Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island and Republican Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada have gone back to the drawing board on a plan to extend unemployment insurance benefits, reported the National Journal on Thursday.
After the first bill died in the House of Representatives on June 1, Reed and Heller, are working to re-tool another version of the legislation. However, unfortunately, it likely will not include a provision that will make payments retroactive to December 2013 when the bill expired:
"I'm guessing that we just go forward at this point," said Heller. "Five months of [retroactive] UI at this point, is a big, big bite of the apple. So that's not guaranteed, but I'm telling you that we realize that we are in a bind right now trying to make it retroactive."
Of the other demands by House Speaker John Boehner -- that the bill create jobs and be paid for-- Heller calls Boehner hypocritcal, pointing to a tax-extenders bill the House passed last month that wasn't paid for at all.
"[I] found it ironic that the House could pass an unfunded tax-extenders bill, and yet demand that our bill—you know, wasn't sufficient even though it was paid for and bipartisan," Reed said.
As far as a jobs provision, Reed and Heller are asking Boehner and other House Republicans to take up the new Senate bill and add their own jobs provision, after which the two chambers can go to conference and work out their differences, he said.
Neither Reed nor Heller could speculate on a time frame for when they might introduce a new Senate package.
"We're working on it," Reed said. "It's not something we're ignoring. We have to look for a legislative path. We have to find the right sort of formula, literally and figuratively.
"And then we have to make sure that we have the necessary bipartisan support here."
See the response of Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (NY-8) surrounding the House of Representatives' failure to pass an unemployment insurance benefit extension here.