WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Senate voted Tuesday to advance a temporary extension of unemployment benefits to more than 1 million jobless Americans.
Six Republican Senators joined with all Democrats present in the 60 to 37 vote.
By getting 60 votes, the bill can't be filibustered and formal debate can begin on the legislation.
The bill would retroactively restore federal aid payments to 1.3 million unemployed Americans which expired at the end of December.
“For many Americans these benefits make the difference between being able to live a decent life, not a good life…a decent life, and going hungry or becoming homeless,” said Sen. Harry Reid, (D) Senate Majority Leader.
Extending the aid for three months would cost about $6.5 billion. Opponents of the bill said any extension should be paid for by spending cuts elsewhere in the budget.
Even if the bill passes the Senate, the House would then have to take it up and House Speaker John Boehner issued a statement saying that no plan has been presented to pay for extending the benefits.