More than 6 million Americans will run out of unemployment benefits starting in January if Congress doesn't move, with 1.8 million of those in January alone, CNNMoney reports. President Obama's American Jobs Act would extend the deadline to file for another year of benefits, but the Jobs Act is unlikely to get far in Congress. The $44 billion unemployment extension, which enjoys some bipartisan support, could potentially be separated from Obama's plan or tacked onto another bill in order to get passed before the end of the year.
Right now, the unemployed can receive federal benefits for up to 73 weeks after first receiving 26 weeks of state benefits. If the extension doesn't pass, those whose state benefits end in early January won't be able to apply for federal benefits; in addition, those receiving federal benefits will not be able to advance to the next "tier" of benefits. Federal emergency benefits have been increased or extended eight times since they began in June 2008, and some believed the most recent 13-month extension would be the final one.