Legislation that would have extended unemployment benefits for an additional three months failed to earn the required supermajority in the House of Representatives on Thursday.
The final vote was 258-154, ordinarily sufficient to pass legislation. But Democrats brought the measure to the floor using a legislative tactic that required approval from two-thirds of the House.
Currently, benefits are set to expire on Nov. 30 for an estimated 4 million Americans. The measure would have allowed those unemployed individuals to continue receiving benefits until Feb. 28, 2011.
Democrats sought to portray Republicans as unsympathetic to the plight of Americans still struggling to seek employment, particularly as the holiday season is set to begin. Republicans have said any extension should only be passed if the $12.5-billion price tag were offset by spending cuts on other programs.