Sen. Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowGOP warns McConnell won't blink on debt cliff Sanders says spending plan should be .5T 'at the very least' Senators call on Taiwan for aid in automotive chip shortage MORE (D-Mich.) on Saturday blamed Senate Republican leaders for the stalled unemployment benefits extension.
The senator said that by remaining silent on Sen. Jim Bunning's (R-Ky.) objection to a unanimous consent motion on the bill, GOP leaders implicitly offered their support for the move.
"Where is the Republican leadership on Monday? Where will the Republican leadership be next week," Stabenow said on a conference call with reporters organized by the Democratic leadership. "Are they going to stand up and stop this...or are they going to continue by their silence to support Sen. Bunning?"
Bunning on Thursday night raised an objection to the move that would have allowed the Senate to quickly pass a short-term extension of certain unemployment benefits and COBRA healthcare benefits.
Don Stewart, communications director for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money — Democrats rush to finish off infrastructure Biden employs flurry of meetings to unite warring factions GOP senators say Biden COVID-19 strategy has 'exacerbated vaccine hesitancy' MORE (R-Ky.), responded by pointing to the fact that Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidTo Build Back Better, we need a tax system where everyone pays their fair share Democrats say Biden must get more involved in budget fight Biden looks to climate to sell economic agenda MORE (D-Nev.) and Majority Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinCOVID-19: US should help Africa, or China will GOP warns McConnell won't blink on debt cliff The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Government shutdown fears increase as leaders dig in MORE (D-Ill.) appeared to place sole blame on Bunning for stalling the benefits' extension.
Durbin said Friday that it was "because of the objection of one Senator who says we have to learn our lesson about deficits.” And Reid said on Thursday that "When 99 senators want something done, it is not right for one Senator to hold it up. My friend has that right. But it is a real problem for so many different people."
Regan Lachapelle, a spokesperson for Reid, stood by Stabenow's comments.
"Yes, after the events of this past week she is correct," she said in an e-mail. "With so many Americans out of work and depending on this assistance, all of the Republicans should be standing up in support of passing these extensions."
It's not clear if McConnell has asked Bunning to halt his objection, but that could matter little since any senator can unilaterally object to such a motion.
But Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — Senate Finance chair backs budget action on fossil fuel subsidies Top Democrat says he'll push to address fossil fuel tax breaks in spending bill Democrats revive filibuster fight over voting rights bill MORE (D-Ore.) said that other Republican senators appeared on the Senate floor Thursday night and were poised to filibuster the extensions.
"When it was Bunning by himself, we had the prospect of getting unanimous consent but when coordinated support for him materialized on the floor," he said on the call. "At that point we weren't facing the opp from Sen bunning, we were facing the prospect of a GOP filibuster."
Merkley said that Sens. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP How leaving Afghanistan cancels our post-9/11 use of force The unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her MORE (R-Tenn.) and Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsOvernight Hillicon Valley — Apple issues security update against spyware vulnerability Stanford professors ask DOJ to stop looking for Chinese spies at universities in US Overnight Energy & Environment — Democrats detail clean electricity program MORE (R-Ala.) came to the floor in that regard. But it is not clear if Republicans were prepared to marshal 41 votes to uphold a filibuster.
Stewart said in an e-mail that senators entered into a unanimous consent agreement for the full tax extenders bill for next week, which will include the stalled unemployment and COBRA extensions.
Stabenow pledged to work to pass that measure as quickly as possible but suggested that Republicans could stall it.
"They could slow this down by offering amendments but we are going to move as fast as we can," she said.
This post was updated at 1:45 p.m.