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Senate Reaches Deal on Jobless Benefits Extension

Image:  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) answers questions following a weekly policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol on March 11, 2014 in Washington, DC. Win McNamee / Getty Images

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Senate negotiators have reached a bipartisan deal on a measure to extend expired long-term unemployment insurance benefits to more than two million Americans.

The deal between a group of ten senators would extend the jobless aid for five months and allow retroactive payments to beneficiaries going back to December 28 of last year.

"We’re not at the finish line yet, but this is a bipartisan breakthrough," said lead negotiator Sen. Jack Reed, D-RI, in a statement.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said "there is a deal with enough Republican support" and indicated that the aid would be "paid for," critical to attracting sufficient GOP support for passage.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters Thursday that he intends to take up the measure after lawmakers return from a week-long recess set to begin on Friday.

The jobless aid expired at the end of last year, after lawmakers failed to forge a compromise on whether to pay for the aid and how long the extension should be.

The legislation would have to pass the Democratic-led Senate after overcoming a 60-vote threshold and then pass the GOP-controlled House before becoming law.

NBC's Kelly O'Donnell contributed to this report.

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