House Democrats urge longer extension of unemployment benefits

The House Democratic Caucus on Tuesday is poised to vote on a resolution opposing any tax package that extends tax cuts for the nation's highest earners longer than it extends unemployment benefits.

"The Democratic Caucus opposes legislation that extends the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent of Americans for longer than it extends much-needed unemployment benefits for middle-class families," reads a part of the short resolution.

Sponsored by Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.), the measure is non-binding, but would allow liberal critics of the tax package to go on record opposing what they consider a central inequity within the bill. 

"It's a clear indication of the will of the caucus," said Wu spokeswoman Julia Krahe.

House Democrats are set to meet Tuesday night to discuss their legislative strategy for the remainder of the 111th Congress — a meeting that will focus largely on the package of Bush-era tax-cut extensions hammered out between the White House and Senate Republicans earlier in the month. 

The proposal includes a two-year extension of tax cuts for individuals earning more than $200,000 per year and families earning more than $250,00. In contrast, unemployment benefits would be extended for one year.

Last week, the House Democratic Caucus overwhelmingly passed another non-binding resolution opposing a House vote on the tax bill in its current form. 

More recently, however, even some of the most vocal critics of the package have conceded that any significant changes to the bill would almost certainly be shot down in the Senate — a dynamic that is upping the pressure on House leaders to accept the current bill.

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