About 2 million long-term jobless Americans most likely will see the last of their unemployment benefits this month after the House failed in a bid to extend the compensation program for another three months.
The emergency legislation needed a super-majority of two-thirds to pass. But it fell short as 11 Democrats joined most Republicans in opposing it. In an interview on MSNBC
Friday, Vice President Biden called defeat of the bill a "giant mistake" and said unemployment benefits are stimulative, allowing people to spend money in the market place.
But foes said the latest extension
was not financed through cuts in other programs and would cost the Treasury $12.5 billion in additional borrowing. Even if the bill had passed the House, it would have faced an uphill climb in the Senate.
"I think it's a sad moment -- it appalls me that the Repaublicans keep pitching and pitching the tax cuts for the rich and won't join in a bill to help people keep their homes and not have to live in their cars," Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) told the Huffington Post
. Grayson was defeated earlier this month in his campaign for reelection. And for the record, 21 Republicans voted for the extension.
With the unemployment rate stuck at 9.6 percent, Congress could try again on a jobless extension bill after the Thanksgiving break.