The Senate failed Tuesday to pass legislation to continue eligibility for federal unemployment benefits for one year.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., who introduced the Unemployment Insurance Stabilization Act on Monday, vowed to keep fighting to help strengthen the economy and help jobless workers by continuing federal unemployment insurance benefits. 

Extended unemployment benefits expired Tuesday, and unless Congress acts, federal unemployment benefits will be terminated – leading almost 800,000 out-of-work Americans to lose these critical benefits by the end of next week and two million Americans to by the end of the year.

“Extending these benefits is crucial for our economy and for those who’ve lost their jobs through no fault of their own,” said Baucus in a statement. “Taking away these benefits only places greater strain on out-of-work Americans already struggling to put food on the table and provide for their families, especially during this holiday season, and drives down consumer spending which weakens our economy.  We need to act now to continue these unemployment insurance benefits to give the Americans looking for work – and our economy – the certainty and support they 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 were 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.

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