Unemployment Extension Petition Gets Manchin’s Push

Manchin warned of a tight timeline for passing a debt limit increase before the Thursday deadline. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Manchin warned of a tight timeline for passing a debt limit increase before the Thursday deadline. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Posted April 15, 2014 at 12:10pm

Keeping the unemployment insurance extension issue alive, Sen. Joe Manchin III is asking supporters to sign on to a petition urging the House to act. The West Virginia Democrat doesn’t agree with his party on everything, but an email pitch sent Tuesday morning demonstrates considerable Democratic unity on reviving extended unemployment insurance benefits.  

The Senate passed its version of the jobless benefits measure with 59 “yes” votes on April 7 .  

“Extending unemployment insurance makes economic sense, but it’s also just the right thing to do. Our hardworking neighbors paid into the system when they had a job, so it’s only fair that they should benefit from those funds when they’re down on their luck,” Manchin wrote in an email to supporters. “That’s why I’m asking you to join my colleagues and me in calling on the House to pass an extension of unemployment insurance.”  

The email blast links to a petition — without an immediate fundraising ask — from 11 Senate Democrats, a trio of House members and three candidates, including Alison Lundergan Grimes in the Kentucky Senate race.  

The senators on the pitch come from across the Democratic spectrum.  

“It has been months since unemployment insurance was cut off for millions of job-seekers. Since then, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate have reached a bipartisan deal to extend this critical lifeline,” the signatories wrote. “It’s time for Republicans in the House to stop stonewalling and do the same!”  

There’s no expectation that the Senate-passed agreement — which would retroactively extend the benefits that ran out just before the end of last year for five additional months — will be called up for a vote in the House. In a Roll Call opinion piece this week, GOP Reps. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania and Mark Meadows of North Carolina pushed for tying the extended benefits to other legislation , including language approving of the Keystone XL oil pipeline project.  

Manchin’s mailing list has been busy of late. In another recent pitch, he called for bipartisanship and praised the efforts of the group No Labels. Manchin is an honorary co-chairman of that group, along with former presidential hopeful, ambassador and ex-Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.  

“I truly believe the best way forward for West Virginia and our country is for Democrats and Republicans to put aside our political parties and work together to do what’s best for all of us,” Manchin wrote. “If those are values you’re fighting for, too, click here to call on Congress to stop bickering and get to work.”