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Posted at 9 a.m. on June 26, 2014
A few months back, a bipartisan job-training bill looked like perhaps the most likely chance to revive an unemployment extension. But the White House and Senate Democrats aren’t prepared to risk it.
The White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy backing the job training rewrite Wednesday, without mentioning unemployment benefits. That’s not a surprise; President Barack Obama also hasn’t demanded unemployment benefits extensions on any other bill, including a package of corporate tax cuts.
Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, the chief author of the job training bill, said Tuesday he intentionally left an unemployment extension out of the bill because he didn’t want to “screw up” the bipartisan package, which took five years to put together.
“We are not going to let it get screwed up by anything,” the Iowa Democrat said.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., also said Tuesday that it was up to the House to act on an unemployment extension despite the filing of a new bill by backers of emergency unemployment compensation (Video).
Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., has repeated his call for the president to get directly involved in negotiations, but Obama has not done so.
The administration has called on the House to act, but there’s no sign of that happening.