Senate pauses for retreats, including one at a ballpark

 

McClatchy Washington Bureau

Senate Democrats and Republicans have separate retreats Wednesday, and most of the intrigue will come at a baseball stadium.

Democrats head to Nationals Park, home of the National League team, for an issues conference where President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton are scheduled to appear.

Among the topics are expected to be how to proceed on extending emergency unemployment benefits.

The aid expired Dec. 28, and the two parties have been stuck over how to pay for the $6.4 billion plan.

Democrats plan a procedural vote Thursday on a three-month extension, with an offset that allows certain changes in dealing with pension contributions.

Senate Democrats’ latest gambit to renew unemployment insurance benefits is a proposed three-month extension with a new offset that would provide flexibility for companies to reduce deductible corporate pension fund contributions.

Sixty votes are needed to overcome the procedural obstacles. Democrats control 55 seats. There are enough Republicans backing the extension to proceed, but they prefer other methods of payment, perhaps a change to the health care law.

No votes are scheduled in the Senate Thursday, as the retreats are expected to last all day.

 

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