Reid Says No to 'Raft of Political Amendments' on Unemployment Bill

Image: Reid Says No to 'Raft of Political Amendments' on Unemployment Bill

Monday, 13 Jan 2014 07:37 PM

By Amy Woods

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Republicans must submit "relevant" amendments to the bill extending unemployment insurance – and those attacking the Affordable Care Act are off-limits, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Monday.

"We cannot have extension of emergency employment insurance to be bogged down by a raft of political amendments," The Hill reported Reid as saying on the Senate floor.

"Republicans are so obsessed with taking potshots at the Affordable Care Act and staging political stunt votes that they're willing to derail a bill that will help 1.4 million out-of-work Americans. We can't allow that. It's unfair."

It's a slight stand-down from the Nevada Democrat, as he said last week he'd entertain no amendments on the bill.

"If Republicans are serious about offering relevant amendments to strengthen and improve this bill, I'm willing to sit down and talk about it," Reid said. "I'm willing to allow votes on these amendments. However, I am not going to allow this legislation to be bogged down…by meaningless votes or derailed by another doomed crusade to strip millions of Americans of the affordable care that they have now."

Republicans want the 11-month benefit extension to be paid for by eliminating other programs and proposed delaying Obamacare for one year.

"The reason for the holdup should be pretty obvious at this point," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. "Republicans have a lot of good ideas on how to pay for this extension. We also have a lot of proposals for getting at the root of the problem, proposals that would make it easier for folks who are struggling in this economy to actually find stable and fulfilling work. The majority leader should give other senators more of a say on what we do around here, including members of his own conference."

Reid's tactics also have caught the ire of Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, who called the leader a "one-man version of the House Rules Committee."

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