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Showdown Set On Unemployment Bill In Senate

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democrats are scratching for votes to pass a White House-backed bill that would renew unemployment benefits that lapsed last month for the long-term jobless.

Supporters need 60 votes to advance the legislation, so they need to get five Republicans on board. Bad weather that kept more than a dozen senators from reaching Washington on Monday led to the postponement of a test vote until Tuesday.

At a cost in excess of $6 billion, the bill would restore between 14 weeks and 47 weeks of benefits averaging $256 weekly to an estimated 1.3 million long-term jobless who were affected when the program expired. Without action by Congress, thousands more each week would feel the impact as their state-funded benefits expire, generally after 26 weeks.

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