Democrats in Congress face a daunting task if they hope to pass two major bills this week before the Memorial Day recess.
One piece of legislation, a “tax extenders” bill, would revive a variety of tax breaks and extend unemployment insurance and health insurance subsidies through the end of the year. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has touted the measure as a major initiative to create jobs.
The bill would also cancel a scheduled cut in Medicare reimbursements to doctors and provide a six-month extension of increased federal matching aid to states for Medicaid, Washington, D.C.-based Roll Call reported.
Republicans oppose the bill because it includes a $150 billion Medicaid payment provision that isn’t paid for. And Blue Dog Democrats in the House are reluctant to back the legislation without assurances that it will pass in the Senate.
The second piece of legislation is a supplemental war funding bill that includes money for earthquake-ravaged Haiti. It also provides $6.2 billion for the State Department and foreign aid, and $13.4 billion for disability compensation to Vietnam War veterans, according to The Hill newspaper.
Again, Republicans have let it be known they won’t support the bill unless Democrats agree to pay for it.
And some Democrats who oppose war funding do not want to support the bill because it ties war funding to relief aid and other provisions.
“We should not be tying the Afghan war money to money for teachers and money for humanitarian relief in Haiti and other things that are important in that bill,” Rep. Jim McGovern, a Massachusetts Democrat, told Roll Call.
“We need two separate votes.”
He predicted that the House would not deal with the bill before the Memorial Day recess, which extends from May 28 to June 7.
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