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Senators reach deal extending jobless benefits

WASHINGTON – A bipartisan group of senators says they have reached a compromise extending jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed for five months.

If the Senate approves, the deal would break a months-long stalemate over the issue in the chamber between the two parties.

Two leaders of the negotiations – Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island and Republican Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada – said in a statement Thursday that the deal would be retroactive to the end of last year. Since that time, jobless coverage has expired for roughly 2 million people.

The proposal would be paid for by extending some customs fees and changing how some companies set aside money for pensions, in effect increasing their taxes.

The deal also ends jobless payments to people earning more than $1 million.

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