Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., gestures while speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill. / J. Scott Applewhite, AP

WASHINGTON - Senate Democrats made an offer Thursday to extend jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed through mid-November.

Republicans, however, did not leap to embrace the plan and chafed at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's efforts to block GOP senators from offering any amendments to the proposal.

Democrats' proposed compromise, still under negotiation, would reinstate unemployment benefits that expired Dec. 28 and affect 1.3 million Americans.

No deal was reached on Thursday. With no Senate votes scheduled until Monday evening, the expiration will not be resolved until next week at the earliest.

Democrats conceded to GOP demands to offset the entire estimated $18 billion cost of the proposed 10-month extension with budget cuts elsewhere. The savings would be achieved by adding an additional year to previously approved annual cuts in payments to Medicare providers and limiting the ability of individuals to simultaneously collect unemployment insurance and Social Security disability insurance. Republicans balked because there's no guarantee those future savings will occur. They want more immediate savings.

The offer also lowers from 47 weeks to 31 weeks the maximum length of long-term jobless benefits for those who have already exhausted the standard 26-week benefit. Reid said the proposal also includes new language to prevent people from "double-dipping" and collecting both long-term unemployment benefits and Social Security disability benefits.

Long-term unemployment benefits average around $300 weekly to recipients.

"We've done everything the Republicans wanted," Reid said. He praised it as a "sound and balanced proposal," and said Democrats could not agree to a longer extension because "we can't find enough money" to offset the cost of a longer extension.

However, Senate Republicans pushed back on Reid's tactics to limit debate. Two of the GOP senators, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Dan Coats of Indiana, who sided with Democrats in a critical test vote Tuesday to begin debate on the bill denounced Democrats' handling of the legislation.

There is long-simmering tensions among Republican senators and their ability to offer amendments to legislation. "That is not how the Senate works or is supposed to work," said Coats.

Negotiations were also halted somewhat by the absence of Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., who needed to get a foot cast replaced at the hospital, Reid said. Heller is a co-sponsor of the original legislation along with Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and has played a lead role in building GOP support for the extension.

It remains unclear if Democrats will be able to build enough GOP support for the new offer. Six Republicans sided with Democrats in a critical test vote on Tuesday, but most of those senators have cautioned that their support is not guaranteed on the final bill.

President Obama is expected to support it if an agreement is reached. White House spokesman Jay Carney said Thursday they are "in sync" with Reid and his approach. Consideration in the GOP-controlled House is more likely if it passes the Senate because House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has said the House would consider an extension if it is offset by cuts.



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Senate Democrats offer deal to extend jobless benefits

More In

test

Real Deals

Flip, shop and save on specials from your favorite retailers in central Ohio.

GET DEALS | COUPONS

Things To Do

THU
31
FRI
1
SAT
2
SUN
3
MON
4
TUE
5
WED
6

CLASSIFIEDS

Classifieds from across Central Ohio
Lancaster
Chillicothe
Newark
Marion
Bucyrus
Mansfield
Zanesville
Coshocton

Weeklies & Shoppers

10TV Headlines

Dispatch Headlines

METROMIX