UI talks stall after Reid locks out Republican changes

posted at 8:01 am on January 10, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

The Senate left town in frustration after once-promising talks on compromise over an extension to unemployment benefits collapsed. Harry Reid had managed to get six Republicans to vote for a debate over the bill, but when he locked Republicans out from being able to offer amendments, his fragile coalition fell apart:

But hopes for a breakthrough were dashed when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) offered up a mostly Democratic-driven plan that would cover the $18 billion cost of extending the federal benefits through November.

Senate Republicans were further incensed when Reid told them he would not allow any amendments to the plan.

“I have been waiting here for more than 24 hours for a reasonable proposal by my Republican friends to pay for this. We don’t have one yet,” Reid said on the floor.

Republicans lashed out at Reid, arguing that they had put ideas forward and that all they wanted to do was sit down and work out a bipartisan agreement.

The move came at an odd time, since Democrats have demanded action from the GOP on an extension to these benefits, which expired in December. When enough Republicans voted to allow debate, the opportunity to pass an extension seemed at hand, which would have given Democrats some credit for driving to a solution.  Instead, Reid pulled a stunt that has become the norm during his tenure as Senate Majority Leader, called “filling the amendment tree,” which leave Republicans no opportunity to offer any changes for a vote.

Needless to say, GOP leadership and rank and file called foul:

What was shaping up to be a humdrum day on Capitol Hill turned into a firestorm as Majority Leader Harry Reid proposed his own plan to extend unemployment benefits and effectively blocked Republicans from having further say in the matter.

After several days of debate over how to pass a three-month extension of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, Reid side-stepped negotiations with Republicans and offered a plan of his own to extend benefits through mid-November. In doing so he used a procedural tactic known as “filling the tree” to block Republicans from proposing any further amendments.

When Reid said at a Thursday afternoon press conference he was “cautiously optimistic,” that a long-term deal would soon be announced, what he came up with isn’t what Republicans had in mind.

“Sen. Reid announced today that he will obstruct ALL [sic] Republican amendments,” Don Stewart, a spokesman for Mitch McConnell, told BuzzFeed in an email. “It’s a real challenge to find a bipartisan accomplishment when one person shuts out the entire side of the aisle.”

“This is crassly political,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said. “They want to have something to talk about on the Sunday morning programs.”

Make no mistake about it: Harry Reid blew up any momentum that had developed on this bill. The act of blocking amendments is the main reason that Republicans have to resort to cloture fights, in order to get Reid to stop blocking minority input on legislation.  It’s the flip side of the filibuster fight, one that the media doesn’t cover nearly as much as it does with the supposed abuse of the filibuster itself.

Corker is absolutely right — this move is nothing but crassly political. Any amendments filed would still have to pass on a floor vote, so if they are too radical for Democrats, they won’t fly anyway. Why block them at all, then? In this case, Reid doesn’t want this issue to get resolved, because Democrats want to use it all year long in the run-up to the midterm elections. They are scared to death of what ObamaCare means for Senate control, and the surprise vote that allowed debate on the UI bill must have stunned Reid into thinking one of his alternate issues might end up defused long before they needed it to cast the GOP as uncaring about the chronically unemployed.

The question Republicans should ask is this: what is Harry Reid afraid of in potential Republican amendments? That they might actually carry some Democrats, and demonstrate that Reid is an extremist?


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this move is nothing but crassly political

dingy doing what dingy does.

BallisticBob on January 10, 2014 at 8:05 AM

So call his bluff and offer double what the demorats are offering, Reid would be pissing embalming fluid all over his chair if GOP did that.

Bishop on January 10, 2014 at 8:05 AM

Pathetic
And if the roles were reversed we would hear 24/7 outrage from the dems /lsm on the evil gop

Let’s talk about Christie and the culture he’s created..
-lsm

cmsinaz on January 10, 2014 at 8:07 AM

https://twitter.com/ChadPergram

Chad Pergram ‏@ChadPergram 10h

Reid: Explain to somebody that’s long-term unemployed..they say they didn’t vote for this because they didn’t get to offer unlimited amdts?
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Chad Pergram ‏@ChadPergram 10h

Reid on UI: I had discussions with a nmbr of GOP colleagues..& they said they’re going to try to come up with something else.
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Chad Pergram ‏@ChadPergram 10h

Reid on UI & GOP: It’s hard to understand why they can’t take yes for an answer. Maybe it’s because they don’t want the legislation passed.
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Chad Pergram ‏@ChadPergram 10h

Reid on UI extension: Surprisingly & disappointly to me, those that we’ve worked with were not able to join on the amendment.
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Chad Pergram ‏@ChadPergram 10h

Reid on UI: I’m disappointed for a number of reasons, not the least of which is we gave the Republicans what they wanted.

canopfor on January 10, 2014 at 8:08 AM

Charlie Brown is once again amazed that Lucy pulled back the football.

Wino on January 10, 2014 at 8:08 AM

But yeah is there a bigger prick douchebag in the senate other than ol’ marble jowls. If ever a person existed whom I wouldn’t even blink an eye over if they were to disappear in an avalanche or something, it’s Reid.

Bishop on January 10, 2014 at 8:09 AM

Harry Reid had managed to get six Republicans to vote for a debate over the bill, but when he locked Republicans out from being able to offer amendments, his fragile coalition fell apart:

…fragile?…it’s usually…the same people!

KOOLAID2 on January 10, 2014 at 8:13 AM

Senate RPC ‏@Senate_RPC 7 Jan

[New from RPC] Job Creation Is the Best Solution for Unemployed Americans. Long-term unemployed Americans want jobs: http://www.rpc.senate.gov/policy-papers/job-creation-is-the-best-solution-for-unemployed-americans
Retweeted by Senate Republicans
================================

Job Creation Is the Best Solution for Unemployed Americans
January 7, 2014

The Senate is debating S.1845, legislation to extend the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) Program until April 1, 2014. The extension would be retroactive to the end of 2013. The bill also extends for three months the emergency changes made to the permanent Extended Benefits (EB) program to provide 100 percent federal funding, compared to the 50-50 cost sharing between states and the federal government under permanent law.

The authorization for the “temporary” federal program created in 2008 expired at the end of 2013, after 11 extensions. Americans will still qualify for up to 26 weeks of state unemployment compensation (UC) checks, and another 13 to 20 weeks more depending on their state’s unemployment rate. According to new research, letting this “temporary” program end will remove barriers to job creation.
Real Help for Unemployed Americans

Long-term unemployed Americans want jobs. S.1845 contains no provisions to help grow the economy and increase employment. Congress should focus its attention on efforts to spur job creation. Below is a list compiled by the Whip’s office of some of the proposals Senate Republicans have put forward to help hardworking Americans:

S.2091 (112th) (Enzi) – United States Job Creation and International Tax Reform Act
S.15 (Paul) – Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act
S.151 (Johanns) – Restoring America’s Competitiveness in Enterprise Act
S.191 (Roberts) – Regulatory Responsibility for our Economy Act
S.232 (Hatch) – Medical Device Access and Innovation Protection Act
S.582 (Hoeven) – to approve the Keystone XL pipeline
S.603 (Barrasso) – Jobs and Premium Protection Act
S.1188 (Collins) – Forty Hours is Full-Time Act
S.1324 (Barrasso) – National Energy Tax Repeal Act
S.1488 (Coats) – delay Obamacare individual and employer mandates
S.1490 (Flake) – one-year delay of Obamacare
S.1616 (Lee) – Family Fairness and Opportunity Tax Reform Act
S.1658 (Toomey) – Start-Up Jobs and Innovation Act
S.1852 (Paul/McConnell) – Economic Freedom Zones Act
(More……)
=============

http://www.rpc.senate.gov/policy-papers/job-creation-is-the-best-solution-for-unemployed-americans

canopfor on January 10, 2014 at 8:15 AM

Reid pulled a stunt that has become the norm during his tenure as Senate Majority Leader, called “filling the amendment tree,” which leave Republicans no opportunity to offer any changes for a vote.

He tried to compromise by allowing the GOP to sit in the chamber. What more do you wingnuts want from him!!?!

The day is finally gone will be a good day indeed…

Gatsu on January 10, 2014 at 8:15 AM

So call his bluff and offer double what the demorats are offering, Reid would be pissing embalming fluid all over his chair if GOP did that.

Bishop on January 10, 2014 at 8:05 AM

…OK!…how come I can’t stop laughing…picturing that?

KOOLAID2 on January 10, 2014 at 8:15 AM

Tru dat KA2

cmsinaz on January 10, 2014 at 8:17 AM

Why block them at all, then? In this case, Reid doesn’t want this issue to get resolved, because Democrats want to use it all year long in the run-up to the midterm elections. They are scared to death of what ObamaCare means for Senate control, and the surprise vote that allowed debate on the UI bill must have stunned Reid into thinking one of his alternate issues might end up defused long before they needed it to cast the GOP as uncaring about the chronically unemployed.

Well here’s a crazy thought. How about the GOP run endless ads about how Harry Reid killed the unemployment insurance extension and deprived all those poor, unfortunate folks out of their checks? And the best part is the Republicans wouldn’t be lying or spinning it. They’d actually be telling it like it is.

Doughboy on January 10, 2014 at 8:19 AM

If ever a person existed whom I wouldn’t even blink an eye over if they were to disappear in an avalanche or something, it’s Reid.

Bishop on January 10, 2014 at 8:09 AM

Reid, Schumer, Pelosi, Feinstein, Boxer, Murray…… and many others.

I’m hoping for an avalanche overtaking the bus coming back from the Dems winter retreat.

Happy Nomad on January 10, 2014 at 8:22 AM

Maybe if your side had any ideas at all about any of it it’d be worth coming to.
(I’d love to hear the ‘no more premiums’ one.)
 
verbaluce on November 6, 2013 at 6:01 PM

rogerb on January 10, 2014 at 8:25 AM

But yeah is there a bigger prick douchebag in the senate other than ol’ marble jowls. If ever a person existed whom I wouldn’t even blink an eye over if they were to disappear in an avalanche or something, it’s Reid.

Bishop on January 10, 2014 at 8:09 AM

Bishop:

Maybes Boxer and Maxine Waters,…jus say’n!:0

canopfor on January 10, 2014 at 8:27 AM

Always easy to pick apart someone else’s proposals especially when you don’t have one to counter with. The GOP continues becoming more irrelevant as the days go by.
 
loveofcountry on October 17, 2013 at 5:58 PM

rogerb on January 10, 2014 at 8:29 AM

Reid, Schumer, Pelosi, Feinstein, Boxer, Murray…… and many others.

I’m hoping for an avalanche overtaking the bus coming back from the Dems winter retreat.

Happy Nomad on January 10, 2014 at 8:22 AM

Happy Nomad: D*mmitts,..I was going with Fienstein,but I
thought she was over-qualified, per, Bishops
Job Discription!:)

canopfor on January 10, 2014 at 8:29 AM

…fragile?…it’s usually…the same people!

KOOLAID2 on January 10, 2014 at 8:13 AM

Yeah, McCain’s such a reliable vote for the Dems, I’m surprised he doesn’t have a seat on the other side of the aisle as an “honorary” Democrat.

Happy Nomad on January 10, 2014 at 8:33 AM

Harry Reid had managed to get six Republicans to vote for a debate over the bill,

Six Republicans who have not learned that Democrats have declared war on our country and her citizens.

Six Republicans who substituted politics for common sense.

Six Republicans who trusted a senate leader that has plunged American into economic malaise and misery with his despicable tactics.

Six Republicans who have forgotten the undemocratic means, lies. broken promises and despotic procedures Reid used to ramm through and impose Obamacare upon the American people.

Where are the wise people who will defend us? Because they are not in the senate.

Marcus Traianus on January 10, 2014 at 8:36 AM

Make no mistake about it; Harry Reed doesn’t give diddly-squat about the unemployed. Like nearly all Democrats, everything he does is political posturing for the next election. It is sad to think that the Senate Majority Leader’s sole purpose is to win his party’s next election cycle, but that is simply all that can be deduced. He puts this thing together, makes it look like he’s trying to cut a deal and then does whatever he has to to blow it up, simply because a deal won’t help him in the next election. He never wanted a deal in the first place; he just needs something to vilify Republicans.

supersport667 on January 10, 2014 at 8:40 AM

This is one to remember the next time Democrats run around referring to “obstructionist” Republicans.

Bitter Clinger on January 10, 2014 at 8:41 AM

OT: The jobs report looks awful. Especially the number of people who quit looking for work.

Doughboy on January 10, 2014 at 8:41 AM

Good news – the U-3 unemployment rate dropped to 6.7%.

Bad news – the Labor Force Participation Rate dropped to a modern-era record low of 62.8%.

Ugly news – 74,000 jobs added per the establishment survey.

Once Ed gets the fuller post up, I’ll have more commentary.

Steve Eggleston on January 10, 2014 at 8:41 AM

Some of the abuse of unemployment benefits could be eliminated if they based the receiving of them on household incomes and not per individual. If some guy is laid off and his wife is pulling in $80,000 or $90,000 a year, he shouldn’t qualify to receive the benefit. What incentive does the guy have to go out an find a job if the family is still pulling in two incomes?

People will cry foul and not fair but it’s no more fair to have the taxpayers foot the bill for their life of leisure.

There’s a reason more people are receiving unemployment benefits, food stamps and are on disability than ever before. Fraud is a major factor.

iamsaved on January 10, 2014 at 8:44 AM

Like the rest of the Dems’ leadership Mafia, Reid is an authoritarian who simply cannot tolerate the thought of anyone but him and his cronies even so much as offering a suggestion, much less having any “input”, on anything.

It’s beyond “my way or the highway” or “STFU or else”. He’s reached the point of “STFU, period”.

Once you give someone unchallenged power for a certain amount of time, this is what you inevitably get. I blame the voters of Nevada who, in spite of protestations to the contrary, keep sending this would-be Bismarck back to DC over and over again.

As long as he keeps the pork flowing their way, and prevents things like Yucca Flat from opening- or any close scrutiny of exactly who owns what in Vegas and Reno- Nevadans apparently don’t give a sh!t if Reid pillages, rapes, and burns the rest of the U.S. Or just blows it up for his own amusement.

At this point, all we can really hope for is that Reid, who is 74, has the “appointment in Samarra” that awaits all of us, sometime before he decides to do something none of us survive.

clear ether

eon

eon on January 10, 2014 at 8:45 AM

So, Harry Reid knows how to block traffic, and does not require his staffers to do his dirty work. How bi-partisan of him.

Rovin on January 10, 2014 at 8:45 AM

Good news – the U-3 unemployment rate dropped to 6.7%.

Bad news – the Labor Force Participation Rate dropped to a modern-era record low of 62.8%.

Ugly news – 74,000 jobs added per the establishment survey.

Once Ed gets the fuller post up, I’ll have more commentary.

Steve Eggleston on January 10, 2014 at 8:41 AM

Yeah, it’s bad. When the UE rate drops .3% after only 74,000 new jobs are added, you know it means a bunch of people just flat out gave up looking.

Doughboy on January 10, 2014 at 8:46 AM

When are republicans in office going to realize that you can not ever trust the current crop of democrats. They are mean, vile and vindictive. Up your game republicans.

crosshugger on January 10, 2014 at 8:56 AM

Ok – once again, Obama AND Reid passed the budget bill that stopped extended unemployment…

Now they’re saying it’s destroying the country.

Then why did they vote for it?

The GOP needs to be repeating this message loud and clear.

Oh and F Reid and Obama for destroying our government. I’ve never seen this kind of irresponsible behavior and it doesn’t dissuade me from thinking this is all part of a greater plan for socialist overthrow of our country.

Skywise on January 10, 2014 at 8:56 AM

Almost forgot:
 

With that said, if I was basing my opinion on the economy, I would never vote republican again, considering they shut down the government for kicks and wanted to send us into default in the middle of a recovery.
 
triple on January 8, 2014 at 10:31 PM

rogerb on January 10, 2014 at 8:58 AM

Has there ever been a majority leader as bad as this piece of scum? A two year old could do the job he is doing. “NO!” That’s it. All he does. Just say NO!

I don’t think I despise anyone in government more than I despise Reid.

NavyMustang on January 10, 2014 at 8:59 AM

Again, I sure am glad we avoided the train wreck that would have been Senator Sharron Angle.

Thanks, Karl Rove!

Kafir on January 10, 2014 at 9:16 AM

The people of Nevada continue to distinguish themselves…

Khun Joe on January 10, 2014 at 9:37 AM

That they might actually carry some Democrats, and demonstrate that Reid is an extremist?

Reid is a pederast of the first order. I know because someone told me.

It is up to him to prove that he isn’t.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on January 10, 2014 at 9:42 AM

IF the stupid party doesn’t act stupidly, we will retake the Senate.

Then, we need to act just like them in shutting out the Democrats. They are the enemy, and we need to act like it. If we get called on it in the press, ALWAYS refer to it as using the “Reid Maneuver”.

dominigan on January 10, 2014 at 9:49 AM

Why is the GOP trying to help turn a short-term program designed ease the transition between jobs into a quasi-permanent form of welfare?

Clark1 on January 10, 2014 at 9:52 AM

…and Reid has the gall to call the Republicans obstructionists. He makes me sick.

sadatoni on January 10, 2014 at 10:13 AM

The Senate Republicans should add all their ideas to the House proposal, that conference committee should be fun.

Cindy Munford on January 10, 2014 at 10:22 AM

So 2014 politics in DC pretty much picking up right where they left off. Reid doesn’t give a rat’s a$$ about the unemployed or creating jobs, he cares about using underhanded shenanigans in order to undermine the GOP and make them look like they’re obstructionists in order to sway voters in the upcoming elections.

scalleywag on January 10, 2014 at 10:36 AM

But yeah is there a bigger prick douchebag in the senate other than ol’ marble jowls. If ever a person existed whom I wouldn’t even blink an eye over if they were to disappear in an avalanche or something, it’s Reid.

Bishop on January 10, 2014 at 8:09 AM

Yeah, he’s evil. Thanks Nevada. But I think I would rather save my avalanche for Eric Holder.

magicbeans on January 10, 2014 at 10:44 AM

A Bridge Too Far…?

d1carter on January 10, 2014 at 10:52 AM

My God GOP, offer a bill to pay Women and Minorities $25.00 per hour minimum wage and see what happens. Go on TV with an ad blitz and make the Democrats block it. Turn the tables on the fools.

My God. Too easy.

HopeHeFails on January 10, 2014 at 11:02 AM

loveofcountry on October 17, 2013 at 5:58 PM

And the anti-American turd is still singin’ the same song.

One would think his/her/its lips would get pretty sore…

stuck like that between its master’s butt-cheeks.

Solaratov on January 10, 2014 at 11:06 AM

I wonder how Harry settled on mid November for the end date. Magic 8 ball?

teejk on January 10, 2014 at 11:15 AM

Wait about 5 minutes until o is on one
of his ‘ campaign ‘ outings touting the
6.7 unemployment rate .
We don’t need no stinkin’ extension
of unemployment benefits with a 6.7 !

Lucano on January 10, 2014 at 11:18 AM

Senate Republicans were further incensed when Reid told them he would not allow any amendments to the plan.

“I have been waiting here for more than 24 hours for a reasonable proposal by my Republican friends to pay for this. We don’t have one yet,” Reid said on the floor.

Republicans lashed out at Reid, arguing that they had put ideas forward and that all they wanted to do was sit down and work out a bipartisan agreement.

Now. Can we get an articulate republican to go out there and explain THIS?
The answer is NO. The democrats pull this crap all the time.
Talk over the media and attack their narrative posed as a question, challenge their premise, and talk over the democrat. Dems do it all the time. They bring their knife, gun, we bring a tank to the table.

AllahsNippleHair on January 10, 2014 at 11:39 AM

I wonder how Harry settled on mid November for the end date. Magic 8 ball?

teejk on January 10, 2014 at 11:15 AM

I know it’s rhetorical, but for the benefit of those who don’t know better, it’s the elections that will be held just before the end date that set it.

Steve Eggleston on January 10, 2014 at 12:25 PM

When Sen. Reid is deposed in his bid for reelection, he will surely consider himself unemployed and entitled to all of benefits he and his Party have enacted.

However, we must not grant him any benefits, because he has stolen enough from U.S. already.

MSGTAS on January 10, 2014 at 12:31 PM

It’s about time that the Senate revolts and throws Reid out on his ass!

GarandFan on January 10, 2014 at 12:35 PM

I know it’s rhetorical, but for the benefit of those who don’t know better, it’s the elections that will be held just before the end date that set it.

Steve Eggleston on January 10, 2014 at 12:25 PM

I know it’s rhetorical too (not really but you seem to have gotten my point) but the ploy is not even disguised well. Has Harry gotten so confident/brazen that he can’t even pretend anymore? I wish we had somebody in Congress that would speak out about the timing of all these extensions.

teejk on January 10, 2014 at 2:08 PM

Reid, the dried-up little weasel that he is, should be mounted on a log above someones’s fireplace.

Mr. Grump on January 11, 2014 at 8:44 AM