By Congresspedia assistant editor Avelino Maestas
The House and Senate have yet to reconcile their versions of an Iraq/Afghanistan war spending supplemental, though the House should take up the measure again this week. The level of domestic spending in the bill is the sticking point, so look for debate on offsets and unemployment insurance. Meanwhile, the Senate will consider a package of energy legislation, and might get to tax legislation already approved by the House.
Extended unemployment insurance has been a priority for majority Democrats all year, especially in the Senate: it was originally in that chamber’s economic stimulus package. Though the benefits were not included in the measure signed by President Bush in February, the Senate majority leadership has continued to promote them.
When time came to debate a new spending supplemental for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) saw an opportunity to include domestic priorities in what the White House has traditionally called must-pass legislation. Extended unemployment insurance was one such measure attached to the defense spending.