Interrupting their vacation on Thursday, two Democrats — Sen. Jack Reed of R.I. and Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan — demanded that Republicans go along with a three-month extension of long-term unemployment benefits without immediately paying for them. The cost of a three-month extension is around $6.5 billion.
Losing jobless benefits is like being hit by an “economic hurricane,” said Rep. Levin, who sits on the House Ways and Means Committee.
“And so that’s the reason why, in the past — much more often than not — there has not been a pay-for. They haven’t been offset. And I think what we hope to do both in the Senate and the House is to pass this three-month provision on a bipartisan basis — not offset, and then we can sit down and talk further about where we go from here.”
Sen. Reed said Democrats have introduced a bill providing a three-month, unpaid-for extension because “it will us the time to work on changes to the program that’s necessary, but also time to look for appropriate pay-fors. And there are a long list of pay-fors, from offshore tax breaks, several (tax) loophole closings.” He said any “serious discussion about tax policy” would produce a way to pay for the extension.
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