(CNN) - Kentucky Republican and potential 2016 presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul said Sunday extending unemployment benefits past what the U.S. federal government has already paid would be a "disservice" to workers.
"I do support unemployment benefits for the 26 weeks that they're paid for. If you extend it beyond that, you do a disservice to these workers," he said, appearing on "Fox News Sunday."
On December 28, unemployment benefits will expire for 1.3 million workers. In order for the jobless benefits to continue, lawmakers must extend the recession-era program by the end of the month. The Congressional Budget Office notes that if the benefits expire, the U.S. gross domestic product could fall 0.2 percentage points next year.
President Barack Obama and Democrats in recent weeks have ramped up efforts to pressure Congress to extend jobless benefits, and House Speaker John Boehner indicated that he's open to the legislation.
Paul, a tea party favorite who has long been opposed to unemployment benefits, pointed to a study that showed employers are less likely to hire the long-term unemployed.
White House: Extend jobless benefits
"When you allow people to be on unemployment insurance for 99 weeks, you're causing them to become part of this perpetual unemployed group in our economy. And it really - while it seems good, it actually does a disservice to the people you're trying to help," Paul said.
But the White House and Democrats say evidence shows that jobless benefits don't stop people from trying to find work. In his weekly address, Obama cited estimates by the Department of Labor and the Council of Economic Advisers that say failing to extend benefits could cost businesses 240,000 jobs.
“If Congress refuses to act, it won’t just hurt families already struggling - it will actually harm our economy. Unemployment insurance is one of the most effective ways there is to boost our economy," Obama said.
The monthly economic report released last week showed unemployment has fallen to its lowest level since November 2008, at 7%, and the economy added 203,000 jobs in November, showing steady but painfully slow economic progress. But 11 million Americans remain unemployed as the job market struggles to heal in the aftermath of the financial crisis.
Extending jobless benefits for another year would cost about $26 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Rand Paul has ideas to help out Detroit
Last week, Paul visited Detroit to lay out a plan to rescue the city, the largest in history to enter bankruptcy and with an unemployment rate at or greater than 1.5% of the national rate.
CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.
I don't think that Paul gets that people who are collecting (most of them I think) really want to get back to work but can't find what they want or fit their job skills. The "disservice" that Paul is talking about doesn't make sense. If these people could find matches to their job skills, then they wouldn't be unemployed would they?
Randy Paul is not very bright , kinda like Rick Perry .
This deluded, simplistic thinking is typical of low-information people lacking in compassion and looking for an easy fix. Rant and his followers are clueless when it comes to what it takes to create and maintain a civil society. Money is their god and they naively think unfettered capitalism brings out the best in people and somehow creates sustainable prosperity.
I recommend Rant and anyone who agrees with him to go live in a third-world country as an average person, born in modest or impoverished circumstances. He and they need to experience what it's like to live in a society as a non-member of the top 1% or 2% who own and control everything. Rant's philosophy is one of dog-eat-dog: I think he needs to find out what it's really like – by living it for a year or so – before he tries to foist it on everyone else.
@Tampa Tim: "It's the holiday season, why not let the hungry suffer. He is surely a worthless republican at heart. Can you imagine the joy he gets by letting children go hungry?"
His father should have named him Ebenezer.
What a joke, the guy doesn't want to help the unemployed with creating jobs and at the same time he doesn't want to help them with unemployment insurance which they paid for in unemployment tax. This is the same thing the repubes do with abortion rights. They want to get rid of abortions but at the same time they don't want to help the families they are forcing to have babies. Make up your mind repubes, which way do you want it because you can't have it both ways!!
Keep talking Rand. The dopey Guns Over People tea potty actually believe him.