US House Votes 368-28 For Extension Of Jobless Benefits Last update: 10/3/2008 3:08:29 PM By Josh Mitchell Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)--The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday overwhelmingly approved legislation to extend the amount of time people can receive jobless benefits, but it was unclear whether the measure had enough support in the Senate. The House voted 368-28 to approve the bill, which would extend benefits by seven weeks for all unemployed workers and by 20 weeks for workers in certain states with a high jobless rate. The extension would be on top of the 26 weeks of compensation workers typically receive and the blanket, 13-week extension that Congress passed this summer. The Senate is not expected to take up the legislation until it returns after the November election. While the measure has wide support among Senate Democrats, an aide to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., declined to comment on the bill. The House vote came on a day the government released another dismal unemployment report. It showed that the U.S. economy shed 159,000 jobs in September, bringing the total number of jobs lost in 2008 to 760,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unemployment remained at 6.1% during the month. Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., a main proponent of the House bill, said the extension would help cover daily expenses like food and housing and give people "peace of mind" as they search for a job. "It is our responsibility as a Congress to stand up and help them weather these tough economic times," McDermott said in a statement. The House bill is expected to provide 3.8 million people an additional $6 billion in benefits. The money would be paid from the federal unemployment trust fund, which has sufficient reserves to cover the cost, an aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said. The legislation would extend benefits for people who have exhausted the typical 26 weeks of jobless compensation offered in most states and the 13-week extension signed into law this summer. Under the bill, workers in all states would qualify for an additional seven weeks of benefits. Workers in states with an average unemployment rate of 6% in the three preceding months would qualify for an additional 13 weeks beyond the seven-week extension. A similar bill has been introduced in the Senate. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., urged his colleagues this week to take up the issue in November, when Congress is expected to convene for two to three days after the election. White House officials could not immediately be reached for comment. When the House passed an extension in June, the White House threatened a veto.