Senate OKs jobless bill; House prospects slimmer

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WASHINGTON — The Senate voted, 59 to 38, Monday to restore federal jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed, and a small band of Republican supporters swiftly appealed to a reluctant Speaker John Boehner to permit election-year action in the House, as well.

Steps are needed ‘‘to restore unemployment benefits to struggling Americans,’’ seven House Republicans wrote Boehner and majority leader Eric Cantor of Virginia. They released their letter as the Senate was bestowing its widely expected approval on the legislation.

Despite the appeal, the bill’s prospects in the House are cloudy at best, given widespread opposition among conservative lawmakers and outside groups and Boehner’s unwillingness to allow it to get to the floor without changes that Republicans say would enhance job creation.

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