Brown is ready to run

Republican Scott Brown said Monday he’ll announce a run for a U.S. Senate seat in New Hampshire this week, ending nearly a year of speculation about his candidacy.

“I’m ready to make a big decision and I wanted you to be the first to know,” Brown, 54, said in an e-mail to supporters. “It starts by changing leadership in Washington.”

Brown, a former Massachusetts U.S. senator, would be the strongest challenger to Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen, polls show, and the possibility of his candidacy has already attracted national attention and advertising from five out-of-state groups.

The matchup boosts Republican chances of gaining the net six seats they need to win a Senate majority. Of the 36 Senate seats on the 2014 ballot, most rated as competitive are held by Democrats.

Shaheen, 67, was New Hampshire’s governor from 1997 to 2003 and is the first woman in U.S. history to have both served as a state’s chief executive and senator. In winning her Senate seat in 2008, she became the first Democrat that New Hampshire elected to the chamber since 1974.

Bloomberg news

senate votes to extend jobless benefits

The Senate voted 59-38 Monday to resurrect federal jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed, and a small band of Republican supporters swiftly appealed to a reluctant Speaker John Boehner to permit election-year action in the House as well.

Steps are needed “to restore unemployment benefits to struggling Americans,” seven House Republicans wrote Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia.

Despite the appeal, the bill’s prospects are cloudy at best, given widespread opposition among conservative lawmakers and outside groups, and Boehner’s unwillingness to allow it to the floor without changes that Republicans say would enhance job creation. The Senate vote, seven months before congressional elections, capped a bruising three-month struggle. Fifty-one Democrats, two independents and six Republicans voted for approval.

The bill was the first major piece of legislation that Democrats sent to the Senate floor when Congress convened early in the year, the linchpin of a broader campaign-season agenda meant to showcase concern for men and women who are doing poorly in an era of economic disparity between rich and poor.

Associated Press