Senate agrees to proceed with unemployment-benefits extension, with both Ohio senators voting yes

Cleveland Plain Dealer

The U.S. Senate this morning moved a step closer toward extending federal unemployment benefits for those out of work more than 26 weeks. Both of Ohio's U.S. senators – Democrat Sherrod Brown and Republican Rob Portman – voted yes.

“The Senate came together on one of the coldest days of the year to take the first step toward ensuring that unemployed Americans aren’t left out in the cold,” said Brown. 

"People want to work," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York. "People who have lost their jobs after decades with a company are knocking on doors every day." 

This was not a vote on the actual bill, but, rather, a vote to end debate so the $6.4 billion benefits-extension bill can receive a yes-or-no vote, which is likely later this week. Previous authorization for federal benefits expired Dec. 28, potentially affecting 1.3 million out-of-work Americans, including 128,000 Ohioans, depending on when their existing benefits were scheduled to run out.

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