Unemployment Insuranceby Senator Harry Reid
Posted on 2014-01-08
REID. Mr. President, there will be no rollcall votes tonight.
I think as most people know, though it bears reiterating, I oppose paying for a short-term extension of unemployment insurance benefits. The current level of long-term unemployment is an economic emergency, without any question, and this would be very unfair to the people who are desperately in need of help, to say we are happy to give you this money, but we are going to take something else out of the economy to do that. We are not going to do that. I think that would be wrong.
Having said that, there are a number of Senators who are having productive conversations about possible offsets, one of whom is on the floor today, my friend, the Senator from Ohio. He is someone who understands finances, as he was head of the Office of Management and Budget. So whenever we have him working on the numbers, we are always dealing with someone who knows what they are talking about. I don't always agree with his conclusions, but certainly he is a person whom we all look to for guidance in this area.
As I said here a few hours ago, the Republicans feel this should be paid for. Let's find out how they feel it should be paid for. Again, we on this side don't want to pay for a short-term extension. If it is going to be paid for, we should figure out in years how to pay for it. That would be much better than this nickel-and-diming. We have tried to do it for 3 months, paid for, but I would almost bet it will not get done. So we should, if we are going to have pay-fors, try to figure out how to do it for 1 year.
We should let the conversations go on overnight. I have spoken to a number of Republican Senators; and, of course, I want to assert every bit of influence, help, pressure, whatever you want to say, to try to get this done for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that among a number of cosponsors of this is the junior Senator from Nevada. This is an example of bipartisanship and how it should work. We have one of the most liberal Members of the Senate and one of the most conservative Members of the Senate who have introduced this legislation, and that is what we are working on now.
So I repeat, I hope the conversations continue overnight and we will see where we are in the morning.
I do have a few other things here, and I will be as fast as possible.