Just minutes before adjourning for the holiday break, Senate Republicans again killed a $33.9 billion spending bill on June 30 that would have extended unemployment benefits to more than 1.7 million laid-off workers.
GOP leaders have indicated that they are willing to extend aid to the near 10 percent of Americans who are unemployed, but will only do so if the measure is paid for and does not add to the nation’s already ballooning deficit, Fox News reports.
Republicans have proposed that the bill be funded using unspent stimulus money from last year’s economic recovery act, however Democrats note that that money is needed to support various jobs programs.
"We could pass this bill with broad bipartisan support if Democrats would just agree to pay for the spending," said Representative Dave Camp (R-Mich.) "The American people know we must pay for this spending, and the Senate appears to have heard that message."
While Republicans have successfully filibustered the bill several times, most political pundits expect the measure to pass next week when Congress is back in session, according to the Associated Press (AP). After a replacement is named to fill deceased Senator Robert Byrd’s seat, Democrats should have enough votes to pass the bill.