Good news for those of you left hanging by a thread by the fight over unemployment extensions -- they finally passed them yesterday, thanks to a new Senator. For those of you hoping and praying for Tier 5 benefits? Sorry, even though your situation may be even more desperate, you're plain out of luck. But do feel free to call your elected representatives and let them know what you think:
The Senate voted 59 to 39 Wednesday to restore emergency jobless benefits to millions of people who have been out of work for more than six months.
House leaders said they will ratify the measure Thursday and send it on to the White House, where President Obama plans to immediately sign it.
The bill would authorize states to provide retroactive support to an estimated 2.5 million people whose unemployment checks have been cut off since federal benefits expired June 2. It would also make available up to 99 weeks of income support through the end of November to millions more who have exhausted state benefits, which typically last for 26 weeks. Advocates for the unemployed say it could be several weeks in some states before the checks are in the mail.
The vote comes after a months-long battle over whether to pay for the $34 billion measure or add that sum to the nation's mounting national debt. Both parties have agreed in the past not to pay for emergency jobless benefits during periods of high unemployment, in part because cutting spending or raising taxes to cover the cost could depress economic activity.
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