Republican Resistance To Jobless Aid Starts To Crack

Bill Scher

On Monday, one Speaker John Boehner’s allies Rep. Tom Cole told Politico, “I don’t think there is a great sense of pressure on our members” to pass the Senate’s extended unemployment insurance bill, because “it’s time for this program to come to an end.”

Yet 24 hours later, Republican leaders started floating compromises in order to pass the Senate bill.

Yes Tom, you are feeling the pressure.

Roll Call reports that House Rules Committee Chair Pete Sessions “said the five-month extension could serve as a partner for House-passed bills and other priorities, such as a permanent extension of so-called bonus depreciation for business investment.”

And the House Majority Deputy Whip Pete Roskam “said no decision had been reached on add-ons, but that some lawmakers were floating ideas. ‘There’s a lot of discussion of merging UI to this or to that, energy and other things,’ Roskam said.”

This is not the talk of people who aren’t feeling pressure.

Republicans may have the whip hand going into the 2014 midterm elections, but that also means they don’t want to lose it by making dumb mistakes — like letting challengers hammer them to failing to pass a bipartisan bill that helps those trying to find work and doesn’t increase the deficit. Or angering local business leaders who care more about their tax breaks than partisan point-scoring — meeting Democrats halfway on helping the struggling middle-class is the only way help for business owners is going to happen.

And if Republicans are so quick to retreat on a bill that would help about 3 million people — not to mention the broader boost it would give the economy — think how fast they would fold if the Senate could pull off a minimum wage increase that would fatten the paychecks of 8 to 16 million people?

But first things first: call (513) 285-9008 to be connected to Speaker John Boehner’s office and demand he allow a vote on the Senate bill.

They are feeling the pressure. Time to apply some more.

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