Feb. 6 marked the end of the Democratic bid to extend unemployment insurance benefits in the Senate, but that doesn’t mean supporters of the proposed extension will give up that easily.

The changes, recommended by Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, ran into objections by the bill’s opponents. However, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid vowed that the supporters would not relent, promising to keep trying despite the current impediment.

Reuters reported that these potential alterations to unemployment insurance could have an effect on millions, especially businesses and those impacted by long-term unemployment who have seen their recent benefits expire. Any associated costs would be managed through “pension smoothing,” where employers can utilize historic interest rate averages to determine pension contributions. As a result, profits and taxable income would tick up, increasing the available revenue to cover benefits.

Vote nearly passes in Senate
Once the bid hit the Senate floor, it encountered strong partisan opposition. The final tally was 58-40, with the Democrats one vote short of the necessary 60 to further the bill into formal debate, according to Reuters.

The proposal was spurred on by the expiration of jobless benefits, which ended on Dec. 28, for workers who have been unemployed for six months or longer, the media outlet reported. The supporters, led by Reed, contended that this financial assistance must be restored quickly, with an added recommendation to remove millionaires from the eligibility list. On the other hand, most detractors expressed the feeling that the problems lie with job growth and availability, not federal unemployment benefits specifically.

This recent roadblock for the proposal wasn’t the first. Earlier last month, two similar bills were also rejected. However, the support isn’t limited to Democrats alone. Four Republicans voted in favor during this recent session.

Amendments may be needed
The proposed unemployment insurance bill may not be dead in the water, however. Senate Republicans noted that they would be willing to concede if allowed to make certain amendments, according to the Washington Post.

“If we could enter into such an agreement, that would be a step in the right direction toward getting the Senate back to at least something close to the way it used to be operated, under which bills like that would frequently be brought up with no stipulations, and we would just start processing amendments,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in a press conference.

Thanks to procedures, the Senate Democratic Leader changed his vote to the negative, allowing Reid another opportunity to pitch the proposal at future hearings. With that in mind, there is still life for any potential changes.


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