WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama is thanking senators for making actions to retrieve unemployment benefits to 2.5 million people who began losing their checks weeks ago. Senators voted 60-40 to overcome Republican delaying tactics and clear the way for a final vote later Tuesday.
Three earlier votes to move the bill had stalled. Republicans want the spending to be offset by cuts elsewhere in the budget and Obama wants to continue treating the extension as emergency spending, meaning it will increase the deficit. Tuesday’s vote came after Carte Goodwin was sworn in to the Senate to succeed West Robert Byrd, Virginia Democrat who passed away last month. Obama had pointed his fingers at the Republicans of holding the unemployed hostage through obstruction and game playing.