Sen. Harry Reid isn't wasting any time, for as soon as the Senate reconvenes next week, extended jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed will be on the table and up for a Monday vote.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told The Associated Press in an interview that the Senate will vote Monday on a three-month extension of federal unemployment benefits.
Calling the House a “black hole of legislation,” he offered no prediction on whether the lower chamber would take up the extension as well.
“We’ll see what happens,” he told the AP on Monday.
Reid had previously said taking up the extension would be his first priority when the Senate returns in January. Monday is the first day the Senate is back in session in the new year.
President Obama and Democrats are pressuring Republicans to pass an extension of the jobless aid, which expired on Saturday for about 1.3 million people.
The Senate is expected to take up a bill sponsored by Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.), which would temporarily extend the benefits without offsetting the cost.
“I hope we can get that done,” Reid said.
President Obama has endorsed the proposal, but Republicans in the House have insisted that any renewal of the extended jobless benefits be offset.
It's that last part that guarantees problems for the House GOP. Voting against jobless benefits in an election year with a down economy isn't going to make you friends...so they'll simply never vote on the Senate proposal, and pass a extended jobless benefits bill that makes brutal cuts elsewhere, then blame Reid.
Or at least, that's the plan. Lately that hasn't always worked out for the GOP. We'll see if they overplay their hand again.
Meanwhile, millions lost their benefits over the weekend and are facing a very hard New Year this week because Republicans cut an extension out of the latest budget deal. Every week that goes by, things are only going to get worse.