Senate deal on unemployment insurance in the works

An agreement to renew federal unemployment benefits could be filed on Tuesday and voted on later this week. 

The deal, if it goes forward, would restore benefits to the long-term unemployed for three months and would be fully offset with a pay-for that has been in the mix and is agreeable to both parties. 

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A vote is likely to happen on Thursday, according to a spokesman for bill co-sponsor Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.).

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) did not hint at a deal or lay out any specific plans on Monday during a floor speech.

“I remain cautiously optimistic that Republicans will heed their constituents at home and help Democrats restore emergency benefits to Americans in need," Reid said.

"Congress can’t solve every problem. But we can solve this one. All we have to do is work together.”

A group of Republicans and Democrats have been working together for the past few weeks to reach an agreement that would get the backing of Senate leadership and finally clear the upper chamber after weeks of failed attempts. 

Reed and Sens. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) have teamed up to co-sponsor a measure and they are continuiong talks with lawmakers to forge a deal. 

"Sen. Heller is continuing to talk with his Democratic and Republican colleagues about a number of ideas to move unemployment insurance legislation forward," a spokesman for Heller said Monday. 

The benefits program, which expired at the end of December, left 1.3 million people who have been out work for at least six months without a weekly check while they search for a new job. 

Democrats, who argue that number has grown to about 1.6 million since the program lapsed, say the program is still needed because nearly 38 percent of all unemployed workers have been out of work for at least 27 weeks. 

This post was updated at 5:30 p.m.