WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Thursday accused Republicans of obstructing passage of the unemployment insurance bill because they do not think he is being nice to them.
Another week has come and gone and the Senate still has not managed to pass a bill to extend unemployment insurance. Now, the Senate will recess and head home for all of next week, leaving the issue unresolved.
But at a press conference Friday, Reid suggested that a recess might actually help move things along.
“I think it’s probably a good idea that the senators go home, the Republican senators” and “explain” to constituents “that they’re opposing unemployment insurance because … I’m mean to them.”
The characterization of the Senate as a schoolyard sandbox came form an editorial in The New York Times Thursday, in which the editorial board wrote that Republicans were “pulling out every fake excuse they can think of for filibustering an extension of jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed on Tuesday,” for instance, that “The majority leader, Harry Reid, was mean to us and wouldn’t let us offer amendments.”
Reid and Republicans have clashed bitterly over the course of the past two weeks over the procedural issues of bringing the unemployment insurance bill to a final vote: whether or not Republicans would be able to offer amendments, how many, and what the thresholds for passage would be.
Republicans accused Reid of offering “unfair” proposals that “guarantees we had no real chance.” Reid insisted he had made plenty of concessions to their demands.
“To say that I’m disappointed is an understatement,” Reid said Thursday, but said that the push to pass the bill would continue.