WASHINGTON, Jan 6 (Reuters) - With many lawmakers unable to get to town because of bad weather, the U.S. Senate abruptly postponed until Tuesday a vote on a White House-backed bill to extend jobless benefits for 1.3 million Americans.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid obtained the delay on Monday just as the chamber was to begin a roll-call vote on whether to begin consideration of the measure.
It had been unclear if the bill would get the needed 60 votes in the 100-member Senate to clear a Republican procedural hurdle.
But with much of the nation in the grips of sub-freezing weather, more than a dozen lawmakers were unable to get to the Senate to even vote, making it clear backers would not be unable to muster 60 votes.
Democrats hold the Senate, 55-45.
Assistant Senate Republican Leader John Cornyn of Texas accused Reid of pushing ahead with a vote because he was more interested in the politics of the issue than helping the jobless.
"This ought to be postponed to a later time when we could have a real debate" about how to "pay for an extension of jobless benefits and how to get the economy growing," Cornyn said.
Reid then rose and, without objection, got the vote reset for 10 a.m. ET on Tuesday. A Senate aide said Democrats believe they are within one or two votes of getting 60.