Congress has approved legislation to restore unemployment insurance to people who have been out of work for six months or more, ending a seven-week interruption that caused 2.5 million people to lose benefits averaging about $300 a week. The 272-152 House vote sends the measure to President Obama, who has promised to immediately sign it.
The tally came less than 24 hours after a mostly party-line Senate vote on the measure, which is one piece of a larger Democratic jobs agenda that has otherwise mostly collapsed after months of battles with Republicans. Retroactive payments could go out as early as next week in some states, while in others it could take a few weeks for beneficiaries to receive their money under the legislation. (Read more unemployment benefits stories.)