Just one day after saying unequivocally that no GOP amendments would be considered on a bill to extend unemployment insurance, Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, decided Friday afternoon to allow “a reasonable number of relevant amendments from Republicans.”
“Senator Reid has continued speaking with his Republican colleagues since yesterday afternoon and informed them that he is absolutely willing for the Senate to consider a reasonable number of relevant amendments from Republicans,” Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson said Friday. “He hopes Republicans will get serious about passing this emergency legislation and stop trying to distract from the issue at hand with more tired attacks on Obamacare and other unrelated issues.
“At the end of the day, the most important thing is keeping faith with those who are struggling to make ends meet, and they expect us to rise above partisan squabbling,” Mr. Jentleson said.
On Thursday evening, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, asked Mr. Reid if he would allow votes on any of the numerous amendments proposed by Republican senators to pay for the short-term extension.
“The answer to the Senator’s question is no,” Mr. Reid said.
Republicans have introduced more than 20 amendments with suggestions on how to pay for a short-term extension to federal unemployment benefits that expired Dec. 28. Ideas range from ending tax fraud by illegal immigrants claiming a child tax credit to not allowing people to collect disability and unemployment benefits at the same time.
Mr. Reid laid out the Democrats’ plan Thursday, which would pay for an 11-month extension of benefits by tacking on an additional year of sequestration, increasing the deficit by $17 billion through 2023.