With New Senator In, Dems Give Jobless Aid New Vote
Carte Goodwin takes Robert Byrd's seat today
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 20, 2010 7:27 AM CDT
President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the extending unemployment insurance, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Monday, July 19, 2010.   (Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – A Senate bill that would extend unemployment benefits for millions appears set to break free of a Republican filibuster today, just as soon as West Virginia Democrat Carte Goodwin claims the seat of the late Robert Byrd. After he is sworn in, two Republicans will be needed to vault the measure over the filibuster hurdle, and Maine GOP moderates Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins are expected to be numbers one and two.

Democrats have stripped the unemployment insurance measure down to the bare essentials for the vote, which is a do-over of a tally taken late last month; it's expected to pass this afternoon. The House would then take it up tomorrow and send it to President Obama for his signature. If all goes as expected, about 2.5 million people will receive jobless benefits averaging $309 a week retroactively. Instead of being dropped from a federal program that extends benefits for those whose six months of state-paid benefits have run out, millions of others will continue to receive payments.