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News Link • Employment & Jobs

Unemployment Extension Bill Clears Hurdle, Standoff Likely Over Until November

• Arthur Delaney via The Huffingtion Post
The Senate voted 60-40 on Tuesday to move forward with reauthorizing unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless, 2.5 million of whom have missed checks since the end of May as Republicans and conservative Democrats filibustered several bills to renew the aid. After a final Senate vote, the bill goes to the House, which will vote on Wednesday.

"It shouldn't take a supermajority to help families afford the bare necessities while unemployment is rising," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) after the vote. "It shouldn't take the slimmest of margins to do what is right."

Defeating the filibuster clears an easy path toward the president's desk this week. People who missed checks will be paid retroactively; people who exhausted all weeks of benefits available before the lapse will not get anything.

The great debate pitting deficit reduction against jobless aid is over -- until November, when it is certain to return. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday that the president will push for an additional extension of benefits when the current one expires shortly after the midterm congressional elections.

"I think it is fair and safe to assume that we are not going to wake up and find ourselves at the end of November at a rate of employment one would not consider to be an emergency," Gibbs said, in one of the most affirmative statements from Democrats about their plans for the next lapse in benefits.

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