The Senate voted 85-2 Monday to limit debate on an unemployment benefits package that has lingered in the chamber for a month, setting up a vote on passage sometime this week. The measure would grant unemployed workers an additional 14 weeks of benefits, and a total of 20 weeks for the hardest-hit states. The version of the legislation Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) filed last week also includes the extension of the popular homebuyers tax credit, which would apply to first time buyers and those looking to upgrade from their existing home. Despite its broad support across party lines, the bill has been tripped up over GOP demands to debate a handful of amendments. Unable to broker a deal with Republicans, Reid had to file a procedural motion last week to push the legislation forward. The Senate is expected to vote on final passage later this week.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.