Congress looks at unemployment relief

People stand in line for a resume review at a job fair in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

TEXT OF STORY

Stacey Vanek-Smith: Economic Stimulus is the topic du jour on Capital Hill as well. Democrats in Congress are working on a plan to bolster government spending on infrastructure. Danielle Karson reports.


Danielle Karson: The Democrats want more spending on bridges and transportation. The GOP isn't ruling out a second stimulus package, so long as it doesn't tack on a huge public works program. But both parties do agree on one subject.

Maurice Emsellem: There's actually pretty good bi-partisan support for extending unemployment benefits. People understand the economy is in really rough shape, and could become much more serious in the next couple of months.

Maurice Emsellem is with the National Employment Law Project. He says the House proposal would extend unemployment benefits from 13 to 20 weeks. Workers in states with unemployment above 6-percent would get 26 weeks.

Emsellem: We're expecting that number to go up, perhaps as high as 15 states with unemployment above 6 percent, or close to 6.5 percent.

If Congress does nothing, more than 800-thousand workers will run out of unemployment benefits in less than two weeks.

In Washington, I'm Danielle Karson for Marketplace.

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