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GOP opposes Democratic drive to renew jobless aid

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WASHINGTON — Republicans controlling the House oppose a drive by Democrats to renew jobless benefits averaging less than $300 a week nationwide for the long-term unemployed, a senior GOP lawmaker said Tuesday.

‘‘I don’t see much appetite on our side for continuing this extension of benefits,’’ said Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla. ‘‘I just don’t.’’

Benefits for 1.3 million long-term unemployed people expire just three days after Christmas. Lawmakers say another 1.9 million people would miss out on the benefits in the first six months of next year.

Democrats are pressing for legislation continuing a program in place since 2008 that gives federally paid benefits to jobless people after their 26 weeks of state benefits run out.

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