WASHINGTON D.C. (WOIO) - President Obama signed the Emergency Unemployment Benefits bill Thursday evening. It's a lifeline for some, but some critics are calling it welfare.
This applies to people who've burned through their basic unemployment...and it will keep checks coming through the end of November.
In Washington, the debate has been over how to pay for it.
The extended benefits package comes as a huge relief to more than 2 million Americans who's unemployment checks ran out.
Republicans demanded budget cuts to pay for the program. In the end, reluctantly agreed to add another 34 billion dollars to the deficit.
Economics Professor John Burke hates debt, but with so many people out of work, he says the economy needs a kick start. "Those people need that money… it's hard to get a job. What is it, five people looking for one job in our economy today, that's tough."
Some argue that extending unemployment benefits will simply allow more job seekers to sit on the sidelines and collect checks. "There's always people that take advantage of the system but the majority of people are not likely to take advantage of the system and 99% are going to be helped out" says Burke.
Professor Burke says the nation just "can't forget" to pay down the deficit when the economy picks up.