Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky) argued that unemployment benefits shouldn't be extended for jobless Americans, saying they "do a disservice" to the unemployed.
"I do support unemployment benefits for the 26 weeks that they're paid for. If you extend it beyond that, you do a disservice to these workers," he said during an appearance on Fox News Sunday. "When you allow people to be on unemployment insurance for 99 weeks, you're causing them to become part of this perpetual unemployed group in our economy."
While Paul cited a study that suggested employers are less likely to hire workers who have been unemployed for many months, other studies have found that long-term benefits do not keep workers from seeking and finding employment. There are still approximately five workers for every open job, and the economy would need to add 8 million jobs to get back to pre-recession levels.
The approximately 1.3 million people who have been jobless for more than six months will lose their benefits on December 28 if Congress does not act to renew them.
As msnbc's Suzy Khimm reported earlier, Democrats have introduced bills that would extend the federal benefits for another year, which would add about $25 billion to the deficit, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The CBO estimates that a year-long extension would add about 200,000 jobs, given the stimulative effect of the money in people’s pockets.
President Obama urged Congress to pass an extension to unemployment benefits in his weekly address.