A $6.4 billion plan to extend unemployment insurance benefits to eligible workers for another three months cleared a key procedural hurdle in the Senate on Tuesday as 60 senators - including six Republicans - voted to move ahead with debate on the measure.
"Today brought us a glimmer of hope," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, after the vote. "It shows that the big plates - the tectonic plates in our politics - are moving."
But House Speaker John Boehner said he told President Barack Obama a month ago that another extension of temporary emergency unemployment benefits "should not only be paid for but include something to help put people back to work. To date, the president has offered no such plan. If he does, I'll be happy to discuss it, but right now the House is going to remain focused on growing the economy and giving America's unemployed the independence that only comes from finding a good job."
Still, the 60 yea votes were the minimum needed to allow debate to go forward and avoid a filibuster in the Senate. Democrats got help from Republicans Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire; Dan Coats of Indiana; Susan Collins of Maine; Dean Heller of Nevada, Lisa Murkowski of Arkansas; and Rob Portman of Ohio.FULL STORY