U.S. Senate reaches deal to extend unemployment benefits

(CNN) – A group of 10 U.S. senators has reached a deal to extend federal benefits to the chronically unemployed for five months, a development one negotiator called a “bipartisan breakthrough.”

Five Republicans have signed on to the measure, effectively meaning it should clear the Democratic-led chamber. A vote is not expected until after next week’s recess and prospects for passage in the House are uncertain.

The recession-era program that extended jobless benefits for millions of Americans expired at the end of last year.

Efforts to renew it since, even for a short period of time, have fallen short due wrangling over new spending.

Republicans also have argued the extended benefits are a disincentive for people to find jobs and have wanted to tie reforms to the unemployment insurance program to any extension.

To cover the costs of the new program for five months, proponents said Congress would tweak federal pension law to save money and increase revenues.

It would also end unemployment insurance for anyone whose adjusted gross income in the preceding year was $1 million or more.

“There are a lot of good people looking for work and I am pleased we’re finally able to reach a strong, bipartisan consensus to get them some help,” said Sen. Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat.

“We’re not at the finish line yet, but this is a bipartisan breakthrough,” he added.

Recent national polling indicated strong majority support for extending long term unemployment benefits.

7 comments

  • 4LeggerLover

    Great, but is this only for the currently defined long term unemployed (27+weekers), or does it also apply to those of us senior citizens laid off in December of 2013, and currently drawing the 26 Week State Benefits.

  • Liz C

    Thank you. My husband is one of the long term unemployed. He has had multiple interviews but no offer yet. And since his checks stopped it has become increasingly difficult. We are republicans and I was loosing faith that the republicans were letting all the welfare programs get through and not fighting for us republicans that have worked and supported them for decades in our time of need.

  • craighiter

    The republicans are either brain dead or way, way out of touch with reality. Anyone that thinks I would rather have $250 a week and stay at home instead of the $850 a week I would make at work is just not thinking at all. The government is supposed to be there to protect us. Instead they are arguing over how not to help us with a lame excuse.
    They don't mind throwing a billion dollars at the Ukraine which we will never see again, but they take forever to help us claiming it has to be paid for, with them knowing that there is not enough money there for us to do anything with but spend on bills right away. If there were jobs to be had as they claim that there is, then I would have one!!

  • Tracy

    I hope help is on the way for the countless American families in need of assistance. We are all one in this situation and, I’m praying Congress does the right thing. I believe there are some who was taking advantage but, the majority of people would prefer work over UI. It’s wrong to punish the whole for a few.

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