Will jobless in NC get extended unemployment? - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Will jobless in NC get extended unemployment?

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Democrats on Capitol Hill are fighting to get unemployment benefits restored for more than a million out-of-work Americans.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday he thinks the bill will pass, even though most Republicans remain opposed because it would add to the deficit.

The bill also has major implications for the long-term unemployed here in North Carolina. It includes a provision specifically for benefits in our state.

The provision would allow North Carolina to once again get benefits for the long-term jobless. The state legislature opted out last summer as a way to repay debt to the federal government. But, they're not guaranteed, even if Congress approves them.

The state would still have to go along with the measure.

And so even though all eyes have been on President Obama and Congress as they hash out the pros and cons of providing long-term unemployment, the decision on whether to make those benefits available locally is actually in the hands of Governor Pat McCrory.

So far, McCrory hasn't said what he'll do, but he does have a recent history of refusing federal aid.

Last year, Congress set aside funds to send to those states agreeing to extend Medicaid health insurance to their poor, but McCrory rejected them. And he was one of the first governors in the country to put a stop to extended unemployment in 2013, passing up the federal funds that went along with them.

When it comes to unemployment, federal money is not free, and all along McCrory has said he will work to pay off North Carolina's debts to Uncle Sam as quickly as possible. The state owes the federal government over $2 billion for past unemployment payouts.

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