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Unemployment benefits bill clears final Senate hurdle, set for Monday vote

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May 30, 2012: Dozens of people line up to seek a job at the Wells Fargo call center in Salem, Ore. (AP)

Legislation to restore jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed has cleared a final Senate hurdle before a vote on passage set for Monday.

The vote was 61-35 Thursday to advance the bill, one more than the 60 needed.

Most Republicans voted against advancing the bill, citing a Democratic refusal to permit any votes on their proposed changes.

The White House-backed legislation would resurrect a program of benefits for the long-term unemployed that expired in late December. In general, it is designed to help those who have been off the job more than 26 weeks.

While Senate passage seems certain for Monday, the bill faces strong opposition in the Republican-controlled House. House Speaker John Boehner (BAY'-nur) has made no commitment to permit a vote.

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