Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 11, 2016

Harkin Didn’t Want Unemployment Extension to ‘Screw Up’ Job Training Bill

unemployment extension

Harkin said he didn’t want anything — including a fight over an unemployment extension — screwing up his job training bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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.

Earlier Tuesday, the top Senate backers of an unemployment extension offered to give up retroactive benefits.

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.

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