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Breakthrough: Senate Reaches Deal On Jobless Benefits

AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite

The agreement was struck by Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV). It'll be sponsored by Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Susan Collins (R-ME), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rob Portman (R-OH), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL).

That includes five Republicans who can help Democrats get to 60 votes and break a filibuster if the 55-member caucus votes together.

Even if the bill gets through the Senate, it'll be tough sell in the Republican-led House, where GOP leaders have signaled that they don't want to revive the lapsed program.

The proposal will have a provision to end jobless benefit payments to those with adjusted gross income of $1 million or more in the previous year.

Nonpartisan economists say unemployment benefits tend to be a very effective way to stimulate a weak economy.

(Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the name of a senator who struck the deal. It is Sen. Jack Reed, not Harry Reid. We regret the error.)

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Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.