Casey, Brown offer scaled back COBRA amendment

Sens. Bob Casey Jr. (D-Pa.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) on Thursday scaled back their proposal to extend COBRA health benefits for the nation's millions of unemployed workers. 

Like earlier versions, the revised bill would extend eligibility for the premium assistance program through Nov. 30; unlike earlier versions, it would limit the benefits to six months (instead of 15) for those entering the program between June 1 — when enrollment expired — and Nov. 30. 

To address the deficit-spending concerns of budget hawks, the new bill would offset the cost by eliminating the advance earned income tax credit. Though the Congressional Budget Office has not yet scored the scaled back proposal, Casey's office said Thursday that the $1.5 billion offset should be enough to cover the tab.  

The lawmakers are hoping to offer the bill today as an amendment to the tax extenders bill being considered by the Senate this week, though it remains unclear if they'll succeed in getting a vote.