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Coats seeks revisions to jobless benefits bill

Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., was among six Republicans who voted with the Democratic majority in the Senate on Tuesday to advance legislation that would extend long-term unemployment benefits.

The Senate voted 60-37 to limit debate on the measure. At least 60 votes were required for the bill to proceed to a final vote this week.

“While I oppose the current version of the bill, I voted to proceed with considering the unemployment insurance extension because I believe the Senate should have the opportunity to debate and improve this important legislation,” Coats said in a statement.

He said he will vote against the legislation if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., prevents senators from offering amendments.

“The unemployment insurance benefits program needs to be reformed to ensure that it works better for those truly in need and connects those who are unemployed with available jobs,” Coats said. “Additionally, Congress cannot continue to rack up more debt and pass the bill along to our children. Any further extension of this program should be paid for, and I am working on offering amendments that both would offset this cost and help put Americans back to work.”

The bill would restore unemployment compensation for 1.3 million Americans who lost them when long-term jobless insurance expired Dec. 28. The legislation would spend $6.4 billion through March.

Other Republicans who favored advancing the legislation to a final vote were Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Susan Collins of Maine, Dean Heller of Nevada and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska

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