Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidSenate Democratic super PAC sets fundraising record Cruz: Precedent exists for keeping Supreme Court short-staffed Warren’s power on the rise MORE (D-Nev.) filed cloture on a House bill that the Senate will use as a vehicle to pass an unemployment insurance extension likely by Friday.
Reid filed the motion to end debate on H.R. 3979, the Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act, which the House passed earlier this month.
Since Reid filed cloture, that would set up a vote as soon as Friday but Democrats are hoping to reach an agreement to hold the vote Thursday evening.
Sens. Jack ReedJack ReedTop Lobbyists 2016: Hired Guns Armani, Batali among guests at White House state dinner Overnight Finance: Jobless claims near record low | Cops bust IRS phone scam in India | Republican demands Iran sanctions docs MORE (D-R.I.) and Dean HellerDean HellerGOP senators avoid Trump questions on rigged election More Senate Republicans pressure Treasury over debt-equity rules Funding bill rejected as shutdown nears MORE (R-Nev.) have put together a plan that would provide retroactive benefits to more than 2 million people who lost federal help after the program expired on Dec. 28.
The Senate has failed to pass two other UI extensions, but this time the legislation has five Republican cosponsors, meaning it could overcome the 60-vote threshold of a filibuster.
It would use several offsets to pay for the $10 billion cost of extending the benefits, including pension smoothing provisions from the 2012 highway bill, which were set to phase out this year, and extending customs user fees through 2024.
The Senate deal also includes an additional offset allowing single-employer pension plans to prepay their flat rate premiums to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).
The measure would also prevent millionaires and billionaires from receiving the federal benefits.
The proposal also includes language pushed by Collins to strengthen reemployment and eligibility assessment (REA) and re-employment services (RES) programs, which provide help to unemployed workers when they enter their 27th week of benefits.
Despite the likelihood of Senate passage, Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerRyan has little margin for error in Speaker vote Top Lobbyists 2016: Hired Guns The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Ohio) has said he won’t consider the Senate deal because it doesn’t include job-creating measures. But Senate passage will put pressure on BoehnerJohn BoehnerRyan has little margin for error in Speaker vote Top Lobbyists 2016: Hired Guns The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE to do something.
The emergency federal program kicks in once workers who continue looking for a new job have exhausted benefits, usually after 26 weeks.
— Vicki Needham contributed to this article.