Senate Republicans are scrambling after Majority Leader Harry Reid announced a paid for Democratic plan to extend unemployment benefits through November 2014.
Reid said that the nearly year long extension met the Republicans conditions for supporting a bill. Democrats would pay for the extension by extending the sequester’s mandatory savings for one year. The proposal also cracks down on people who receive both unemployment benefits and disability.
Sen. Reid pointed out on the Senate floor that Democrats are waiting for the Republican plan, but the GOP has offered nothing. Reid said, “I wish we could have done it until the first of the year. We can’t find enough money. I have been waiting here for more than 24 hours for a reasonable proposal by my Republican friends to pay for this. We don’t have one yet.”
Republicans, already enraged and on the warpath because Reid is not going to allow them to offer amendments on the final bill, came up with the most pathetic reason ever to oppose the Democratic proposal. According to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Republicans are opposing the Democratic proposal because the extension is too long, “We’re very much opposed to that length of extension. There’s room for compromise but a year is just too long.”
Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats have come up with a proposed bill that met all of the conditions that Republicans laid out as necessary in order to get their support, but Republicans are now refusing to support it because they don’t want to help the unemployed that much.
The latest lame excuse for Republican opposition reveals how much Harry Reid has boxed the Republicans in. One by one, Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats are taking away the Republican reasons for opposing extending unemployment benefits.
Democrats want a year long extension, while Republicans want three months. Even if both sides moved to the middle and agree to a 6-7 month extension that would still be a big win for Democrats. The problem is that while Republicans play games, 1.3 million Americans are suffering.
Harry Reid is doing what he has to do to get an unemployment benefits extension through the Senate, but Republicans who are still bitter over the nuclear option are making everything more difficult than ever. Senate Democrats showed America that even when Republicans get what they want, they will still find an absurd reason to say no.
Republicans are running out excuses. Their endless obstruction is not only hurting the Republican brand, but it is also punishing millions of Americans.
The old boxer Harry Reid scored a KO today, but punch drunk Republicans haven’t realized yet that they’ve lost the fight.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association