Battle Over Benefits

More than 1.3 million Americans lost federal unemployment benefits on Dec. 28 as an emergency measure passed during the depths of the recession expired. Democrats condemned Congress’s failure to renew the measure, which extends jobless pay beyond the standard 26 weeks at an average of $300 per week, and warned of dire consequences for families and the economy. The party will push the issue in January as Congress considers a 90-day extension of long-term jobless benefits, but Republicans are demanding offsetting savings to fund the effort. More than 4.1 million Americans had been out of work for at least 26 weeks and were looking for a job in November, according to the Department of Labor.


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