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Braley, Loebsack Upset Over End to Unemployment Benefits

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Both Eastern Iowa Congressmen have strong words for Friday's expiration of federal emergency unemployment benefits, which will affect about 4,000 Iowans.

Iowa Workforce Development has notified recipients of the Federal Unemployment Compensation program that Congress has not extended the program.

This expiration does not affect Iowans who receive regular unemployment benefits from the state.

At one point as many as 30,000 Iowans were receiving the federal benefits. But that number has since dropped as more people found work.

Much of the battle over this is coming from Congress and whether it will fund these benefits -- part of the emergency program that will expire as part of a budget deal.

The question now is, will Congress step in and find the money to keep those payments going?

This program was started in 2008 by President George W. Bush as a safety net at the start of the recession.

On Friday, Congressman Bruce Braley of Iowa's First District called it "irresponsible that Congress left town without acting to help these families stay on their feet." Braley called for Congress to act immediately to restore unemployment insurance next month.

Dave Loebsack of the Second District called expiration "beyond irresponsible" and said this benefit provides a critical lifeline for those hit hard by the economy.

Both Braley and Loebsack are Democrats in their 4th term in Congress.

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