The Senate is moving forward on a bill extending longterm unemployment benefits.  A three-month extension of jobless aid cleared a procedural hurdle and created a path for passage this week.  Several Republicans joined all Democrats in supporting the procedural motion to advance the bill including Dean Heller from Nevada.

"Providing a limited social net is one of the responsibilities of the federal government.  Unfortunately instead of planning ahead and figuring out the best way to do that, we are now forced to decide whether or not to reinstate these benefits after they've expired," said Senator Heller.

Others, like Jeff Sessions from Alabama, voted against the measure,

"I wish we could just do this, and it wouldn't cost anything, but it will cost.  So this is a lot of money and efforts should have been made to try to find offsetting reductions in wasteful spending," Senator Sessions implored.

Unemployment benefits for 1.3 million Americans expired on December 28th.  While final passage in the Democratic-led Senate is now likely, prospects in the Republican-run House are murky.

The passage still received presidential praise.

"For the Americans who join me at the White House today and millions like them who were laid off during the recession through no fault of their own, unemployment insurance has been an economic life line," said President Obama.

The President was joined in a statement at the White House by several people who have been out of work for some time.