Senate votes to extend jobless lifeline

By Tami Luhby, senior writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The Senate on Wednesday voted 59 to 39 to restore unemployment benefits to 2.5 million jobless Americans, ending a seven-week stalemate.

The bill, which would push back the deadline to file for extended unemployment benefits until the end of November, now goes to the House, where it is expected to pass on Thursday.

After the Senate vote, President Obama urged the House to act swiftly and pledged to sign the bill soon afterward.

The jobless stopped getting their checks in early June, after Congress failed to extend the deadline to apply for benefits. Senate Republicans, as well as Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson, prevented the legislation's passage, saying it should be paid for first. They suggested covering the $34 billion tab with unused stimulus money, a step the Senate Democratic leadership rejected.

Federal unemployment payments, which last up to 73 weeks, kick in after the state-funded 26 weeks of coverage expire. These federal benefits are divided into tiers, and the jobless must apply each time they move into a new tier.

The payments will be retroactive to the previous deadline of June 2. But it could take up to a month for states to start sending the checks again, experts said.

Lynda Kahn of Coral Springs, Fla., can't wait to get that check. She stopped getting benefits last week and applied for Medicaid, only to be turned down because she doesn't have dependent children. But she did get a supermarket gift card from a local charity to supplement her $200 a month food stamp allotment.

Kahn depends on her unemployment check, which was $275 a week plus a $25 stimulus-funded supplement that will be discontinued. She lost her job as a manager for a doctor's office last August.

"It covers my mortgage payment," she said.

Similarly, Michael Tait of Locust Grove, Va., hopes that Congress passes the extension before he runs out of benefits next week. He receives $410 plus the $25 supplemental.

Since he lost his job as a vice president at a water treatment company in January, he has applied for more than 200 jobs, including at a gas station, supermarket and pharmacy, with no success. The 64-year-old was finally forced to apply early for Social Security in late June, which he didn't want to do since he will lose $252 a month for not waiting until his full retirement age of 66.

If Congress extends the deadline, Tait and his wife won't have to dip into their retirement savings and will be able to catch up on some bills.

"We wouldn't have to live week to week," he said. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,765.99 88.09 0.53%
Nasdaq 4,470.02 17.23 0.39%
S&P 500 1,960.28 9.46 0.48%
Treasuries 2.27 -0.01 -0.40%
Data as of 12:24pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Microsoft Corp 45.76 0.74 1.64%
Ford Motor Co 13.80 -0.61 -4.20%
Apple Inc 104.97 0.14 0.13%
Bank of America Corp... 16.62 0.02 0.15%
Yahoo! Inc 43.14 0.54 1.27%
Data as of 12:09pm ET

Sections

Honda CEO, Chairman and 11 other executives take pay cuts after company hit by recall failures. More

Regulators are about to reveal the results of an extensive health check of Europe's top 130 banks, indicating which may need a cash infusion. More

Many AT&T U-Verse customers across the country woke up to an emergency alert on their TVs. More

Using technology developed for the military and implemented in Iraq, schools have installed alarm systems that detect gunfire. More

Big purchases often come with big expectations. So it's no wonder that in a recent survey 80% of homebuyers said they regretted at least one thing about their home. Here are ways to improve those odds. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.