Extension of unemployment benefits blocked in Senate

In back-to-back votes, Democrats were unable to muster enough support to end debate and take up either of two proposals that would have reinstated the unemployment insurance benefits that expired at the end of December.

The first vote — on a measure proposed by the Democratic leadership that would have extended unemployment benefits for 11 months and paid for it by extending the existing 2 percent cuts to Medicare health providers by one year, through 2024 — failed 52 to 48. The second vote, on the original bill, which would have extended unemployment benefits for three months at a cost of $6.4 billion, failed 55 to 45.