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GOP blocks legislation to award seniors $250Unhappy Democrats say tax bill likely to pass

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WASHINGTON – House and Senate Republicans on Wednesday thwarted Democratic efforts to award $250 checks to Social Security recipients facing a second consecutive year without a cost-of-living increase. President Barack Obama and Democrats have urged approval of the one-time payment, saying seniors barely getting by on their Social Security checks face undue hardships without the COLA increase. But most Republicans contended that the nation couldn't afford the estimated $14 billion cost of the payment, and that the COLA freezes in 2010 and 2011 come after seniors received a significant boost in 2009. The measure was brought up under a fast-track procedure in the House that required a two-thirds majority for passage. The 254-153 vote in favor of the bill fell short of that.

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