NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The Senate failed Tuesday to advance a bill that would have extended the deadline to file for federal unemployment insurance through next year.
Democrats sought to pass the $56.4 billion measure through unanimous consent, but Sen. Scott Brown, Republican of Massachusetts, objected, saying the extension should be paid for by rescinding unobligated discretionary funding.
The action in the Senate was largely political gamesmanship, with Democrats striving to appeal to unemployed voters as Republicans maintained their anti-deficit spending stance. Lawmakers in the House put on a similar show earlier this month.
Caught in the middle are 2 million jobless Americans who will run out of benefits in December if Congress doesn't act. For many, the last unemployment check is already in the mail.
The deadline to file for extended unemployment benefits is Nov. 30. These federal jobless 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.
Congress has extended the deadline to file those applications four times in the past year. The last jobless benefits extension -- which lasted six months and cost $34 billion -- faced a lot of opposition on deficit-conscious Capitol Hill before it finally passed in mid-July.
Roughly 14.8 million Americans are unemployed, with about 6.2 million of them out of work for at least 27 weeks. About 8.5 million people are collecting unemployment insurance.
The jobless have collected $319 billion in unemployment benefits over the past three years, with the federal government footing $109 billion of the bill.
Delta is testing out bringing back free meals for passengers sitting in coach. More
A Bumble Bee senior executive will plead guilty to his role in a conspiracy among major seafood firms to fix the price of canned tuna. More
In 1998, Ntsiki Biyela won a scholarship to study wine making. Now she's about to launch her own brand. More
For Americans under age 40, about half of them say they can't come up with $2,000 if an emergency came up, according to the New York Federal Reserve. More