Millions of Americans will lose their unemployment benefits

Millions of Americans will be losing their unemployment benefits.

Lawmakers in Congress failed to extend an emergency federal program for the jobless assistance scheme. 

The jobless assistance scheme was originally introduced by the Bush administration in 2008. The scheme provided jobless people with a monthly benefit of $1,166 – for up to 73 weeks.

In total the scheme costs around  $25 billion per year. According to Republicans, the scheme is far too expensive to keep up.

However, there are those in government who strongly argue that the scheme that provides unemployment benefits to millions of families across America helps prevent them from falling into poverty.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said:

“The president said his administration would, as it has for several weeks now, push Congress to act promptly and in bipartisan fashion to address this urgent economic priority.”

The stalemate in Congress will cut 1.3 million people from unemployment benefits. 

Despite unemployment figures improving, falling to 7 percent in November (the lowest in 5 years), there are over 4 million people across the US who have been out of work for more than 6 months.

The US Congress is in deadlock because the Republicans control the lower house and the Democrats control the upper house. As a result, disagreements between the two parties simply puts everything on hold.

This is not the first time that a deadlock in Congress has had serious consequences.

Only months ago the U.S. government shutdown because the lower house did not approve on a budget for 2014.