Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Unemployment extension advances, Congress has to figure out how to pay for it

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The U.S. Senate cleared a procedural hurdle Monday morning, moving forward a three-month extension of benefits for the long-time unemployed.

California Democrat Barbara Boxer praised the six Republicans who crossed the aisle on the vote to avoid a filibuster. Speaking on the floor of the Senate, Boxer called the extension of unemployment benefits one of most cost-effective ways to create jobs and grow the economy.

"That's because when folks get their checks, what do they do with it?," Boxer asked. "They go down to the store and they spend it, buying food for their families. They don't hold back. They pay their rent. The landlord gets that check and spends that check." She called it "an immediate boom to the economy."

Republicans want the $6.5 billion dollar price tag offset by cuts elsewhere. Senators are negotiating how to cover the cost.

House Speaker John Boehner said Monday he'd be "happy to discuss" the unemployment extension, but only if it doesn't grow the deficit and if it includes a jobs provision.

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