Georgia Senators Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, both Republicans, voted against extending jobless benefits on Monday, a bipartisan measure aimed at helping the long-term unemployed until May of this year.
The jobless benefits expired on December 28, 2013, leaving around 2.7 million unemployed Americans without government assistance.
Despite strong opposition from most GOP Senators, including Chambliss and Isakson, the Senate passed the measure 59-38, with support of just six Republicans.
The bill would provide about 6 per week, retroactively restoring the benefits from the cut-off date in December through the end of May 2014.
The measure, worth .7 billion, would be paid for by extending custom user fees through 2024 and by readjusting how companies pay into their pension programs.
It is unclear whether the House of Representatives will support the bill. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) criticized the bill as too difficult for the states to implement and lacking in real solutions.
Since the benefits expired in December, the states would now have to go back and verify that all recipients were actively looking for a job every single week since then. For a lot of unemployed it would be difficult to prove that after so much time, and for many states it would be impossible to take time to confirm it.
Republicans insist that the legislation should also include job creating measures, such as the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.
If Boehner allows for the vote to take place, the House bill will most likely differ significantly from the Senate version.
President Barack Obama has urged the lawmakers to approve the measure and send it to his desk as quickly as possible.
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