(NNCNOW.com) --- A push to restore unemployment benefits to Americans who've been out of work for more than six months cleared a major hurdle in the Senate.
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin voted for the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act, to restore and extend emergency unemployment benefits for three months at a cost of $6.5 billion.
Baldwin co-sponsored this legislation. It passed the Senate with bi-partisan support (60-37.)
She says the legislation will provide a lifeline for families as they search for work.
“These funds are used for groceries, for rent, for electricity, for fuel for the car," Sen. Baldwin (D) Wisconsin said. "These dollars are immediately infused in local economies.”
Tuesday’s vote doesn’t restore any benefits. It only opens up debate. Republicans want changes to the bill before a final vote.
Baldwin says nearly 100,000 Wisconsinites are projected to be affected this year if the Emergency Unemployment Compensation is not extended.
The senator also says 41,800 additional Wisconsin workers looking for a job will exhaust their state-funded 26 weeks of unemployment benefits in the first half of 2014 and will be denied access to federal benefits.
Supporters say the act would prevent the expiration of benefits for 1.3 million Americans.