Senate set to debate merit of extending unemployment benefits - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Senate set to debate merit of extending unemployment benefits

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TYLER (KYTX) - There is new hope for many unemployed Americans -- whose federal benefits were cut in late December. Tuesday, a Senate vote opened up a debate on legislation that could extend federal benefits for three more months.

CBS 19's Katiera Winfrey explains what this step means for those who's benefits were cut.

About a week and a half ago, congress decided not to continue a  recession-era program for the unemployed. 

This applies to people who have received unemployment benefits for more than six months.

That decision  resulted in halting the distribution of federal funds to more than 1.3 million Americans.

The Senate vote will not automatically extend benefits, but it's another step toward it.

The Texas Workforce Solutions office in Tyler is always filled with people looking a job.

"I'd rather work than just draw unemployment...a lot of the things  you have to pay for and the things you need won't cover it, it won't  cover it."

Ella Prince is one of the 1.3 million Americans who's unemployment benefits have  or will be cut. Her funding is set to run out later this month.

"I never thought it would come to this."

In the run of a week, Prince makes several trips to the workforce office. She's still had not luck finding work.

"One of the things looking for a job is it is very stressful," said Workforce Solutions area manager Stephen Lynch.

He said, looking for a job is a job on its own.

"When an employer post an opening sometime there may be 100 people apply ing for that job and they may narrow it down..they may be the top  10 or top five and the level is so skilled at those jobs and it's very  competitive."

This legislation would extend unemployment benefits for another three months and job seekers are counting on congress to come through for them.

"I'm still concerned cause you don't know, it's just in the balance, you gotta keep on going forward and looking and hoping a door will open up for you," Prince said.

Austin Mosby has also been looking for work. Unlike Prince he's only been at it for a week and a half.

"Once you have a family and bills and other finances you have to pay  on so it can be impossible without a job," he said.

He sees how the extension could be beneficial for people still out of work months down the road.

"To give us a grace period where we can try to figure out what we can do."

Clearing the hurdle in the Senate is a huge victory for those supporting the push to reinstate benefits but it still has several steps to go before the unemployed could again tap into that three month extension.  

The next step is for this extension to be approved by the House, however, with a majority Republican House, a lot of convincing will need to happen for this to be voted through, and that's what Senators hope they can do through some upcoming debates they'll have on extending those benefits.

It will cost about $6.5 billion to extend benefits for three more months.

House speaker john Boehner said, he'll support the measure if, the move won't add more debt the already struggling American economy.
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