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Portman Never Pressed Boehner on Unemployment Extension

Portman hasn't pressured Boehner to vote on an unemployment extension. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Portman hasn't pressured Boehner to vote on an unemployment extension. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rob Portman, who provided the key vote to pass an unemployment extension in the Senate, never pressed Speaker John A. Boehner to hold a vote on it in the House.  

Portman told Gannett he didn’t try to press Boehner, his fellow Ohio Republican, to put the bill on the House floor because it wouldn’t have been a productive move.  

“He’s hearing it from all sides within his own conference, which he has to keep together,” Portman said. “And that’s got to be his priority.” We highlighted the Portman-Boehner split on an extension of emergency unemployment compensation in March .  

The two lawmakers each have national stature. Portman was strongly considered by Mitt Romney to be his running mate, and Portman has regularly been the debate sparring partner for GOP presidential candidates.  

Portman was one of the Republican senators who blocked the unemployment extension Feb. 6, when it fell short by a single vote.  It took two more months for the Senate to pass a five-month compromise with Portman’s blessing April 7 .  

Boehner called the retroactive bill unworkable to implement and demanded that the White House propose adding new job-creating measures.  

Portman isn’t the only one who hasn’t phoned Boehner to pressure him to act.  

President Barack Obama hasn’t called Boehner either . Obama has tweeted and urged his supporters to call.  

Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez has offered to negotiate a compromise with Boehner but nothing has come from that either.  

There have been a number of long-shot scenarios floated to try and revive the unemployment benefits, but the Senate left for the Memorial Day recess without any of them materializing. The House meanwhile has no plans to act this week.  

Republicans haven’t proposed an alternative to their own, and only a handful of them have urged Boehner to act.  

About 2.8 million workers have lost Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits since they expired in December.