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More than 1 million unemployed workers lose benefits

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More than 1.3 million jobless workers will not have their unemployment benefits restored before Congress goes on a weeklong break for the Fourth of July. Hundreds of thousands more will lose their unemployment benefits in the coming weeks.

The House voted 270-153 July 1 to extend the jobless benefits. However, Senate Republicans successfully filibustered, preventing the bill's passage.

The last extension ran out at the end of May. By the end of this week, 1.7 million jobless workers will not have benefits. That number would reach 3 million by the end of July.

The bill would extend unemployment benefits for up to 99 weeks for people whose state-paid benefits have run out. The benefits would be available through the end of November and cost $33.9 billion, which would have been borrowed and added to the budget deficit.

Republicans say they would support extending the benefits if the bill was paid for and propose using unspent money from the 2009 economic stimulus package. Democrats rejected the proposal, saying the money was needed for jobs programs. However, Republicans say there are many pet projects in the stimulus package that could be cut to cover unemployment benefits.

The measure reportedly will have a better chance of passing the Senate after a replacement is named for Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), who passed away June 28. Democrats then would have a filibuster-proof majority for the bill.


7/2/2010

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