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Harry R.
Democrat NV

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  • Nomination of Robert Leon Wilkins to Be United States Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit

    by Senator Harry Reid

    Posted on 2014-01-09

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    Read More about Nomination of Robert Leon Wilkins to Be United States Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit

    REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.



    The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

    unemployment insurance Mr. REID. Mr. President, today has been an eventful day on the unemployment compensation front. We began the day working with Republican colleagues to put together what we thought was an amendment they would join us in pushing forward. But surprisingly and disappointingly to me, those whom we worked with were unable to join on the amendment.

    I am disappointed for a number of reasons, not the least of which is we gave the Republicans what they wanted. It is entirely paid for. The amendment made structural reforms in the unemployment compensation bill, which is something they said they wanted. The amendment includes a proposal, much like that advocated by Senator Portman, that would prevent people from collecting both unemployment insurance and disability insurance at the same time.

    Our amendment includes an offset that is Paul Ryan's offset. It was the same thing we used in the Murray-Ryan budget agreement this body supported a few weeks ago.

    So it is totally paid for with something Paul Ryan suggested and we adopted a short period of time ago. It makes structural reforms they said they wanted--maybe not all of them, but it made structural reforms. It is hard to understand why they cannot take yes for an answer. Maybe it is because they do not want the legislation passed. It is possible.

    But I have not given up. I have discussions with a number of Republican colleagues this evening. They said they are going to try to come up with something else. I certainly hope that is the case. We need to understand that there are 1.4 million Americans hurting. It is hard for me to comprehend why something that meets the outlines of what we understood they wanted is not good enough.

    Maybe they do not like it because it does not give them an opportunity to--I withdraw that. I think we have had enough talk here today. I am not going to add to that. All I wish to close the Senate with tonight is it is very unfortunate for a lot of people who are truly hurting.

    It is paid for with something that is certainly standard around here. We won't be able to use that anymore. States won't be able to use the same money anymore, but it doesn't affect the budget in any way. It doesn't raise the deficit one penny. It sounds as if it is a very good deal to help 1.4 million people.

    Explain to somebody who is on long-term unemployment in the State of Colorado, State of Illinois, State of anyplace, and they will say they didn't vote for this because they didn't get to offer unlimited amendments, even though there was a proposal that wouldn't run up the deficit one penny. It was all paid for. It is hard for me to comprehend that. We could explain it to someone, but it is their job to explain it, not mine. My explanation is that it is something the American people want, need, and should have.

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