WASHINGTON (AP) — A bipartisan group of senators ended a long-running standoff and struck a compromise that would extend jobless benefits for 2 million Americans who have been out of work the longest, the lawmakers said Thursday.
Should the Senate approve the election-year measure — as seemed likely — it would throw the issue to the House. Its fate there was uncertain.
The timing of a Senate vote also was unclear.
Two leaders of the negotiations — Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Dean Heller, R-Nev. — said in a statement that the deal would be retroactive to the end of last year, when the emergency benefits program expired. Since then, the benefits have ended for roughly 2 million people.
One aide said the measure’s price tag was $9.7 billion.
Lawmakers said the proposal was fully paid for by extending some customs fees and changing how some companies set aside money for pensions, in effect increasing their taxes. More federal revenue would be raised by changing the way some companies make payments to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., which guarantees workers’ pensions.
The deal would end jobless payments to people earning more than $1 million a year.