Senate votes to advance unemployment insurance extension

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The Senate voted Thursday to move forward on a bill to renew unemployment insurance, though the plan still faces more votes in the Senate and opposition in the House if it even reaches the lower chamber.

The 65-34 procedural vote prevented a filibuster on the question of whether or not the five-month extension would actually come to the floor. Ten Republicans joined all voting Democrats in support of the bipartisan bill.

“This is not the end of the story, but it’s an important step forward,” said Sen. Jack Reed, Rhode Island Democrat and author of the plan.

Federal benefits for the long-term unemployed expired Dec. 28 and 2 million people have now lost the insurance. The five-month extension would be retroactive to the end of 2013, expiring again on June 1.

The plan has faced criticism from states, who say the extension is too short to be implemented without putting excessive strain on administrative systems. Mr. Boehner used their objections to support his own opposition of the plan.

“We have always said that we’re willing to look at extending emergency unemployment benefits again, if Washington Democrats can come up with a plan that is fiscally responsible, and gets to the root of the problem by helping to create more private-sector jobs,” Mr. Boehner said in a statement last week. “There is no evidence that the bill being rammed through the Senate by Leader [Harry] Reid meets that test.”

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