Wednesday, March 3, 2010 | 10:40 a.m.
WASHINGTON -- The congressional stalemate over extending unemployment benefits ended late Tuesday without the support of Republican Sen. John Ensign, who voted against additional jobless benefits for out-of-work Nevadans.
Ensign joined a minority of Republicans who supported fellow Republican Sen. Jim Bunning of Kentucky in opposing an extension of the popular program at a time when the nation’s jobless rate is 9.7 percent – and 13 percent in Nevada.
The bill overwhelmingly passed, 78-19, and President Barack Obama quickly signed it into law.
Ensign’s office declined to comment on his vote.
Bunning brought the Senate to a days-long standstill, arguing that the $10 billion, 30-day extension of unemployment benefits, Cobra subsidies and other measures should be paid for by either using untapped recovery funds or closing a biofuels tax credit loophole. But he could not win support from his colleagues for what many argued was an emergency measure and not subject to pay-as-you-go rules.