ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has written a letter signed by 13 other Democratic governors urging Congress to extend unemployment insurance benefits.

O’Malley, a Democrat, told reporters Wednesday in Annapolis that the nation’s economy will be hurt if unemployment benefits are not extended.

The legislation would restore benefits averaging $256 weekly to the estimated 1.3 million long-term jobless Americans who were cut off on Dec. 28. The three-month cost to the Treasury is estimated at $6.4 billion.

If Congress doesn’t act, hundreds of thousands more will feel the impact in the months ahead as their state-funded benefits expire, generally after 26 weeks.

Legislation to renew the benefits headed toward gridlock Wednesday as Democrats objected to Republican demands to offset the cost so deficits don’t rise.

The other governors are from Vermont, Delaware, Hawaii, California, Illinois, Connecticut, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Oregon, Washington, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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