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Grassley: Unemployment extension would have been possible without tax deal
U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said earlier this week that even without a deal on tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, the Senate would have approved at least a brief extension unemployment benefits. The statement will surely add fuel to the fire of criticism being hurled at President Barack Obama by Democratic lawmakers and liberal pundits for his deal with the GOP to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for the richest one percent of Americans in exchange for an extension.
The White House deal with the GOP reauthorizes long-term unemployment programs for 13 months by attaching the benefits to a two-year reauthorization of expiring Bush-era tax cuts for the rich. Grassley said a shorter extension would likely have passed anyway.
On a conference call with reporters, Grassley said there would have been some accommodation on unemployment anyway, “even if you didn’t have this tax bill.”
“I think it would have been three months,” he said, adding that the extension would be offset with stimulus money. “And if that didn’t get 60 votes, then it probably would have been not offset, and it would have been passed on a more partisan basis.”
A three-month extension of benefits failed to pass the House in November, but only because it was brought to the floor under a “suspension of the rules,” meaning it needed a two-thirds majority for approval.