Members of Congress are working to enact a law restoring jobless benefits, which expired at the end of December last year. Ten Senators, both Republicans and Democrats, are supporting a plan to provide retroactive assistance to those who lost their benefits; it would also offer the aid through May. Recipients who have been out of work for a long time would have to pursue job training while unemployed and those who earned over $1 million would be ineligible. The Senate will possibly vote on the bill sometime next week once it returns from its recess and attends to an aid package for Ukraine first. Although it will likely pass the Senate, it will face difficulties in the House. Speaker of the House John Boehner has said that he is not opposed to jobless benefits in principle, but would require that they be sufficiently paid for. “There is no evidence that the bill being rammed through the Senate by Leader [Harry] Reid meets that test”, a statement from the Speaker said. The Speaker also cited a letter from the National Association of Workforce Agencies, which said the legislation “would cause considerable delays in the implementation of the program and increased administrative issues and costs.”
Much to the disappointment of many Republicans, the budget for the Department of Defense has also suffered from cutbacks in recent years. However, military officials and Members of Congress oftentimes disagree over which programs and initiatives to fund. One of the Members’ biggest priorities is providing adequate pay and benefits to military personnel, which is a highly popular political issue. Additionally, some Members’ districts contain either military bases or plants that manufacture equipment, meaning they have a vested interest in keeping these open and productive. Thus the Members often resist changes to spending on any of these budget items.
A common assumption has been that the Millenial generation would largely vote liberal, as they did in large numbers for President Barack Obama. Not so, writes Democratic pundit Kristin Powers. Millenials tend to be more independent, even if they generally favor a particular party. Although the young supported President Obama, in 2013, one study from Harvard found that just over half of 18-24 year olds would recall him. They tend to be persuadable. In other words, they have not totally written off Republicans yet.
The Tea Party-supported candidates do not look like they are going very far in their primary campaigns against more traditional Republicans, leading some to say that their power is being diminished. This is not the case, argues Ben Domenech of The Federalist. For instance, many of the current Senate candidates have tacked to the right in recent years. A number of issues that were not contested in the past, like the Export-Import Bank or the Federal farm policy bill, have become more difficult to resolve. “It’s a mistake to assume the Tea Party amounts to Washington-based activist groups and a scattered group of primary challengers. As an organic limited government movement motivated by activist citizens outside the beltway, it has had an enormous impact on reshaping the Republican Party and their policy priorities, in forcing traditional politicians to bend to their will, or at least pretend to until they get re-elected”, he concludes.
And for our latest post: More Nuclear-Option Fallout: Senate Blocks Presidential Appointment