(Corrects headline to make clear bill has not yet passed
WASHINGTON, April 2 A White House-backed bill to
renew expired jobless benefits for 2.2 million Americans cleared
a final Republican procedural hurdle on Wednesday in the
The 61-38 vote set the stage for anticipated Senate passage
of the measure on Thursday. But the bipartisan bill seems
certain to die once it reaches the Republican-led House of
House Speaker John Boehner, the top Republican in Congress,
has called the measure "unworkable," citing concerns by state
Boehner and other Republicans also oppose the measure
because it does not include provisions to create jobs and
strengthen the emergency unemployment program.
Backers of the legislation reject the criticism, noting that
such relief has been routinely renewed in the past with strong
The measure would restore benefits for five months,
retroactive to Dec. 28, when they began to expire for those who
have generally been out of work for at least six months.
Backers say during this extension, which would end in late
May, Congress could explore ways to bolster the federal program
and consider new job creation measures.
The $10 billion cost of restoring the relief would be
covered by a number of proposed savings in the federal budget,
and include a ban against anyone receiving jobless benefits if
their income the previous year topped $1 million.
The National Association of State Workforce Agencies wrote
Republican leaders last month that the legislation could be a
costly administrative burden and take months to implement.
The Senate bill has 10 co-sponsors, five Democrats and five
Republicans. They contend that problems can be resolved and that
the benefits must be restored to help struggling Americans.
(Reporting by Thomas Ferraro; Editing by James Dalgleish)