Votes not there in the House for unemployment benefits extension
And there may not be enough Republican support in the Senate for Harry Reid to bring the measure to the floor.
Payments for about 1.3 million out-of-work people expired last month after lawmakers did not extend the program as part of a bipartisan budget agreement. Responding to the concerns of liberal interest groups, Democratic lawmakers and the unemployed, Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) vowed to hold votes on restarting the benefits as soon as the Senate reconvened in 2014.
Supporters are rallying around a proposal by Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) that would provide benefits to eligible workers for three months, at a cost of $6.5 billion. A procedural vote on the plan is expected Monday evening after a vote to confirm Janet Yellen as the new head of the U.S. Federal Reserve.
The plan needs at least 60 votes of support to survive a threatened GOP filibuster. With Heller and 55 members of the Senate Democratic caucus, supporters still need at least four votes. But many GOP senators say they will not back extending the program, because Reed and Heller did not outline a way to pay for the billions of dollars in benefits. And even if the proposal passed the Senate, House Republican leaders have expressed no interest in extending the program because the Senate proposal lacks a "pay for."
The president is expected to talk about the extension a lot over the next few days. But how serious can the Democrats be about this measure if they know it doesn't have a chance in hell in the House unless they can come up with $6 billion in budget cuts? This is the kind of thing that proves it's a political year, where one party or the other only plays at governing while every move is calculated to either advance their electoral fortunes or embarrass the other side.
It's different everywhere, but in my neck of the woods, the extension is needed. There simply aren't any jobs to be had. And for people 50 or older, there may never be. If the Democrats ever get serious about the extension, it can probably pass with the offset. But no Republican in their right mind is going to vote to extend benefits and not cut spending in return.