Senators are close to a deal that would extend unemployment insurance for a year, paid for by a mix of offsets, including extension of sequestration for another 12 months, according to a senior Democratic Senate aide.
The deal, said to be brokered by Sens. Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat, and Dean Heller, a Nevada Republican, would also reduce the number of weeks of eligibility for some unemployed Americans and tighten requirements for people who receive both disability and unemployment benefits, the aide said.
Word of a possible agreement comes amid an internecine Senate argument over whether Majority Leader Harry Reid would permit amendments to a bill to extend benefits for three months.
Reid hinted at the possibility of deal on Thursday, saying that Reed and Heller "feel that they might have a way to get this finished."
He also predicted that most Republicans wouldn't like the deal and that there would likely be procedural hurdles to clear before a final vote.