Unemployment extension deal dies quietly over the weekend

Time has officially run out for the deal struck by Sens. Jack Reed and Dean Heller to renew unemployment insurance.
By Gabrielle Levy  |  June 2, 2014 at 3:17 PM
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WASHINGTON, June 2 (UPI) -- The deal to extend unemployment insurance died quietly over the weekend with hardly a mention from the bipartisan duo of senators that for weeks had pushed for renewal.

Sens. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Jack Reed, D-R.I., were one of this spring's Senate success stories; their deal a rare moment of bipartisanship that would restore unemployment insurance to the nearly 3 million Americans who have been out of work for over six months. The deal would restart insurance benefits, retroactive to when they expired on December 28, and pay for them through the end of May.

The Senate passed the Reed-Heller deal back at the beginning of April, but no amount of cajoling from the bill's namesakes, or from House Democrats, would move Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to allow it a vote.

So when June 1 came -- and went -- without a House vote on passage, the moment went largely unacknowledged by Heller or Reed.

Reed sent out a single tweet Friday expressing his disappointment and promising to keep trying get a deal passed.

A spokeswoman for Sen. Heller, responding to a request for comment, struck a hopeful tone on Monday.

"Senator Heller is working with Senator Reed to explore all viable options in order to get this legislation done, and they continue to discuss a wide variety of ideas," Chandler Smith said. "[They] are continuing to work on a path forward to get this legislation signed into law, and to ensure that these benefits are available to the job-seeking Americans who need them."

Rep. Sander Levin., D-Mich., who has taken up the mantel in the House, dedicated the front page of his House website to the issue, featuring a state-by-state statistics on the number of unemployed and the resulting economic impact.

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