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Senate advances bill to renew expired unemployment benefits despite Boehner’s complaints

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A White House-backed bill to renew expired jobless benefits for 2.2 million Americans cleared a Republican procedural hurdle on Thursday in the Democratic-led Senate.

On a 65-34 vote, the bipartisan measure advanced toward anticipated Senate passage, yet it will likely die when it reaches the Republican-led House of Representatives.

House Speaker John Boehner, the top Republican in Congress, has called the measure “unworkable,” citing concerns by state administrators.

Boehner and other Republicans have also opposed the measure because it does not meet their demands that it include provisions to create jobs.

Democratic and Republican proponents reject the criticism and note that in the past such relief has been routinely extended with strong bipartisan support.

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They also argue that renewing the benefits would help 2.2 million Americans as well as the U.S. economy by pumping more money into it. Relief to the unemployed averages $300 a week.

The measure would restore unemployment insurance for five months, retroactive to December 28, when it began to expire for those who have been out of work for at least six months.

Backers say during this extension, which would end in late May, Congress could explore ways to bolster the emergency unemployment program and consider new job creation measures.

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The $10 billion cost of the measure would be covered by a number of proposed savings in the federal budget, and include a ban against anyone receiving jobless benefits if their income the previous year topped $1 million.

(Reporting By Thomas Ferraro; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

[Image via Agence France-Presse]


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WATCH: Employee at Tim Hortons slurs Muslim couple and tells them ‘go back to your own country’

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According to a report from Deadline Detroit, a Muslim advocacy group has filed a complaint against a local Tim Horton's location after an employee insulted a Muslim couple and told them to "go back to their own country," followed by a sexist slur.

The report states Alaa Kouider and her husband, Ameur Dhaimini, were purchasing coffee at the local fast food location when they got into an argument with the cashier.

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President Bolsonaro says claims of hunger in Brazil ‘a big lie’

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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Friday there was no hunger in the country, citing the lack of "poor people in the street with a skeletal physique" as evidence.

Speaking to foreign journalists, Bolsonaro blamed "populists" for propagating "a big lie" that some of Brazil's 209 million people did not have enough to eat.

"There is no hunger," the far-right leader said, noting Brazil "was rich in practically every type of crop".

"You don't see poor people in the street with a skeletal physique like in other countries.

"To say that there is hunger in Brazil is a populist discourse to try to win popular sympathy, nothing more than that."

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Former New Hampshire GOP chair: Trump is using ‘the worst kind of racism’ to tear America apart

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President Donald Trump this past week ratcheted up racist rhetoric against four Democratic women of color, culminating in chants of "send her back" directed at Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) during a Trump rally on Wednesday night.

Jennifer Horn, the former chairwoman of the New Hampshire Republican Party, has written an editorial for USA Today in which she laments the fact that the entire Republican Party has been transformed by Trump into a "racist, nationalist movement" that she believes is tearing the country apart.

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