Democrats Hope a Break Will Change Republicans’ Minds on Unemployment Insurance

WASHINGTON - JUNE 30:  U.S. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) listens during a news conference June 30, 2011 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Reid said earlier that the July 4th recess will be cancelled for dealing with the debt ceiling talks.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
National Journal
Michael Catalini
See more stories about...
Michael Catalini
Jan. 16, 2014, 8:23 a.m.

Sen­ate Demo­crats are bet­ting that a week in their home states will per­suade Re­pub­lic­ans to change their minds on an un­em­ploy­ment-in­sur­ance meas­ure that they blocked this week.

As­sist­ant Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Dick Durbin said Thursday he plans to bring an­oth­er ex­ten­sion of the be­ne­fits, which ex­pired on Dec. 28, to the floor when the Sen­ate re­turns after the Mar­tin Luth­er King Jr. hol­i­day break.

“I think it’s im­port­ant for the Re­pub­lic­ans to go home “¦ and ex­plain to the people in their re­spect­ive states — these Re­pub­lic­ans — why they didn’t give these people these be­ne­fits be­cause of pro­cess,” Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Harry Re­id said. Pro­ced­ur­ally, bring­ing the bill craf­ted by Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Dean Heller, R-Nev., would be pos­sible be­cause Re­id filed a mo­tion to re­con­sider.

In terms of policy, Demo­crats view the ex­ten­sion as a means to bol­ster the eco­nomy, be­cause the be­ne­fits would in­ject cash in­to the sys­tem and be­cause they be­lieve the safety net catches Amer­ic­ans in need. But the be­ne­fits could also serve as a polit­ic­al boon to Demo­crats, who con­trast their de­sire to help Amer­ic­ans in need with what they cast as a Re­pub­lic­an con­fer­ence overly con­cerned with Sen­ate pro­ced­ure.

Re­id poin­ted to a one-year paid-for ver­sion of the bill that was blocked this week as an ex­ample of what he called a Re­pub­lic­an fili­buster. But Re­pub­lic­ans ac­cur­ately make the case that Re­id blocked them from of­fer­ing amend­ments. Minor­ity Lead­er Mitch Mc­Con­nell this week, call­ing the be­ne­fits im­port­ant, cast blame on Re­id for thwart­ing Re­pub­lic­ans’ abil­ity to of­fer amend­ments of their choos­ing.

MOST READ
What We're Following See More »
PHOTO OP
Clinton Shows Up on Stage to Close Obama’s Speech
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

Just after President Obama finished his address to the DNC, Hillary Clinton walked out on stage to join him, so the better could share a few embraces, wave to the crowd—and let the cameras capture all the unity for posterity.

‘DON’T BOO. VOTE.’
Obama: Country Is Stronger Than Eight Years Ago
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

In a speech that began a bit like a State of the Union address, President Obama said the "country is stronger and more prosperous than it was" when he took office eight years ago. He then talked of battling Hillary Clinton for the nomination in 2008, and discovering her "unbelievable work ethic," before saying that no one—"not me, not Bill"—has ever been more qualified to be president. When his first mention of Donald Trump drew boos, he quickly admonished the crowd: "Don't boo. Vote." He then added that Trump is "not really a plans guy. Not really a facts guy, either."

‘HILLARY CLINTON HAS A PASSION’
Kaine Sticks Mostly to the Autobiography
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

Tim Kaine introduced himself to the nation tonight, devoting roughly the first half of his speech to his own story (peppered with a little of his fluent Spanish) before pivoting to Hillary Clinton—and her opponent. "Hillary Clinton has a passion for children and families," he said. "Donald Trump has a passion, too: himself." His most personal line came after noting that his son Nat just deployed with his Marine battalion. "I trust Hillary Clinton with our son's life," he said.

TRUMP IS A ‘CON’
Bloomberg: Neither Party Has a Monopoly on Good Ideas
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

Michael Bloomberg said he wasn't appearing to endorse any party or agenda. He was merely there to support Hillary Clinton. "I don't believe that either party has a monopoly on good ideas or strong leadership," he said, before enumerating how he disagreed with both the GOP and his audience in Philadelphia. "Too many Republicans wrongly blame immigrants for our problems, and they stand in the way of action on climate change and gun violence," he said. "Meanwhile, many Democrats wrongly blame the private sector for our problems, and they stand in the way of action on education reform and deficit reduction." Calling Donald Trump a "dangerous demagogue," he said, "I'm a New Yorker, and a know a con when I see one."

TRUMP’S ‘CYNICISM IS UNBOUNDED’
Biden: Obama ‘One of the Finest Presidents’
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

Vice President Biden tonight called President Obama "one of the finest presidents we have ever had" before launching into a passionate defense of Hillary Clinton. "Everybody knows she's smart. Everybody knows she's tough. But I know what she's passionate about," he said. "There's only one person in this race who will help you. ... It's not just who she is; it's her life story." But he paused to train some fire on her opponent "That's not Donald Trump's story," he said. "His cynicism is unbounded. ... No major party nominee in the history of this country has ever known less."

×