Extending benefits another three months.
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Senate Democratic leaders feel cautiously optimistic they have the 60 votes they need to advance unemployment benefits legislation on Monday, but that marks only the start of the congressional battle.
Even if the legislation passes the Senate next week, it faces an uphill road in the House. Advocates for extended benefits say the fight could play out between the chambers for weeks.
There is growing sentiment among Republicans that it’s time to stop extended federal unemployment benefits after nearly six years of recession and slow recovery.
At least, House Republicans say the $6.4 billion cost of extending benefits another three months should be paid for with deficit-reduction measures.
An estimated 1.3 million unemployed workers saw their benefits lapse when the program expired at the end of last month.
Senate Democrats feel confident of getting 60 votes Monday because of the support of Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), who has teamed up with Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) to push the three-month extension.