Republican senators on Thursday blocked a three-month revival of long-term unemployment compensation for 1.7 million Americans out of work.
Democrats fell just one vote short of the 60 needed to break a filibuster. Four Republicans voted with Democrats -- Sen. Dean Heller (NV), Kelly Ayotte (NH), Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Susan Collins (ME). Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) changed his vote at the last minute to preserve the option of bringing up the bill in the future. The final vote was 58-40.
It's the latest move in a six-week game of cat and mouse where Democrats try to find a way to revive the emergency jobless benefits and Republicans say the proposal that Democrats come up with is not good enough.
The bill would have extended the benefits for three months at a cost of $6.4 billion, paid for with a gimmicky offset -- which has had bipartisan support in the past -- known as pension smoothing. The bill includes an idea pushed by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) to prohibit people with a gross income in the preceding year of $1 million or more from receiving unemployment insurance benefits. Coburn voted to filibuster the bill anyway.