*Jobless benefits will run out for 2 million people during the holiday season unless they are renewed by a Congress that’s focusing more attention on a quarrel over preserving tax cuts for people making more than $200,000 a year.
It’s looking iffy at best whether Congress will renew jobless benefits averaging $310 per week nationwide that are presently claimed by almost 5 million people who have been out of work for more than six months.
An extension of jobless benefits enacted this summer expires Dec. 1, and on Thursday, a bill to extend them for three months failed in the House.
Democrats brought the bill to the floor under fast-track rules that required a two-thirds vote to pass. Republicans opposed the legislation because they were denied a chance to attach spending cuts, so the measure fell despite winning a 258-154 majority.
In Thursday’s vote, 21 Republicans joined with Democrats in favor. Eleven moderate-to-conservative Democrats opposed the bill.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., promised to bring the measure back to the floor after Thanksgiving to try to enact an emergency measure that extend benefits at least through the holidays.
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