WASHINGTON (AP) - A senior GOP lawmaker says Republicans oppose a drive by Democrats to renew jobless benefits averaging less than $300 a week nationwide for the long-term unemployed. Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma says he doesn't "see much appetite on our side for continuing this extension of benefits."
Benefits for 1.3 million long-term unemployed people expire just three days after Christmas. Lawmakers say another 1.9 million people would miss out on the benefits in the first six months of next year. Democrats are pressing for legislation continuing a program in place since 2008 that gives federally paid benefits to jobless people after their 26 weeks of state benefits run out. They've typically been offered during periods of high unemployment, though fewer weeks of extended jobless benefits are available than in previous years.