Rhode Island is among 27 states that may receive extended unemployment benefits, thanks to a bill passed by U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday.
The bill, passed by a vote of 331 to 83, applies to states with unemployment rates over 8.5 percent, and only to workers who become eligible for benefits before the end of the year.
The 12.8 percent unemployment rate in Rhode Island is the third-highest in the nation.
Rhode Island Reps. Patrick Kennedy and Jim Langevin, both Democrats, voted for the bill. Senator Jack Reed, D-R.I., introduced a companion bill Wednesday.
The bill stands to affect 2,500 Rhode Islanders who would otherwise lose their benefits after this month and 4,500 more this year, according to a joint press release from Kennedy and Langevin.