President Obama signed an extension of jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed Thursday night that will allow those whose aid expired to apply retroactively.
When Congress passed the measure earlier in the day, it ended, at least for now, a partisan stalemate that highlighted election-year differences over federal spending.
The Senate passed the $18-billion measure, 59 to 38, with the support of 54 Democrats, three Republicans and two independents. Every other Republican opposed it; the other three Democrats were absent.
Hours later, the House passed the bill, 289 to 112.
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The measure extends jobless aid through June 2. Democrats, anxious about high unemployment in an election year, are working on separate legislation to extend benefits through the end of the year.
Obama urged them to do so and said, in a statement: “In these tough economic times, it is more critical than ever to bring relief to Americans who are working every day to find a job, and families that are struggling to make ends meet.”
He called job creation his top priority and pledged to “fight day and night until every American who wants a good job has one.”