Senate to vote on unemployment insurance - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Senate to vote on unemployment insurance

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Two million people across the country have been without federal unemployment insurance benefits since December 28th, and for months some senators have been working on a deal to extend those emergency benefits until June 1st.

The Senate is almost at an agreement but the compromise is not a done deal yet.

Senators said they would vote today, but they did not, pushing back the timeline to vote to extend federal unemployment benefits again this time until Monday.

"We had a big partisan debate on it for a couple months and some of us were saying, 'let's stop the politics, lets actually try to get something done here,' and not everybody's going to get what they want," Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH).

Portman is one of five Republican senators who helped structure the five month extension. The deal would extend emergency benefits until June 1st and pay them out retroactively for people who lost their benefits at the end of last year.

Lawmakers say extending the benefits will cost about $10 billion dollar, and they plan to offset the costs by doing this: extend fees on goods coming through U.S. Customs, make changes to the federal pension program, and stop millionaires from drawing benefits.

"I think it's a mistake for us to be extending unemployment insurance checks while, at the same time, taking the country further into debt and deficit because that makes the economy worse," Portman said.

Democratic senators have pushed for an extension of the benefits since before they expired last year.

Senator Bob Casey is on board with this new deal but told us he really wanted a longer extension.

"It's terribly frustrating, and I think in some ways an insult to the American people, that all these months have gone by and these people were left without any help," Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA).

Even if the Senate votes to extend benefits on Monday, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives is not expected to bring the measure to the floor. Republicans say instead they want to focus on growing the economy and creating jobs.

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