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U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) (C) departs a meeting with fellow members of the
Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)

After repeatedly blocking extensions of emergency unemployment aid, even when Democrats met their demands, a few Republican senators are now talking about how much they really want to extend unemployment insurance, and trying to figure out what their new demands will be:
Sens. Dan Coats of Indiana, Rob Portman of Ohio, Dean Heller of Nevada and Susan Collins of Maine want a deal that could bring the Democratic drumbeat to an end. They gathered last week to plan how to revisit the cause when the Senate returns next week, hoping they can get Democrats to agree to their policy changes and finally move the red-hot issue off the Senate’s plate.

“We’re still working on the same thing, which is solving the problem,” Portman said in an interview Tuesday. “I continue to believe that we can solve this if Democrats want to.”

No, you could have solved this if you'd voted for the bills Democrats have already brought up and which even got a few Republican votes, with the most recent falling just one vote short of overcoming your party's filibuster. (Heller and Collins did vote in favor, but Coats or Portman could have tipped the vote.)

The group of concerned-but-not-that-concerned Republicans has a list of possible demands including things like yanking benefits from people who've received a "suitable" offer of work; of course, since people on unemployment already have strong guidelines for what jobs they can turn down and still receive benefits, we're most likely talking about a radical reinterpretation of what a "suitable" job is. And so on.

It's ridiculous that we're in this position at all. The emergency unemployment aid should never have been allowed to expire to begin with. Republicans have now blocked repeated votes to renew it even as Democrats have given them what they asked for. They don't get to try to seize the high ground now while extracting further concessions.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 08:37 AM PST.

Also republished by Central Ohio Kossacks and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks, Laura. They just never, ever stop with (13+ / 0-)

    the utter BS. It is exhausting just to read about it. Better to know than to not know, though.

    I MISS CACTUSGAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    by rubyr on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 08:44:00 AM PST

  •  Keep it up. (4+ / 0-)

    Those minority of us that lost their entire incomes over this fiasco feel a little better knowing SOMEONE hasn't thrown us under the bus, because it seems everyone else - Democrat or Republican - pretty much has.

    We're yesterday's news.

    •  How Did Democrats Throw You Under The Bus? (3+ / 0-)

      I don't see how you can possibly blame the Democrats for the failure to extend unemployment benefits. Could you explain that to me?

      Collect Different Days

      by Homers24 on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 09:27:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Because they could have.. (5+ / 0-)

        ...attached unemployment to any number of must-pass bills, like the Farm Bill (which was all Reid could talk about after it was striken from the budget deal).  Heck, if it was attached to the budget omnibus, it wouldn't have been able to be filibustered.

        But instead, it was presented in the one way it was guaranteed to fail: as a standalone.  Did rather hold the Republicans up as the rat bastards that they are, but you can't eat moral victories, and that's exactly what I face.

        •  I See Your Point But ... (0+ / 0-)

          ... I also believe those would have been mixed messages that would have allowed the conservative/Republican/Tea Party to turn the tables on the progressive/liberal/Democrats and accuse them of obstructionism.

          But I thank you for your honest and informative response and concede you could very well be right.

          Collect Different Days

          by Homers24 on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 10:07:02 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Why is that bad? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ArchTeryx, Homers24

            I have no problem with the Democrats obstructing the farm bill, the omnibus, etc. if they are doing it to keep the least fortunate in our society from having to suffer unnecessarily.

            If we could get "our" side to obstruct on behalf of moral and  necessary legislation just 1% as often as the GOP does it, who knows what good could be accomplished?

            •  What Is Bad Is .... (0+ / 0-)

              ... winning the battle but losing the war. And unfortunately because we live in an age of low information voters and face billions and billions of dollars in attack ads trying to defeat any and all progressive/liberal/Democrats that's a very real possibility.

              And yes you are right if Democrats stood defiantly for the moral and necessary as you call it they might have won that one battle. But it would be all for nothing if by doing so they also lost the majority in the Senate and lost seats in the house.

              I wish it was different to. I wish the majority of voting Americans could not only see what is moral and necessary but also be able to tell the difference between taking a stand on those issues and simply obstructing just because Barack Obama got elected. But at least in my experience they can't and won't. So as unfortunate as it is I see accepting the political realities of the system we have as far more practical and productive in the long run than fighting and dying for the political system we wish we had.  

              Collect Different Days

              by Homers24 on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 08:15:36 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  No. The low information voter... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                is the one that doesn't realize that Republicans stripped this from the larger bill, just so that they'd be able to use it this way. It was so they could try and use it to draw further concessions from Dems. It's why they stripped SNAP from the farm bill. To blame Dems for allowing this is ignoring the real problem. If you're in a "red" state that relies more heavily on the compassion of the government and yet you continue to vote Republican, you're the problem. You can't vote for one party because they're going to prevent the gays from marrying and keep out the "illegals" and then complain about the state of the economy. In no way am I saying I don't sympathize with these people. I'm just saying that if you continue to vote on Social issues based on what Republicans will take away from other people, don't be surprised that they won't succeed in taking away others' civil rights, but they will succeed in hurting your wallet and raising your taxes, all in the cause of making things easier for the "job creators"....that have had 30 years and are still sending those jobs overseas.

                •  Actuall I Agree With Most Of This (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  All I was saying is the Democrats obstructing the few bills that are getting passed would be a mistake in my opinion at least. Because like it or not the majority of US voters are basically low information and therefore susceptible to 30 second sound bites and just out and out lies and false right wing propaganda. So since the conservative/Republican/Tea Party members of congress are doing nothing but obstructing and actually harming both the economy and people its better to let them own it, lose in 2014 for it. And then come back to fix these problems when the Democrats are in the majority again.

                  I honestly see that as our only hope and that is surviving the 2014 midterms and holding onto our majority in the Senate and hopefully building a majority in the House or at the very least making gains.

                  Because as it is right now its pretty simple who is hurting them which is the conservative/Republican/Tea Party and we should not do anything to confuse them about that.

                  Collect Different Days

                  by Homers24 on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 02:15:31 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  PORTMAN... (0+ / 0-)

        He's my very embarrassing.  He never fails to disappoint.  

    •  Not really. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sybil Liberty, lyvwyr101

      If you noticed every Democrat in the Senate voted for the unemployment extension, and they lobbied hard to get enough Republicans to go along. At least give them credit for that.

      Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherfu*king snows on this motherfu*king plain!

      by shoeless on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 09:33:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  True enough, but... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lyvwyr101, ChemBob, ChuckChuckerson

        ...see above.  If Reid was serious about passing UIC, he would have attached it to any number of must-pass bills, but not a peep out of him or the Ds in the Senate when things like the Farm Bill and the budget omnibus bill were marching across his desk.

        They settled for kabuki, but as I said above, you can't eat moral victories.

        •  All Kabuki, All the Time. (5+ / 0-)

          Unsure how some here still think this is all for real.

          "Positive attitude", perhaps.....

          Legal means "good".
          [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

          by xxdr zombiexx on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 09:48:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Also see above, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          one of the Republican demands was the ability to redefine what is a suitable job offer. I have no doubt that would be a job at McDonald's for a computer analyst, for instance. Who knows, they could take unemployment insurance away from even more people.

          You can't negotiate with terrorists.

          Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherfu*king snows on this motherfu*king plain!

          by shoeless on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 09:56:14 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm honestly not sure how they can. (0+ / 0-)

            In my state (Michigan) you're ALREADY required to take any job offer at all, even a McDonald's job, after 10 weeks on unemployment.  Other states require you to take ANY job, ANY time.

            The secret is making damn sure you either a) don't apply for jobs far far below your qualifications or b) tanking the interview.  If you don't get the offer, you don't get tossed off UI.

            •  The extension is funded at the federal level. (0+ / 0-)

              I don't know how it would be worded, but it sounds like the Republicans in Congress want to make that decision. themselves. Since they are funding it, they could probably do it. Knowing them, I'm sure their goal is to remove people from UI.

              Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherfu*king snows on this motherfu*king plain!

              by shoeless on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 10:32:46 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  What's gonna happen? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lyvwyr101, ChemBob



      Americans are hopelessly habituated to just taking it.

      Legal means "good".
      [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

      by xxdr zombiexx on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 09:43:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There are already huge protests going on (0+ / 0-)

        on immigration reform and Moral Monday protests are spreading across the South.

        "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

        by SueDe on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 09:55:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Too busy looking for work (0+ / 0-)

        Unemployed do not protest because they are supposed to be looking for work.  If you are out protesting some administrative hack is going to say you were not looking hard enough for work.

  •  It's not hard -- just like the debt ceiling (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, shoeless, lyvwyr101

    If you want to pass an unemployment extension, then put your support behind a bill that only extends unemployment benefits.

    Stop trying to staple your pet issues to popular legislation. Just stop it. Horse trading doesn't work in the current Congress.

    •  I'd argue the exact opposite. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lyvwyr101, ChemBob, ChuckChuckerson

      Attaching it to a must-pass bill is the only thing that WOULD have given it a chance of passage.  Standalone bills are incredibly easy to filibuster and kill, which has been amply demonstrated thus far.

      •  it is the "must pass" legislation (0+ / 0-)

        A UI extension is the most "must pass" legislation in Congress's agenda.

        What would you attach it to?

        •  Farm bill. Budget omnibus bill. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Those were far more "must pass" then UI, and if it was attached as a budgetary item, it would not even have been able to be filibustered.

          And the House would have faced the choice of either blowing up the whole budget - and shutting down government again - or letting UI pass.  Far harder a decision, even for these vandals, then simply making sure UI never got a vote.

    •  "pet issue?!" (0+ / 0-)


       Making it slightly more possible for the least fortunate Americans to live indoors and eat people food is a "pet issue" of the Democratic Party?

      Actually, now that I think about it, you might be overstating the importance that the national Democratic Party leadership assigns to the plight of the poor.

      •  total misunderstanding of my post? (0+ / 0-)

        The "pet issue" would be debt offsets or tax cuts or delays to Obamacare. The stuff that Republicans want to insist on as a "trade" for them doing the right thing.

        I know people here feel like the UI extension should have been included as part of the budget deal. But if the Democrats had insisted on that it seems clear that we would have no budget and no UI extension.

        I fail to see how that would be better.

        •  Not a misunderstanding (0+ / 0-)

          Hard to parse your response without seeing it as calling UI extension a 'pet issue.' And then you do it again in your response to a response...

          You may feel that someone else eating or not eating is a 'pet issue,' but this is why the party abandoned progressives years ago. There is no cost to pay for being a Republican in sheep's clothing when sticking up for the poor and needy is considered an inconvenient 'purity position' getting in the way of 'practical governance.'

          Examine your own attitudes first before equating someone else's basic material necessities with a dispensable 'pet issue.'

  •  This says it all (8+ / 0-)
    ...with the most recent falling just one vote short of overcoming your party's filibuster.
    If Republicans wanted to solve the problem, they wouldn't have filibustered the damn bill in the first place.  In light of that fact alone, everything Portman was quoted as saying is disingenuous at best.  Republicans have no interest in "solving the problem" of unemployment benefits running out, the only problem they are trying to solve is how to keep from extending unemployment benefits while not looking like they're trying to keep from extending them.  

    They want this issue "off their plate," but they aren't willing to do the easiest damn thing they could do to get it off their plate: VOTE FOR IT!

    Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

    by democracy inaction on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 09:16:40 AM PST

  •  Let me fix that for you, Portman (7+ / 0-)
    “We’re still working on the same thing, which is solving the problem,” Portman said in an interview Tuesday.
    Real Portman: "We're still working on the same thing, which is being the problem," Portman said in an interview Tuesday.

    There, isn't that what you and your two-faced buddy Coats really meant, Portman?

  •  We can ask them to stop being assho!es (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lyvwyr101, Silvia Nightshade, ChemBob

    But then that's their nature.

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 09:23:46 AM PST

  •  This Republican tactic is used on every issue. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lyvwyr101, Silvia Nightshade, ChemBob

    It is, "We don't want to do this bad thing, but the Democrats are making us do this bad thing. Here is a list of bad things that we do want to do, but the Democrats won't let us do them, so we have to do this particular bad thing."

    Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherfu*king snows on this motherfu*king plain!

    by shoeless on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 09:29:33 AM PST

  •  Here is my deal for the GOP: (5+ / 0-)

    You agree to pass unemployment insurance extension, and we agree to add Minimum Wage Hike to the bill.  

    That seems fair to me.

    With the Decision Points Theater, the George W. Bush Presidential Library becomes the very first Presidential Library to feature a Fiction Section.

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 09:32:54 AM PST

  •  'We're here to f$ck you over! Vote for us!" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Frankly, their base deserves whatever happens to them as a result of R 'policies', if you can even call what they advocate policies, as opposed to apocalyptic Randian wet dreams.
    The willfully stupid deserve to die.
    Unfortunately, the rest of us dont.

  •  Repubs intimately know the value of lying. (4+ / 0-)

    They know killing UEB hurts people. They want to hurt people. So they kill UEB and then feign regret.

    if people would provide them with the proper feedback and consequences - which has never happened in this country -  they might stop.

    Legal means "good".
    [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

    by xxdr zombiexx on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 09:42:34 AM PST

    •  You know what would help with that? (0+ / 0-)

      A popular media that could bring itself to call a lie by its proper name. Instead, we're treated to endless rounds of "both sides" and some overpaid talking chucklehead sadly intoning "Well, we'll have to leave it there" as if this were a discussion over Italian vs. Chinese as the best restaurant choice.

      Dear overpaid nitwits on the teevee machine: One side is patently lying, and you are their allies when you don't call them out on it. David Broder is dead. You could call a lie a lie, if you had any integrity at all.

  •  Well-it pretty much (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Silvia Nightshade

    goes with the territory.

    Republicans in office have spent decades pretending to be legislators.

    "The people who were trying to make this world worse are not taking the day off. Why should I?”---Bob Marley

    by lyvwyr101 on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 09:44:57 AM PST

  •  The GOP... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lyvwyr101, Silvia Nightshade

    Isn't about governing.  It's about achieve perceived 'victorys'.  Period.  They can't pass legislation unless it looks like Obama and the Dems were vanquished.

    “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” - John Steinbeck (Disputed)

    by RichM on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 10:01:29 AM PST

  •  Same shit (0+ / 0-)

    Different Republicans.

    “He talks a lot and he's not very bright. And that's a combination I like in Republicans.” James Carville

    by Mokislab on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 10:31:34 AM PST

  •  vilify vilify vilify vilify vilify/vilify.. (0+ / 0-)

    honor the treaties. honor the honorable.

    by renzo capetti on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 10:46:13 AM PST

  •  For Free?!? (0+ / 0-)

    If they want to extend emergency unemployment insurance, I think we should get something in return! Tit for Tat!

  •  If Only Democrats Wanted To Solve The Problem (0+ / 0-)

    and if only Obama could be trusted to enforce an immigration bill. Just amazing the level of bullshit. Most right wing rhetoric I don't mind because it appeals to their base and alienates independents. The problem with them using the tactic of blaming the Democrats for their own recalcitrance is that independents believe it because both sides are at fault donchaknow.

  •  People have (0+ / 0-)

    already been without unemployment benefits for almost 2 months.  Is Congress really going to pass an extension?  Seems like it's too late and the pressure has passed.....unfortunately

  •  yeah it's dead (0+ / 0-)

    I lost benefits 3 weeks ago, got a PT job at a grocery store for $8.60 hr, taking in about 1/3 what I got from UI and about 20% what my l toast job paid.
    I am 60 so I am  starting to draw on my 401K to survive. I am lucky my wife can pay the mortgage but I still have bills to pay.
    I cannot fathom  how people with young families are suffering, I am pissed at this country. I was going to one day have a comfortable retirement and now I will probably spend it all before I hit 65.

  •  I had e-mailed Senator Portman regarding the (0+ / 0-)

    ...extension of unemployment benefits. I received the standard GOP boilerplate response, citing concern for those in need, while needing to "pay for the benefit" in the budget, fiscal responsibility, yada-yada.

    Seriously, I'm sick of the kabuki dance being done by GOPers and Conserva-Dems, who are more concerned about protecting their corporate overlords than the people who falling thru the social safety net.

    "What's next?" - President Josiah Bartlet, The West Wing

    by shaf on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 01:38:50 PM PST

  •  Punch in the stomach to hardworking Americans (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If they block this again the Republican Party will absolutely pay at the polls for their CRUEL efforts to block an extension without any sympathy for the forces behind it or their contribution to it.

  •  So.... (0+ / 0-)

    At what point does unemployment ins become a welfare state handout and not actual insurance?

    At 99 weeks?....180 weeks?

    You liberals make NO sense at all....especially when WE HAVE NO MONEY!!!!

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