Reid to Republicans: You Want an Offset? Here’s Your Offset.

Reid: Boehner's is not the only plan.
National Journal
Michael Catalini
See more stories about...
Michael Catalini
Jan. 12, 2014, 7:35 a.m.

Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Harry Re­id is plan­ning to give Sen­ate Re­pub­lic­ans what they’ve been ask­ing for — a paid-for ex­ten­sion of un­em­ploy­ment be­ne­fits.

Only, Re­pub­lic­ans are not too thrilled at the pro­spect.

With arms fol­ded and scowls on their faces, Sen­ate Re­pub­lic­ans watched Re­id shoot down their re­quests for amend­ments on the three-month, $6.4 bil­lion le­gis­la­tion au­thored by Sens. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Jack Reed, D-R.I. It’s true, Re­pub­lic­ans say, they wanted off­sets, but just as im­port­ant was the chance to vote on their amend­ments.

“Their good faith is be­ing re­war­ded with a kick in the teeth,” Minor­ity Whip John Cornyn of Texas said of his col­leagues.

Not only have their amend­ments so far not been sched­uled for a vote, but Re­id is plan­ning a roll call on a Demo­crat­ic amend­ment. It’s a year­long ex­ten­sion of the be­ne­fits — which was al­ways what Re­id had sought — paired with an off­set that ex­tends se­quest­ra­tion for a year and in­cor­por­ates part of a pro­pos­al from Re­pub­lic­an Sen. Rob Port­man of Ohio that cuts off Amer­ic­ans who get un­em­ploy­ment and dis­ab­il­ity be­ne­fits.

The off­set was meant to en­tice Re­pub­lic­ans and served as the back­bone of a deal that dis­in­teg­rated last week as Re­pub­lic­ans balked at the pay-for. Push­ing sav­ings 10 years in­to the fu­ture doesn’t pass muster, Cornyn and oth­ers said.

So, if Re­pub­lic­ans vote to block the meas­ure, which they were in­clined to do, Re­id could de­nounce them for de­feat­ing le­gis­la­tion they sug­ges­ted they would sup­port.

Re­id told Minor­ity Lead­er Mitch Mc­Con­nell last week, with Re­pub­lic­an law­makers watch­ing, that he did not in­tend to al­low any of their amend­ments. That po­s­i­tion, though, seems to be soften­ing. By the week­end, Re­id signaled he would con­sider his col­leagues’ amend­ments as long as they are ger­mane and do not touch the Af­ford­able Care Act.

The whip­lash-in­du­cing de­bate, mired by par­tis­an pro­ced­ur­al feud­ing, is headed for its res­ol­u­tion this week, with the pro­spects for a bill to clear the Sen­ate, let alone the House, look­ing as bleak as ever.

Demo­crats em­phas­ize the stakes: 1.4 mil­lion Amer­ic­ans without long-term un­em­ploy­ment be­ne­fits, 72,000 more ad­ded each week. Re­pub­lic­ans, mean­while, urge re­form of the sys­tem that would add job-train­ing pro­grams while also re­du­cing the debt and de­fi­cit.

This de­bate is play­ing out against the back­drop of a gov­ern­ment spend­ing bill, which top ap­pro­pri­at­ors are ex­pec­ted to un­veil later this week, in­clud­ing a short-term con­tinu­ing res­ol­u­tion to keep op­er­a­tions run­ning while law­makers com­plete their work. Seni­or Demo­crats shot down the pos­sib­il­ity that the un­em­ploy­ment in­sur­ance ex­ten­sion, which has been in­cluded as part of lar­ger bills re­cently, could find its way in­to the om­ni­bus.

Sen­ate Budget Com­mit­tee Chair­wo­man Patty Mur­ray tried to in­clude the meas­ure in Decem­ber’s budget deal, but House Re­pub­lic­ans shot the idea down. Wheth­er Demo­crats would try again to in­clude it in the om­ni­bus spend­ing bill, though, looks un­likely.

“There’s a lot of things that could have been put in the budget agree­ment if there had been agree­ments,” Mur­ray said. “This is not one of them.”

What We're Following See More »
THE QUESTION
How Many Jobs Would Be Lost Under Bernie Sanders’s Single-Payer System?
4 hours ago
THE ANSWER

More than 11 million, according to Manhattan Institute fellow Yevgeniy Feyman, writing in RealClearPolicy.

Source:
WEEKEND DATA DUMP
State to Release 550 More Clinton Emails on Saturday
5 hours ago
THE LATEST

Under pressure from a judge, the State Department will release about 550 of Hillary Clinton’s emails—“roughly 14 percent of the 3,700 remaining Clinton emails—on Saturday, in the middle of the Presidents Day holiday weekend.” All of the emails were supposed to have been released last month. Related: State subpoenaed the Clinton Foundation last year, which brings the total number of current Clinton investigations to four, says the Daily Caller.

Source:
LATER TO THIS YEAR’S NADER
Jim Webb Rules Out Independent Bid
5 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

UPDATED: Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) will not be playing the role of Ralph Nader in this year’s election. Speaking in Dallas today, Webb said, “We looked at the possibility of an independent candidacy. Theoretically, it could be done, but it is enormously costly and time sensitive, and I don’t see the fundraising trajectory where we could make a realistic run.”

Source:
HE’D SIPHON OFF DEM VOTES
RNC Chief Would Welcome Bloomberg
5 hours ago
THE DETAILS

“The lead­ers of the Re­pub­lic­an and Demo­crat­ic na­tion­al com­mit­tees on Wed­nes­day weighed in on the pro­spect of an in­de­pend­ent pres­id­en­tial run by” former New York City May­or Mi­chael Bloomberg (I). “DNC Chair­wo­man Debbie Wasser­man Schultz sug­ges­ted that the former New York City may­or’s pri­or­it­ies are already ‘well cared-for’ in the Demo­crat­ic plat­form, while RNC lead­er Re­ince Priebus wel­comed the idea, say­ing Bloomberg would si­phon off votes from the Demo­crat­ic can­did­ate.”

Source:
THE QUESTION
How Large Is Hillary Clinton’s Delegate Lead?
6 hours ago
THE ANSWER

Three hundred fifty-two, thanks to superdelegates pledged to Clinton, and the vagaries of the delegate allocation process in early states. Not bad, considering her results have been a virtual tie and a blowout loss.

Source:
×