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Senate Fails to Advance Three-Month Unemployment Extension

<p>The Senate failed on Thursday to advance an extension of unemployment benefits.</p>
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The Senate fell short of approving a three-month extension of unemployment benefits that expired at the beginning of this year.

Senators fell one vote short of clearing a procedural hurdle on a three-month extension paid for by "pension smoothing," which would bring in more revenue by allowing companies to adjust their pension contributions.

The final vote was 58-40, with 60 votes needed to clear a filibuster. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., switched his vote to "no" to preserve the option of bringing up the legislation again at a later date.

The Senate also fell short of moving forward on a simple, three-month extension of benefits for which the cost wasn't offset. That vote failed, 55-43, by also falling short of the 60-vote treshold.

Democrats have voiced their frustration at Republicans for repeatedly blocking the jobless aid, which they have characterized as necessary assistance to families encountering difficult employment situations. Republicans have demanded the cost of the benefits be offset, and have complained that they have been blocked from offering amendments to the unemployment bill.