The Senate is expected next week to take up a measure to renew a federal unemployment benefits program.
The bipartisan legislation, led by Sens. Jack ReedJack ReedSenators demand Pentagon action after nude photo scandal Mattis on defense budget boost: 'America can afford survival' Overnight Regulation: Dems punch back in fight over CEO pay rule MORE (D-R.I.) and Dean HellerDean HellerRed-state Dems in Supreme Court pressure cooker This week: House GOP faces make-or-break moment on ObamaCare Shutdown politics return to the Senate MORE (R-Nev.), could get a vote after the Senate wraps up work on a Ukraine assistance measure, a source told The Hill on Wednesday.
Reed and Heller have said they are confident the bill can pick up the votes needed to break a filibuster and pass the Senate.
If that happens, the bill’s fate would still be up in the air in the House, where Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerDem senator to reintroduce ‘Buy America’ legislation GOP senators offer bill to require spending cuts with debt-limit hikes Pelosi blasts Trump’s ‘rookie error’ on ObamaCare repeal MORE (R-Ohio) highlighted on Wednesday a letter from a trade group representing state unemployment insurance directors arguing that the bill would be impossible to implement in such a short period of time.
The protestations about the measure didn't sit well in the Senate, where is has taken more than two months to finally craft a deal that has the potential to pass the upper chamber.
In the past, BoehnerJohn BoehnerDem senator to reintroduce ‘Buy America’ legislation GOP senators offer bill to require spending cuts with debt-limit hikes Pelosi blasts Trump’s ‘rookie error’ on ObamaCare repeal MORE has said he would be open to considering an unemployment bill that was fully paid for and included reforms to the program.
"We believe the concerns that have been expressed are resolvable and we look forward to Speaker Boehner coming to the table to find solutions," said Adam Jentleson, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidThis obscure Senate rule could let VP Mike Pence fully repeal ObamaCare once and for all Sharron Angle to challenge GOP rep in Nevada Fox's Watters asks Trump whom he would fire: Baldwin, Schumer or Zucker MORE (D-Nev.).
"It is hard to imagine Speaker Boehner simply walking away from the thousands of people in Ohio who lost their jobs through no fault of their own and need this lifeline to make ends meet while they continue to look for work."
Lawmakers gathered up several pay-fors to cover the nearly $10 billion cost of restarting the program, which has been in place since June 2008.
The bill is cosponsored by 10 total lawmakers coming from both parties, including Sens. Susan CollinsSusan CollinsFive takeaways from Labor pick’s confirmation hearing ObamaCare repeal faces last obstacle before House vote Live coverage: Day three of Supreme Court nominee hearing MORE (R-Maine), Rob PortmanRob PortmanOvernight Finance: Senators spar over Wall Street at SEC pick's hearing | New CBO score for ObamaCare bill | Agency signs off on Trump DC hotel lease GOP senators offer bill to require spending cuts with debt-limit hikes Vulnerable Senate Dem: Border tax concerning for agriculture MORE (R-Ohio), Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiElle honors 10 at annual 'Women in Washington' event Five takeaways from Labor pick’s confirmation hearing ObamaCare repeal faces last obstacle before House vote MORE (R-Alaska), Mark KirkMark KirkObamaCare repeal bill would defund Planned Parenthood Leaked ObamaCare bill would defund Planned Parenthood GOP senator won't vote to defund Planned Parenthood MORE (R-Ill.), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyThe Hill’s Whip List: Where Dems stand on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Dem senator accuses Trump of 'dangerous tilt towards authoritarianism' Overnight Regulation: Dems punch back in fight over CEO pay rule MORE (D-Ore.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownThe Hill’s Whip List: Where Dems stand on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Senators war over Wall Street during hearing for Trump's SEC pick Sanders to oppose Gorsuch's nomination MORE (D-Ohio) and Dick DurbinDick DurbinThe Hill’s Whip List: Where Dems stand on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch rewrites playbook for confirmation hearings Gorsuch: I'm 'sorry' for ruling against autistic student MORE (D-Ill.).
The emergency federal program kicks in once workers who continue looking for a new job have exhausted benefits, usually after 26 weeks.
Advocates have argued that another round of the program is warranted because the long-term unemployed comprise about 37 percent of all the jobless.
Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen noted on Wednesday during her first press conference as head of the central bank that "underemployment and long-term employment remain significant concerns." .