The Senate ignored objections by President Bush Friday and approved a Democratic bill extending soon-to-expire extra benefits for Americans who have been out of work the longest.

The measure, approved on a voice vote, would keep the current system of providing up to 33 extra weeks of coverage running until as late as March 6, 1993. Otherwise, it will expire in two weeks."We do have a serious problem on our hands with the expiration of these benefits, with thousands and thousands losing their unemployment benefits," said Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, D-Texas, the Democratic measure's sponsor. "Time is very much of the essence."

Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole, R-Kan., predicted that Bush would reject the measure, saying, "The unemployment package is just headed for another veto."

Although some Republicans supported the Democratic plan, others rallied behind a Bush-endorsed alternative that Dole presented.

That measure, rejected on a voice vote, would have provided up to 20 weeks of extra coverage through Jan. 2 and up to 10 additional weeks through March 6, when it would end. It also contained tax breaks for businesses and individuals, and tax reductions for businesses moving to inner cities.

The Democratic bill, which would cost nearly $5.5 billion over six years, would help the 300,000 Americans who have been exhausting their unemployment benefits during the recession.

The Senate now will have to work out a compromise with the House, which approved a similar bill earlier this month.