Peter King: Open to unemployment deal, but Dems must compromise

January 5, 2014

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said Sunday that he's open to supporting a temporary extension of long-term unemployment benefits, but only if Democrats are willing to make some concessions.

"I would like to find a way to get a compromise to extend unemployment insurance, at least for a brief period of time, but at the same time, the Democrats should make compromises," King said on CBS's "Face The Nation." Relaxing "burdensome regulations" on the economy, he said, is one example of concession that could lead to a deal.

Appearing on the same program, Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) said that if Senate Majoirty Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) would offer a "reasonable idea" to offset the cost of extending unemployment benefits, "I think that he might find some people that are willing to talk to him."

The Senate plans to vote Monday on a bipartisan bill sponsored by Sens. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.) that would extend benefits for the long-term unemployed by three months. The Obama administration has been pushing for lawmakers to support the measure.

Even if it passes, the bill would face an uncertain fate in the House. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) would consider supporting a measure extending unemployment benefits so long as it's paid for and happens alongside other efforts to jump-start the economy, Boehner's spokesman said Friday.

But, Gene Sperling, director of the White House National Economic Council, rejected the notion of attaching demands to a bill to extend benefits. He urged lawmakers to support the Heller-Reed plan, then move to a discussion about the best way to extend benefits for the rest of the year.

"Fourteen of the last 17 times that emergency unemployment's been extended, there have been no strings attached," Sperling said on NBC's "Meet The Press."

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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