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Unemployment runs out for one million Americans

Updated: Sunday, December 29 2013, 09:24 PM CST
Written by: Jesse Knutson
Harrisburg – Dauphin County
 
More than a million Americans lost their federal long-term unemployment benefits today due to Congress failing to extend the federal program.
 
The benefits have been in place since 2008 to help those struggling during the economic downturn, and on average, those benefitting from the program have been receiving $300 each week.
 
Many say this has allowed them to get by day-to-day.
 
The extended unemployment benefits beyond the usual 26 weeks were started during the Bush Administration, and since 2008, the benefits have been renewed 11 times.
 
Many experts believe failing to pass an extension of these unemployment benefits in the new budget deal will set up a nasty fight when congress returns to session after the New Year.
 
Some Republicans say it’s time to end the program, saying it’s too expensive, costing $25 billion a year. Many Republicans also believe the benefits have allowed people to become dependent on the government.
 
One the other side of the aisle, many Democrats say the benefit checks get spent right away and fuel the economy, boosting the economic recovery.
 
The U.S. Senate is back in session on Jan. 3 and the U.S. House of Representatives are back in session on Jan. 7, but it is unclear when discussion will continue on long-term unemployment benefits.
 Unemployment runs out for one million Americans


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