Talks on a bipartisan proposal to extend unemployment benefits are expected to continue into Tuesday afternoon, with supporters still holding out hope that an agreement can be reached on plans to pay for the extension.
Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) announced Monday afternoon that the Senate will vote Tuesday to end formal debate on the measure. He signaled that there is still no agreement between Democrats and Republicans to hold votes on several GOP amendments designed to pay for the $6.5 billion in unemployment benefits.
But the delay is seen as an encouraging development, because it will give senators more time to work broker a potential deal. Six Republicans joined with Democrats last week to launch debate on the proposal, authored by Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.), that would provide an estimated 1.3 million long-term unemployed Americans with financial relief. Supporters hope that an agreement to pay for the extension can be reached so that several Republican senators join with Democrats to approve a new round of benefits.
A robust bipartisan vote of support likely would compel House Republican leaders to take up the issue. Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) has said he is willing to debate extending the benefits so long as they are paid for.