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Jobless benefits extension OK'd

WASHINGTON — Congress is sending President Obama an $18 billion bill to restore unemployment benefits for people who have been out of a job for months and resume full Medicare payments to doctors threatened by a 21 percent cut.

The House cleared the bill Thursday night by a 289-112 tally taken just two hours after it emerged from the Senate on a 59-38 vote that capped an unusually partisan debate. Republicans largely chose to take a stand against the legislation for adding to the $12.8 trillion national despite backing it by wide margins in December and again recently.

President Obama signed the bill Thursday night.

"It increases the deficit by $18 billion, a cost to be paid for by future generations," said Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Hays. "This legislation is yet another unfortunate example of business as usual in our nation's capital."

In the Kansas delegation, Democrat Dennis Moore voted for the measure. Republicans Lynn Jenkins and Moran voted against it. Todd Tiahrt did not vote.

March sets the mark for warmest ever

WASHINGTON — And the heat goes on.

Last month was the warmest March on record worldwide, based on records back to 1880, scientists reported Thursday.

The average temperature for the month was 56.3 degrees Fahrenheit, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported.

That was 1.39 degrees F above the average for the month over the 20th century.

NOAA researchers said the warmer-than-normal conditions were especially notable in northern Africa, South Asia, Tibet, Delhi, India and Canada.

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