UPDATE: Senate passes jobless aid measure - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Senate passes jobless aid measure

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WASHINGTON (WKOW) -- Senate lawmakers have approved an extension of jobless benefits to long-term unemployed workers.

The 62-36 vote sends the measure into talks with the House, which passed companion legislation last year.

The aid measure gives months of continued benefit checks to people who have been out of work for more than half a year and funds assistance for health insurance for the unemployed.

The bill accompanies a host of other provisions that would prevent doctors from absorbing cuts to Medicare payments and help financially strapped states cope with spiraling Medicaid bills.


WASHINGTON (WKOW) -- Positive news for America's unemployed workers: legislation that would extend unemployment benefits to long-term jobless workers will likely pass the Senate.

Eight Republicans voted with Democrats during a test vote Tuesday, which effectively defeats a GOP filibuster and sets up a final vote which will likely take place Wednesday.

The sweeping bill also prevents doctors from absorbing a crippling cut in Medicare payments and extends health insurance subsidies for the unemployed through the end of the year.

The $66 billion price tag for providing unemployment checks is added directly to a budget deficit expected to hit $1.6 trillion this year.

Democrats are also hoping to finish up work this week on a separate, far smaller job-creation measure that includes additional highway spending as well as new tax breaks for companies that hire the unemployed.


WASHINGTON (WKOW) -- Senate Democrats are hoping to reach across the aisle for GOP support Tuesday for a test vote of legislation to extend unemployment benefits for long-term jobless workers.

The bill contains about 60 popular tax breaks for individuals and businesses that expired at the end of 2009. It also prevents doctors from having to take on the burden of crippling cuts to Medicare payments and gives cash-strapped states funding for Medicaid.

The measure would add $107 billion to the deficit over the next ten years, but Democrats have labeled most of the bill an emergency, exempting it from more strict budget rules enacted last month.

One Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, provided crucial help last week to keep the legislation afloat.

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