Update: US SenReid: Unemp Benefits Extension ‘Long Overdue’

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–Updating Story Sent at 14:32 07/12, Adding More details
–Senate Majority Leader: Democrats Will Push Jobs Agenda This Summer
–Vows to Work on Financial Reg Reform, Small Business Plan
–Republican Senator Scott Brown Says He Will Support Reg Reform

By John Shaw

WASHINGTON (MNI) – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Monday
that congressional approval of legislation to extend unemployment
insurance benefits is “long overdue,” adding he will try again in the
coming weeks to win approval of this measure.

In comments on the Senate floor as Congress returns from its
week-long Fourth of July recess, Reid said the Democratic agenda this
summer “will be about jobs.”

Reid said he will push a “few more big steps” to bolster the
economy and increase jobs.

These steps, he said, would include passing a small business
lending bill, financial regulatory reform and an extension of UI

Reid said that more than 2 million Americans have had their
unemployment insurance benefits lapse.

Reid did not say if he will push for the extension of UI benefits
in a stand-alone bill or as part of a broader package.

On the question of financial regulatory reform, a key Republican
senator, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, announced Monday that he will
support the compromise bill.

Senate Democratic leaders are now very close to having the 60 votes
needed to pass landmark financial regulatory reform legislation.

Two weeks ago, the House passed the package of financial regulatory
reforms on a mostly party line, 237 to 192 vote. The Senate is expected
to take up the same bill this week.

While it will only require a majority vote in the Senate to pass
the bill, Democratic leaders will need 60 votes to cut off the debate in
the upper chamber.

Of the 58 Democratic and independent senators, 57 are expected to
vote for the final bill. Only Sen. Russ Feingold, a Democrat from
Wisconsin, has said he won’t vote for the legislation.

It remains unclear when a successor to former Sen. Robert Byrd will
be appointed — or elected.

Four Senate Republicans voted for the Senate’s regulatory reform
bill in late May: Brown, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, and
Chuck Grassley of Iowa.

Collins and Brown have said they will vote for the final version of
the bill. Snowe and Grassley have not yet said how they will vote.

Assuming there is no replacement for Byrd this week, Democratic
leaders need three of these four of these Republicans to vote to end the
debate on the bill.

** Market News International Washington Bureau: (202) 371-2121 **

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