January 07, 2014, 11:53 am
Boehner says jobless aid must be paid for
By Bernie Becker
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) stressed Tuesday that the House would only consider extending unemployment benefits if the program was offset and is paired with other job promoting policies.
“One month ago I personally told the White House that another extension of temporary emergency unemployment benefits should not only be paid for but include something to help put people back to work,” Boehner said in a statement released just minutes after the Senate moved forward an extension of the benefits.
“To date, the president has offered no such plan. If he does, I’ll be happy to discuss it, but right now the House is going to remain focused on growing the economy and giving America’s unemployed the independence that only comes from finding a good job.”
Boehner has said for weeks that he was waiting on the White House to meet his conditions for extending the unemployment benefits, which expired for more than 1 million people in late December.
Democrats have latched on to the expired benefits and see the issue as potent politically, both because it allows them to press a message on income inequality and siphon attention away from the healthcare law.
Six Republicans voted for the Senate unemployment extension — which does not contain any offsets — to clear an initial procedural hurdle, allowing the measure to proceed with the bare minimum of 60 votes.
But several of those GOP senators have suggested they won’t continue to back the measure unless the three-month extension — which costs roughly $6 billion — is paid for and contains other reforms to the unemployment program.
Other top House Republicans, like Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), have sounded less interested than Boehner in extending the benefits.