The Senate voted 50-38 yesterday to approve a bill that would restore jobless benefits for 2.4 million Americans who have been out of work for at least six months.
The bill would fund unemployment benefits through the end of May, and retroactively provides for individuals who were eligible for aid, but ceased to receive payment when the program’s funding lapsed in December.
The bill’s fate in the House is still somewhat uncertain. Speaker John Boehner has already expressed concern about the bill and has previously stated that the Republicans would be willing to extend unemployment benefits only if the bill included job creation provisions. At the same time, several Senate Republicans have already signed onto the bill, and several of Boehner’s House colleagues are asking for a vote on it or a similar measure. The Republican sponsor of the bill, Dean Heller (R-NV), has also publicly stated his intention to meet with the Speaker in order to move the bill forward.
“At long last we’re within sight of one chamber working across party lines to provide this critical relief; there’s already been too much delay, with too many families suffering unneeded hardship,” said Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project in a statement.
Media Resources: Reuters 4/7/14; Fox News 4/8/14; CNN 4/7/14; Speaker Boehner’s Office 3/19/14