UPDATE: Congress To Discuss Unemployment Benefits

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UPDATE 1/27/2014 5:00 PM

Congress is back from recess and on the agenda is a decision that is affecting over a million people: whether to extend the federal unemployment benefits.

Back in December Congress did not extend the benefits but kept it on the table, leaving many struggling through the month of January and possibly even longer.

Churches and food pantries are seeing the effects of that.

Congressman Bill Johnson says it is on their agenda but he does not know when they will discuss the issue - possibly later this week.

Johnson says they have already been extended multiple times.

For it to happen again they need a way to pay for them.

He says there is lots of waste and redundancy in the federal government that can be trimmed.

UPDATE 1/7/2014 4:45 PM

Find a way to pay for it.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin conditionally supports renewing extended unemployment benefits.

The Senate Tuesday unexpectedly voted to move forward with legislation backed by the White House to renew those benefits.

The House, however, says cuts should be made in other programs, so the additional benefits won't increase the federal budget deficit.

Manchin is going along with the extension, but adds he may not do so in the future.

"I will not vote for any more extensions, under any circumstances, that doesn't have a 'pay-for', if the economy is in the same condition it is now," he says. "We keep saying it's improving, the stock market is at a record, everything is going good in people's estimations, then we should get back to regular."

A half-dozen Republicans, including Ohio's Rob Portman, voted with the Democrats, coming up with the 60 votes needed to close debate on the measure.

Nearly 7,000 West Virginians who receive long-term federal unemployment benefits will be cut off at the end of the week

Without an extension, federal funding for the benefits will run out Saturday, December 28.

Workforce West Virginia estimates that could include more than 400 people in the Parkersburg area.

The benefits are available for people unemployed for at least 26 weeks.

But Workforce adds the benefits only apply to a small percentage of the unemployed the agency serves.

"Individuals receiving state compensation for 26 weeks are not affected by the change in federal compensation," says Beth Carenbauer, Acting Director for Unemployment Compensation. "I want to make it clear it is not an across-the-board situation."

Workforce West Virginia says it is contacting those whose federal emergency benefits will run out by the end of this week.

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