- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 30, 2014

Democrats said they are still trying to get those who lost federal unemployment benefits to tell their stories to Republicans in Washington, but the effort has done little to sway GOP lawmakers who say they’ll only accept a bill if the new spending is paid for.

“The reason we are having this dialogue today is not just to increase awareness but also to get more people engaged in this effort. Please reach out to your senator AND congressman and let them know about the urgency for either your family or for your community,” Sen. Cory Booker, New Jersey Democrat, wrote during a Facebook Q&A Thursday afternoon.

Since extended federal benefits expired on Dec. 28, Democrats have predicted that Republicans would relent and accept a bill if enough unemployed people told their stories.

Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, suggested that Republicans would come around once they went back to their districts and had to face constituents during last week’s vacation.

However, Republicans haven’t budged, and have already filibustered one Democratic bill that added billions to the deficit.

Lawmakers have said that talks are continuing to work out a compromise on which both sides can agree. Mr. Booker said on Facebook that the proposal being discussed now would be retroactive, meaning those suffering would receive any payments missed while the benefits lapsed.

Mr. Booker said he plans to give his first speech on the Senate floor on Monday about the urgency of extending the benefits, but that more voices are needed to raise awareness.

“The more pressure people feel on this issue the more likely we will get it passed,” he said.