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The Senate approved a bipartisan unemployment benefits extension package late Monday, 59-38, with six Republicans joining all present Democrats in voting for the bill.
The six Republicans who voted in favor included the five who helped spearhead the measure — Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Dean Heller (Nevada), Mark Kirk (Illinois), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), and Rob Portman (Ohio) — plus Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.). Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) did not vote.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) railed against the fact that emergency unemployment insurance benefits have been cut off since December. But the bill's fate is uncertain in the House, where Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has argued that the bill costs too much and doesn't do enough to create jobs. A Boehner spokesman says the speaker could support a bill with more unspecified job-creation measures, Roll Call reports, but some House Republicans, including Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), are pushing for the Senate's extension legislation to be brought up this week; if it's not, the measure will be delayed for another two weeks.