Jobless Benefits Lead to Debate

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JEFFERSON CITY (AP) - 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 benefits. That came after the Senate voted to cut state jobless benefits by six weeks, to a maximum of 20 weeks. 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 is needed next week in the Senate. About 10,000 people lost benefits when Missouri's eligibility in
the federal program expired Saturday. Michigan, Florida and Arkansas also recently have taken steps toward cutting state-funded jobless benefits.