January 14

Senate postpones unemployment votes

Maine Sen. Susan Collins is one of two Republican negotiators seeking a deal to restore jobless benefits.

By David Espo
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Senate postponed a pair of test votes on stalled unemployment legislation Monday as Republicans and Democrats sought a compromise to restore benefits to 1.3 million long-term jobless workers who lost them abruptly late last year.

The postponement came after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada met privately with two Republicans on the measure, the first in what looms as a series of election-year bills in which the political parties vie for support from economically strapped voters.

Those two primary Republican negotiators were Maine Sen. Susan Collins and Nevada Sen. Dean Heller. The two met with other Republicans as well as with Reid, who planned to discuss the proposal with his caucus Tuesday.

Collins and Heller were among the six Republicans who voted with all of the Democrats last week to allow debate on the bill. Those six –- Collins, Heller, New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, Indiana Sen. Dan Coats, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski – released a joint statement Monday evening. They were joined by fellow Republicans Johnny Isakson of Georgia and John Hoeven of North Dakota.

“We continue to negotiate in good faith, and we are all encouraged that we are making progress on a package that could pass with bipartisan support,” the group said.

Officials in both parties said that in the meeting with Reid, Heller and Collins proposed adding a provision to the bill to restore full cost of living benefits to military retirees under the age of 62.

Lawmakers voted to curtail the increases late last year, and now face enormous pressure from veterans groups to reverse themselves.


Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors

Further Discussion

Here at OnlineSentinel.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)


More PPH Blogs