Bill to extend jobless benefits pushes through Senate

By Amanda Stewart,

The Senate approved a three month extension of unemployment benefits that will affect 1.3 million Americans on Tuesday.

According to USA Today, the Senate joined Tuesday to vote on a bill sponsored by Senators Jack Reed and Dean Heller. The legislation referred to the benefits that expired on Dec. 28.

Fox News reported that the Senators voted 60-37. Democrats only needed 60 votes in order to advance the bill.

Most Republicans did not support the bill due to its $6.4 billion cost, however, the bill was pushed through. Other outside conservative groups also opposed the bill due to the federal budget spending cuts. Senator Dan Coats, Republican, of Indiana provided the vote that advanced the bill, to many Democrats’ surprise.

Many Republicans have criticized Democrats for pushing the bill through without offsetting the $6.4 billion cost elsewhere in the budget.

For the House to be able to consider it the bill still needs a few additional votes, but Democrats are pushing forward with the bill. Senate still has to pass the bill and will most likely face opposition in the House and with the Speaker who wants the cost offset elsewhere.

The Emergency Unemployment Compensation program was enacted under President George W. Bush in 2008, and expired after Congress failed to act before holiday break in December. Pushing the bill through will ease minds of 1.3 million Americans who are out of work.

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