Unemployment Insurance Extension’s Republican Sponsor Doesn’t Have ‘Good News’

Just an hour before a crucial vote on extending unemployment insurance, the plan’s Republican backer doesn’t have the GOP votes.

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 23: Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) (L) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) speak about the ''No Budget No Pay'' legislation during a news conference on Capitol Hill, January 23, 2013 in Washington, DC. The bipartisan legislation would require members of Congress to pass a budget in order to receive their pay.
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Matt Berman
Jan. 7, 2014, 5:02 a.m.

Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada, the Re­pub­lic­an spon­sor of a bill to ex­tend un­em­ploy­ment in­sur­ance for three months to 1.3 mil­lion Amer­ic­ans who have been out of work for more than 26 weeks, struggled to come up with an an­swer Tues­day morn­ing on wheth­er his meas­ure would meet the 60-vote re­quire­ment for clo­ture in the Sen­ate on Tues­day.

“I wish I had good news,” he told MS­N­BC’s Luke Russert when asked if he’d been able to get enough Re­pub­lic­ans on board to end de­bate. “Frankly, I think, I’m pretty op­tim­ist­ic about this.”

Why the op­tim­ism? Heller thinks that, even if the clo­ture vote comes out a sen­at­or or two shy Tues­day morn­ing, “at the end of the day, Re­pub­lic­ans and Demo­crats in a bi­par­tis­an man­ner will help to solve this prob­lem.” The sug­ges­tion is that, if his bill fails, the parties could come to­geth­er to fig­ure out an agree­able way to pay for the ex­ten­sion. Tues­day’s clo­ture vote may be just the be­gin­ning.


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