The Senate voted to end debate on the motion to proceed to H.R. 3979, the Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act, which will be used as the legislative vehicle to extend federal unemployment insurance for five months.Once it's through the Senate, the bill's fate, and the fate of around two million long-term unemployed people, will be in the House's hands. Speaker John Boehner has repeatedly expressed opposition to this bill, but a relatively strong bipartisan vote in the Senate will put him under added pressure to allow a vote.
The vote sets up 30 hours of debate before proceeding to the bill, but lawmakers have said they expect a vote on final passage by Friday.
A five-month extension of emergency jobless aid achieved cloture in the Senate by a wider-than-predicted margin Thursday afternoon. The five Republican senators involved in crafting the deal plus all Democrats would have been enough to break the filibuster on the bill, which provides five additional months of unemployment insurance to people who've been jobless for six months or more. Then Sens. Dean Heller, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Mark Kirk, and Rob Portman were joined by fellow Republicans Kelly Ayotte, Pat Toomey, Bob Corker, Ron Johnson, and Dan Coats. The bill moved forward 65 to 34 and should keep moving:
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