The Senate voted 60-34 today to break a logjam over unemployment benefits. The bill should get final passage soon and be sent to President Barack Obama for his signature. Senate leaders say the benefits will be retroactive to make whole those people who unable to apply for an extension last week. The bill also restores the money cut in payments to physicians who treat Medicare patients. And it extends federal subsidies for people getting COBRA coverage from their former employers.
The vote today was a defeat for Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, and other Republicans who wanted the $9.2 billion cost of the bill offset with cuts in other spending.
Four Republican senators voted to advance the bill: Scott Brown, of Mass; Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine; and George Voinovich, of Ohio.