The U.S. Senate voted Tuesday to support a three-month extension of extra unemployment benefits to 1.3 million Americans, including 9,200 Minnesotans.
The benefits ended Dec. 28 but Democrats, including President Obama, have made passing another extension a priority. Minnesota’s senators, Democrats Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, voted in favor of the extension.
Today’s vote was a procedural one, but important: It indicated that there are enough Republicans in the Senate to reach the needed 60-vote threshold to move forward with an extension.
In the House, Republican leaders have said they would only consider another extension if its cost — about $25-billion a year — is offset somehow, throwing it into doubt in that chamber no matter how the vote goes in the Senate.
To pressure House Republicans, Obama is expected to address the issue from the White House today.
Club for Growth and other conservative groups urged senators to vote against moving forward on the bill and said the vote will be included in its annual scorecard, putting pressure on Republicans to reject it.
Some Republicans have argued that extended unemployment benefits were meant to be a temporary program in the wake of the 2008-09 recession and that it has done too little to justify another extension.