Clarifying Those Amendments That Have Stalled the Unemployment Debate
As we just noted, Senate Republicans are urging consideration of three amendments on the proposal to extend federal unemployment benefits, but only two are the source of disagreement between the parties.
The first, sponsored by Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), would fund the extension using unspent stimulus money, rather than extending a small surtax on employers, as Democrats have proposed. The second, sponsored by Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Robert Bennett (R-Utah), would eliminate the authority of the White House to extend the Wall Street bailout past its expiration date. (Under current law, TARP is scheduled to expire at the end of 2009, but the Treasury Department has the authority to extend it to Oct. 10, 2010.)
Party leaders have already reached agreement on the third, which seeks to end the federal ownership of bailed-out firms by assigning non-partisan trustees to manage them — a provision sponsored by Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.).