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Reid’s Decision on Jobs Bill Inflames GOP

Schumer also hinted that including miscellaneous items could be a problem for Democrats.

“I think when you start tying it to too many bells and whistles you run into trouble. People should be for jobs,” Schumer told reporters.

Liberals also had bristled at including the tax extenders for a year, while only extending unemployment insurance for three months.

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) said jobless benefits should get the same treatment as tax extenders.

“We’re going to have high unemployment all this year. Everyone agrees with that,” Harkin told reporters Thursday. “So why end [benefits] in three months? Why not give them the peace of mind of knowing that they’re going to be able to have unemployment benefits at the end of the year, just like the tax cuts?”

Whether Reid will find it easier to move a smaller bill is unclear at best, particularly since Republicans said they felt betrayed by Reid’s decision. The sense of betrayal was particularly acute, Republicans said, given the fact that they put aside bruised feelings from last year’s health care debate.

“After seeing how Democrat leaders handled the partisan health care debate of last year, today’s bombshell shouldn’t be a surprise. But needless to say, Senator Hatch is deeply disappointed that the Majority Leader has abandoned a genuine bipartisan compromise only hours after it was unveiled in favor of business-as-usual, partisan gamesmanship,” Hatch spokeswoman Antonia Ferrier said, adding that “to not allow any amendments to the package on the floor is exactly why the American people are so angry with Washington and can’t be tolerated.”

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