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Congress: Jobless benefits move to the House

“The Senate voted 59 to 39 Wednesday to restore emergency jobless benefits to millions of people who have been out of work for more than six months,” the Washington Post writes. “House leaders said they will ratify the measure Thursday and send it on to the White House, where President Obama plans to immediately sign it.”

Dick Lugar is the second Republican senator to announce he’s supporting Elena Kagan. Per the AP: “The Indiana Republican’s announcement could lead to a trickle of support among the Senate’s band of GOP moderates.”

“Republican members of the new Tea Party Caucus on Tuesday committed themselves to promoting smaller government, lowering taxes and making sure Congress operates within its constitutional limits. But this is not the first time these Members have joined a group dedicated to these principles,” Roll Call points out. “In fact, each member of the Tea Party Caucus is also part of the Republican Study Committee and several other task forces and caucuses focused on limited government.”

Roll Call profiles the caretaker senators: The Senate has four members holding seats they do not expect to run for: Carte Goodwin (D-WV), Roland Burris (D-IL), Ted Kaufman (D-DE), and Sen. George LeMieux (R-FL). “There haven’t been this many since 1954,” the paper writes. “But it’s certainly not unprecedented: Of the 188 appointments since 1913, more than a third of the appointed Senators did not go on to seek the seat they held.”

“Democrats are considering a plan to delay tax hikes on the wealthy for two years because the economic recovery is slow and they fear getting crushed in November’s election,” The Hill reports. “It could mean a big reprieve for families earning $250,000 and above annually. President George W. Bush’s tax cuts will expire at the end of the year unless Congress acts to delay their sunset.”

The Wall Street Journal adds, “Two more Senate Democrats called for extending tax cuts for all earners—including those with the highest incomes—in what appears to be a breakdown of the party's consensus on the how to handle the expiration of Bush-era tax cuts. Sen. Kent Conrad (D., N.D.) said in an interview Wednesday that Congress shouldn't allow taxes on the wealthy to rise until the economy is on a sounder footing. Sen. Ben Nelson (D., Neb.) said through a spokesman that he also supported extending all the expiring tax cuts for now, adding that he wanted to offset the impact on federal deficits as much as possible.”

Question: How are these folks proposing to pay for these tax cuts so they don’t add to the deficit?

“As they fight to keep their jobs past November, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and his third-ranked lieutenant, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), find themselves battling each other in the Capitol over the fate of a controversial nuclear waste site in Reid’s backyard,” Roll Call writes. “Reid has worked for years to try to kill the Yucca Mountain nuclear repository and now has the support of the Obama administration. But Murray announced plans this week to offer an amendment that would resume the process of readying the site -- 100 miles from Las Vegas -- to accept the nation’s nuclear waste.”