Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada, the Republican sponsor of a bill to extend unemployment insurance for three months to 1.3 million Americans who have been out of work for more than 26 weeks, struggled to come up with an answer Tuesday morning on whether his measure would meet the 60-vote requirement for cloture in the Senate on Tuesday.
"I wish I had good news," he told MSNBC's Luke Russert when asked if he'd been able to get enough Republicans on board to end debate. "Frankly, I think, I'm pretty optimistic about this."
Why the optimism? Heller thinks that, even if the cloture vote comes out a senator or two shy Tuesday morning, "at the end of the day, Republicans and Democrats in a bipartisan manner will help to solve this problem." The suggestion is that, if his bill fails, the parties could come together to figure out an agreeable way to pay for the extension. Tuesday's cloture vote may be just the beginning.