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WASHINGTON — The Senate postponed a pair of test votes on stalled unemployment legislation on Monday as Republicans and Democrats sought a compromise to restore benefits to 1.3 million long-term jobless workers who lost them abruptly late last year.
The postponement came after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada met privately with two Republicans on the measure, the first in what looms as a series of election-year bills in which the political parties vie for support from economically strapped voters.
Officials in both parties said that in a meeting with Reid, Senators Dean Heller of Nevada and Susan Collins of Maine proposed adding a provision to the bill to restore full cost of living benefits to military retirees under the age of 62. Lawmakers voted to curtail the increases late last year, and now face enormous pressure from veterans groups to reverse themselves.