Jim McDermott Says 'Republican Grinches' In The Senate May Ruin Christmas For The Jobless
Unemployment insurance for the long-term jobless faces an uncertain path through Congress, which will have just two weeks when it reconvenes on Nov. 15 to reauthorize the benefits before they expire at the end of the month.
If Congress fails to renew the aid, more than a million people who've been out of work for longer than six months will by cut off during the holidays, according to the National Employment Law Project.
"The House can probably do its part, but the Senate has too many Republican Grinches," said Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), in a statement to HuffPost.
Over the summer, Senate Republicans, with an assist from Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson, blocked a reauthorization for nearly two months after it passed the House, causing 2.5 million people to miss checks. Their objection was the $33 billion deficit impact of the bill.
Judy Conti, a lobbyist for the National Employment Law Project, reminded HuffPost that after the grumpy Grinch came down from Mount Crumpit and stole Christmas, he changed his attitude and gave it back.
"Remember that by the end of the story, the Grinch succumbed to the holiday spirit and grew a great big heart," Conti said.
Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) thinks the Senate GOP's heart will remain two sizes too small.
"Not this Republican Tea Party-loving crowd," he said. "Tax cuts for the wealthy -- and lumps of coal in the stockings for the rest of the country."
Democrats will need at least two Republicans -- possibly more -- to defect from a hard-line anti-deficit spending stance in order to break a filibuster.
A Republican Senate leadership aide told HuffPost that without knowing specifics of the bill, such as how much it will cost and how long it will last, there was no way to predict how it will be received in the upper chamber.