CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee - The deadline for congress to keep the country from going off the fiscal cliff is less than two days away and that has many people worried about their financial future.
Chattanooga resident, Limont Putnam is one of them. WDEF caught up with Putnam at the Career Center as he was filling out a job application. Putnam recently lost his job and is now seeking unemployment benefits to help pay the bills.
"I'm doing the very best to try and find something out here," said Putnam
Putnam sympathizes with other's in his position, especially those who have exhausted their state unemployment benefits and are now depending on federal extension money. Checks from the federal government may stop coming in if congress doesn't pass legislation to continue those extensions.
"if I was a member of congress, I don't think I could go on holidays and enjoy myself knowing that there was so much on the table for people across the nation," said Putnam.
In Chattanooga, it's estimated more than 260,000 people make up the labor force. A little more than 247,000 people are employed. More than 16,000 people are unemployed. Department of Labor communication director, Jeff Hentschel said the situation is scary when you consider the number of people depending on federal unemployment checks.
"In the Chattanooga area, we're looking at close to 1,500 people that are affected but state wide we're looking at 30,000 people who's benefits will expire at the end of this year," Hentschel said.
So if congress doesn't strike a deal and you're one of the thousands of people currently receiving a federal extension. You're probably wondering what should you do while still looking for a job.
"We encourage people to keep certifying so that if these benefits are started back up, we can start their benefits very quickly, otherwise we would have to talk with them. They would have to call into the department and verify that they've been unemployed during this hiatus, Hentschel said.
If congress allows the deadline to pass with no deal to keep the country from going off a fiscal cliff, taxes on just about everyone is expected to increase.
WDEF talked with several people at a local grocery store who were outraged at both congress and the Obama administration for not handling the countries financial problems much sooner.
"it's frustrating because it should be done. It should not have been this long and should not have been thought about twice. It should have been approved from the beginning," said Eddie Austin as he got out of his car.
"I think it's should be embarrassing to this congress and the white house that it has taken this long to resolve the problem," said Pat Brock just before entering the store.
"It's a shame that we're in this mess in the first place but I do think people are dragging their feet. We should be getting some things done," said Sandy Webb after packing away her groceries.
"I am really worried about it a lot . I don't feel like the people we have in Washington actually understand how hard it is for everyday people like us to pay our bills. We depend on that money," said Sharon Gray as she sat on the back bumper of her hatchback.
The deadline for a deal is New Years day.