The Senate deadlocked Tuesday on negotiations to extend emergency benefits for the long-term jobless, leaving more than 1.3 million without federal unemployment aid at least until lawmakers resume consideration of the legislation, possibly later this month.
Democrats and Republicans pointed fingers and accused each other of bad faith negotiations. By late Tuesday they had each rejected the other’s latest proposal on resuming the federal unemployment assistance program for those laid-off workers who have been jobless for more than six months.
After parliamentary votes to advance the legislation failed, senators said that they planned to move on Wednesday to the debate over keeping the government agencies funded. Congress leaves town Friday for a week-long rececss and will return Jan. 27, the earliest that new talks could provide a breakthrough on the unemployment plan.
“There may be a faint detection of a pulse somewhere, but we’ve got a patient in very critical condition now,” Sen. Daniel Coats (R-Ind.), one of nine GOP senators who had been promoting an alternative bill, said late Tuesday.
“We’re not giving up,” Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), the lead sponsor of the legislation, told reporters after the failed votes.