Senate aiming to move unemployment benefits, homebuyer tax credit extensions Wednesday

The House is expected to pass a stand-alone unemployment benefits extension on Wednesday. The chamber easily passed the homebuyer tax credit extension earlier Tuesday.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said he "hopes a handful of Republicans" — three or four — will consider voting for unemployment benefits.

"We need to address many issues in this Congress," Durbin said on the floor this morning. "It troubles me that we would consider going home for anything near a holiday, a relief from our Senate duties, and ignore the burdens that are facing Americans who are in unemployed status or who have trouble in their families because of this weak economy."

The Senate will need to get the bulk of its remaining work for the week done today. 

Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) will lie in repose on the Senate floor from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and the chamber won't do any work during that time. 

Final votes could happen after 4 p.m. Thursday before the Senate leaves for the week-long break, Durbin said today. 

The tax credit, which required buyers to sign a contract on a home by April 30, provides homebuyers with a tax write-off of as much as $8,000.

The legislation costs $140 million. The House offsets would raise $9 million in revenue, while the Senate's would raise $6 million over 10 years through three pay-fors, two that are the same. 

The Senate and House also will have to reconcile their tax offsets for the credit.