On a 65-34 vote, the bipartisan measure advanced toward
anticipated Senate passage, yet it will likely die when it reaches
the Republican-led House of Representatives.
House Speaker John Boehner, the top Republican in Congress, has
called the measure "unworkable," citing concerns by state
Boehner and other Republicans have also opposed the measure because
it does not meet their demands that it include provisions to create
Democratic and Republican proponents reject the criticism and note
that in the past such relief has been routinely extended with strong
They also argue that renewing the benefits would help 2.2 million
Americans as well as the U.S. economy by pumping more money into it.
Relief to the unemployed averages $300 a week.
The measure would restore unemployment insurance for five months,
retroactive to December 28, when it began to expire for those who
have been out of work for at least six months.
Backers say during this extension, which would end in late May,
Congress could explore ways to bolster the emergency unemployment
program and consider new job creation measures.
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The $10 billion cost of the measure would be covered by a number of
proposed savings in the federal budget, and include a ban against
anyone receiving jobless benefits if their income the previous year
topped $1 million.
(Reporting by Thomas Ferraro; editing by Doina Chiacu)
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