WASHINGTON (AP) -- A bill to restore unemployment benefits to millions who have been out of work for more than six months has cleared a Senate hurdle.
The 60-40 vote came moments after Carte Goodwin, West Virginia Democrat, was sworn in as successor to the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd. Mr. Goodwin was the crucial 60th senator needed to defeat a Republican filibuster that has led to a lapse in benefits for 2.5 million people.
A battle has raged for months over whether jobless benefits should be financed with additional federal debt, as Democrats want, or through cuts to other government programs, as most Republicans insist.
After a final Senate vote, the House will take up the bill Wednesday. President Obama is likely to sign it into law by week's end.