FRIDAY'S BIG STORY:
The table is set: House and Senate lawmakers are heading out of town for the weekend, but before they left, Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidIf Gorsuch pick leads to 'crisis,' Dems should look in mirror first Senate confirms Mulvaney to be Trump’s budget chief Democrats declare victory after Puzder bows out MORE (D-Nev.) said his chamber would take another vote Monday on a renewal of federal unemployment benefits.
That vote is expected to allow the Senate to proceed to the bill.
But Reid opted to hold off until Monday.
The Senate also will vote Monday on a bill that prevents a pending cut to Medicare physician rates — a day before the deadline. The measure will need 60 votes to pass after sneaking out of the House on Thursday by voice vote.
On Thursday, the vote on the bipartisan unemployment insurance bill drew the support of 10 Republicans, which gives the bipartisan legislation a solid chance of passage.
But action in the House appears unlikely with 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) saying he won’t consider the Senate deal because it doesn’t include job-creating measures.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said the Senate took an important step forward and that it is time for House Republicans to do their part.
"House Republicans must overcome their spectacular indifference to the struggles of these Americans, and work with Democrats to renew emergency unemployment insurance without any further delay," Pelosi (Calif.) said.
Conservative group Heritage Action urged senators to vote against the unemployment insurance bill, saying it hampers the ability of the long-term unemployed to find work.
The Republicans who voted in favor of advancing the bill were Sens. Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteLewandowski saw no evidence of voter fraud in New Hampshire NH governor 'not aware’ of major voter fraud Former NH AG: 'Allegations of voter fraud in NH are baseless' MORE (N.H.), Dan CoatsDan CoatsSenate Intel head in the dark about Trump intelligence review DNI confirmation hearing expected on Senate return Intelligence business: Trump must keep privacy protections for US firms MORE (Ind.), Susan CollinsSusan CollinsPruitt sworn in as EPA chief Comey meets Intel senators amid uproar over Trump-Russia ties EPA breaks Twitter silence to congratulate new head MORE (Maine), Dean HellerDean HellerPlanned Parenthood targets GOP lawmakers amid ObamaCare protests Overnight Finance: Fed chief tries to stay above partisan fray | Bill would eliminate consumer agency | Trump signs repeal of SEC rule on foreign payments Fed chief looks to stay above partisan fray in Trump era MORE (Nev.), Ron JohnsonRon JohnsonDems ask for hearings on Russian attempts to attack election infrastructure GOP senators unveil bill to give Congress control of consumer bureau budget GOP gets bolder in breaking with Trump MORE (Wis.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiPublic 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 than 100 groups back Puzder for Labor secretary MORE (Alaska), Rob PortmanRob PortmanRyan tries to save tax plan Rift in GOP threatens ObamaCare repeal Overnight Tech: GOP split on net neutrality strategy | Trump's phone worries Dems | Bill in the works on self-driving cars MORE (Ohio), Pat Toomey (Pa.), Bob CorkerBob CorkerRepublicans play clean up on Trump's foreign policy GOP Congress unnerved by Trump bumps Trump makes nuclear mistake on arms control treaty with Russia MORE (Tenn.) and Mark KirkMark KirkThe Hill's 12:30 Report Trump, judges on collision course GOP senator: Don't link Planned Parenthood to ObamaCare repeal MORE (Ill.).
Sens. Jack ReedJack ReedCruz: Supreme Court 'likely' to uphold Trump order Schumer: Trump should see 'handwriting on the wall,' drop order Sanders: Court ruling might 'teach President Trump a lesson' MORE (D-R.I.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) have put together a plan that would provide retroactive benefits to the more than 2 million people who lost their benefits after the program expired on Dec. 28.
The Senate has failed to pass two other benefits extensions.
The nearly $10 billion measure uses several ways to pay for the bill, including pension smoothing and extending customs user fees through 2024.
The measure would also prevent millionaires and billionaires from receiving the federal benefits.
Senate passage would shift the focus to the House after months of discussions.
The Speaker has cited a letter from the National Association of State Workforce Agencies that expressed technical concerns about providing the retroactive benefits, among other issues stemming from the nearly three-month lapse.
But Labor Secretary Thomas PerezThomas E. PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s 'wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE and other advocates have argued that the problems could be overcome to continue the program.
"All the administrative challenges to the states pale in comparison to the challenges of our constituents out of work," Reed said Thursday.
"We would hope that the House would respond appropriately, so we can give some hope and confidence to people struggling to find jobs in this economy."
The emergency program sets in once workers exhaust their state-level benefits, usually after 26 weeks.
Portman, a bill cosponsor, said he "worked for months with my colleagues to make sure we came up with a proposal that was short-term, paid for and reforms this broken program."
"The current UI program is failing to connect Americans with jobs, and after this short-term bill is passed, it’s critical that we continue to work on making significant long-term reforms to help get people back on their feet."
They're back: A bipartisan group of House lawmakers is working up a new round of Iran sanctions, according to our old pal Julian Pecquet, now at Al-Monitor.
The Foreign Affairs Committee is taking the lead on the potential measure, which would allow the House to put some space between itself and the White House. Targets of the sanctions could include banking interests in both Europe and Lebanon.
Piling on: The New Democrat Coalition is adding two new members: Reps. Tony Cárdenas (Calif.) and Ann KirkpatrickAnn KirkpatrickWomen make little gains in new Congress McCain wins sixth Senate term In Arizona, history and voter registration data gives GOP edge MORE (Ariz.). The group, which encompasses more than a quarter of the entire Democratic Caucus, has been outspoken on trade issues and has expressed support for the White House's agenda.
"I'm honored to welcome Tony and Ann to the New Democrat Coalition," said Chairman Ron KindRon KindOvernight Tech: House weighs laws for driverless cars | Dems hit FCC chief on broadband | A new online fundraising tool | Microsoft calls for a 'digital Geneva Convention' House Dems rip FCC chief over internet subsidy program Saving for college? Start early and tell Congress to support this bill. MORE (D-Wis.).
“Both of them exemplify what it means to be a New Democrat in today’s turbulent Washington — they’re pragmatic, moderate problem-solvers who believe in building compromise from the middle out."
Personal income-personal spending: The Commerce Department will release February figures that measure income from all sources. Expectations are that income and spending increased last month but at a slower pace than January.
Michigan Sentiment: Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan will release its final measure of consumer sentiment for March, which is projected to show a slight improvement over February's reading.
WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED
— Audit: IRS needs stronger oversight of tax deduction
— Froman will talk trade at Senate Finance next week
— Biden: Immigrants part of US economic edge
— Boxer: Congress 'running out of time' on highway funding
— Financial Services Roundtable adds lobbyists
— Senate confirms SBA nominee
— Despite votes, Ukraine bill not done yet
— House, Senate approve Ukraine aid
— Waters offers her own housing overhaul
— US economy grows at faster 2.6 percent pace in Q4
— Senate Finance to consider tax extenders next week
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