The US Senate has extended unemployment benefits for the estimated 2.4 million Americans out of work for at least six months — though it’s unclear if the Republican-controlled House would take up the bill.
“The Senate just took action on a bipartisan bill” to renew unemployment insurance, Obama said on Twitter last night. “It’s up to the House to follow suit.”
Republicans in the House have expressed no interest — even some outright opposition — in passing such a bill without certain caveats. But in an election year, it’s all but certain the Democrats would use the GOP’s refusal to help jobless Americans as a political wedge issue.
Boehner and other Republicans oppose the bill, saying it does not meet their demands that it include job creation provisions. Boehner has also called the measure “unworkable,” citing concerns by state administrators.
But Boehner has not closed the door to some sort of help for the unemployed, and backers of the legislation argue that any problems with it on the state level can be fixed.
Boehner wants inclusion in the bill efforts to stimulate more private-sector jobs and asked that the funding be paid for with cuts elsewhere.
As Reuters points out “[b]ill backers earlier resolved the demand that it be paid for by offsetting the $10 billion cost of an extension with savings elsewhere.”
The funding in the bill would restore jobless benefits for five months — beginning last December when the benefits expired.