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Speaker of the House John Boehner speaks to the news media with U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) (L) at his side at 1:00 in the morning after the House of Representatives voted to send their funding bill with delays to the
After the Senate passes a five-month extension of emergency unemployment insurance, as it is expected to do Monday, following a final procedural vote Thursday afternoon, the general view is that the bill stands little chance of passage in the House of Representatives. In fact, it stands little chance of even getting a vote in the House, since Speaker John Boehner, the man who decides what gets a vote, is opposed. The only way the House will vote on jobless aid is if Boehner faces significant pressure from members of his caucus. So where do rank-and-file House Republicans stand?

The Washington Post surveyed 28 Republicans representing states with unemployment rates above the national average. As of this writing, 13 of them had not yet responded. Four of the 28 had, in December, co-signed a letter to Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor calling for the House to "consider a temporary extension of emergency unemployment insurance to protect an essential safeguard that has aided Americans who have endured through a weak economy." That's the high point of this roundup.

Several others gave equivocal responses, indicating an openness to some hypothetical unemployment aid bill, but hedging that willingness with all sorts of requirements that basically boil down to "probably not." Even for the current, bipartisan Senate bill that gives Republicans several of the things they'd always claimed to want. Because the fact is, most of these Republicans really don't want unemployment aid at all. They just know they have to pretend to be open to it to avoid pissing off their constituents; then they attach all these conditions to their support in an attempt to fool their constituents into thinking the issue is more complicated than it is, or thinking that unemployment aid and job creation are somehow opposed, rather than complementary, policies.

And, of course, some Republicans are just unwilling to extend unemployment insurance at all. Like Ohio Rep. Jim Renacci, whose spokeswoman said he believes "it is time for the program to end." So, in short, Boehner will not be facing the kind of pressure from his caucus that would force him to allow a vote on jobless aid any time soon—at least, unless some of the Republican fence sitters get enough pressure from their own constituents to push them off the fence in the right direction.

Sign and send a petition your member of Congress: Restore unemployment benefits now.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Apr 03, 2014 at 09:30 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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