Federal unemployment extension to expire Sunday - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Federal unemployment extension to expire Sunday

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KENNEWICK, Wash.--  The U.S. Senate has been trying for weeks to extend federal unemployment insurance, but for thousands in the Tri-Cities without a job, they soon could lose that valuable help.

WorkSource in Kennewick is unusually busy this Friday with clients trying to find new work. 45-year-old James Vance is among the unemployed, losing his job as a truck driver.

"My job ended in October," he says. "I took a brief job as a yard manager and since then I have not had any luck finding any work."

Vance has less than a month to find a job before his state benefits end. For the past year and a half the U.S. government has extended those benefits for nearly fifty more weeks. But lawmakers couldn't agree to extend assistance another time; so on Sunday, the money will dry up, angering Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wa.)

"We have a responsibility not only to help these families," she says. "But we also need to understand if we don't help them these are families who won't be buying groceries, won't be able to put food on their table things that help keep other businesses whole."

After Sunday, those on state assistance won't get any more help after 26 weeks of benefits. Anyone on federal help will immediately lose their weekly checks. But WorkSource is staying optimistic an extension will come.

Congress in D.C. has finished debating the extension for the weekend. But Sen. Murray told KNDU today she hopes to have an extension by the end of next week.