Updated: 1:45 p.m. | The Senate is moving ahead Thursday with much-anticipated votes on an extension of unemployment insurance benefits that lapsed at the end of last year.
With backing from at least five Republicans, the bill should get the 60 votes needed to end a filibuster on bringing the bill up for debate. It’ll still face the likelihood of another filibuster before final passage, expected next week. Majority Leader Harry Reid set up a procedural vote Wednesday to jumpstart Senate debate. Without an agreement, that won't happen until after a confirmation vote on John B. Owens, a California attorney who President Barack Obama's tapped for a seat on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Before closing for the night, Reid moved to limit debate on the Owens nomination and set the gears in motion to take up the unemployment measure. Reid warned of possible weekend work right at the beginning of the week, a threat that's been quite common but seldom carried out.
Follow our extensive coverage of the unemployment insurance extension proposals: Unemployment Extension Vote Not Worrying House Republicans Boehner Still Cool to Senate Unemployment Extension Bill Unemployment Extension Fight Pits Portman Against Boehner Unemployment Extension Vote Likely Delayed Until Next Week Doctors Win, Jobless Lose: The GOP Confronts New Perception Problem