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

Reid: Boehner's is not the only plan.
National Journal
Michael Catalin
Add to Briefcase
Michael Catalin
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 »
BIGGEST SHAKEUP OF ALL?
Bannon Is Out at the White House
9 hours ago
THE LATEST

First, it was Sean Spicer. Then Reince Priebus. Now, presidential adviser Steve Bannon, perhaps the administration's biggest lightning rod for criticism, is out. “White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day,” the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said in a statement. “We are grateful for his service and wish him the best.” That's not to say the parting of ways isn't controversial. Bannon says he submitted his resignation on Aug. 7, but earlier today, "the president had told senior aides that he had decided to remove Mr. Bannon."

Source:
INITIATIVE TARGETED GUN RETAILERS, OTHERS
Trump Ends Obama’s “Operation Choke Point”
11 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The Trump administration has ended Operation Choke Point, the anti-fraud initiative started under the Obama administration that many Republicans argued was used to target gun retailers and other businesses that Democrats found objectionable. Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd told GOP representatives in a Wednesday letter that the long-running program had ended, bringing a conclusion to a chapter in the Obama years that long provoked and angered conservatives who saw Choke Point as an extra-legal crackdown on politically disfavored groups."

Source:
LIBERALS RAISE CONFLICT OF ISSUE QUESTIONS
Gorsuch to Deliver Speech at Trump Hotel
11 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Liberal groups are raising questions about a speaking appearance Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch plans to make next month at the Trump International Hotel in Washington. Gorsuch is scheduled to headline a luncheon celebrating the 50th anniversary of conservative group The Fund for American Studies on September 28, days before the next SCOTUS term begins October 2. Steve Slattery, a spokesman for The Fund for American Studies, said Gorsuch had nothing to do with venue choice, which was made long before the group asked Gorsuch to speak."

Source:
SAYS TRUMP JUST ATTACKING REPUBLICANS
Former Top Aide to McConnell Says GOPers Should Abandon Trump
1 days ago
THE LATEST
“YOU CAN’T CHANGE HISTORY, BUT YOU CAN LEARN FROM IT”
Trump Defends Confederate Statues in Tweetstorm
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE
×
×

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.

Login