Sen. Dean Heller, one of the biggest advocates for unemployment insurance in Congress, called Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday afternoon to push the House to take up legislation extending the insurance benefits. But that chat ended just about where it began: It went nowhere.
Heller spokeswoman Chandler Smith described the conversation as “good,” but added: “Speaker Boehner relayed the same message that he gave to the White House. Senator Heller will continue to work to get something done.”
Boehner spokesman Michael Steel offered the same synopsis. “The Speaker spoke by telephone with Sen. Heller today, and told him the same thing he has told the White House since before Christmas: we’re willing to look at a plan that is paid-for and includes something to help create jobs. Unfortunately [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid ruled out adding jobs provisions,” Steel said in an email.
Time is running out for Heller and other advocates to get the Senate legislation through the House. The bill extends unemployment-insurance benefits through the end of May — just over four weeks away. Heller and Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., said earlier this month that if the House did not take up the legislation soon there would come a point when negotiators would have to start over. “There is a very short window,” Reed said.
But Heller pointed out Tuesday that the Senate bill also includes retroactive benefits for the millions of Americans who have lost their unemployment insurance since the program expired on Dec. 28. “We need to get this retroactively done to help these families that need the money,” the Nevada Republican said.
A handful of House Republicans have written to Boehner asking for a vote on unemployment-insurance benefits, while a few other Republicans have floated the possibility of attaching approval of the Keystone pipeline and other job-creation proposals to the bill in order to pass the Boehner test. But several lawmakers said that the issue has not been a topic of serious discussion within the House Republican Conference.
What We're Following See More »
The national polls, once again, tell very different stories: Clinton leads by just one point in the IBD, Rasmussen, and LA Times tracking polls, while she shows a commanding 12 point lead in the ABC news poll and a smaller but sizable five point lead in the CNN poll. The Republican Remington Research Group released a slew of polls showing Trump up in Ohio, Nevada, and North Carolina, a tie in Florida, and Clinton leads in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Virginia. However, an independent Siena poll shows Clinton up 7 in North Carolina, while a Monmouth poll shows Trump up one in Arizona
If you need a marker for how confident Hillary Clinton is at this point of the race, here's one: CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports "she's been talking to Republican senators, old allies and new, saying that she is willing to work with them and govern."
Sources tell CNN that longtime Democratic operative Ron Klain, who has been Vice President Biden's chief of staff, is "high on the list of prospects" to be chief of staff in a Clinton White House. "John Podesta, the campaign chairman, has signaled his interest in joining the Cabinet, perhaps as Energy secretary."