Republican senators to offer plan for funding jobless benefits

McClatchy Washington BureauJanuary 8, 2014 

A group of Republican senators plans to offer a way to pay for three more months of emergency unemployment benefits, as well as repeal recent cuts in military retiree benefits.


Their plan would pay for the changes by stopping a system that can allow illegal immigrants to claim the Additional Child Tax Credit.


"The amendment would make a simple fix to the U.S. tax code to require filers to have Social Security Numbers in order to qualify for the Additional Child Tax Credit, which the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates would save approximately $20 billion over 10 years," according to a statement from the senators.


Sponsors include Sens. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., John Hoeven, R-N.D., Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Lindsey Graham, R- S.C.


They plan a press conference later Wednesday to discuss their initiative.


The Senate cleared a procedural hurdle Tuesday with 60 votes, the minimum needed to cut off debate. But some of the six Republicans who went along warned they want a way to pay for the jobless benefits; the bill pending the Senate has no offset.


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, told the Senate Wednesday he'll listen to offers. "Democrats are ...willing to discuss reasonable ways to pay for a long term extension of emergency benefits," he said.


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