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How the Tax Cut-Unemployment Insurance Deal Affects Federal Unemployment Benefits

The compromise between President Obama and Republican leaders would extend federal emergency unemployment insurance (UI) through the end of next year.

As I’ve explained, the duration of UI benefits for unemployed workers searching for jobs was sharply curtailed when the federal UI program expired at the end of November.  The map below shows the maximum number of weeks available in each state:


If Congress enacts the compromise legislation, this map will brighten considerably, and the 2 million workers who are running out of their UI benefits this month will be pulled out of limbo.

To be sure, the compromise has some deeply disturbing features.  But Congress should approve it anyway because in our opinion it is better for unemployed workers and the economy than anything Congress is likely to pass in its place.