Senate GOP block help for jobless

Florida Senator's Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio see the unemplotment issue differently
Florida Senator’s Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio see the unemplotment issue differently

Breaking News from POLITICO: The Senate blocked two separate proposals to revive emergency unemployment benefits that expired in December, placing the prospects of reviving jobless aid before next week’s recess in serious jeopardy.

The chamber voted 52-48 to reject a bill that would have extended benefits through November and pay for it by extending the sequester’s mandatory spending cuts into 2024. A different measure to extend the aid for three months — without a pay-for — was defeated 55-45. Florida Democratic Senator Bill Nelson voted for extending the rights while Senator Marco Rubio voted against the measure.

Both measures needed 60 votes to advance.

Senate leaders spent much of Tuesday haggling over procedural questions.

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.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Democratic proposal was “fundamentally unfair” and not in good faith.

“I hope you all are beginning to get the picture here, of who’s responsible for dysfunction in the Senate,” McConnell told reporters, deriding a “ridiculous offer that we couldn’t possibly accept” from Reid. “This is utterly absurd.”

Separate of the haggling over amendments, several centrist Republicans and Democratic lawmakers are talking about finding an underlying bill that both parties could support. But even those negotiations are falling short. MORE…

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Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved with Berman Concerts and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.