Some jobless workers can get up to 73 weeks of benefits in harder-hit states, but the maximum will be capped at six months at the end of the year unless Congress acts. The National Employment Law Project, which researches unemployment trends, estimates that 2 million people could be affected.
Many Republicans insist that any extension be paid for, while Democrats argue that the nation is in an economic emergency and aid shouldn’t be subject to such rigid rules.
They also argue that more aid is an economic stimulus. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office agrees, saying the additional demand would help the economy grow about two-tenths of a percentage point.