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Senate advances jobless benefits bill

The Senate on Tuesday moved forward with a bill to extend federal unemployment benefits for three months.

In a 60-37 vote, the Senate ended debate on a motion to consider the bill. Sixty votes were required to move forward.

GOP Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Rob Portman (Ohio) and Dan Coats (Ind.) joined Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) in voting with Democrats.
Many Republicans objected to moving forward with the bill because the $6.4 billion cost of the three-month extension is not offset with spending cuts.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said before the vote that his party could accept extending the federal benefits, which go to unemployed people who have exhausted state benefits — but only if they were paid for.

“Many on my side would like to see them extended without actually adding to the national debt," McConnell said on the Senate floor.

McConnell also offered an amendment to the bill on Tuesday that would delay the ObamaCare mandate that individuals purchase insurance. McConnell’s amendment would also restore a cut in military pensions that was included in a two-year budget deal the Congress approved in December.

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