In an ongoing fight to extend unemployment benefits to thousands of struggling Americans, President Obama is urging Republican Senators to vote in favor of the bill today. Some experts predict they Democratic party already has enough votes to avoid a filibuster, but President Obama reportedly does not want to take any risks. If passed, the bill would provide aid to an estimated 2.5 million unemployed Americans whose jobless benefits have expired.
Once Senate passage of $33.9 billion in extra funds is also approved by the House, a step expected this week, money will begin flowing to jobless workers across the country. California, New York, Florida and Illinois are among the states with the highest numbers of jobless whose benefits have expired. The benefits would be retroactive to June and last through November.
The defeat of the GOP filibuster is considered assured. The move requires 60 votes, a mark Senate Democrats will reach Tuesday after their newest member, Carte Goodwin of West Virginia, is sworn in to take the place of the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd. A key vote will take place minutes after Goodwin takes his place in the Senate.
Nonetheless, President Obama sought to increase pressure on Republicans Monday, appearing in the White House Rose Garden to press his election-year message that the GOP is blocking financial help to struggling Americans.