President Barack Obama made an urgent appeal to Republicans in the Senate to pass the unemployment extension bill that is pending in the upper house. The stand alone jobs bill is scheduled for a vote on the Senate floor on Tuesday.
The President made his appeal during his weekly address on the radio and online. Obama leveled criticisms against Senate Republicans whom he accused of blocking the legislation and preventing millions of jobless Americans from getting unemployment extension benefits.
Republicans have repeatedly blocked Senate action on the stand alone jobs bill citing the added burden it would put on the nation’s ballooning budget deficit.
The President called the Republicans’ tactics “mean” to the millions of jobless Americans. “For many,” he said, the unemployment extension benefits “was the only way to make ends meet while searching for work.”
President Obama also cited the impact of unemployment insurance on the economy citing that “most economists agree that extending unemployment insurance is one of the single most cost-effective ways to help jumpstart the economy,” he said. “It puts money into the pockets of folks who not only need it most, but who also are most likely to spend it quickly.”
Obama urged that the Senate treat the unemployment extension as an “emergency expenditure” as what Congress had done in the past noting that the country is still recovering from an “economic disaster.”
The President also called Congress to extend assistance to small businesses in creating jobs to offset the country’s high unemployment rate. He said the legislative body should act on proposals that seek to eliminate some capital gains taxes on investments, create a fund to help small lenders extend loans to small companies and to enhance existing, successful small business administration programs.
During the past several weeks, more than 2 million people have seen their unemployment benefits expire. In June, 125,000 workers lost their jobs and the unemployment rate hovered below double digits at 9.5 percent.
“We need to take new, commonsense steps to help small businesses, grow our economy, and create jobs,” the President pleaded. “And we need to take them now.”