Published: Jul 01, 2010 11:56 AM EDT
Updated: Jul 01, 2010 8:57 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) - More than 1.3 million laid-off workers won't

get their unemployment benefits reinstated before Congress goes on

a weeklong vacation for Independence Day.

An additional 200,000 people who have been without a job for at

least six months stand to lose their benefits each week, unless

Congress acts.

For the third time in as many weeks, Republicans in the Senate

successfully filibustered a bill Wednesday night to continue

providing unemployment checks to people who been laid off for long

stretches. The House is slated to vote on a similar measure

Thursday, though the Senate's action renders the vote a futile

gesture as Congress prepares to depart Washington for its holiday


A little more than 1.3 million people have already lost benefits

since the last extension ran out at the end of May.

"It is beyond disappointing that Republicans continue to stand

almost lockstep against assistance for out-of-work Americans,"

said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

The measure, however, stands a better chance of passing after a

replacement is seated for Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., who died

Monday. The measure fell two votes short of the 60 needed to

advance Wednesday night, but only because Reid, a supporter of the

bill, voted "nay" to take a procedural step that would allow for

a revote.

"We will vote on this measure again once there is a replacement

named for the late Sen. Byrd," Reid said.

Byrd's successor will be named by West Virginia Gov. Joe

Manchin, a Democrat.

Unable to deliver more stimulus spending for President Barack

Obama, Democrats in Congress had hoped to at least restore the

jobless benefits. Obama has urged lawmakers to spend about $50

billion to help states pay for Medicaid programs and to avoid

teacher layoffs, but Democrats in Congress have been unable to come

up with the votes.

Many Democrats see state aid and unemployment benefits as

insurance against the economy sliding back into recession. However,

many Republicans and some Democrats worry about adding to the

growing national debt.

Some Republicans offered to support the unemployment bill if it

was paid for with unspent money from last year's massive economic

recovery package. Democrats rejected the offer, saying the money

was needed for jobs programs.

"The only reason the unemployment extension hasn't passed is

because Democrats simply refuse to pass a bill that doesn't add to

the debt," said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of


Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, said, "My concern is that the

Democrats are more interested in having this issue to demagogue for

political gamesmanship than they are in simply passing the benefits


The unemployment bill would have provided up to a total of 99

weekly unemployment checks averaging $335 to people whose 26 weeks

of state-paid benefits have run out. The benefits would be

available through the end of November, at a cost of $33.9 billion.

The money would be borrowed, adding to the budget deficit.