COLUMBIA — South Carolina House members want to force the state’s unemployment agency to restore and expand in-person help at 17 rural offices.

A budget amendment approved Monday separated $1.5 million of the agency’s federal money onto a separate line.

Democratic Rep. Ted Vick of Chesterfield says he will offer a second amendment Tuesday directing the agency to resume the face-to-face help with unemployment benefits that ended Feb. 15.

Vick’s amendments would also more than triple the offices’ former work force.

Agency officials have said only seven of the 17 rural offices offered help with jobless benefits five days a week. The eight jobs eliminated cut roughly $400,000 from the agency’s budget.

Sixty-seven other positions were cut.

Legislative outrage over the consolidation culminated with the resignation of agency director Abraham Turner.