Washington, DC, United States (4E) – A bill extending federal unemployment benefits to the temporarily jobless fell one vote short of skipping the debate stage in the Senate on Thursday.
Senators voted 59-40 to end debate on the three-month unemployment insurance bill authored by Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.). Under Senate rules, 60 votes were needed to end Republican filibuster of the bill. In January, Democrats fell four votes short of extending the unemployment benefits, which expired on Dec. 28.
Republicans rejected the bill and plan to introduce amendments because they don’t like the proposed scheme that will raise the $6.5 billion needed to fund the benefits.
Reed and Heller said the fund would be paid for through smooth pensioning, an accounting procedure that reduces pension expenditures for companies in the short term by creating more taxable income. Under the bill, the scheme will be adopted for four years.
Republicans, however, fear that the budget maneuver used in the 2012 highway bill, risks greater liability in the long run.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the vote was a “no vote” and the one missed vote stood in the way of providing a lifeline to some 1.7 million people struggling to put food on the table while looking for a job.