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Unemployment Benefits Bill Clears Procedural Hurdle

Updated: 7:39 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) wasted no time Tuesday trying to capitalize on his return to a 59-seat majority, clearing a key procedural hurdle on an unemployment insurance benefits bill that had been idling for weeks.

The package now moves toward final passage, likely on Wednesday. The cloture vote came just moments after the Sen. Carte Goodwin (D-W.Va.) was sworn in as a temporary replacement for the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D).

The bill would create a six-month extension of unemployment insurance benefits. Republicans for weeks had filibustered a larger set of extenders that included the unemployment benefits extension, which resulted in a lapse in the jobless aid.

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