Senate nears bipartisan deal on jobless benefits, Reid says

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 13, 2014 2:31 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Thursday that negotiators were nearing a bipartisan deal to extend expired long-term jobless benefits for more than 2 million Americans.

Reid said an agreement could be finalized within the next two days, and that he intends to have the Senate take it up when lawmakers return from a week-long recess, set to begin on Friday.

Negotiators "are close to having a bipartisan bill," Reid told reporters.

He did not disclose any details other than it would extend benefits for five months, retroactive to last December when they expired for the long-term unemployed, or those who have been generally out of work for at least six months.

If and when the Democratic-led Senate passes such a measure, it would then go to the Republican-led House of Representatives for final approval.

(Reporting by Thomas Ferraro, editing by G Crosse)