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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

73,000 Floridians lose unemployment benefits as Congress lets program expire



About 73,000 Florida residents lost unemployment benefits on Saturday as the safety net program expired due as Congress left for the holidays.

In addition, 3,665 additional people will lost benefits each week during the first half of the year, according to numbers provided Monday by Democrats on the House Ways & Means Committee.

The extension of benefits was excluded from the budget deal worked out between Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., but the issue is likely to resurface on Capitol Hill next week.

This summary is from the Associated Press:

"The end to the five-year program that extended benefits for the long-term jobless affected 1.3 million people immediately and will affect hundreds of thousands more who remain jobless in the months ahead. Under the program, the federal government provided an average monthly stipend of $1,166.

"While the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress want to continue the program, the extensions were dropped from a budget deal struck earlier this month and Republican lawmakers have balked at its $26 billion annual cost.

"The end of the program may prompt a drop in the nation's unemployment rate, but not necessarily for a good reason. People out of work are required to look for work to receive unemployment benefits. As benefits disappear, some jobless will stop looking for work out of frustration and will no longer be counted as unemployed."

The Buzz has asked Florida Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio for their position on whehter benefits should be extended.

[Last modified: Monday, December 30, 2013 12:58pm]


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