WASHINGTON — The Senate will try to push through its bipartisan deal to extend unemployment insurance benefits despite House Speaker John Boehner calling the plan "unworkable."
"Since December, Senator Reed and I have been working to get these vital benefits to the millions of unemployed Americans who need them. It is extremely disappointing that, no matter what solution is reached, there is some excuse to deny these much-needed benefits," Sen. Dean Heller, a Republican co-sponsor of the bill, said in a statement. "I look forward to passing this proposal out of the Senate next week, and stand ready to help the Speaker, as well as any organization or any individual necessary, in order to make this extension a reality."
Last week the Senate reached a deal to extend UI for five months, retroactive to Dec. 28, the day benefits were cut off.
BuzzFeed has reached out to the four other Republican co-sponsors of the Senate bill to see if Boehner's statement will affect their support, but so far has not received any response aside from Heller's.
On Wednesday, the National Association of Workforce Agencies released a letter claiming that the Senate's deal would be costly and difficult to administer. Boehner issued a statement later saying he wouldn't support the bill in its current form.
"We have always said that we're willing to look at extending emergency unemployment benefits again, if Washington Democrats can come up with a plan that is fiscally-responsible, and gets to the root of the problem by helping to create more private-sector jobs," Boehner's statement read. "There is no evidence that the bill being rammed through the Senate by Leader Reid meets that test, and according to these state directors, the bill is also simply unworkable."
But Boehner's issues might be fixable as long as he agrees to negotiate, according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's spokesman Adam Jentleson.
"The Senate has forged a bipartisan compromise to reform and extend unemployment benefits. We believe the concerns that have been expressed are resolvable and we look forward to Speaker Boehner coming to the table to find solutions," Jentleson told BuzzFeed in a statement. "It is hard to imagine Speaker Boehner simply walking away from the thousands of people in Ohio who lost their jobs through no fault of their own and need this lifeline to make ends meet while they continue to look for work."
Regardless of the final plan that passes through the Senate, it will likely face a tough battle in the House.
This post has been updated to include a statement from Reid's spokesman.
Jacob Fischler is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, D.C.
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