2 million lose jobless benefits as holidays loom

by
December 1, 2010

MSNBC

Extended unemployment benefits for nearly 2 million Americans begin to run out Wednesday, cutting off a steady stream of income and guaranteeing a dismal holiday season for people already struggling with bills they cannot pay.

Unless Congress changes its mind, benefits that had been extended up to 99 weeks will end this month.

Hours before beefed-up benefits were set to expire at midnight on Tuesday, Democrats sought to extend them for another year. But they were blocked by Republican Senator Scott Brown, who said Democrats should have taken time to work out a compromise.

“It’s not the way to do business in the United States Senate, and if it is it needs to change,” Brown said.

With the unemployment rate stuck at around 9.6 percent, the two parties have been sharply divided over how to cover the cost of weekly checks that help jobless people stay afloat.

‘Immediate crisis’
Congress has let jobless benefits lapse twice already this year as Republicans insist the cost — $160 billion in the last fiscal year — be offset by cuts elsewhere to prevent the nation’s $13.8 trillion debt from growing further.

“I think we have to deal with the immediate crisis,” Democratic Senator Jack Reed said. “I think we have to deal with the families that are struggling today.”

To read more, visit: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40447966/ns/politics-more_politics/

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