Senate Fails to Extend Unemployment Benefits Before Break

Senate Fails to Extend Unemployment Benefits Before Break

Senate Republicans successfully filibustered a bill Wednesday night that would extend unemployment benefits for two million Americans, according to a report in The Hill. The Senate has adjourned for the Fourth of July weekend.

The vote failed 58-38, with 60 votes needed to break the filibuster. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) voted no in order to allow another vote on the bill. Reid expects to pass the bill after the Senate resumes on July 12, once a replacement for Sen. Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia) is found, according to The Hill. Byrd died early Monday morning.

The bill would provide $34 billion to extend unemployment benefits to Americans who have been unemployed for more than six months and lost or will soon lose their current benefits. The now watered-down bill failed to pass the Senate three times in as many weeks, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Unemployed Americans have been out of work longer than any other time in history, and 46 percent of the 15 million unemployed Americans have been so for more than six months.

The share of families with at least one unemployed member rose 4.2 percent to 9.4 million families last year, the highest number since the Labor Department began tracking them in 1994.

Senate Democrats are pushing the extension because of the dire situation facing unemployed Americans, but Republicans filibustered over concerns of deficit spending. Budget concerns did not prevent many Republicans from supporting $33 billion in additional funding for the war in Afghanistan that the Senate approved in late May. The war supplemental has stalled in the House as antiwar Democrats face-off against their moderate peers.