Senate Reaches Bipartisan Deal to Renew Federal Unemployment Benefits

The US Capitol in Washington, DC, on March 11, 2014 (Getty/AFP/File, Mark Wilson)
The US Capitol in Washington, DC, on March 11, 2014 (Getty/AFP/File, Mark Wilson)

Senate negotiators struck a bipartisan deal Thursday that would renew federal unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless, allowing for retroactive payments to go to more than 2 million Americans whose benefits expired in late December.

Ten senators, evenly divided among Democrats and Republicans, announced the pact and set up a timeline in which the legislation could pass the Senate in late March.

Its outcome in the House remains up in the air, however. Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), who has opposed previous Senate plans as insufficient in providing offsetting cuts, did not offer a statement on the new proposal.

With 55 members of the Democratic caucus supporting an extension of unemployment benefits, the five Republican supporters of the legislation provide just enough votes to clear the 60-vote hurdle needed to pass the legislation.

“It has now been 75 days since UI expired, and it needs to be renewed. We’re not at the finish line yet, but this is a bipartisan breakthrough,” Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), the lead sponsor of the legislation, said in a statement.

“I’m pleased that we’ve reached an agreement that will get a sufficient number of Republican votes,” lead Republican negotiator Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) told reporters.

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SOURCE:  
The Washington Post

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