By Jay Heflin and Vicki Needham - 07/12/10 09:02 PM EDT
In the run-up to the July 4 recess, Reid failed three times to extend unemployment relief. The last vote failed 58-38 on the two-pronged measure that included a $34 billion six-month extension of unemployment benefits.
Reid voted 'no' on the extension to allow for another vote — technically, Democrats were one vote shy of passing the measure.
Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson (Neb.) was again the lone vote in his party against the bill. He is expected to oppose the measure when it is voted on again.
More than 2 million Americans have lost unemployment benefits and that number will continue to rise if the Senate can’t pass a bill.
If Congress can’t act by the end of the month, more than 3.2 million of the nearly 5 million who are receiving the extended benefits will lose them. More than 2.5 million will lose benefits by the end of the week.
Supporters argue it puts a multibillion dent into consumer spending — about 7 billion a month — adversely affecting the economic recovery.
Those opposed say the bill should be paid for and would only add to the nation’s growing debt.