Senate approves jobless-benefits bill

Senate approves jobless-benefits bill _ but the House is not inclined to accept it

Associated Press
Senate OKs jobless bill; House prospects slimmer
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FILE - This Feb. 6, 2014 file photo shows Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I. speaking during a news conference on unemployment insurance on Capitol Hill in Washington. Capping a three-month struggle, the Senate closed in Monday on passage of election-year legislation to restore jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed that expired late last year. Approval would send the legislation to a hostile reception in the House, where majority Republicans generally oppose it. Even before the Senate vote, Reed and Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., the bill’s leading supporters, said they were willing to consider changes in hopes of securing passage in a highly reluctant House. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate has passed legislation to renew a program of jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed that expired last December.

But the 59-38 vote sends the bill to a frosty reception in the House, where majority Republicans are generally opposed.

The White House-backed bill would retroactively restore benefits that were cut off in late December, and maintain them through the May. Officials say as many as 2.7 million jobless workers have been affected since the law expired late last year. If renewed, aid would total about $256 weekly, mostly going to men and women who have been off the job for longer than six months.

Passage came as a handful of House Republicans urged Speaker John Boehner to allow a vote on the Senate bill or one like it.

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