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Extended unemployment benefits ending this weekend for Missourians

Sen. Jim Lembke, R-Lemay, on April 13, 2010.
(via Flickr/ FiredUpMissouri)
Sen. Jim Lembke, R-Lemay, on April 13, 2010.

Extended unemployment benefits will end this Saturday for thousands of Missourians after the state Senate failed to reauthorize participation in a federal program.

St. Louis County senator Jim Lembke led the effort to block the 20-week extension of federal unemployment benefits, filibustering the legislation along with three other Republican senators.

Lembke said he did so in order to send a message to Washington that the federal government needs to rein in its spending.

But Missouri Budget Project director Amy Blouin says the loss of $105 million will hurt the state’s fiscal health.

“What happens when families don’t have that assistance is that they start not being able to pay rent or their mortgage, their utilities, or food, and that has a hit on the local economy,” Blouin said.

Blouin says about 10,000 Missourians will miss out on getting that extension this Saturday, which more than 66,000 residents could be affected by next year.

She says there is a chance the General Assembly could pass legislation and retroactively distribute the benefits.

Maria is the newscast, business and education editor for St. Louis Public Radio.