LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Millions of unemployed Americans could lose their jobless benefits if Congress does not take action to extend the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program after November 30th.
Earlier this month the House of Representatives failed to pass a bill that would extend the unemployment insurance for the jobless individuals. If Congress does not take action on the issue by the end of the week, nearly 2 million people nationwide will lose their unemployment insurance by the year's end.
The possibility of Congress not extending the program is leaving some unemployed lake area residents unsure of where to turn next.
"Some people need it and without it would be tough," said Iris Perez, an unemployed resident of Lake Charles.
Perez has been jobless for almost 9 months. The unemployed resident feels the program should be extended because many lake area residents are in need of the help.
"I have no idea what I'm going to do if they don't extend it," said Perez. "I'm just hoping I'll find something before then."
U. S. Representative Charles Boustany, Jr. (R) said there are reasons why Congress failed to extend the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program.
"We all would like to extend it and take care of those who are struggling but we can't do that and pay for it in an irresponsible way," said Boustany.
Boustany said that extending the temporary program would add 12 billion dollars to an already existing 13 trillion dollar deficit for the year. The congressman also argues that President Obama's stimulus spending program is failing and that the only way to help the jobless is to get them back to work.
"These programs are meant to be temporary, because it's not an unlimited well of money," said Boustany. "So the best thing we can do for this economy is to take steps that will allow for folks to start hiring again."
Regardless of what Congress decides, Perez said she hopes to find a job soon in case if her unemployment benefits were to run out.
"You know if they don't extend it and I still haven't found a job, then it's going to be tough on me," said Perez. "There's a lot of people right now who are unemployed and some money is better than no money."