Reid: Democrats will not forget jobless

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) continued his criticism of Republicans Thursday for blocking a short-term extension of unemployment insurance.

“On this side of the aisle we have not put to one side and forgotten about unemployment compensation for 1.5 million people,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “We are not going to leave this issue.”

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Earlier this week, Republicans refused to allow an up-or-down vote on a three-month extension of long-term unemployment benefits, which would have cost $6.4 billion. Republicans complained the bill wasn’t paid for, so Democrats proposed an alternative 11-month extension that was fully paid for by extending sequestration for one year. Republicans wanted votes on their amendments, but Reid offered to allow only 10 GOP amendments that would have been held to a 60-vote threshold.

On Dec. 28, 1.3 million people stopped receiving long-term unemployment checks. Reid said the Republicans in Congress proved they are out of touch with the public by blocking the bill from advancing.

“We have not forgotten this,” Reid said. “Republican outside Congress believe this is the right thing to do.”

Democrats are expected to use joblessness and income inequality as a major campaign issue in the 2014 midterm elections.