COMING SOON–ROUND TWO

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FYI: Advocates for the federal emergency unemployment insurance program that is set to begin phasing out in May are gearing up for yet another round of battles over if and how to extend it. Congress opened up a budgetary and political can of worms for itself last spring when it created the program to help states deal with ballooning unemployment rolls. Legislators crafted the program to expire last December, but with the jobless ranks still growing Congress was forced to extend it through May. That decision came only after a prolonged, bitter political fight–one that the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities says will have to reopen soon. In a new report, CBPP says that more than half of the 4.7 million people who have received benefits from the program hadn’t found work when their 26-week benefit period ended; an estimated one million of those people still have no work today. [3/12/03]