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On Saturday, an estimated 1.3 million long-term unemployed Americans will lose their unemployment insurance benefits. For the first time since 2008, Congress failed to extend the benefits went it passed a budget just before Christmas. The Obama Administration has warned that more than 4 million unemployed could lose benefits next year unless Congress passes another extension.

In the past, states provided unemployed workers with up to 26 weeks of benefits. At the start of the recession, the federal government provided extra weeks of assistance. During the depths of the recession, federal and state governments provided 99 weeks of cash payments. For those keeping score at home, that is almost 2 years of financial assistance. The average benefit is around $1,100 a month.

The expiration of benefits for the long-term unemployed has already sparked a round of finger-pointing in Washington. On Friday, the left-wing Huffington Post put much of the blame on Democrats. “The record indicates that Democrats were late to show up, distracted in part by other concerns,” HuffPo reported. “A month and a half before the deadline, few members of Congress or administration officials were even talking about unemployment insurance.”

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