Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 7, 2016

Heller May Try to Attach Unemployment Extension to Tax Cut Bill

unemployment extension

Heller may try to add an unemployment extension to a tax cut bill. (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Dean Heller may try to attach a long-stalled unemployment extension to an $85 billion package of corporate tax breaks Senate Democrats plan to bring to the floor next week.

“Yes,” Heller said, when asked about whether he is considering trying to attach the five-month unemployment benefits extension to the tax extenders bill.

“We are taking a look at favorable pieces of legislation out there that we can attach something to,” he continued.

Heller, R-Nev., is the leading Republican backer of an unemployment extension that passed the Senate, but has been unable to convince Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, to take it up.

The Senate is expected to take up the tax bill as soon as next week. The Finance Committee cleared the measure in early April.

The extenders bill is considered a must-pass measure. The legislation resurrecting more than 60 expired corporate tax breaks has bipartisan support and could represent one of the best chances for the unemployment bill to make it to the president’s desk.

The Senate passed the unemployment relief bill early last month, but the measure has been stalled in the House after Boehner raised questions about whether the proposal – which would pay benefits retroactively from when they expired in late December — could be implemented. Boehner also has said the bill needs to be attached to job creating provisions. Republicans in both chambers have complained that their policy ideas to kick start the economy are not considered in the Democratic-run Senate.

But Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez has sought to allay any concerns and contends that any hurdles could be overcome.

Perez recently sent a letter to Boehner offering to negotiate on a range of job-creation measures and urging the speaker to act on the unemployment measure.

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