Senate Republicans have defeated an election-year bill aimed at continuing weekly jobless benefits for millions of the unemployed.
The 57-41 vote fell three votes short of the 60 needed to crack the GOP filibuster. It delivered a major blow to President Barack Obama and fellow Democrats, who are facing potential losses of House and Senate seats in the fall election.
"Democrats have given Republicans every chance to say 'yes' to this bill and support economic recovery for our middle class," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. "But they made a choice to say 'no' yet again."
The White House said the president will keep pressing Congress to pass the bill
The rejected bill would have provided billions of dollars in new unemployment aid and protected the jobs of tens of thousands of state and local government workers.
"This is a bill that would remedy serious challenges that American families face as a result of this Great Recession," said Max Baucus, D-Mont., the chief author of the bill. "This is a bill that works to build a stronger economy. This is a bill to put Americans back to work."
In the end, not a single Republican would vote for it, concerned the measure would add more than $30 billion to the deficit.