Jobless Benefits Extension Moving in the Senate
The Senate this afternoon hopped the procedural hurdle to end debate on a $150 billion package that would renew a number of expiring tax breaks and extend access to emergency unemployment benefits.
The vote was 66 to 34, with eight Republicans voting in favor of the measure and one Democrat, Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson, voting against.
Of note, the UI provision extends only the filing deadline (through December 2010) for existing jobless benefits, which can run up to 99 weeks in some states. It does not create another tier of federal help beyond the existing four-tier structure (though it does provide benefits retroactive to March 1, when the filing deadline came and went).
Today’s cloture vote means that debate before the final vote is limited to 30 hours, although the office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said today that that vote could happen sooner (likely Wednesday).
After the bill passes the upper chamber, it moves to the House, where a number of Democrats are sure to object to the fact that the package isn’t offset by spending cuts elsewhere. It’s unclear how House leaders plan to approach the bill.