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.
What We're Following See More »
After spending a few minutes re-litigating the Democratic primary, Donald Trump turned his focus to Obamacare. “I inherited a mess, believe me. We also inherited a failed healthcare law that threatens our medical system with absolute and total catastrophe” he said. “I’ve been watching and nobody says it, but Obamacare doesn’t work.” He finished, "so we're going to repeal and replace Obamacare."
Donald Trump lobbed his first attack at the “dishonest media” about a minute into his speech, saying that the media would not appropriately cover the standing ovation that he received. “We are fighting the fake news,” he said, before doubling down on his previous claim that the press is “the enemy of the people." However, he made a distinction, saying that he doesn't think all media is the enemy, just the "fake news."
"The FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump's associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign, multiple US officials briefed on the matter tell CNN. But a White House official said late Thursday that the request was only made after the FBI indicated to the White House it did not believe the reporting to be accurate."