Congress Sends Bush Unemployment Compensation & Unemployment Benefits Extension

The U.S. Senate has approved a measure that would give an extra 13 weeks of unemployment benefit extension to the approximately 1.55 million unemployed workers who exhaust their regular 26 weeks of unemployment benefits.

To qualify for the extended unemployment compensation, jobless workers need to have worked 20 weeks or its equivalent before being laid off. Democrats had sought to strip that from the bill, saying it would keep 10 percent of the unemployed from getting government aid, but Republicans argued the restriction prevents people from working for days and then receiving months of unemployment compensation.

The unemployment benefit extension, part of an Iraq-war funding bill, has an estimated cost of more than $8 billion; it now goes to President Bush, who is expected to sign the legislation.