Overcoming the objections of Democrat Ben Nelson and 39 of his Republican friends, 60 senators passed a key procedural vote Tuesday, making an extension of unemployment benefits a near certainty. Senators siding with the jobless included 56 Democrats, two independents and the Republican senators from Maine.
Objectors to the extension cited concerns about the deficit and, in the words of Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, fears that “continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work.” —PZS
New York Times:
The 60 yeas were the minimum needed to overcome the threat of a filibuster and advance the bill to a final vote, expected later on Tuesday, when it is all but certain to pass. Two Republicans, Senators Susan Collins and Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, joined 56 Democrats and two independents in voting for the legislation; 39 Republicans and one Democrat, Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska, opposed it.
An estimated 2 million Americans have seen their benefits run out over the past two months while the legislation has been stalled in the partisan impasse.