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Congress set to vote on extending jobless benefits

Congress is set to vote on a controversial bill that would extend unemployment benefits for millions of Americans.
Congress is set to vote on a controversial bill that would extend unemployment benefits for millions of Americans.
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Congress is set to vote on a controversial bill that would extend unemployment benefits for millions of Americans. The vote is expected to draw sharp contrasts along party lines.

On Monday, a preliminary Senate vote was delayed due to the extreme cold weather affecting much of the country, according to Fox News. The vote has been rescheduled for Tuesday.

The bill will extend long-term benefits to 1.3 million unemployed Americans. It will cost $26 billion and needs 60 votes in the Senate on its way to a final vote.

Under the Obama administration, the U.S. labor participation rate has hit a 35-year low at 63 percent. In August 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a study showing that more than 90 million Americans -- or nearly one-third of the population -- are out of work.

Some influential proponents of welfare reform, including former House speaker Newt Gingrich, argue that recipients of unemployment benefits should be required to under job training programs so that they'll be equipped with new trade or professional skills.

Many Republicans favor extending jobless benefits so long as Democrats and the Obama White House help find money to fund the program, such as cuts to bloated government programs.

Contact: Marv Dumon at marvin.dumon@gmail.com