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GOP blocks unemployment extension

An extension of unemployment benefits failed in the House this afternoon.

The measure got a vote of 258-154, but the L.A. Times points out that that margin is "ordinarily sufficient to pass legislation. But Democrats brought the measure to the floor using a legislative tactic that required approval from two-thirds of the House."

AP writes: "Republicans in the House Thursday blocked a bill that would have extended jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed beyond the holiday season. An extension of jobless benefits enacted this summer expires Dec. 1, and unless they are renewed, two million people will lose benefits averaging $310 a week nationwide by the end of December. The failed measure would have extended jobless benefits through the end of February at a cost of adding $12.5 billion to the nation's debt. Republicans opposing the legislation said the measure should be paid for by cutting unspent money from last year's economic stimulus bill. The White House criticized Congress for voting to cut off unemployment benefits with the holiday break approaching."