By Robert A. Vella
A bill sponsored by Democrats to extend unemployment benefits for three months to the 1.3 million workers who were abruptly cutoff after Christmas has been defeated in the U.S. Senate by a Republican filibuster. The vote was 58-40 in favor of passage, but failed to achieve the necessary 60-vote threshold to override the arcane Senate filibuster rule.
An additional 3.5 million out of work Americans are scheduled to lose their unemployment benefits by the end of this year.
Majority Leader Harry Reid had attempted to find a compromise by offsetting the cost of the extension with the reduction of some corporate tax loopholes, but this tactic failed to garner sufficient Republican support.
Update (3:45 pm PST): A correction on the numbers. The bill would have extended benefits to 1.7 million unemployed workers. An additional 400,000 have lost their benefits since the initial cutoff after Christmas.