Even in the Senate, passage may come by a whisker. There are five Republicans on board; if that remains the case, it means that every single Democrat will need to vote for the bill despite its concessions to Republican demands. Not that those concessions were enough for the majority of Republicans:
Notably absent were Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Dan Coats (R-Ind.), who engaged in negotiations with Democrats but were not listed as co-sponsors of the legislation. Coats, the most conservative senator involved in the debate, said he was eventually “frozen out.”Poor baby didn't get every single one of his demands. It will be interesting, though, to see what Republicans do on this one if and when passage looks completely assured; will some of them jump on board then? As for Democrats, the group involved in crafting the deal included Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, suggesting that the Senate's liberals aren't balking at a plan that:
Coats said negotiators would not include his language that would have denied unemployment benefits to those that have received “suitable” job offers. He rejected an offer that would have launched a study into his suitability language and said the dispute would make it hard for him to ultimately support the bill.
“I’ll give it one final look,” Coats said. “If you conclude I’m a ‘no,’ that’s a pretty good conclusion.”
... would use several offsets to pay for the $10 billion cost of extending the benefits, including pension smoothing provisions from the 2012 highway bill, which were set to phase out this year, and extending customs user fees through 2024.Republicans got an awful lot of what they wanted. On March 24 or 25, after a suitable pause for St. Patrick's Day, we'll see if this deal will do the trick in the Senate. And that's the easy part—then it's on to the House, where we'll see how far Republican spite toward jobless people and Democratic policy priorities goes.
The bill also includes an additional offset allowing single-employer pension plans to prepay their flat rate premiums to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).
The measure would also prevent millionaires and billionaires from receiving the federal benefits.
The proposal also includes language pushed by Collins to strengthen reemployment and eligibility assessment (REA) and re-employment services (RES) programs, which provide help to unemployed workers when they enter their 27th week of benefits.