House Speaker John Boehner poured cold water on hopes Congress could pass a deal to reimplement expired longterm unemployment benefits.
Citing a letter from state workforce agencies, who complained a bipartisan Senate deal would place too much of a burden on state labor agencies to churn out checks due to the 2 million eligible jobless, Boehner indicated he would likely choose not to consider the deal in the House.
The National Association of State Workforce Agencies said administrative issues and costs could prevent some states from being able to implement the deal within the required time frame.
Boehner slammed the Reed-Heller Senate deal -- which would extend unemployment insurance for five months and make retroactive payments for those eligible since benefits lapsed in December -- as "unworkable."
"We have always said that we’re willing to look at extending emergency unemployment benefits again, if Washington Democrats can come up with a plan that is fiscally-responsible, and gets to the root of the problem by helping to create more private-sector jobs," Boehner said. "There is no evidence that the bill being rammed through the Senate by Leader Reid meets that test, and according to these state directors, the bill is also simply unworkable. Frankly, a better use of the Senate’s time would be taking up and passing the dozens of House-passed jobs bills still awaiting action."
The Senate deal, which the upper chamber is expected to vote on late this month, was crafted by five Republicans and five Democrats, led by Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Dean Heller, R-Nev.