Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The head of the Idaho Department of Labor is urging lawmakers to resist the urge to extend unemployment benefits again. Labor Department Director Roger Madsen made his appeal in a letter sent to Congress and state lawmakers Monday and in advance of Thursday's congressional hearing on unemployment insurance. Madsen says he's concerned about unemployed Idahoans. But he says state business owners need to regain confidence in the program — and the best way to do that is to better manage the federal budget. He says the goal of the department is getting people working so they can receive a paycheck instead of monthly benefits. Since the recession's start, an estimated 150,000 Idaho workers have received more than $750 million in federal extended benefits beyond the basic 10 to 26 weeks. You can read Madsen's full letter here.