WASHINGTON, DC - Federal checks could be sent out as early as next week for the millions of jobless people who lost up to seven weeks of unemployment benefits, but not in Florida.
President Obama promised to sign in the legislation approved by Congress to restore the benefits to people who have been out of work for at least six months. This will end the congressional standoff that has prevented payments averaging $300 a week to about 2.5 million people. For most, benefits have been expired since June 2.
"Americans who are working day and night to get back on their feet and support their families in these tough economic times deserve more than obstruction and partisan game-playing," Obama said Wednesday night.
People will receive lump-sum back payments which will be electronically delivered to bank accounts or credited to state-issued debit cards. For some states, like New York, payments should be received as early as next week.
The House vote of 272-152 came back less than 24 hours after the Senate vote on Wednesday.
Most Republicans opposed the measure because it would add $34 billion to the national debt that has reached $13 trillion. Democrats countered by claiming economists say unemployment benefits boost the economy since most beneficiaries spend them immediately.
The program is being renewed through the end of November. The White House signaled earlier this week that another extension may be sought if the jobless rate remains high, as many expect.