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WASHINGTON (AP) Democrats on Capitol Hill have launched a drive to renew jobless benefits averaging less than $300 a week nationwide for people out of work for more than six months.

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.

At issue are federally paid benefits available to out of work people after 26 weeks of state benefits run out. They've typically been offered during period of high unemployment and have been in place since 2008, though fewer weeks of extended jobless benefits are available than in prior years.

It's not clear whether the latest effort to extend the benefits will succeed as previous efforts have.