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WASHINGTON (AP) — Millions of people stuck on the jobless rolls would receive an extension of unemployment benefits averaging $309 a week under a Senate bill that appears set to break free of a Republican filibuster.
Democrats have stripped the unemployment insurance measure down to the bare essentials for Tuesday's vote, which is a do-over of a tally taken late last month.
With West Virginia Democrat Carte Goodwin poised to claim the seat of the late Robert Byrd, two Republicans will be needed to vault the measure over the filibuster hurdle. Maine GOP moderates Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins are expected to provide the key votes to create a filibuster-breaking tally on a key procedural test.
The measure is expected to pass later Tuesday. The House would take it up Wednesday and then send it to President Barack Obama for his signature.
If all goes as expected, about 2.5 million people will receive jobless benefits retroactively, injecting almost $3 billion into the economy once they're paid out. Instead of being dropped from a federal program that extends benefits for those whose six months of state-paid benefits have run out, millions of others will continue to receive payments that would help prop up consumer demand to the tune of about $30 billion more over the coming year.
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