Senate Extends Unemployment Insurance Benefits for Hurricane Victims

The Senate passed a bill Friday to extend unemployment insurance benefits for victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita for another 13 weeks.

The voice vote approval sends the bill to President Bush for his signature. The House passed the bill Thursday.

It would extend unemployment benefits that were scheduled to end on Saturday for at least 165,000 small-business owners, the self-employed and other victims who wouldn't otherwise qualify for the assistance.

An earlier version passed by the Senate last month would have allowed the government to pay cities and towns for supplies provided to hurricane victims such as linens, cots and toiletries instead of only reimbursing those expenses incurred by the individuals themselves. The House removed the provision.