The U.S. Senate advanced the unemployment extension bill Thursday, voting 65 to 34 to open discussion on the legislation.
The Senate appears set to vote on the bill this Monday, and lawmakers who pushed to move the legislation forward in the chamber are cautiously optimistic.
“We are finally on our way to getting this much needed assistance into the hands of job-seekers, but there needs to be a real sense of urgency,” said U.S. Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), the bill's sponsor, after the vote.
Illinois U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin (D) and Mark Kirk (R) voted in favor of the bill, with the latter working to get his GOP cohorts to support the legislation.
Meanwhile, House Speaker John Boehner (R-IL,8) appears to be digging in his heels when it comes to his opposition to bringing the bill to the House floor. The speaker has called the bill "unworkable," adding that he takes issue with the job creation clauses in the bill and how the legislation would be implemented overall.
"The Speaker told the White House in early December that if they produce a proposal that is paid for and does something to create jobs, the House would consider it. The Senate bill does not meet that test,” Boehner's spokesman Michael Steel told MSNBC.