WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid retreated Friday from his refusal to allow votes on Republican-backed changes in legislation resurrecting benefits for the long-term unemployed.
A spokesman said Reid is "absolutely willing for the Senate to consider a reasonable number of relevant amendments from Republicans."
The spokesman, Adam Jentleson, did not specify a number or describe what he meant by relevant. That left it unclear, for example, whether Reid would allow a vote on a GOP proposal to pay for the bill by delaying a requirement for Americans to purchase coverage under Obamacare.
The standoff over amendments has been among the obstacles to passage of the legislation.
Six Republicans joined Democrats earlier in the week to advance the measure over an initial hurdle, and several of them said they did so on the expectation that they would be permitted to seek changes.
Without the votes of at least five of the six, Democrats have virtually no prospect of pushing the measure to passage.
A spokesman for Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, responded warily to the announcement.