After another day of talks, two of the leading senators involved in the negotiations to extend unemployment-insurance benefits expressed optimism Tuesday about the possibility of a deal.
That agreement, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, would likely extend the benefits for six months, rather than the three months Republicans initially pushed for. However, the legislation will be retroactive, giving those on unemployment a lump sum for the amount they missed after benefits expired on Dec. 28 and new checks likely through late June.
Asked when he expects to bring an agreement to the floor, Reid said: “Soon. I had some good conversations today.”
Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., who has cosponsored several bills to reinstate the program, also sounded upbeat on Tuesday. “I think something’s going to happen,” Heller said, though he was less certain about the timing. “I don’t know about this week, but we’re working on it.”
Democrats need one more Republican to join them in voting for the extension, after a previous bill failed to get cloture earlier this month. Currently, members have their eyes on Sens. Mark Kirk of Illinois, Rob Portman of Ohio, and Dan Coats of Indiana.
Heller spoke with the Democrats’ top target, Kirk, about the issue Tuesday. “I had a good long talk with Dean Heller today about this very subject, about the length of time and how we pay for it and how we bring the gimmicks out of any pay-for,” Kirk said.
Asked whether he preferred a short-term extension, such as a three-or-six-month patch, Kirk said: “Obviously, from my viewpoint the less cost, the better.”
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who voted in favor of the last bill to extend the benefits and has been involved in the talks, agreed that a short-term solution is best. Asked whether a long-term extension, perhaps for a year, was a possibility, Collins repeatedly shook her head.
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"After hours of private talks," Debbie Wasserman Schultz agreed to step down as chair of the Democratic National Committee after the convention ends. In the wake of the convention intrigue, Hillary Clinton announced she's making Wasserman Schultz "the honorary chair of her campaign's 50-state program."
Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz "will not have a major speaking role or preside over daily convention proceedings this week," and is under increasing pressure to resign. The DNC Rules Committee on Saturday named Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge as "permanent chair of the convention." At issue: internal DNC emails leaked by Wikileaks that show how "the DNC favored Clinton during the primary and tried to take down Bernie Sanders by questioning his religion."
- A Rasmussen Reports poll shows Donald Trump ahead of Hillary Clinton, 43%-42%, the fourth week in a row he's led the poll (one of the few poll in which he's led consistently of late).
- A Reuters/Ipsos survey shows Clinton leading 40%-36%. In a four-way race, she maintains her four-point lead, 39%-35%, with Gary Johnson and Jill Stein pulling 7% and 3%, respectively.
- And the LA Times/USC daily tracking poll shows a dead heat, with Trump ahead by about half a percentage point.
In an election between two candidates around 70 years of age, millennials strongly prefer one over the other. Hillary Clinton has a 47%-30% edge among votes 18 to 29. She also leads 46%-36% among voters aged 30 to 44.