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Senate OKs Jobs Bill Without COBRA

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Members of the Senate voted 59-39 Wednesday to pass H.R. 4213, a bill that would preserve extended unemployment insurance benefits but would let the COBRA health benefits continuation subsidy expire.

As expected, members of the House then voted Thursday to approve legislation reconciling their version of H.R. 4213, the Promoting American Jobs, Closing Tax Loopholes and Preventing Outsourcing Act, with the Senate version. In the House, the bill passed by a 272-152 vote.

Early versions of the bill included a provision that would have extended the 65% federal COBRA health benefits subsidy for involuntarily terminated employees.

Congress created the subsidy program in early 2009, in response to the high unemployment levels caused by the financial crisis. The subsidy has not been available for newly terminated employees since May 31.