Second Death for UI Extension?

Attentive readers may wonder why I haven’t written anything today about the pending Senate vote on an unemployment insurance extension. For one thing, it’s not clear whether the threshold procedural vote’s happening today or tonight or later. For another, there doesn’t seem to be any fresh intelligence on how the vote–which depends on a handful of uncommitted Republicans–is going to go, though most assessments are relatively positive.

If the bill passes the Senate, it’s unlikely to go anywhere in the House unless big spending offsets are offered. If it doesn’t, that will be two deaths for the extension, the first having been the failure to get it into the December budget bill.

The ultimate question is how many deaths this measure can die before Republicans start getting some serious public heat for obstructing it even as many of them claim they’re for it under certain circumstances (you know, if they had some ham, they’d make a ham sandwich, if they had some bread). A closely related question, which Greg Sargent mulls over at Plum Line, is how many times Democrats at both ends of Capitol Hill continue to play the what-if game as the long-term unemployed continue to suffer.

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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.