The AP is reporting that the House will vote Wednesday, at the earliest, on a bill to extend filing deadlines for unemployment benefits, providing aid to states, extends some tax breaks, and closes other tax loopholes It is a decent bill, coming in at $134 billion all told (see here for more detail on the bill). The vote was expected today, but that isn't going to happen:
Democrats in Congress are racing against the clock to renew unemployment benefits for hundreds of thousands of jobless Americans, in legislation that also raises taxes on investment fund managers and multinational companies.(...)
The House could vote on the measure on Wednesday at the earliest, leaving little time for the Senate to act before the benefits expire.
Because this is a new spending bill, the House has to act first. Even if the House does pass this bill tomorrow, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would have to file cloture in the Senate tomorrow night in order to vote on the bill on Friday. And even if Reid manages to pull that off, assuming that Republicans will not grant "unanimous consent," continuing procedural hurdles mean that passing the bill will take the entire weekend (see Arthur Delany for more on the process).
Fortunately, Harry Reid is threatening to keep the Senate in session all weekend, and into next week, until the bill passes, rather than just signaling surrender to a republican denial of unanimous consent.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) warned his colleagues Tuesday the Senate could stay in session over the holiday weekend if it doesn't wrap up its work.
Reid said it's possible he might keep senators in Washington over the Memorial Day holiday unless the chamber is able to move forward on war supplemental and tax extender bills he'd hoped to bring up this week.
"I would hope that it's not necessary that we're going to be in session during the Memorial Day recess," Reid said Tuesday morning on the Senate floor.
Hopefully, once the House finally passes a bill, Senate Republicans will either cave to this threat (unlikely), or Reid will make good on this threat and keep the Senate in session until the bill is passed. There can't be anymore dithering around--the unemployment extension and the additional stimulus need to be passed. both morally and politically, that is a lot more important than giving Senators a week off back in their districts.