Fifty-nine senators voted yesterday to renew extended unemployment benefits through May.
The Senate passed a compromise negotiated by Rhode Island Democrat Jack Reed, Nevada Republican Dean Heller and eight other senators from both parties.
“The Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which provides as many as 47 weeks of benefits beyond the regular 26 weeks available to workers in most states, expired at the end of December,” Bloomberg Government analyst Danielle Parnass said in a BGOV Bill Summary.
The Senate measure would make unemployment benefits retroactive to when they lapsed. The cost of the renewed benefits would be offset by extending so-called pension smoothing and customs user fees.
“Now, it is up to House members to listen to the people in need in their states and take up this legislation and pass it,” Sen. Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat who helped shape the compromise bill, said in a statement.
House Republican leaders oppose the Senate measure.
Michael Steel, a spokesman for Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, said Republicans “are willing to look at extending emergency unemployment insurance as long as it includes provisions to help create more private-sector jobs – but, last week, Senate Democratic leaders ruled out adding any jobs measures at all.”
Bloomberg’s Kathleen Hunter has more here on the Senate’s action yesterday and the bill’s prospects in the House.