Levin sends out stinging Valentine to GOP

A top House Democrat doled out a stinging Valentine on Friday, taking aim at Republicans who have refused to back a federal jobless benefits renewal.

In a Twitter post, there was no love loss for Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.), who wrote “a heart for the heartless” with a photo of a candy heart with "#RenewUI" on it.

Levin, ranking member on the Ways and Means Committee, has led the charge to restore the federal benefits to a growing number of the long-term unemployed to no avail, so far.

He has argued that if Republicans would just listen to the stories of the unemployed they would be willing to back an extension. 

The Senate has failed several times to reach a bipartisan agreement on a bill that would provide, at least, three months' worth of benefits for those who have been out of work for a minimum of six months.

After the last vote, Democrats took to social media, calling on one Senate Republican to support the bill — four GOP senators voted to move to discussion about a measure but Democrats needed five to reach the 60-vote threshold.

A group of Republicans and Democrats have tried to work together — Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) have sponsored legislation — but they have been unsuccessful in finding agreeable offsets and program reforms.

When lawmakers return to Washington on Feb. 25 it will have been nearly two months since the emergency benefits program expired, the longest lapse since the program was first enacted in 2008, and just as the recession was rooting.

Congressional Democrats have been pressing the issue for several months, highlighting the plight of those who are struggling without the benefits while citing public opinion polls that show a majority support for a reauthorization.

Advocates have said they expect there will be another attempt after the recess to renew the benefits.