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Reid: No unemployment benefit vote

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidSuper-PAC targets Portman on trade Dem leader urges compromise on FCC set-top box plan Senate Dems introduce Iran sanctions extension MORE (D-Nev.) on Wednesday said the chamber won't vote on federal unemployment benefits before the program expires on Dec. 28.

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“We’re going to push for a extension for unemployment insurance when the Senate returns here next year,” Reid said on the Senate floor.

Many Democrats hoped a renewal of the program would have been included in the budget deal struck Tuesday, and some in the House have said Congress shouldn’t adjourn until an extension is passed.

The federal unemployment benefits go to people who have exhausted their state benefits, which typically last 26 weeks.

Reid said he’d also hold votes early next year to raise the federal minimum wage and ensure that doctors are paid enough to see Medicare patients — also known as the “doc fix.”

Rather than deal with those matters, the Senate is now spending 30 hours debating the nomination of Cornelia Pillard to the D.C. Circuit Court. A vote on her confirmation is scheduled for 1 a.m. Thursday unless Republicans agree to yield back time.

“We could be voting on all this stuff now,” Reid said. “Instead, Republicans are insisting that we vote on a nomination hours from now, after they’ve frittered away 30 hours of the Senate’s time. ... So when people complain that they’re not at home with their families this holiday season, here is the reason: Republican obstruction.”

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