Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, said Wednesday that he will need to “pull out all the stops” to get enough GOP support for a 6-month extension to unemployment benefits that could come up for a vote next week.
“I have to pull out all the stops to try to pick up another Republican vote, it’s not Democrats I have to worry about,” he said. “It’s getting the Republicans to allow these millions of people who are desperate long-term unemployed a shot in the arm.”
Mr. Reid said the weather, which cancelled two days of votes in the Senate this week, has made it difficult to fit everything on to the schedule, but that he plans to make a decision on when to bring up the unemployment insurance vote soon.
A spokesman for Mr. Reid said it could come up by Wednesday or Thursday of next week, barring any unexpected delays or a change in the situation in Ukraine that would call for immediate action in Congress.
If the Senate does not consider the extension next week, it would have to wait until the Senate returns to Washington on March 24 after a weeklong vacation.
Sen. Jack Reed, Rhode Island Democrat, introduced a 6-month extension to unemployment benefits on Tuesday that would be paid for with a piece of the $16.6 billion in Farm Bill savings. It would be retroactive to Dec. 28, when the benefits expired.
More than 2 million people are now living without the long-term benefits, which kick in when state benefits expired. The Senate has failed twice to pass an extension so far this year, falling just one GOP vote short last month.