Republican senators Rob Portman (left), Dean Heller and Susan Collins worked with a bipartisan group to reach a deal to extend long-term jobless benefits for five months. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

itoggle caption J. Scott Applewhite/AP

White House National Economic Council Chairman Gene Sperling speaks during the daily briefing at the White House on Monday. With Congress back, the Senate is expected to work on a three-month extension of benefits for the long-term unemployed. Susan Walsh/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Susan Walsh/AP

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) talks to reporters at the Capitol in Washington, last Thursday. Reid has promised a vote no later than Jan. 7 on a measure to extend jobless benefits for three months. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

itoggle caption J. Scott Applewhite/AP