will likely face a separate vote on boosting the deficit in order to pass an $85 billion tax cut extenders bill, according to key Senate Republicans.
Retiring Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., a staunch opponent of the extenders bill, said he would “raise every order I can” to block the bill and “try to get us to do the right thing” for taxpayers.
He expects someone on the Budget Committee to raise a budget point of order. And, “If they don’t I will,” Coburn said.