Senate moves ahead, 60-37, on jobless aid

 
 
Will there be peace under the Capitol dome for the holidays?
Will there be peace under the Capitol dome for the holidays?
Tish Wells / McClatchy Washington Bureau

McClatchy Interactive

The Senate Tuesday took a crucial step toward restoring emergency unemployment benefits to about 1.3 million people, but no checks are going out yet—and won’t until Congress stops its partisan bickering over the issue.

The 60 to 37 Senate vote to consider extending the aid for three months was 2014’s opening salvo in this year’s war over how to narrow the gap between the nation’s rich and poor. The jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed expired December 28 because Congress failed to act last year.

Easing income inequality is a key piece of both the congressional Democratic and White House agenda this year. The Obama administration has pledged a push for a higher minimum wage as well as aid for the long-term unemployed.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., made the Democrats’ priorities clear just before Tuesday’s vote.

"For too many Americans, the bright headlines touting good economic news don’t match the darker reality they face as they sit at the kitchen table juggling the household bills," he told the Senate. Debate on the bill is expected to continue this week, with a final vote likely later in the week

At the White House, Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council, echoed that theme Monday.

"This is not designed to go on forever. It is a temporary lifeline in difficult times that our country has relied on for well over a half-century,’ he said.

Republicans countered that the Obama administration, entering its sixth year, has had ample time to correct any inequity and was simply engaging in more deficit spending to prop up a sluggish economy.

"Here we go again to treat a symptom of a disease," said Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama. "But the tragedy is that the policies of this administration are driving this poor growth record."

Read more Politics Wires stories from the Miami Herald

  • US welcomes EU decision on Russia

    The United States is welcoming a decision by European Union leaders to prepare tougher economic sanctions against Russia over its apparent invasion of Ukraine.

  • Airstrikes and aid provide relief for Iraqi town

    Aircraft from the United States, Australia, France and Britain dropped food and water to the beleaguered Iraqi town of Amirli, which has been under siege by Islamic State militants for nearly two months, the Pentagon said Saturday night. U.S. airstrikes supported the humanitarian mission.

  • 5 US airstrikes target Islamic State fighters

    The U.S. military says fighter aircraft and unmanned drones have struck Islamic State militants near Iraq's Mosul Dam.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category