National

Sep 22, 2009 7:23 PM by Associated Press

House votes to extend jobless benefits

The House has voted to provide another 13 weeks of unemployment benefits to workers in those states hardest hit by the prolonged economic downturn.

The Washington Democrat who sponsored the bill, Rep. Jim McDermott, says it could help more than 300,000 jobless workers expected to lose their unemployment compensation by the end of September.

The legislation, if also approved by the Senate, could also prevent more than 1 million in danger of exhausting their benefits by the end of the year.

The length of unemployment benefits is already at a record level, reaching up to 79 weeks in states with high unemployment.

McDermott's bill extends benefits in the 27 states where the unemployment rate is 8.5 percent or higher.

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