The White House is pushing aggressively – at least rhetorically – for an extension of expiring long-term unemployment benefits, but it does not appear the bill will emerge from the Senate, let alone the House, where it has virtually no chance, according to Politico.
“I hope a few reasonable and empathetic Republicans will join my colleague from Nevada, Sen. Heller, and help us advance this bill,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Well, demonizing Republicans sure will help round up votes, won’t it? But then again, maybe demonizing Republicans is the point.
“If Republicans block this renewal, I think it will have an effect on their chances for the 2014 elections,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
Oh, I see!
The $6.5 billion legislation is being brought to the floor without consideration in committee and without the possibility of amendment on the floor. That’s what’s called, in Washington, ramming it through. And the money is being supplied directly by the Chinese. That is, the bill includes no tax increases or spending cuts to pay for the extension.
Outgoing White House National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling gave one of his typically plaintive performances in the briefing room, lamenting, “today and tomorrow are the days that the 1.3 million Americans will find their temporary lifeline not in their mailbox.”
But Sperling said the White House might talk about how to pay for it only after it’s passed.
And, asked if he’d bothered to call any Republicans other than the bill’s GOP cosponsor, Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada, Sperling couldn’t come up with any: “I would say many of us have been in contact with many people.”
But the president himself – the president, I tell ya – called both Heller and the Democratic cosponsor, Jack Reed of Rhode Island, according to Sperling, “FROM HIS VACATION,” to find out how he could help.
Apparently their answer was, “play golf nine times.”
Obama will continue this entirely-nonpolitical-only-meant-to-help-people effort in the East Room Tuesday, imploring Republicans to pass the bill. He’ll no doubt be surrounded by desperately unemployed citizens who carved some time out of their job search schedule to make it to the White House.