Senate Unlikely to Pass Benefits Extension Before Recess

Posted May 27, 2010 at 7:20pm

Updated: 10:02 p.m.

Senate Democratic leaders do not expect to pass an extension of unemployment benefits before they leave for the Memorial Day recess.

Despite a last-minute attempt in the House to pass a significantly pared-down measure that would extend tax breaks and jobless benefits, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced Thursday evening that the Senate would begin work on that measure when Senators return June 7. The current extension of jobless benefits expires next week, and the bill would extend them by six months.

Although Democrats are expected to attempt to pass a 14-day extension of unemployment insurance by unanimous consent, one senior Senate Democratic aide said Reid expects Republicans to object, because it is not offset with spending reductions elsewhere.

Republicans are also expected to seek consent to pass a paid-for continuation of unemployment benefits, but Democrats will likely object because the offsets take money from job creation funds, the aide added.

Democrats said they do not believe they will have enough Members willing to stay in town for any Saturday or Sunday votes to break the impasse. Sixty votes are needed to beat back an attempted filibuster.