This is the week! Again! This is the week, that is, that the Senate will once again attempt to pass an emergency unemployment aid extension that House Republicans will refuse to even bring up for a vote. The bipartisan unemployment deal the Senate will be considering has some problems, mostly ones created in the effort to win the final Republican vote needed to break a filibuster, and of course House Speaker John Boehner’s response is to use the problems as an excuse to kill an unemployment extension altogether rather than to look for a fix. A fix should be possible:
Labor Secretary Tom Perez sent a letter to Senate leaders on Friday saying he is “confident that there are workable solutions for all of the concerns raised by [the National Association of State Workforce Agencies]” and that “any challenges pale in comparison to those to the need that the long-term unemployed have for these benefits.”
The Nevada head of unemployment insurance operations said he was ready to implement the bill regardless: “We would stand ready and do it. … We’ll get through it, just like we have in the past.”
Meanwhile, even some Republicans are starting to get openly frustrated with obstruction from their party:
Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), the main Republican working on the deal, said it was “extremely disappointing that, no matter what solution is reached, there is some excuse to deny these much-needed benefits.”
This should not exactly come as a surprise to Heller. There’s always an excuse.
House Democrats are circulating a discharge petition to force a vote on unemployment aid, but so far no Republicans have signed it. Getting a House vote on this vital bill, whether through a successful discharge petition or action by Boehner, will require the kind of public pressure even House Republicans can’t ignore.
This article was originally printed on the Daily Kos on March, 24, 2014. Reprinted with permission.
About the Author: Laura Clawson is the labor editor at the Daily Kos.