House rejects jobless benefits bill

House Republicans rejected a bill Nov. 18 that would extend for three months benefits for the long-term unemployed, according to The Wall Street Journal. They cited the $12 billion cost of the program, demanding that it be offset rather than adding to the deficit.

The bill was defeated in a 258-154 vote after a fast-track procedure employed by Democratic leaders required a two-thirds majority for passage. Both parties expect a compromise will be reached but not until December; the program expires Nov. 30. Without an extension, 800,000 unemployed workers will lose their benefits by Nov. 30 and 2 million by the end of December.

Democrats still could bring the bill to the House floor employing regular procedures that would require only a simple majority to pass the bill. However, the bill would face challenges in the Senate because Republicans would block it if offsetting spending cuts are not involved.

Other issues Congress faces include the fate of the Bush-era tax cuts due to expire Dec. 31 and a funding mechanism to keep the government running after a stop-gap appropriations bill expires Dec. 3.

Date : 11/22/2010