Thousands on track to lose unemployment benefits - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Thousands on track to lose unemployment benefits

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WJRT) -

(12/10/2013) – The federal government closed Tuesday due to severe snow and ice, but lawmakers are continuing to work on a budget deal ahead of another tight January deadline.

However, this deadline could be marred by more political infighting over federal unemployment benefits, which expire December 28th.

Nearly 44,000 people in Michigan are set to lose their unemployment benefits if Congress does not pass an extension to the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program.

On top of that, more than 86,000 people will lose their benefits in the first six months of 2014.

"They would be basically kicked off the unemployment compensation rolls, and be without any support whatsoever," said Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI).

Michigan unemployment benefits last 20 weeks before federal emergency benefits kick in for another 36 weeks, for a total of 56 weeks of benefits.

Republican Congressman Dave Camp was not available to talk on camera, but his office pointed to a study on his Ways and Means Committee Web site. It connects the more than a dozen extensions to the benefits to the slow recovery of the labor market.

His position: it is time to wind down the extended benefits.

The White House released their own report last week, urging members of Congress to extend the program, citing the positive impact it would have on the country's economy.

Kildee said he is pushing for the extension in the budget deal.

"It has to come to Congress, so if there is something that is a part of our budget that is a clear statement of our values, that we want to help those who are unemployed looking for work, then we ought to do that in the budget deal that we are doing," Kildee said.

Democratic lawmakers are saying that they are willing to stay in Washington until Christmas day to continue working on extending federal unemployment benefits, a cause that will likely add more political turmoil to an already embittered Congress.

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