On mostly party-line votes of 60-36 and 61-35, the bill cleared
the last two in a series of Republican procedural hurdles in recent
weeks, setting up a vote on passage on Monday.
The action came after Democrats refused to let Republicans offer an
amendment to the measure, which prompted Republicans to refuse to
agree to a vote on passage on Thursday.
The bipartisan legislation seems certain to die once it reaches the
Republican-led House of Representatives.
House Speaker John Boehner and other Republicans oppose the bill,
citing implementation concerns. They also complain that the bill
does not include any provisions to create jobs.
Bill supporters reject the criticism. They note that the emergency
benefits for the long-term unemployed — those who have been out of
work for at least six months — have been routinely extended in the
past with strong bipartisan support.
The bill's chief sponsors, Democratic Senator Jack Reed of Rhode
Island and Republican Senator Dean Heller of Nevada, said they will
seek to build support for the measure in the House next week.
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"I told my staff to get me a meeting with Speaker Boehner," Heller
told reporters, suggesting that perhaps the Senate and House could
reach some sort of a compromise.
"This is about people who are in a really difficult situation," Reed
said, noting many have difficulty paying bills for food and rent.
"We hope the House takes it up quickly."
(Reporting by Thomas Ferraro; editing by Peter Cooney and Sandra Maler)
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