Budget deal introduced, does not include unemployment extension - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Budget deal introduced, does not include unemployment extension

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(12/11/13) - Mid-Michigan lawmakers are reacting to Tuesday's budget deal that, if passed, will fund the federal government for the next two years.

On Wednesday, the chairs of the House and Senate Budget Committee, Republican Paul Ryan (WI) and Democrat Patty Murray (WA), announced they reached a two-year budget deal that would set spending at just more than a trillion dollars for both 2014 and 2015.

It would also prevent another government shutdown in January, and help reduce the deficit by $23 billion.

Republican Congresswoman Candice Miller (MI) said she supports the plan, and believes it will pass.

"It gives certainty by having a top-line budget number, something we haven't had in Congress for a number of years," Miller said. "So we've sort of been lurching from crisis to crisis, as evidenced by the most recent government shutdown. In this case, we're precluding the government from shutting down again."

One hot topic not addressed in Ryan and Murray's budget deal is the extension of federal emergency unemployment compensation benefits. These are the benefits that kick in after state benefits run out. The law that lengthened federal unemployment to 99 weeks is set to expire at the end of the year.

Many Republicans and Democrats are divided on this issue.

"I'm not in favor of 99 weeks, but I'd be willing and open to looking at something," Miller said. "But I'd also point out the president hasn't advanced one idea for how this might happen, nor have the Democrats quite frankly. I think Republicans would like to have the president engaged in this issue."

Meanwhile, Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee(MI) is calling for an immediate extension of federal unemployment benefits, saying "Completely cutting unemployment compensation would reduce consumer demand and slow job growth…Congress should not adjourn until we extend emergency unemployment benefits for over a million Americans."

The House could vote on the budget bill as early as Thursday. As of now, they are scheduled to wrap up their legislative year on Friday.

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