Senate could vote to renew UI next week

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 ReedA guide to the committees: Senate Cruz: Supreme Court 'likely' to uphold Trump order Schumer: Trump should see 'handwriting on the wall,' drop order MORE (D-R.I.) and Dean HellerDean HellerGreens launch ads against two GOP senators for Pruitt votes GOP groups ramp up pressure on lawmakers over ObamaCare A guide to the committees: 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.

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The agreement on the plan, which was reached last week, would provide five months of benefits and would be retroactive back to the Dec. 28 expiration of the emergency program, which helps the long-term unemployed.

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 BoehnerFormer House leader Bob Michel, a person and politician for the ages Former House GOP leader Bob Michel dies at 93 Keystone pipeline builder signs lobbyist 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 BoehnerFormer House leader Bob Michel, a person and politician for the ages Former House GOP leader Bob Michel dies at 93 Keystone pipeline builder signs lobbyist 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 ReidHopes rise for law to expand access to experimental drugs If Gorsuch pick leads to 'crisis,' Dems should look in mirror first Senate confirms Mulvaney to be Trump’s budget chief 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 CollinsGOP senator grilled over DeVos vote during town hall GOP senator: Flynn should testify on Russia Greens launch ads against two GOP senators for Pruitt votes MORE (R-Maine), Rob PortmanRob Portman­ObamaCare fix hinges on Medicaid clash in Senate A guide to the committees: Senate Two tax issues dividing Republicans on ObamaCare MORE (R-Ohio), Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiA guide to the committees: Senate Public lands dispute costs Utah a major trade show Oprah's network provides Senate with tape of abuse allegations by Puzder's ex-wife: report MORE (R-Alaska), Mark KirkMark KirkThe Hill's 12:30 Report Trump, judges on collision course GOP senator: Don't link Planned Parenthood to ObamaCare repeal MORE (R-Ill.), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyPoll: Senate should confirm Gorsuch A guide to the committees: Senate Senate advances Trump's Commerce pick MORE (D-Ore.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownSanders, not Trump, is the real working-class hero A guide to the committees: Senate House bill would prevent Trump from lifting Russian sanctions MORE (D-Ohio) and Dick DurbinDick DurbinDems rip Trump administration for revoking Obama's transgender directive A guide to the committees: Senate McConnell: I’m very sympathetic to 'Dreamers' 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." .