Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
March 27, 2015

Reid: Unemployment Insurance Is ‘First Item’ on 2014 Agenda

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., vowed Thursday to take up an extension of jobless benefits when Congress returns from its holiday break, saying it would be the “first item of business” in 2014.

Many Democrats had hoped unemployment insurance would be negotiated as part of a larger budget package drafted by Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., and House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis. There are a significant number of Republicans, especially in the House, who do not believe jobless benefits are necessary, and getting an extension signed into law without being attached to a must-pass provision could prove difficult. The Obama administration has estimated that 1.3 million Americans will lose benefits immediately when the current unemployment insurance measure expires on Dec. 28.

“For me, I am about as disappointed as anyone could be because Nevada leads the nation in unemployment,” Reid said.

When asked by WGDB whether he was concerned that the UI legislation could not pass the House as a standalone bill, Reid said: “The politics of this are pretty strong. The people that are unemployed for long periods of time, they’re Democrats and they’re Republicans. This is an issue that the Republicans need, I think, more than we need.”

Reid said that before Christmas, he plans to take up the budget agreement, a defense authorization agreement and several more nominees — though with Republicans refusing to cede debate time, the process for those items alone could take days.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney wasn’t willing to throw in the towel on getting a deal before the House leaves tomorrow, telling reporters after Reid’s remarks that the White House still wants and expects Congress to act. The White House, Carney said, does not believe unemployment benefits need to be offset, and he noted that Republicans in the past, including leaders and President George W. Bush, have also held that position.

Steven T. Dennis contributed to this report.

  • nickybaby

    At least, first time unemployed should get their extension benefits. it is not their fault that they just lost their job first time in their life, when job market is slightly improving.

  • Debbie Niemeyer

    Patty Murray seems to be nothing but a sheepish, inane democrat with no back bone. Maybe a sheep in ‘conservative tea party’ clothing – that and she probably really feels that most unemployed are just purposely living off unemployment for the hell of it! Maybe if we had better paying jobs offered to us, many of us wouldn’t be in this predicament. Cut off benefits, and give us a lousy wage standard: screw your disgusting selves and fester with other idiots in Washington. You are not fit or intelligent to be in Washington. Many of you republicans and democrats are not true to your party anyway. I hope she ends up unemployed and Tier 1 before her benefits end for good.

  • left wing

    dirty harry has votes to BUY

  • Defend The Constitution

    Today’s liberalism is basically a cult of death.

  • lottopol

    Unlike food stamp and welfare recipients, many unemployed people (all of
    which previously held jobs) are Republicans. If the news media shows one person saying that he had always voted Republican but if the House leadership does not allow a vote on extension of unemployment benefits he will never vote for a Republican again, the Republicans will cave, as 1.3 million voters could be a critical in the next election.
    The joke used to be that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged.The new version will be a Democrat is a Republican who had his unemployment
    benefits ended.

    “..It is not just a coincidence that tax cuts for the rich have preceded both the 1929 and 2007 depressions. The Revenue acts of 1926 and 1928
    worked exactly as the Republican Congresses that pushed them through promised. The dramatic reductions in taxes on the upper income brackets and estates of the wealthy did indeed result in increased savings and investment. However, overinvestment (by 1929 there were over 600 automobile manufacturing companies in the USA) caused the depression that made the rich, and most everyone else, ultimately much poorer.

    Since 1969 there has been a tremendous shift in the tax burdens away from
    the rich and onto the middle class. Corporate income tax receipts, whose
    incidence falls entirely on the owners of corporations, were 4% of GDP then and
    are now less than 1%. During that same period, payroll tax rates as percent of
    GDP have increased dramatically. The overinvestment problem caused by the
    reduction in taxes on the wealthy is exacerbated by the increased tax burden on
    the middle class. While overinvestment creates more factories, housing and
    shopping centers; higher payroll taxes reduces the purchasing power of
    middle-class consumers….”

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