Senate Says YES to Restoring Unemployment Benefits

By: Ashton King Email
By: Ashton King Email

There’s welcome news from Washington.

A bill is nearing a final vote in Congress that will mean money in their pockets for some Americans.

The battle over jobless benefits could end Wednesday.

The Senate is expected to pass a bill extending aid for the two-and-a-half million Americans who've been out of work more than six months.

Tuesday, Senate democrats finally beat back a republican filibuster that had held the legislation up for weeks. Senator Carte Goodwin. D-WV, cast the decisive vote minutes after being sworn in to replace the late Robert Byrd.

"I feel privileged to have played a small role in helping to move this legislation forward," said Goodwin.

Republicans insist the debate was never over whether to pass the extension, but how to pay for it arguing the $34 billion price tag should be covered by cuts rather than borrowing the money.

"Republicans do not want to add to the federal debt," said Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-TN.

Tara Mergener reports, “After the Senate, the House will take up the measure. President Obama could have it on his desk by the end of the week.”

The bill would keep long-term unemployment aid going through November and include retroactive checks for benefits missed since June when the program ran out.

Analysts say billions could go back into the economy because the money will likely be spent rather than saved.

"Most people who are receiving benefits are strapped for cash and therefore save very little of the benefits," said Marisa di Natale, Director of Moody’s Analytics.

But for many, an extension just solves part of the problem.

"I mean the money is good to take care of things that I need to take care of around the house, but like I said I still need to get paid," said Malcolm Hood.

Bringing down the 9.5 percent unemployment rate is the next step.

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