Jan. 6 (Bloomberg) — A Senate vote today to advance legislation extending emergency unemployment benefits is part of a broader agenda Democrats are rolling out in hopes of bolstering their fortunes in the November mid-term elections.

The party heads into the new year with a program focusing on income inequality, including efforts to raise the minimum wage and boost federal spending on infrastructure projects to create jobs. Those issues will take precedence over President Barack Obama's troubled health care rollout and the looming battles over the budget deficit. The president appeared to endorse the strategy by using his weekly address to call for an extension of unemployment benefits.

"Our politics are changing" from deficits and Obamacare to jobs and the economy, New York Senator Charles Schumer, the No. 3 Democrat, said in a conference call with reporters yesterday. "These types of issues will now supersede them as incomes decline and unemployment persists."

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