Efforts to extend unemployment benefits for at least three months reached an impasse in the Senate on Tuesday as the legislation fell to procedural hurdles, and each party accused the other of negotiating in bad faith.
In back-to-back votes, Democrats were unable to muster enough support to end debate and take up either of two proposals that would have reinstated the unemployment insurance benefits that expired at the end of December.
The first vote - on a measure proposed by the Democratic leadership that would have extended unemployment benefits for 11 months and paid for it by extending the existing 2 percent cuts to Medicare health providers by one year, through 2024 - failed 52-48. The second vote, on the original bill, which would have extended unemployment benefits for three months at a cost of $6.4 billion, failed 55-45.
An extension of unemployment benefits did not make it into the two-year budget deal passed just before Congress left for its winter recess. The emergency federal program had been a lifeline for 1.3 million jobless workers.
Tuesday, Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, let each party introduce five amendments.
Virginian - Pilot
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Original headline: Unemployment benefits extension fails in Senate
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