Washington Week

Published Apr 13, 2014 at 12:01AM

WASHINGTON — On Monday, the Senate passed a bill that would restore emergency unemployment benefits to job seekers who have exhausted their 26 weeks of state benefits. The bill would extend the program for five months, retroactive to the beginning of January. Authorization for the program lapsed on Dec. 28. Roughly 2 million Americans qualify for the extended benefits.

The measure passed by a 59-38 margin. Six Republicans voted with 53 Democrats in supporting the bill, while all of the no votes came from members of the GOP.

U.S. Senate vote

• Bill to restore emergency unemployment benefits to job seekers who have exhausted their 26 weeks of state benefits.

Merkley (D) Y

Wyden (D) Y

Senate Republicans blocked a bill Thursday that aimed to close the wage gap between men and women. Under the Paycheck Fairness Act, employers would face penalties for retaliating against employees who share information about their salaries, and would bear the burden for showing why a worker is paid less than a colleague.

Needing 60 votes to overcome the threat of a filibuster, the measure failed to advance, 53-44. All of the 53 yes votes were cast by Democrats, and Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, voted with 42 Republicans against the bill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., voted no for procedural reasons, allowing him to bring up the legislation again later.

U.S. Senate vote

• Bill aimed to close the wage gap between men and women.

Merkley (D) Y

Wyden (D) Y

Also on Thursday, the House of Representatives passed a 2015 budget authored by House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis. Ryan’s blueprint would balance the budget in 10 years, largely by cutting $5 trillion in spending over the same period. Many of the cuts come from discretionary domestic spending, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, as food stamps are now known.

Ryan’s budget is unlikely to be taken up by the Democrat-controlled Senate, meaning that the budget agreement he worked out with Senate Budget Committee chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., which set next year’s discretionary spending at $1.014 trillion, will remain in effect. Ryan’s budget passed by a 219-205 margin, with all of the yes votes coming from Republicans. A dozen Republicans voted with 193 Democrats against the bill.

U.S. House vote

• 2015 budget authored by House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

Walden (R) Y

Bonamici (D) N

Blumenauer (D) N

DeFazio (D) N

Schrader (D) N

— Andrew Clevenger, The Bulletin