Senate Vote Narrowly Advances Unemployment Benefits Bill

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 7 2014 12:22 PM

Senate Vote Narrowly Advances Unemployment Benefits Bill

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Women speak with an employment recruiter at a job fair at the Brown Memorial Baptist Church in Brooklyn, New York.

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The Senate voted on Tuesday to advance a three-month extension of unemployment benefits that expired over the holidays. Six Republican Senators joined 54 Senators from the Democratic caucus on the procedural vote on the measure that targets the estimated 1.3 million long-term unemployed. The $6.4 billion plan reached the 60-vote threshold to avoid a filibuster and move the bill ahead for a full vote. The vote completes a rapid turn on the Senate chamber, here’s how the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza described the vote: “a result considered unthinkable even 24 hours earlier and a rare reminder that politics isn't always a predictable business.”

Here’s more on the bill from the Associated Press: “As drafted, the unemployment bill would restore between 14 weeks and 47 weeks of benefits averaging $256 weekly to an estimated 1.3 million long-term jobless who were affected when the program expired Dec. 28. Without action by Congress, thousands more each week would feel the impact as their state-funded benefits expire, generally after 26 weeks.”

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.