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U.S. Senate could pass unemployment extension next week
A bill that would extend the application window for extended federal unemployment benefits through November could pass the U.S. Senate next week, though it would then likely have to be reconciled with the House version before being sent to the president. The unemployment extension is only one small part of a larger package that has already passed the House; the Senate is working on a slightly different version and Senate leaders think they’ll be able to pass the bill over the objections of Republicans next week.
The objections are based on the cost of the bill. The unemployment part is only a few billion dollars, but the Senate version of the bill includes $24 billion to extend federal aid to states for Medicaid reimbursement and many other provisions. The full bill costs about $140 billion, with slightly less than half of it being paid for by other cuts or tax increases. As it stands now, it would add $77 billion to the deficit.
Democrats argue that the spending is necessary and should be exempted from Congress’ pay-as-you-go agreement. Republicans are demanding that more of the bill be paid for without adding to the deficit. Democratic leaders will likely need at least one Republican to break ranks and vote for cloture to get the bill passed as it is. Or there could be floor amendments to make it more palatable to enough Republicans to get it through.