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Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have blocked a Democrat bill to extend unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed.
Democrats put forward the measure under special rules that require a two-thirds majority for passage. But they failed to win sufficient support from Republicans, who expressed concern about the measure's $33 billion cost to the federal treasury.
The bill is aimed at helping as many as 1.7 million people whose unemployment insurance benefits have run out. It would extend an emergency unemployment compensation program through to November 30th.
The U.S. unemployment rate currently stands at 9.7 percent, and has remained stubbornly high, despite the US economy starting to pull out of recession.