Boehner sticks to his guns on jobless aid

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Wednesday stuck to his demand that any extension of unemployment benefits be offset with spending cuts and include other job-creation measures.

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The Speaker was asked at a morning news conference if the House planned to vote on extending emergency jobless benefits — a top 2014 priority of President Obama and congressional Democrats.

Boehner did not answer directly and criticized Senate Democrats who are pushing an emergency three-month extension of the benefits, which lapsed in December.

“We’re all concerned about those who have had a difficult time trying to find a job,” Boehner said following the first closed-door House GOP conference meeting of the year. But he added: “The Senate ought to be looking at ways to really solve this problem.”

The Speaker repeated what he said he told White House chief of staff Denis McDonough in December: “I made clear that we would consider extending emergency unemployment benefits if it was paid for and it there were provisions we could agree to that would get our economy moving again and put the American people back to work.”

At the press conference, Boehner also said he was “hopeful” that appropriators could complete their work on a $1 trillion omnibus spending bill that would fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year. Congress must pass that bill or a stopgap measure by Jan. 15 to keep the government open. 

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