Senate negotiations on unemployment benefits hit partisan snag
January 9th, 2014
08:22 PM ET
6 months ago

Senate negotiations on unemployment benefits hit partisan snag

(CNN) - A compromise Senate plan to pay for the cost of extending unemployment benefits ran into resistance Thursday from a group of Republicans whom the agreement was supposed to attract.

Those GOP senators, who had provided critical votes to Democrats to begin debate on the bill, said they wanted to make changes to the offsets and offer other amendments.

But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he would not allow Republican amendments to the bill, angering GOP senators.

"I don't think it's going to fly," said Sen. Dan Coats, R-Indiana, a soft-spoken Senate veteran who had a testy floor exchange with Reid over the amendment issue. "Right now I will vote against this bill."

The 55-member Senate Democratic caucus can't pass the bill without help from Republicans to clear procedural hurdles that require 60 votes to pass.

"I don't think it's sustainable to shut everyone else out because, frankly, he needs six of us to say yes," said Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio.

Earlier Thursday, there seemed to be momentum for the compromise that would have offset the $18 billion cost of the benefits by keeping cuts to Medicare providers and by preventing people who get Social Security disability benefits from also getting unemployment checks.

The deal was brokered by Senate Democrats and GOP Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada, one of the six Republicans who voted to take up the bill. But support for it quickly faded on policy and political grounds, especially after it became clear the other five Republicans were not part of the negotiations.
A key procedural vote on the compromise is scheduled for Monday.

Senators who were involved in the busy day of negotiations and recriminations said that they hoped cooler heads would prevail before Monday and that a new deal could be reached.

"It's not DOA yet," said Portman who said he would work over the weekend to try to reach an agreement.

"I'm just trying to keep everyone working, calm, and trying to get a solution," said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.

"While today's session was a lot of bad blood, there is still a view on both sides that maybe we can get something done," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York. "Maybe, underlined."

CNN"s Lisa Desjardins contributed to this report.


Filed under: Senate • unemployment
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. The Truth

    Let's give out unemployment benefits to the unemployed without increasing our deficit. Not too hard, right?

    January 9, 2014 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  2. Jennifer

    Enough of this nonsense and just pass the extension. These politicians are playing with people's livelihoods. If it's not passed soon, I will be out on the streets...Thanks to Congress (No I am not one of those so-called lazy ones collecting off the system... I am a full-time student working very hard to better myself)

    January 9, 2014 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  3. Conjunction Junction

    Republicans = Wealth enhancement for the rich

    Democrats = Fight for the impoverished

    What a wonderfully enlightened perception of the world of US politics

    January 9, 2014 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  4. Winston Smith

    Bet the snag has many republican fingerprints on it. They seem to have a problem with people making a living, yet they preach the need for jobs. And by the way wasn't their battle cry for taking control of congress JOBS, JOBS, JOBS, and more JOBS.

    January 9, 2014 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  5. Evergreen

    What Amendments? Defund ACA, more tax cuts for Billionaire, limit a womens right to choose, take more from the needy to give to the almost poor, or does someone want a little pork for their State? Tell us. What amendments

    January 9, 2014 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  6. Dode M. Hall

    Why is it that regardless of Party, the first thing they want to "cut" is Social Security and/or Medicare? Those people "need" their Benefits more than any others.

    January 10, 2014 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  7. Scott

    A real big snag is Obamacare. What's going on? Is a huge bill for payment for medical services about to hit the floor? Is it Obama's plan to keep printing money and borrowing from China, or what?

    There's a budget. 2 weeks old. Abide by it.

    January 10, 2014 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  8. J.V.Hodgson

    This has gone thru on the nod, nudge and a wink for years and was established by them.
    If you are not in the top 10% earners or the 1% who earn multi millions even in ths current situation and still any or all of you vote in Republicans .... I'm amazed.
    When politics has so many of these devices for delay and in fact super minorities to Inflict total passage of anything
    Harry Reid has or should take a lesson from Boehner, who if he does not like a bill, refuses to let it go to the floor of the house at all.
    Regards,
    Hodgson

    January 10, 2014 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  9. Roger

    Political posturing is what we're getting. Now, it's all about the up-coming mid-terms. These congressmen are ALWAYS running for the next election. The issues ALWAYS take a back seat to the politics. It's ALWAYS about power and money in our government. If some how, something good for all of us does come to pass, you can be sure some already extremely wealthy, powerfull people, are becoming more so.

    January 10, 2014 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  10. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Go for it GOP , more then half of the people effected by your greed and incompetence and fake concern about poverty are from red southern states. See how long they continue to vote to keep you in power!!!!

    January 10, 2014 05:35 am at 5:35 am |
  11. mickinmd

    As a Democrat, my question is: why are the Democrats opposed to keeping Soc.Sec. recipients from collecting unemployment? In fact, why did Congress ever allow it in the first place?

    January 10, 2014 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  12. Laughing

    SSDD – Reid torpedoes a bill and blames Republicans. We'd be better off if he'd follow the example his father set for him.

    January 10, 2014 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  13. Gurgyl

    GOP, let me give you erudition of advise–once people distrust it is impossible to regain. Work for this nation, don't say Iraq war, Al Queda by Robert Gates, Benghazi, Obamacare, Obama is bad etc. These people are well aware–they are not working in your favor. Learn, be shrewd.

    January 10, 2014 07:54 am at 7:54 am |