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Both of Ohio's senators back a procedural vote on the unemployment extension
Sen. Rob Portman is one of a handful of Republicans to vote for the first step in extending jobless benefits
Story by LEWIS WALLACE


 
Ohio's Rob Portman is one of six Senate Republicans who voted today to extend unemployment benefits. The 60-to-37 vote move debate on a three-month extension of benefits to the Senate floor.
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A three-month, $6.5 billion extension of emergency unemployment insurance is moving forward in the Senate. Ohio Senator Rob Portman was one of just a handful of Republicans to vote today to proceed with debate.

For Ohio Public Radio, WYSO’s Lewis Wallace reports that nearly 40,000 Ohioans saw their insurance cut off at the end of December.

 

LISTEN: Portman backs unemployment extension

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Emergency unemployment gives people up to 14 extra weeks to look for work after their state unemployment expires. It’s been in place since the Great Recession.

Benefits will expire for an estimated 128,000 people in Ohio this year.

At issue, in a way, is whether the Recession is over, or over enough.

Beth Rubin with the Greene County Department of Job and Family Services says demand for help has leveled off.

"We have a long way to go to meet pre-Recession levels of need, and I don’t think any of us think we’re ever going to get back to those really good times," she says. "Bbut at the same time, it’s not as bad as it was five years ago.

But there were nearly 40,000 more people out of jobs in Ohio in November than the same time a year before, and the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.4 percent.

The bill to continue emergency unemployment insurance could come to a vote in the Senate within the next couple days.

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