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Senate approves jobless payments to millions

July 21, 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate has passed a bill restoring unemployment benefits to millions of Americans who have been out of work for six months or more.

President Barack Obama is poised to sign the measure into law after a final House vote on Thursday. It's a welcome relief to 2 1/2 million people who have seen their benefits expire.

The measure had once been considered routine but got caught up in a monthslong battle between Democrats and Republicans over whether jobless benefits should be financed with additional federal debt or with cuts to other programs.

Officials in some states say retroactive payments could go out to some beneficiaries as soon as next week. In other states, those who are jobless may have to wait a few weeks.

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