Jan. 7 (Bloomberg) — President Barack Obama said extending emergency unemployment insurance will give a "vital economic lifeline" to millions of people still grappling with the aftermath of the worst recession since the 1930s.

"The financial crisis was so devastating that there's a whole lot of people who are still struggling," Obama said today at the White House. He was joined by a group of 20 people who the administration said were affected by the expiration of the extra benefits. "This is not an abstraction."

Obama spoke less than an hour after the Senate advanced legislation that would restore, for three months, the emergency benefits that expired Dec. 28 for 1.3 million Americans. Six Republicans voted with the Democratic majority to provide the 60 votes needed to move the bill ahead.

In the House, Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, has said he's willing to consider the measure if Democrats pay for its $6.44 billion cost.

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