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Unemployment benefits chart, showing how many people will lose benefits in 2013 if Congress does not act.

President Obama has incuded extending emergency unemployment benefits in his must-haves for a deal on the fiscal cliff curb, asking for $30 billion for the program. But, as the Center for American Progress argues, extending these benefits shouldn't be put off while a larger deal is in the works.

Extending emergency unemployment insurance will prevent 2 million Americans from being abruptly cut off from benefits in January and will lead to the creation of 300,000 additional jobs next year. [...]

If Congress does not extend emergency unemployment compensation before the end of the year, 2 million people will lose their benefits immediately and another 1 million Americans will lose their benefits early in 2013. As a result, according to an analysis by the National Employment Law Project, only one in four unemployed workers would be protected by unemployment insurance in 2013.

This is the one issue that argues against stepping off of the fiscal curb, the one that does need critical action. Though, as with every other component of the negotiations, could be dealt with retroactively and benefits replaced. But the administrative cost to states involved in the process of taking people off of the program and then adding them back on, not to mention the interruption in benefits to the millions relying on this insurance, argues for doing it now.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 10:06 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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