White House: Expiration of jobless benefits a blow

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration says the expiration of federal unemployment benefits on Saturday is a blow to the economy and to families.

The White House says it is disappointed Congress failed to extend the long-term benefits before leaving for the holidays.

Gene Sperling heads the White House's National Economic Council. Sperling says the expiration defies economic sense.

Sperling says the Senate will hold a vote as soon as Congress returns on a three-month extension proposed by two senators — one Democrat, one Republican. The White House is calling on Congress to pass it quickly.

An estimated 1.3 million people will be cut off when cash payments end Saturday. The federal program takes over after short-term state unemployment benefits run out.