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Unemployment bill clears Senate

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RALEIGH — A bill that would extend unemployment benefits for those who have been out of work for over six months has been stalled for weeks in the senate because of a republican filibuster. On Tuesday, a new democrat was sworn in and the vote had a new life.

The Senate voted 60-40 approved the extension. This decision is getting mixed reviews in North Carolina. The Employment Security Commission said around 146,000 people could have been affected by the current lapse in coverage. Some say with numbers like this, it is directly affecting the state's economy.

“Those families have likely curtailed their spending, have struggled to pay bills and have struggled to really seek a job because so many financial resources are needed to be out there and looking for work,” said Alexdra Forter Sirota, of the North Carolina Justice Center. “

But at the conservative John Locke Foundation there is a different view.

“All of the research that I've seen on it says the longer you extend benefits, the longer people stay unemployed,” said Joseph Colletti, of the Foundation.

He said while some people may truly need these unemployment insurance extensions, he believes some are taking advantage of them.

“You take a look at people who are in two earner families and one person is unemployed—and they're more than happy to take some extra unemployment time and wait until they can find the exact job they want or the job that pays enough,” said Colletti.

Supporters say the state would lose billions of dollars in economic activity if the bill fails. This bill is expected to be voted on in the House on Wednesday and then sent to the President's desk for final approval

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