URGENT Mo. Senate embraces extension of jobless benefits

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Senate has embraced a plan to extend federally funded jobless benefits while cutting eligibility for state-funded benefits.

Several Republican senators upset about federal spending ended a filibuster Thursday against legislation renewing the federal long-term unemployment benefits. They did so after the Senate voted to cut state jobless benefits by six weeks, from a maximum of 26 weeks down to a maximum of 20.

Also as part of the deal, Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer pledged to help the filibustering senators identify $250 million of federal stimulus spending that can be cut from the state’s budget.

A final vote still will be needed next week in the Senate.

About 10,000 people who have been out of work for a year and a half lost benefits when Missouri’s eligibility in the federal program expired Saturday.

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