WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has signed an extension of unemployment benefits for millions of long-term unemployed people, capping a hard-fought political fight with Republicans.
The president acted swiftly to turn the legislation into law after the House approved it Thursday; the Senate approved it Wednesday in a near party-line vote.
The measure restores unemployment benefits to people who have been out of work for six months or more. That ends a a seven-week interruption that caused 2.5 million people to lose unemployment help averaging $300 a week.
Most Republicans opposed the measure because it would add $34 billion in debt. They said it should be paid for with unused money from last year's stimulus bill or offset by spending cuts.