GOP Senator: We May Block Jobless Benefits Even If We Get Amendments

January 14, 2014 5:45 pm

A Republican senator suggested to reporters on Tuesday that the GOP may not allow an up-or-down vote on a revival of jobless benefits even if his party is able to offer amendments to the bill, as they’ve been pushing for.

“They’re saying we have to agree — we guarantee we pass the bill when we don’t even know what’s in it yet?” said Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND). “How does that work?”

Hoeven is essentially saying that Republicans reserve the right to filibuster the unemployment benefits bill in the end if their amendments fail. His remark came as he was asked about Democratic leaders’ concern that even if they allow GOP amendments that pose problems for vulnerable Democratic senators, Republicans may still block a final vote on extending unemployment benefits.

The Republican senator most supportive of jobless benefits said he would not filibuster the bill even if the amendments fail. “I support this,” said Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV). “I believe in unemployment insurance. So I will support the bill if in fact the amendments do fail. So I’m different.”

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