UPDATE: Missouri Senate embraces extension of unemployment benefits

Thursday, April 7, 2011 | 5:03 p.m. CDT; updated 10:32 a.m. CDT, Friday, April 8, 2011

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri's 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. That came after the Senate voted to cut state jobless benefits by six weeks, from a maximum of 26 weeks 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 will be needed next week in the Senate.

About 10,000 people 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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