WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate — which returned to the capital today after the long holiday break — is expected to vote Tuesday on a 3-month extension of a program providing extra unemployment benefits to 1.3 million Americans.
The Senate had been expected to vote as one of its first acts today, but with many members not yet returned to Washington, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid agreed to postpone the vote to Tuesday morning.
That program, known as Emergency Unemployment Compensation or EUC, ended Dec. 28 but Democrats have made passing another extension a priority. About 45,000 Michiganders lost EUC benefits when the program ended.
Tuesday’s vote is a procedural one, but it is important: It will tell whether there are enough Republicans in support to cross the needed 60-vote threshold to move forward with an extension.
Democrats are believed to have 56 votes in favor — including that of Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., a co-sponsor of the extension — but it is unclear if there are four more Republican votes to cross the procedural hurdle. In the House, Republican leaders have said they would only consider another extension if its cost — about $25-billion a year — is made up somehow, throwing it into doubt in that chamber no matter how the vote goes in the Senate.
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Mike DeVine/Joe For America