ARUN RATH, HOST:
Also this week, there was more tough news for Americans who rely on federal unemployment benefits.
At the end of last year, Congress failed to extend Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which helps the long-term unemployed. And on December 28th, about 1.3 million people lost benefits.
This week, members of Congress brought the program back up for debate, but they could not agree on how to pay for the benefits. And each week, the number of people losing their unemployment checks grows. They're watching Congress closely.