President Obama: Senate Jobless Vote an 'Important Step' - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

President Obama: Senate Jobless Vote an 'Important Step'

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President Barack Obama is applauding a Senate vote advancing legislation to renew jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed as an important step. 
The Senate voted 60-37 Tuesday to clear the bill's first hurdle. But Republicans who voted to move ahead still want concessions that will have to be worked out before final passage. The Republican-controlled House would also have to vote for it.
The White House has insisted that the $6.4 billion cost of the three-month measure doesn't need to have accompanying cuts in other programs.
Obama rejects argument that benefits take away motivation to work. He says, quote, "That really sells the American people short." He says jobless Americans are "working their tails off" to find work.
He spoke at White House accompanied by a group of unemployed workers.

As drafted, the bill would restore between 14 weeks and 47 weeks of benefits averaging $256 weekly to an estimated 1.3 million long-term jobless who were affected when the program expired Dec. 28. Without action by Congress, thousands more each week would feel the impact as their state-funded benefits expire, generally after 26 weeks. (AP)

Following the vote, Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) issued this statement:
"When Congress went home in December, benefits for 17,000 Nevadans and approximately 1.3 Americans abruptly expired.  Inaction by Congress has left these individuals and families facing the New Year uncertain how they will pay their utility bills or feed their families.
"Today's vote is just the first step in the process. Congress should pass a short-extension now so that those actively seeking work can receive the relief they need.  With Democrats and Republicans working together, it is my hope that we can shape a piece of legislation that can pass Congress and be signed into law," said Senator Dean Heller.

Governor Brian Sandoval today issued the following statement on the Senate's procedural vote to move forward on Senator Dean Heller's bill (S. 1845) to extend unemployment insurance through March.
"Growing jobs and the economy in Nevada has been my greatest priority as Governor.  While more Nevadans are working and the unemployment rate continues to drop, there are still far too many people unemployed who are struggling to make ends meet.  These benefits are a life line to many who are still seeking work.  I want to thank Senator Heller for his leadership to extend this assistance to some of our state's neediest, and to Senator Reid for his support of this important measure.  I urge the Senate to pass this measure."  

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