Unemployment extension benefits delayed

    7:49 PM, Mar 1, 2010   |    comments
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    The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services says it will affect more than 1,000 Arkansans each week Congress delays the vote.

    The jobless at the unemployment office were expecting an additional $25 a week in the mail.

    "I don't like being broke. There is rent and utilities bills and car note," says Dalemetris Byenum, a person seeking unemployment benefits.

    Congress stalled that vote that also included unemployment extensions. Now, those on regular unemployment benefits, which lasts 26 weeks, are not eligible for an extension.

    Kimberly Friedman, spokesperson for the State Department of Workforce Services is still encouraging the unemployed to file for an extension.

    "If Congress goes and approves an extension and makes it retroactive, we will already have the client's information," says Friedman.

    The controversy is over how Congress will pay for this bill. The fear is this will add to the nation's deficit.

    "Senator Bunning from Kentucky objected. It would have required a unanimous consent on the Senate floor, which means if someone objects, you can't move it," says U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln.

    Lincoln says it will affect those hit by the economy the hardest.

    "Those who have been out of work the longest will not be able to continue extension of benefits unless we are able to pass it relatively soon," says Lincoln.

    Those are words of encouragement for those who feel down during one of the toughest job markets.

    Bunning's objections center on the Pay-As-You-Go Law President Obama signed last month. It requires Congress to be able to pay for new spending up front rather than borrowing it.

    The extension program started in summer 2008.  Congress has reactivated the extensions twice. 


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