After saying that they would not support any extension of unemployment benefits that were not paid for with cuts elsewhere, and after promising to come up with a plan to do it, Senate Republicans were just forced to watch Harry Reid take a victory lap around the Senate waving a proposal that does exactly what the Republicans failed to do.
Even though this meets their original demands Republicans are finding new reasons to object to the plan. “We’re very much opposed to that length of extension,” said Senator John McCain (R-AZ). “There’s room for compromise but a year is just too long.”
The proposal was negotiated by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI), Dean Heller (R-NV) and Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA), and would pay for the extension until mid November of this year. The savings would be generated by extending the sequester for an additional year which would save $17 billion, and by a crackdown on those who have been receiving both disability and unemployment benefits saving an additional $1 billion.
Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), one of only 6 Republicans to vote to break a filibuster on Tuesday is not pleased either. “When this was first presented it was a three-month emergency extension. Now all of a sudden we’ve morphed into a one-year. To me that doesn’t sound like much of an emergency, certainly not temporary,” she said.
GOP members have also been critical of a procedural move by Reid on Thursday which will not allow them to offer any amendments to the bill.
“Is it the majority leader’s intent to allow votes on any Republican amendments? asked Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)