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.
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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.
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."
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.
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."
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."