The Senate voted Saturday to extend the filing deadline for both federally-funded extended unemployment benefits and an additional six months of a 65% COBRA subsidy until the end of February. The current filing deadline is December 31 for both programs. One million of the nine million jobless americans depending on unemployment benefits were going to lose them in January if the deadline wasn’t extended.
The extensions were tucked into a defense spending bill, which also contains funding for our current wars (although not the new push into Afghanistan), a re-authorization of parts of the Patriot Act, and a delay in cutting Medicare payments to doctors 21%.
Despite a Republican attempt at a filibuster which was pretty much universally viewed by the punderati as a ploy to slow down the healthcare bill (well, McCain did say something about earmarks), the bill passed 88-10. President Obama is expected to sign.