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Out of Work, Out of Benefits
By Danielle Leigh
(NBC News) A life line for more than one million Americans who have been without work for more than six months expires Saturday.
The extension of long term unemployment benefits failed to make its way into the bipartisan budget bill signed by President Obama Thursday night.
The benefits average around $300 a week and for the people losing that cash flow it's going to hurt.
"Once their state benefits run out and that's enable them to you know pay their mortgages, pay for heating, buy food, those benefits will come to an abrupt end," said Christine Owens of the National Employment Law Project.
Economists warn the cuts won't just hurt the unemployed. It could slow the entire country's economic recovery.
The group Americans united for change is out with an ad attacking republicans who largely opposed extending the benefits as part of the budget deal reached this month.
In January senators are expected to vote on a bill that would extend the benefits for three months.
But many republicans are already promising to oppose it.
"If people think we need two years of unemployment insurance they should come forward and say we want to raise the taxes and contributions of employers and employees," said Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul.
Critics of the unemployment extension say the economy is improving and worry continuing these benefits will only increase dependency on the government.
According to a new poll, 55 percent of Americans want congress to extend the benefits only 33 percent do not.