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More than a million Americans will lose federal unemployment benefits starting Saturday morning.

It's about $300 a week and is something the federal government says they can't afford.

But it's also an amount people here in Northeast Ohio say they can't live without.

"It's a mainstay. With all the cuts that are going and robbing Peter to pay Paul, it's becoming difficult," says Corneall Ingraham.

Unemployment benefits is how he makes ends meet, at least until he can get his career up and running again.

"I'm in manufacturing, but I'm going back to school for retraining," says Ingraham.

But now a federal cushion in the form of long term unemployment insurance will disappear. That means an average weekly pay cut of $300 for most Americans. It's funding that kicked in once state benefits ran out.

Saturday's cut off will initially affect 1.3 million people. Another 1.9 million more will lose benefits by the middle of next year when their 26 weeks of state paychecks run out.

Economists say this could slow the country's economic recovery.

On the other side, opponents say it's time to end the program now that unemployment has fallen to 7 percent.

Congress was working until the eleventh hour to pass an extension, but couldn't come to an agreement.

NBC says according to a new poll, 55 percent of Americans want these benefits extended. Only 33 percent don't.

EXTENDED COVERAGE:How unemployment benefit cuts will affect your state

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