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Democrats consider standalone jobless aid

WASHINGTON — The demise of Democrats' jobs legislation means that unemployment benefits will phase out for more than 200,000 people a week. Governors who had counted on fresh federal aid will now have to consider more budget cuts, tax increases and layoffs of state workers.

Democratic officials said the House may try to revive the jobless aid legislation next week as a standalone bill shorn of controversial tax and spending provisions that prompted Senate Republicans to filibuster it on Thursday.

But the Senate may not have enough time to clear the measure for President Barack Obama's desk before leaving Washington for the Fourth of July recess. The impasse has meant that more than 1.2 million people have lost unemployment benefits averaging $300 a week.

Senate Democrats cut billions from the bill in an attempt to attract enough Republican votes to overcome a filibuster. But the 57-41 vote Thursday fell three votes short of the 60 required to crack a GOP filibuster.

"Democrats have given Republicans every chance to say 'yes' to this bill and support economic recovery for our middle class," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. "But they made a choice to say 'no' yet again."

Republicans said the bill would have expanded government, not boosted the economy.

"The only thing Republicans have opposed in this debate are job-killing taxes and adding to the national debt," said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

The rejected bill would have provided $16 billion in new aid to states, preserving the jobs of thousands of state and local government workers and providing what White House officials called an insurance policy against a double-dip recession. It also included dozens of tax breaks sought by business lobbyists and tax increases on domestically produced oil and on investment fund managers.

Democrats consider standalone jobless aid 06/26/10 [Last modified: Saturday, June 26, 2010 12:14am]

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