The Senate on Thursday moved ahead with a bill to extend unemployment insurance benefits, three months after benefits expired for more than two million Americans.
The Senate voted 65 to 34 to begin debate on the legislation, setting it up for passage next week.
A bipartisan group of senators announced a deal two weeks earlier that would renew federal long-term unemployment benefits for five months, retroactive to when they expired on December 28.
But it is unlikely the legislation can get through the House in its current form. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has said the bill would be too onerous to implement in some states and has panned similar proposals for failing to include offsetting spending cuts.