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House passes unemployment benefits extension

By Annalyn Censky, staff reporter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- After a failed attempt earlier this week, the House voted to extend the deadline to file for federal jobless benefits Thursday. But the bill will be stuck in limbo as Congress takes a weeklong summer break.

The bill would extend the deadline to file for extended unemployment benefits through November, and would retroactively pay out claims to those who saw their benefits expire in May.

The legislation, which garnered a 270-153 vote, now moves on to the Senate.

That chamber, however, closed up shop Wednesday evening for the summer recess after failing to pass its own version of the bill, which would raise the deficit by $33.3 billion.

As a result, more than 2.1 million people are expected to have lost their unemployment benefits by the time legislators reconvene on July 12.

House Democrats have struggled to get support from Republicans, who oppose the extension because it adds to the nation's $1.4 trillion deficit.

Basic state-funded unemployment benefits offer 26 weeks of coverage. But after the downturn, Congress approved an extension of those benefits for up to an additional 73 weeks using federal money.

The federal benefits are divided into tiers, and the jobless must re-apply each time they move into a new tier.

Each time Congress fails to pass an extension, the jobless cannot apply to move into the next tier once their benefits run out. The recently unemployed who are still in their first 26 weeks of state-funded benefits are also unable to apply for extended federal benefits.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Wednesday the Senate will vote again on its measure once a replacement is named for the late Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W. Va., who died on Monday.  To top of page

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