Jan. 7- The Senate moves one step closer to a vote, but GOP opposition remains. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) President Obama stepped up pressure on Congress Tuesday - pushing them to reinstate unemployment benefits for the long term unemployed that expired December 28 when they failed to vote on the issue before leaving town for the holidays. Tuesday, the U.S. Senate agreed to move forward with a three-month extension of those benefits that affect an estimated 1.3 million Americans. The Senate still has to pass the bill, which faces opposition in the GOP-controlled House where Republicans want to see an extension offset by cuts elsewhere. Democrats argue the unemployment benefits are critical for those suffering the most in a still unsteady economy. (SOUNDBITE): PRESIDENT OBAMA SAYING: "Unemployment insurance has been a vital economic lifeline. For a lot of people it's the only source of income they've got to support their families while they look for a new job." "Now two weeks ago Congress went home for the holidays and let this lifeline expire for 1.3 million Americans. If this doesn't get fixed it will hurt 14 million Americans over the course of the year. Five million workers along with 9 million family members - spouses and kids." "All they've agreed to so far is we'll be able to have a vote on it. They haven't passed it. We need to get this across the finish line without obstruction or delay and we need the House of Representatives to vote for it as well."