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Unemployed US citizens are now a step closer to having their unemployment benefits restored.

Before the financial crisis hit in 2007, benefits expired after 26 weeks of unemployment. Congress then expanded the programme to cover up to 99 weeks.

On Tuesday, the US Senate approved extending the unemployment benefits programme through November.
Although a key victory for Obama, the $34bn bill will add to an already bloated national deficit of $13tn - money that the US government theoretically owes.

But behind these arguments perhaps a broader philosophical question about the nature of government itself and to what extent it should intervene in economies.

Is the Obama administration interventionist? And in an election year to what extent is the move politically motivated?

Inside Story, with presenter Mike Hanna, discusses with guests: John Feehery, a Republican strategist, Christian Weller, a senior fellow at the Centre for American Progress and an associate professor of public policy at the University of Massachusetts, and Arthur Delaney, a reporter for the Huffington Post.

This episode of Inside Story aired from Wednesday, July 21, 2010.

Source: Al Jazeera