House votes to extend jobless benefits

Business Materials 4 October 2008 01:52 (UTC +04:00)

The House of Representatives on Friday voted to give long-term unemployed workers at least seven weeks of extra jobless benefits, Reuters reports.

The 368-28 vote reflected strong bipartisan support for the measure. The vote on unemployment benefits came shortly after the House agreed to back a $700 billion bailout for the financial industry that the White House said was needed to avoid a global economic catastrophe.

The bill would extend unemployment benefits by seven weeks for workers who have exhausted their unemployment benefits. It provides extra help for workers in states with unemployment rates of 6 percent or more, who would get 13 weeks of benefits. About 19 states will be eligible for 13 weeks of benefits, said Rep. Jim McDermott, a Washington Democrat.

Earlier this year Congress approved an extra 13 weeks of unemployment insurance, but that is set to expire, the bill's backers said. About 800,000 workers are expected to run out of unemployment benefits in October, and the number will grow to 1.1 million by the end of the year.

The bill next goes to the Senate, which is holding pro-forma sessions through the November 4 elections. Senators plan to return on November 17 for a more formal session. An aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said he will try to push the House-passed bill through the Senate. An effort by Reid to get quick Senate approval earlier this week for a similar bill failed when Republicans objected.