18,000 Kentuckians lose unemployment benefits - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

18,000 Kentuckians lose unemployment benefits

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - At least 18,000 Kentuckians were cut off from extended unemployment insurance because Congress left for vacation without renewing it.

Long-term jobless benefits expired Saturday for an estimated 1.3 million Americans, including 18,000 Kentucky residents and more than 19,000 Hoosiers who will no longer receive unemployment checks that average $1,000 a month.

The federal unemployment benefits were dropped from a recent budget deal.

In January, senators will vote whether to extend benefits for three months. Even if a bill passes the House may not go along.

"Whether Speaker Boehner allows it to come to the floor for a vote is the real critical issue. If it comes to the floor I suspect it will pass. There are a lot of republicans who wouldn't want to cast a vote against extending unemployment benefits, particularly in states like Ohio, Michigan and some other states where there's very large unemployment," Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Louisville) said.

Some in Congress like Rep. Yarmuth wanted to extend the long-term help, but opponents question if it's even helping.

Republican lawmakers have balked at the $26 billion annual cost. "I am worried about the workers. Not that I think they become bad people by being unemployed longer, but the longer they're unemployed the less likely they are to ever get a job again," Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said during a recent interview with NBC News.

Congress reconvenes January 6, 2014.

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