Congress Finally Approves Extension of Jobless Benefits

A months-long Congressional stalemate over $34 billion in unemployment insurance finally came to an end on the House floor Thursday afternoon.

The House of Representatives Thursday approved the final version of the unemployment benefits package for 2.5 million Americans after Republican filibusters stymied the legislation in the House.

“It shouldn’t have been so hard,” lamented House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who took aim at Senate Republicans for blocking the bill.

The Democratic-controlled Senate finally cleared a major parliamentary earlier in the week, clearing the way for senators to okay the legislation. The Senate approved the bill Wednesday night. Republicans and Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) objected to an extension of the benefits because they weren’t paid for.

Many of the payments will be retroactive to early June. But could take months for all recipients to receive their benefits.

The bill now goes to President Obama’s desk for his signature.

The vote in the House was 272 to 152.

Thirty-one Republicans joined Democrats in passing the bill. There were ten Democratic defections.