Federal benefits for the long-term unemployed were cut from the budget at the end of last year.
Today, some Senate lawmakers are trying to get them back with legislation that extends the checks for another three months.
A bill restoring unemployment benefits to Americans who've been out of work for more than six months, passed a key test in the Senate. Enough Republicans joined Democrats in a vote to advance the legislation.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) says, "Historically government has stepped up when the private sector cannot or will not. And in this case we know it's absolutely essential."
The bill extends emergency federal unemployment checks for three months, at a cost of six and a half billion dollars.
Many Republicans want Democrats and the White House to find a way to pay for any extension.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader says, "This administration's proposed solution is just to slap another band-aid on it from Washington, and call it a day."
One point three million out of work Americans lost their federal benefits last month. Another one point nine million stand to lose benefits by the end of June. Those checks average about 300-dollars a week.
Democrats are making jobless benefits and raising the minimum wage key issues in this election year.
While the White House and Congressional Democrats try and push legislation to help those hurt by the recession, the GOP is working to keep the focus on problems with the President's health care law.