Gop Stalls Jobless Pay Extension In Senate

11.04.09 | FL News Team

A bill to extend jobless pay is stalled in the Senate as some 200-thousand more Americans lose their benefits this week. The House overwhelmingly passed the measure in late September and it's been languishing in the upper chamber ever since. Democrats have larded up the bill to try and lure GOP votes. It now includes tax breaks for businesses and an extension of the popular eight-thousand-dollar tax credit for first-time home buyers.

But every new amendment means Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid must call for cloture, a maneuver that breaks a threatened Republican filibuster. There have been two cloture votes -- on October 27th and again Monday. Under the rules of cloture, however, Republicans can still insist on 30 hours of debate. Reid has one more cloture vote coming on the underlying bill and that means another 30 hours of speechifying. A vote won't come until Thursday at the earliest. The underlying bill would extend unemployment pay in the hardest-hit states by another 14 weeks.