Congress Weighs Unemployment Benefits

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Earlier this month, a bill to extend benefits for three months for the long-term unemployed was defeated in Congress. The cost of extending benefits would have equaled roughly $12 billion.

But while Capitol Hill has thus far been unwilling to spend $12 billion for the unemployed, Republicans on the Hill have also announced their intention to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent of Americans. The price tag to do so for 2011? Roughly $36 billion.

We speak with Janet Hook, Congressional correspondent at the Wall Street Journal, to learn how Capitol Hill came to this decision point, who it will affect, and what the next moves will be.

We’re also joined by Eric. Eric — who asked that his last name not be used — is a construction and landscape worker who has been unemployed for the past year; his unemployment benefits just ran out this past weekend.