House fails to extend expiring jobless benefits

By Reuters
Posted Nov. 18, 2010 at 1:34 p.m.

An effort to continue assistance for millions of jobless people who will see their benefits run out in coming weeks failed in the House Thursday.

By a vote of 258 to 154, the proposal to extend jobless benefits for three months fell short of the two-thirds margin needed to pass the House under special rules that limit debate.

The House could take up the measure again under normal rules that require only a simple majority for passage, but Congress has little time to act before benefits expire Nov. 30. Lawmakers are not expected to be in town next week, and the Senate has not scheduled a vote.

Congress has let jobless benefits lapse twice this year as Republicans insisted that their cost — $160 billion in the last fiscal year — be offset with cuts elsewhere to prevent the nation’s $14 trillion debt from growing further.

If the measure is not renewed, some 2 million Americans by the end of the year will stop getting the weekly checks that help them make ends meet as they look for work, according to the National Employment Law Project.

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