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October 24, 2014

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Unemployment bill stalled again in Senate

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J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., tells reporters that Republicans are thwarting Democratic efforts pass a bill to extend unemployment benefits which expired at the end of last year, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014.

WASHINGTON — Republicans have blocked legislation from advancing in the Senate to restore benefits for the long-term unemployed.

It's the second time this year that Democrats have sought to move the bill along, and they say they will try again.

An estimated 1.7 million jobless have been affected by the expiration of a program that once provided up to 47 weeks of federal benefits after state-paid assistance ended, generally after six months.

Four Republicans voted to advance the legislation, which all 53 Democrats and two independents support.

Ordinarily, that would have left the bill with 59 votes, one short of the 60 needed.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada then switched his vote, which made the final tally 58-40, and will allow him to have the issue reconsidered in the future.

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