Discuss as:

Unemployment aid deal stalls again

Almost as quickly as it came together, it all fell apart.

A compromise plan to extend unemployment benefits through November fell apart Thursday afternoon as the Senate descended into partisan rancor. Just hours after Democrats said they were nearing a deal to extend unemployment insurance, Republicans took to the Senate floor to say they'd been cut out of the process.

Backers need 60 votes to overcome the next procedural hurdle on the bill, which means that at least five Republicans would have to break ranks and support the plan. 

But several of the Republicans who had voted earlier this week to advance the bill -- including Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Dan Coats of Indiana and Rob Portman of Ohio -- weren't on board with a long-term unemployment extension that would be paid for by extending long term sequester cuts to Medicare providers.

Democrats had floated the proposal on Thursday afternoon. The plan also included a measure that would have prevented some people from receiving both Social Security disability benefits and unemployment insurance -- a version of a plan Portman had been suggesting as a way to pay for extended benefits.

Now, with senators leaving Washington for the weekend, negotiators are back to the drawing board. Republicans say they only want a short-term extension that's paid for. Democrats say that's a non-starter.

The cost of continuing the benefits for over 1 million unemployed Americans for most of 2014 is about $18 billion. 

Top Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer said Thursday evening that he hoped that negotiations could resume over the weekend and an extension could ultimately pass.

"I don't think it's irreparable at this point. I think it's in much worse shape than it was three or four hours ago," said Schumer, who's been working on cutting a deal.

"It's not DOA," said Portman, the Ohio Republican.

No votes on the measure are now expected until at least Monday afternoon.