Senate Republicans once again blocked emergency unemployment aid for Americans unemployed six months or longer. In fact, Senate Republicans filibustered an extension of the jobless benefits into November, and they blocked a three-month extension. After the votes, Sen. Jack Reed pointed out that the CBO had estimated that the longer aid extension would create 200,000 jobs.
Republicans continued to whine over procedure in an attempt to distract from the fact that they are standing in the way of unemployment insurance. What they want is to force a lengthy series of votes on poison pill amendments, both slowing the bill's progress and trying to weaken it or pass something unrelated as well as harmful. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid did offer a deal on amendments; it just wasn't the capitulation Republicans sought:
In response to Republican requests that they be allowed votes on their amendments to the bill, Democrats agreed to consider five Democratic and five Republican amendments at a 60-vote threshold, with a catch: That the GOP would consent to a simple majority vote on the underlying bill, which would extend emergency benefits through November.
Republicans swiftly rejected the offer from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who said Republicans were trying to “have their cake and eat it too” by requiring 60 votes on the underlying legislation while also demanding consideration of their amendments.
“Are Republicans filibustering unemployment insurance benefits, or are they not?” Reid said on the Senate floor.
They are. And, infuriatingly, on the longer-term extension, they had the support of three Democrats: Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Mark Udall and Michael Bennet of Colorado.
More than 1.3 million Americans, a number growing every week, are desperately in need of this unemployment insurance extension. So is the American economy.