Unemployment benefits extension clears hurdle

WASHINGTON - (AP) - A bill to restore unemployment benefits tomillions who have been out of work for more than six months hascleared a Senate hurdle.

The 60-40 vote came moments after Carte Goodwin, a successor toWest Virginia Democrat Robert Byrd, was sworn in. Goodwin was thecrucial 60th senator to defeat a Republican filibuster that has ledto a lapse in benefits for 2.5 million people.

A battle has raged for months over whether jobless benefitsshould be financed with additional federal debt as Democrats wantor through cuts to other government programs as most Republicansinsist.

After a final Senate vote, the House will take up the billWednesday. President Barack Obama is likely to sign it into law byweek's end.

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