PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island's senior U.S. senator is calling on Congress to approve a compromise that would extend federal jobless benefits to the long-term unemployed.
Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Jack Reed and Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller said Thursday a bipartisan group of senators has reached a compromise to extend the emergency jobless benefit program for five months.
The deal would be retroactive to the end of last year. Reed says the expiration of the benefits on Dec. 28 has affected 2 million people in the U.S., including 8,000 in Rhode Island. He says Congress should pass "this essential, common sense legislation."
The federal program had since 2008 provided extra help to those who exhausted their regular state benefits.
Rhode Island's January unemployment rate was 9.2 percent.