Third Strike on UI

Not that anyone is particularly surprised, but it should be noted that the Senate failed a third time today to overcome a Republican filibuster against an extension of unemployment benefits. Four Republicans (Heller, Collins, Murkowski and Ayotte) crossed over, but it wasn’t enough.

Some Republicans complained that mean old Harry Reid wouldn’t freely let them offer poison pill amendments, and others are still muttering about disincentives to employment. But like the last effort, this one was “paid for” with offsets, so the fiscal-discipline claim isn’t very credible.

Republicans should be happy, though, that Democrats have so firmly supported the idea of a “clean” debt limit bill. Otherwise they’d be mighty tempted to counter the GOP’s hot new idea of attaching a military pension COLA restoration to the debt bill with a UI extension. If Congress is back in the spending business, what better priority can you imagine for that first dollar?

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.