Unemployment benefits expired for thousands of Americans on Nov. 30, as Republicans and Democrats in the Senate continued to disagree on the terms of an extension.
According to media reports, Republicans rejected an 11th-hour proposal by Democrats that would have extended benefits for a year and would have cost the government $56 billion. GOP leaders said they would approve an extension only if the price tag was offset by savings allocated elsewhere in the Federal budget.
The Labor Department projects that approximately 8,400 Americans will have their unemployment benefits cut off by the end of week. If an extension is not finalized by the third week of December, about 1.36 million citizens will see their benefits end.
Senator Scott Brown (R-Mass.) said that the Democrats' proposal would have burdened future generations of Americans by adding to the national debt, according to Bloomberg. He added that Congressional leaders can find a better solution if they work together.
Mary Kay, the president of Service Employees International Union, called the end of the long-term unemployment benefits "a sad night in America." She urged Senate Republicans to accept the extension bill introduced by Democrats.
"Right now, there is only one job available for every five unemployed Americans. Until we create more jobs and get America back to work, Congress must do its part to help families in crisis," Kay said in a written statement.