Congress returns from its March recess today.
High up on the Senate agenda is the bipartisan deal to restart unemployment insurance for the long-term unemployed, which had expired in January.
But it’s nowhere to be found on the House agenda.
It’s up to us to put it there.
The Senate is expected to pass the deal, which would provide benefits retroactive to January, then extend the program through May. Five Republicans have already announced their support, which with a unified Democratic caucus would prove just enough votes to end the three-month filibuster.
But despite the compromises Democrats made to win Senate Republican support, Speaker John Boehner is dismissing them and signaling he won’t even allow the Senate bill to come up for a vote.
In a statement he said there was “no evidence” that the bill was “fiscally responsible,” even though the deal fully offsets the cost. He said the bill was “being rammed through the Senate by Leader Reid,” as if “rammed” means corralling a supermajority to overcome a three-month filibuster. And he took the technical concerns from the association of state unemployment insurance directors as reason to call the deal “unworkable,” when as the Nevada director said, “we’ll get through it, just like we have in the past.”
But can Boehner sustain those phony excuses after the bill clears the Senate on a bipartisan vote?
Not if we make noise.
Click here to be part of the Campaign for America’s Future “Restore Unemployment Insurance” campaign. Just enter your zip code, and our “click-to-call” technology will connect you to your House representative on the phone.
We know that there are enough Republican senators who understood it was not politically tenable to oppose aid to the long-term unemployed in a struggling economy. There are likely enough Republican House members, so long as we apply the pressure. Now is the time.