10th District rivals Schneider, Dold agree on jobless benefits

SHARE 10th District rivals Schneider, Dold agree on jobless benefits

WASHINGTON — Democrat Rep. Brad Schneider and Republican former Rep. Bob Dold — who will face off in a November rematch — agree that the GOP-run House should call a vote on a bill extending unemployment insurance that the Democratic-controlled Senate passed on Monday, another example of the rivals being in violent agreement.

For Dold, trying to recapture the Illinois 10th Congressional District seat that he lost to Schneider in 2012, the move makes him an outlier among most congressional Republicans for whom a vote on jobless benefits is not on their to-do list.

That’s a very good place for Dold to be parked.

In the north suburban 10th District, voters are delighted when their lawmakers are contrarians, at least now and then.

It worked for now-Sen. Mark Kirk when he represented the district. It worked for Dold when he won in 2010 and it worked for Schneider when he beat Dold in 2012.

Here’s what’s happening:

* On Monday, the Democratic-controlled Senate passed a five-month extension of long-term unemployment insurance on a 59-38 vote. Kirk was one of six Republicans who voted yes. (So you see where I am going on this, right?)

A House vote is unlikely since House Speaker John Boener, R-Ohio, has no interest in calling the Democratic bill for a vote. This issue has been hanging around for months; benefits for the long-term unemployed ended on Dec. 28.

Democrats keep pushing it at this point because they believe it is the right thing to do — and it’s likely ripening as a terrific campaign issue, especially in rallying the base.

* Since unemployment in Illinois is high, Schneider has decided to embrace extending jobless benefits as a top agenda item. Last month, I wrote how House Democratic leaders gave freshman Schneider a boost with the assignment of leading a petition drive to pressure Boehner for an up-or-down vote.

Under a sunny sky on Tuesday with the Capitol as a backdrop, Schneider was with about 14 other House Democrats (including Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky) calling on Boehner for a vote.

“And the question we have today is, why can’t the House of Representatives stand up and do the right thing. Speaker Boehner, we need a vote on unemployment insurance,” Schneider said.

* Kirk, voting for the Democratic unemployment insurance measure (and Schneider seizing on jobless benefits as a profile raiser), made it an imperative for Dold to take the same position.

“While I applaud the bipartisan solution that came from the Senate and encourage the U.S. House of Representatives to pass it in short order,” Dold said in a statement, Congress “must be laser-focused on generating real solutions to get our sidelined work force back on the job.”

A statement Schneider could agree with.

The 10th race will be very expensive, partly driven by the high cost of Chicago TV. First-quarter 2014 campaign fundraising figures, provided by their campaigns, show a tie:

Dold raised $521,089 between January and March 31, with cash on hand totaling $1,285,122.

Schneider raised about $550,000 in the first quarter and has about $1.3 million cash on hand.

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