WASHINGTON -- Legislation to give additional months of unemployment benefits to people who have been out of a job for more than half a year has won key GOP support that means it will soon pass the Senate.

The sweeping bill also would prevent doctors from absorbing a crippling cut in Medicare payments and extends health insurance subsidies for the unemployed through December.

Eight Republicans voted with Democrats to defeat a GOP filibuster of the measure, setting up a final vote later today.

The bill also extends a variety of tax breaks for businesses and individuals that are popular with senators in both parties.

The $66 billion cost of providing the extended unemployment checks is added directly to a budget deficit expected to hit $1.6 trillion this year.

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