Democrats Accuse GOP of Political Games on Extenders

Posted June 24, 2010 at 1:08pm

Senate Democrats accused Republicans of playing games with a package of tax breaks and unemployment insurance benefit extensions even as they conceded GOP opposition will force them to drop the bill.

“Later today, we’ll hold a vote on all of these items. It’s a choice, really, that we have. Those who want to help middle-class America will vote ‘yes.’ Those who want to protect corporate America will vote ‘no,'” Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said.

Reid also said that following the next procedural vote on the package – which aides said is expected to occur sometime Thursday – he will pull the measure from the floor and pivot to a small-business jobs measure. “We can’t pass [extenders] until we get some Republicans … its up to them. We are here waiting to work with them,” Reid said.

Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) charged that that Republicans seem content to simply block the measure; he warned that voters will be watching. “This party of no is saying no over and over and over again, and the American people are hearing it,” he warned.

Republicans have stood strong in their opposition, demanding that Democrats include offsets to fully pay for the bill, including the unemployment insurance provisions that in the past have been considered “emergency spending.”

But Democratic Conference Vice Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.) countered by saying that “everything else is paid for, so that is no longer an excuse for them,” Schumer argued, adding later that, “This idea of letting anything go forward that the Republicans want and none of the things we want, is unfair.”