The state is alerting about a fifth of those workers currently receiving unemployment that they could lose their benefits if Congress doesn't act by December 29th.  The state government mailed letters to around 45-thousand unemployed residents yesterday telling them their benefits could end if Congress fails to renew a program in place since 2008.

The federal program provides benefits to those who have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more, and has been renewed ten times in the past four years.  However, the program might be allowed to expire as lawmakers debate federal budget priorities while trying balance spending, tax increases and the ballooning deficit.