A bipartisan effort to extend the federal government’s unemployment insurance program by a year has stalled in Congress, leaving Republicans scrambling to find a way to get their tax bill through Congress without getting killed in the process.
But the failure to pass a bill could leave Republicans scrambling for a second chance in the coming weeks as they seek to win support from the Senate for their plan to extend unemployment benefits through 2021.
The White House and Democrats have indicated that a second extension could be on the table if the bill does not win the support of Republicans in the Senate, but it is unclear whether the White House has the votes to bring the bill to a vote.
The Senate is expected to vote on the GOP’s bill this week, though it is expected the legislation will not pass the Senate.
The House is expected in the next few weeks to vote.
With Republicans controlling both chambers, Democrats have little incentive to work with Republicans on any legislation that is not supported by the Senate majority.
The two chambers are also split over the future of the Export-Import Bank, which has been used to help boost exports since its creation in 1973.
The bank has been criticized for having been used as a political tool by Republicans to push back against a bipartisan trade deal and the president’s push to create a new trade committee.
If Republicans do not have the votes in the House and Senate to pass the bill in both chambers on Monday, the administration would need to seek a waiver from the Congressional Review Act that allows the legislation to pass with a simple majority vote.
In addition to the Export Import Bank, Republicans have also proposed a new program that would help businesses that hire foreign workers by giving them tax breaks and allowing them to relocate to the United States.
The program is being supported by some Republican lawmakers, but Democrats have warned it could undermine efforts to create jobs and raise wages for Americans.
In a speech on Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Republicans are trying to “put the brakes on” the bill as it moves through the House.
The tax bill, which would extend unemployment insurance benefits to millions of Americans through the end of the year, has drawn criticism from Democrats, many of whom say it does not provide enough money to help Americans who have been laid off by the global economic crisis.
Many Democrats say they will not vote for the bill if it does get passed.
In an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd on Thursday night, Vice President Joe Biden said the president is “very optimistic” about getting the legislation passed.
Biden said he has “the confidence that we have a plan to make sure that the American people can stay in work and that we are not hurting people and that everybody can stay home.”