Democrats Hope a Break Will Change Republicans’ Minds on Unemployment Insurance

WASHINGTON - JUNE 30:  U.S. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) listens during a news conference June 30, 2011 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Reid said earlier that the July 4th recess will be cancelled for dealing with the debt ceiling talks.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
National Journal
Michael Catalin
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Michael Catalin
Jan. 16, 2014, 8:23 a.m.

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.

What We're Following See More »
Zinke Confirmed As Interior Secretary
1 hours ago
House GOP Blocks Dems on Trump Ethics
3 hours ago

On a party-line vote, "the House Judiciary Committee defeated a Democratic effort Tuesday to obtain any information the Justice Department has on possible conflicts, ethical violations or improper connections to Russia by President Donald Trump and his associates. The committee’s Republican chairman, Bob Goodlatte, opposed the resolution, even as he acknowledged the Justice Department hasn’t acted on his own request for a briefing on alleged Russian interference with the U.S. election and potential ties to the Trump campaign." He said he'll be sending a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions requesting him to pursue "all legitimate investigative leads" into those matters.

Trump Holds Off on New Travel Ban
3 hours ago

"President Donald Trump won’t sign a revised travel ban on Wednesday as had been anticipated, two senior administration officials confirmed. One of the officials indicated that the delay was due to the busy news cycle, and that when Trump does sign the revised order, he wanted it to get plenty of attention."

Donald Trump Affirms Support For NATO
14 hours ago

Near the end of his speech Tuesday, Donald Trump made a firm proclamation affirming his support for NATO. "We strongly support NATO, an alliance forged through the bonds of two World Wars that dethroned fascism, and a Cold War that defeated communism," Trump said. However, he continued on, "our partners must meet their financial obligations."

Obamacare Repeal Portion Lacks Specifics
15 hours ago

In his address to a joint session of Congress, Donald Trump called on the two chambers "to repeal and replace Obamacare with reforms that expand choice, increase access, lower costs, and at the same time, provide better Healthcare." The entire section of Republican members of Congress united in a standing ovation, while Democrats sat silently, with some even giving a thumbs down to the cameras. At one point, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was shown shaking her head in disapproval. While Trump called for the repeal and replacement of Obamacare, he failed to give any specifics, though he did say those with preexisting conditions should have access to care and give flexibility back to the states.


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.