Federal unemployment benefits key issue for 2014 - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Federal unemployment benefits key issue for 2014

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Emergency unemployment benefits could be something the United States Senate votes on in early January 2014. It is unlikely the Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives will take up a vote on the issue, but that does not mean the issue ends there.

A few weeks ago, Congress passed its first budget deal in year, but it left out an extension of federal unemployment benefits, leaving 1.3 million Americans without a check.

Another 1.9 million Americans are expected to lose their benefits by mid-2014.

The White House and some economists warn that not extending emergency unemployment will hurt the economy, but many Republicans say it will cost too much – about $25 billion dollars, for another one year extension of the benefits.

President George W. Bush started the federal unemployment program in 2008 during the height of the recession.

Now the economy is looking better than it has in the past several years, but the issue of long-term unemployment is not getting better.

Right now, there is no certainty that every member of Congress will vote to extend the emergency federal unemployment benefits. One thing is for certain: the battle to extend the benefits will become a 2014 election issue.

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