Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., introduced legislation Monday to continue for one year eligibility for federal unemployment insurance benefits for jobless workers.

Without this reauthorization, almost 800,000 out-of-work Americans will lose these critical benefits by the end of next week and 2 million Americans will by the end of the year, Baucus noted.

“Unemployment benefits are the only lifeline many workers in Montana and across the nation have left in this tough economy,” Baucus said in a statement.  “These benefits help millions of Americans put food on the table and roofs over their heads – pumping money into our economy and helping to create jobs.  Continuing the program for a year will provide the certainty our economy and these Americans looking for work need.”

The United States Department of Labor reports that for every dollar spent on unemployment insurance, two dollars are reinvested in the economy.  Earlier this year, Baucus fought to pass the current funding continuation after a longer-term reauthorization of the benefits, which was included as part of a larger package to create jobs and provide tax cuts to businesses and families, was repeatedly blocked from moving forward on the Senate floor.

Earlier this month, the House failed to pass an unemployment extension bill (see House Fails to Pass Unemployment Extension).

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