Senate works to advance tax and safety net legislation

The Senate continues to grapple with a $140 billion measure that involves tax breaks, tax increases for the wealthy and safety-net spending, including added unemployment benefits, according to The New York Times.

Senate Democrats tried to pass the measure as is, but it failed in a test vote June 16. They are considering eliminating an extra $25 per week in unemployment benefits to cut costs and attract votes for the measure.

The change would save billions of dollars during the next six months, as well as make the legislation more palatable for lawmakers concerned about deficit spending.

The Senate agreed on a six-month plan to prevent a steep cut in doctors' Medicare fees to address the fear that older Americans could begin losing access to health care. However, there are concerns lawmakers now may feel less urgency to finish the broader bill.

The Senate also may take up a small-business lending measure, which would provide $30 billion for loans. The House approved the bill during the week of June 14.

Date : 6/23/2010