An effort to let Missourians apply for extended unemployment benefits for an indefinite amount of time is on a fast track at the Capitol.

When Congress passed the Defense Appropriation bill on December 19th, it allowed people to apply for extended jobless benefits through the end of February. But Msisour’s law passed last year had a December cutoff date.

The state labor department wants the law changed so the benefits are available for as long as the federal government pays 100 percent of them. Department Director Larry Rebman says an open-ended approach will keep the department and lawmakers from revisitng the issue if the federal government approves another extension. He desvribes the legislation as “basically a blank check for the extended benefit program,” meaning the program would continue as long as Congress pays 100% of the benefits.

Rebman says there are indications that Congress might approve still another extension before the current February 28th deadline. He says more than 25-thousand Missourians have received extended benefits since the middle of February last year, when the earlier extension was approved.

AUDIO: Bob Priddy’s story :63 mp3

AUDIO: Committee meeting (some Representatives are off-mic) 28:52 mp3