Senators seek compromise on unemployment standoff
January 13th, 2014
04:33 PM ET
6 years ago

Senators seek compromise on unemployment standoff

Updated 8:46 p.m. ET, 1/13/2014

Senate leaders postponed a key procedural vote on Monday on a proposal to extend long-term unemployment benefits for more than 1.3 million Americans.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he would delay votes until Tuesday afternoon so that bipartisan talks aimed at reaching a compromise could continue.

Senators have yet to settle on a time-frame for any extension or the cost of such a proposal.

Negotiations center around finding ways to pay for renewing benefits, which could cost anywhere from $6 billion to $25 billion depending on how long they are extended.

Three-month and 11-month proposals have been floated with no agreement so far.

Sen. Dean Heller, a Nevada Republican who attended separate meetings in the Capitol with Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, believes it will take until Tuesday at least "before any solid agreement comes together."

Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican who attended the same meetings, said the talks were making "progress" but "it's a long way from being done."

The recession-era program that underwrote those benefits was not renewed when it expired in the last week of December. Federal checks kick in when state unemployment benefits are exhausted.

President Barack Obama and fellow Democrats are pushing for an extension, saying to do nothing would not only negatively impact the long-term unemployed but also hurt the economy.

Republicans say at least that any extension must be paid for through other spending cuts.

Collins and Heller are in a group comprised of several GOP Senators who are looking at a three-month extension.

"We continue to negotiate in good faith, and we are all encouraged that we are making progress on a package that could pass with bipartisan support," the group said in a statement on Monday night.

The plan would repeal recent and unpopular cuts in the military retiree cost-of-living adjustment included in December's budget agreement and would include offsets to pay for the unemployment extension and restoring the military benefits.

"Our solution would also allow for a reasonable number of related amendments to be offered by both sides, which would be a productive breakthrough."

Any proposal needs 60 votes to clear procedural hurdles in the Senate.

Democrats initially didn't want to pay for budget offsets but have agreed to consider them after Republicans said they would block the bill without them.

Democrats are also considering GOP ideas to reform the unemployment insurance program, such as developing worker retraining requirements.

In addition, Republicans, who complain Democrats regularly stifle their ability to amend legislation, are trying to get Democrats to agree to allow GOP floor amendments to both the unemployment bill and future legislation.

"There's a broader issue here, which is how we might be able to function as a Senate for the year, in terms of participation on both sides in fashioning legislation," said Sen. Dan Coats, an Indiana Republican who is also participating in the talks.

Reid said he is open to allowing amendments to the unemployment bill but doesn't want the bill "to get bogged down by a raft of political amendments" and "stunt votes" that could kill it.

The Republican-led House has not taken up any proposal to renew extended unemployment benefits.


Filed under: Senate • unemployment
soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    USA, kindly vote all out those that do not vote for this one, show what is meant by unemployment. Then, you run for senate or congress. These guys voted for Wars with no WMD, right?

    January 13, 2014 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  2. Michael Casey

    Here is an idea, stop playing with people's lives who really want to work, because the small minority don't want to

    January 13, 2014 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  3. jk sfl

    the gop better get on board because most of them will be out of a job by the end of the year. no more hiding behind obamacare for the last five years while the incompetent gop does nothing and lost 24 billion dallars in 16 days, thanks cruz for taking the gop down the toilet.

    January 13, 2014 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  4. Marie MD

    What's there to compromise? Millions of Americans can't find a job and they need help. That's really so hard to understand?
    The problem is that the teaklans want to take away some of those "entitltements" we have been paying for since our first paycheck then give more tax breaks to their gods, pardon me, the rich.

    January 13, 2014 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  5. tom l

    Anyone else recognize that the dismal economic report from last Friday didn't even have a ticker article about it? 74k jobs produced (half were either part time or temp jobs), more people completely give up.

    My favorite part is that with NC unemployment numbers going down and it might be due to the fact that they cut long term unemployment benefits (or it might be due to the exact reason that the US unemployment percentage fell somehow to 6.7%) but what statistic does Sniffit trot out to show that the NC numbers are bogus? You guessed it. He threw out the "labor participation rate" as evidence (even though it has been compiled yet for NC). Folks, that is the exact stat I have been quoting for months that has been shunned by all of the liberals on here that don't want to deal with reality. The labor participation rate is the lowest it has been since Jimmy Carter was in office.

    By the way, the heritage foundation (that organization that the left loves to quote now with the ACA) has done multiple studies on whether extended UE benefits help or hurt employment and every study has shown that it extends the time out for someone to be unemployed.

    January 13, 2014 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  6. sonny chapman

    The Dems. should agree that all seeking extra unemployment benefits must stand in their Town Square with a sign saying, "I Am Lazy".

    January 13, 2014 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  7. MiKe D

    Come on People get it together. This should have been done in December instead of taking a break. You need to understand we worked hard and the Government screwed the economy up and now who gets the real screwing the People who have Families . We need to live

    January 13, 2014 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  8. amellman

    have been unemployed for over a year..have a bachelor's degree..could not even get hired by Target or Urban Outfitters or other same retailers..do temp work, babysitting..any job that comes up..send out 23 resumes some days... have had no income w/out unemployment.. of course we want to work,, but taking away our UE does not solve the problem..how do these people sleep at night?

    January 13, 2014 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  9. Rick McDaniel

    Which is it? Is the economy REALLY getting better..........or is that just another whopper of a lie from this regime????

    January 13, 2014 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  10. jinx9to88

    The GOP always say the speak for majority of Americans then why don't they extend the benefits since at least 60% of Americans agree to extend them?

    January 13, 2014 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  11. Help the People

    Lost my job in May 2013 and I had been looking for a job every week. I have no income without my UI check and I do not have money to buy food or pay any bill. What do the members of Congress think UI's are doing for food without money. All I've been able to eat is a $2.00 order of fries because I can't afford food. This country gives billions of dollars away every month and this Congess would let people be hungry and not help. Everyday they put off voting is many people not to eat that day. Vote out anyone that do not lookout for the people first in then USA and other coutries second.

    January 13, 2014 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  12. JimD

    I have been unemployed for over 8 months due to company layoffs. I have been sending out at least 45 resumes a week as well as contacting temp to perm agencies. I live with my fiancée and on her salary alone we will be homeless within the next 2 months. This government needs to step out of their ivory towers and take a look at the common man. 2013 has been a disastrous year for where I live. Starting with Super Storm Sandy devastating my town in Oct 2012 to company layoffs and now EUC being cutoff on us. What ever happened to the quote of "Government of the people by the people for the people"

    January 13, 2014 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  13. ThinkAgain - If you want Congress to actually do something FOR the American people, vote OUT the Repub/tea bag majority

    The "compromise" should include paying for the extension by eliminating the multi-billion-dollar oil industry subsidy. That industry is enjoying record profits, so they can afford it.

    And given how greatly it has benefited from our nation's infrastructure – everything from roads to protected seas to military personnel guarding foreign pipelines – it's the least the oil industry can do for the country that has given it so much.

    January 13, 2014 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  14. STJ

    I have no idea what the GOP has stand for recently. Remember when G. Bush senior was asked "how much was the cost of a loaf of bread?" and he had no clue.... sorry to say but, most of these lawyers in Washington trying to run this Great Country, have no idea how much is a loaf of bread these days either. Oh but, lets give the entire world our money, because we love to share it... where is the 80 billion in cash sent to Iraq? Where is the money given to big banks on a five line loan application. Yes, the same money they took and bought other banks with. COME ON MAN ! Time to Bring It Home. Extend the benefits so we can continue to look for work and go do some groceries.

    January 13, 2014 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    "By the way, the heritage foundation (that organization that the left loves to quote now with the ACA) has done multiple studies on whether extended UE benefits help or hurt employment and every study has shown that it extends the time out for someone to be unemployed."

    Correlation =/= causation. There is literally no way to prove causation with respect to those statistics. "Well, every time they extend UI the unemployment has lasted longer!!!!" Can you say chicken and egg problem? Moreover, those studies are widely panned. Citing a Heritage Foundation study is like citing a blogger on Daily Kos for authority. Neither is a credible source of data based on scientific method and research. People like Jim DeMint aren't in the business of producing anything but ideologically stilted drivel and Heritage is consistently ridiculed by economists for their dogmatic supply-side economic nonsense.

    Also, nobody I know of on the left is quoting Heritage Foundation for anything other than derision. Their individual mandate was clearly nothing more than their TACTIC for opposing Clinton's health care reform initiatives and they abandoned it as soon as they had to find something else to oppose because it had been proposed by Democrats/liberals.

    January 13, 2014 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  16. 1Joyce

    I don't think the Dems solution is to "pay for" the extension by reducing what Medicare providers receive is a good idea. All that will do is possibly have even more doctors refuse to accept Medicare patients. That is not helping the "rich". Docs take a big reduction for Medicare patients as it is. And it will not help our elderly who is on Medicare – they may have to start looking for another doctor. Find somewhere else to make the cuts, and "repeal a highly unpopular reduction in the cost of living increases to military retirees". Sounds to me like the Republicans are the ones trying to help the unemployed, the elderly, our veterans.

    January 13, 2014 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  17. The REAL Truth...

    @Rick McDaniel – Which is it? Is the economy REALLY getting better..........or is that just another whopper of a lie from this regime????
    ----------------------------–
    it's getting better, but regurgitating the RW swill isn't going to get it going any faster. Perhaps we should make use of th $24 BIllion wasted when the GOP shut down the country?? After all, $4.2B to extend UI benny's is a drop in the bucket in comparison.

    January 13, 2014 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  18. Jim L

    Been unemployed since 11/2012, been looking since, decided to go to school to be a nurse (career change at 40) without my unemployment I will be forced to drop from school and get a meaningless job, which might result in layoff or termination then I'm right back to unemployment once again.

    January 13, 2014 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  19. Greg

    I got a idea, lets give it all to the illegals in are country, and to all the other countries in the world, We don't need it here in the U.S. we are thriving,. Plenty of jobs out there (kidding). Egypt needs it!

    January 13, 2014 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  20. Silence DoGood

    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ for bombs – no problem!
    $$$$$$$$$$ for corporate welfare – no problem!
    $$$ to waste holding government hostage – no problem.
    $ to help people suffering from corporate greed layoffs and penny pinching – not so much.

    January 13, 2014 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  21. Ol' Yeller

    "Anyone else recognize that the dismal economic report from last Friday didn't even have a ticker article about it? 74k jobs produced (half were either part time or temp jobs), more people completely give up."

    Finally, I agree with tom I wholeheartedly on a topic.
    Trickle down economics is a farce and just like daddy bush said... "voodoo economics". It is unsustainable and has only led to the worst economic and employment numberss in the recent history of our country. Hear hear... tom I, bully for you for finally posting some real evidence no matter how much you cut taxes for the 'job creators' it does NOT result in actual jobs.
    Bravo, lad.

    January 13, 2014 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  22. can't find a solution

    I look for work all day everyday. I was on my job for 13 years and due to housing cuts, lost my job in May. Ui barely meet my bills so of course I'm looking for work but without it, me and my 3 kids will be homeless. Either I'm over qualified or under qualified. Done positions I interviewed for they closed the position due to lack of funding... the economy is suppose to be better.. then tell me why I'm scared out of my mind for my family and myself?

    January 13, 2014 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  23. EdL

    Yes, extend for three months. Then extend another three months, then .......! Simple choice, according to Obama unemployment insurance is good for the economy, recipients buy things with their gifted money. Should not be too long before Obama realizes this will also work for those on welfare. We should increase the dollar amounts those on welfare receive, this will be good for the economy, those on welfare will buy more things than they now do. Lottery ticket sales will also be increased.

    January 13, 2014 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  24. Shad

    All the Republicans care about is lining their own pockets with money. I have been trying to find a job for just under a year and have had no luck. I come from a small community and their is not much being offered in my town or the surrounding areas. I'm not lazy and I will take anything that I can get but the economy is so bad here that all these local businesses have cut down, is that my fault? I'm a Democrat but everything can't be blamed on the Republicans. The Democrats need to budge a little and give them something so people like me can get some help. Democrats knew the ECU was ending on the 28th of December, but seems to me they waited to the last moment to push for the renewing of benefits.

    January 13, 2014 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  25. George Winston III

    Read is just as much a sc um bag as the teabaggers in the House, probably more so.

    January 13, 2014 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
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