Kind of out of nowhere, the House will vote today on a three-month extension of unemployment insurance, under suspension rules which require a 2/3 vote. David Waldman explains:
H.R. 6419, the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Continuation Act! Now, suspension bills need a 2/3 vote to pass, so that’s a pretty high hurdle — 290 votes, at least 35 of which would have to come from Republicans. So why bring the bill to the floor that way? Suspension bills aren’t subject to amendment, nor to the motion to recommit. So although the hurdle is high, it’s a straight-up yes-or-no vote on unemployment benefits extension.
Basically, Democrats are so unsure of caucus discipline on a motion to recommit that they’ve turned the majoritarian House into a super-majority body, in many cases. Which is absurd.
A three-month extension is far less preferable to, say, a one-year extension. As Jerrold Nadler said yesterday, “Three months is nice, but you think the recession’s ending in three months?” But it’ll be interesting to see if it can get 290 votes. The funding is not offset, so my sense would be no.
I see this as a test run for a potential middle-class tax cut vote, actually. One way House Democrats can get a clean vote on the tax cuts is by putting it under suspension rules.
Activists and the unemployed have been agitating for this vote for quite a while. So they’ll get it today.