Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 31, 2014

Unemployment Insurance Advances in Senate

In an apparent rebuke of their leadership and a relative surprise to many in the Capitol, a handful of Senate Republicans voted with Democrats to advance a bill restoring lapsed unemployment benefits for 1.3 million people.

The three-month proposal, championed by Democrat Jack Reed of Rhode Island and Republican Dean Heller of Nevada, does not include offsets to pay for continuing the program. Congress has granted extensions of the program previously without offsets. Democrats overcame a Republican effort to block consideration of the bill 60-37.

Even if it gets out of the Senate, House Republican leadership aides have said that their bosses will not bring a bill to the floor unless it is fully paid for. The administration has estimated that if Congress does not reinstate unemployment insurance this year, an additional 3.6 million Americans could lose benefits by the end of 2014. That same report concluded that eliminating the benefits could cost the American economy 200,000 jobs over the same time period, as federal payments to unemployed workers tend to be spent immediately, creating both demand in the market and an economic multiplier effect.

Before the vote, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., sought a vote on an amendment that would pay for the benefits by delaying the health care law’s individual mandate by one year.

Senate Democrats held a press call advocating for swift passage of the stopgap welfare measure Sunday, and planned another news conference after Tuesday’s vote. There’s no sign that they’ll stop talking about this issue, or the minimum wage, in the run-up to November’s midterm elections.

In an interview with CQ Roll Call last week, Reed said he hadn’t given much thought to whether Democratic leaders should have made their push for unemployment insurance sooner and that in “20/20 hindsight, maybe we should have done more.” But he remains committed to the policy and politics behind the issue, and told CQ Roll Call then that he was hopeful that Republicans, over time, might change their minds, even as the Senate faces a tight schedule in the days ahead, with potential omnibus and farm bill conference votes.

“I’m going to work as hard as I can to get it done. The reality is this is a problem that affects the nation, in Republican and Democratic states. … [It] affects a broad number of people and I think my colleagues, when they think about the consequences to their constituents and the fact that this is good for the economy, will realize that,” Reed said then.

  • NorCalBuc

    WHO were the Repubs voting in the majority, and to help unemployed people and their families?
    WHY did this story NOT list these Senators?

    • jumperpin

      Courtesy of San Jose Mercury News:

      “Dean Heller of Nevada, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Dan Coats of Indiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Rob Portman of Ohio”

      • Layla

        These are not Republicans, these are the problem.

        • GREENWOLFE GREEN

          All of them except Murkowski and Coats, live in Blue or Purple States. Murkowski and Coats are not extremists.

  • Layla

    There are people in my community who have been drawing these benefits for FIVE YEARS. How much longer do we have to supplement families who will not make the attempt to find work?

    It’s way past time to send Congress to the unemployment lines. Dean Heller, Kelly Ayotte, Dan Coats, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Rob Portman will be at the top of the list.

    Enough is enough. This is not a recovery, it is a disaster and Congress is doing NOTHING to mitigate it.

    • souphands

      No there aren’t.

    • Jesse4

      It would probably surprise you to learn that in order to draw unemployment, you MUST attempt to find work. They cut off benefits if you don’t.
      The rest of what you say is similarly informed.

  • del

    Taking money from one group and giving it to another as a means of “stimulating the economy” is the kind of idiotic Perpetual Motion Economics that only a DC Progressive could appreciate (pick your party). Taken to its furthest extreme, this merits a call for eternal benefits as a means of solving economic issues once and for all.

    I’m just surprised that McCain and Graham didn’t form a cross party Gang of Imbeciles to browbeat their own over it. Perhaps early capitulation by the GOP caught them off guard.

    • souphands

      Do you recall the name of the individual who came to your house and took money from your pocket specifically to pay for extending unemployment?

      • del

        The IRS doesn’t need to touch my pockets. They can rely upon a number of federal agencies to forcibly extract the money from me, up to and including showing up on my doorstep armed and prepared to do physical harm to me if I resist.

        Banal references to physical contact add no value to the conversation.

        • souphands

          When the armed agents threatened your family, did they first show you the breakdown of which moochers would be receiving your hard earned money bucks?

          • del

            Do you lick windows when you are not trolling or is this your only skill?

  • Karen

    Yet they say they need immigration reform to fill jobs in Nevada.

  • Bye Bye Jobs

    They need to create jobs, balance the budget, and get rid of pot and guns! I want to work on STEM plus M creation, but not if we are becoming the Columbia of the North.

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