Long-term unemployment benefit package sits in House limbo

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Senate-passed legislation to extend long-term unemployment benefits has stalled in the House, as Speaker John Boehner said Thursday he won't move on the measure until Democrats and the Obama administration agree to include job-creating provisions.

"They've not put forward anything with regard to how we would create more jobs. And so the ball's still in their court," the Ohio Republican said during his weekly briefing with reporters.

Because Congress failed to authorize a long-term unemployment insurance extension by a Dec. 28 deadline, government officials claim that some 2.7 million Americans who have been out of work longer than 26 weeks have lost their benefits.

The Senate on Monday passed a bipartisan compromise to retroactively restore those benefits, about $256 per week, through May at a cost of $9.6 billion.

But House Republican leaders for months have insisted that any benefits extension must include provisions designed to help create more private-sector jobs — a move Democrats don't agree with.

When Boehner was asked what kind of job-creation package he would like included in the measure, he said, "You'll have to ask the administration."

"I made clear what it would take for me to consider it. They've not had any suggestions," he said.

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Sean Lengell

Congressional Correspondent
The Washington Examiner