July 17th, 2010
08:01 AM ET
4 years ago

Obama blasts GOP for blocking economic proposals

(CNN) – President Barack Obama is using his weekly radio and internet address to criticize Republicans for what he says is obstruction of policies that will aide small businesses and boost the economy.

“Too often, the Republican leadership in the United States Senate chooses to filibuster our recovery and obstruct our progress. And that has very real consequences,” said Obama.

“A lot of small businesses still have trouble getting the loans and capital they need to keep their doors open and hire new workers. So we proposed steps to get them that help: Eliminating capital gains taxes on investments. Establishing a fund for small lenders to help small businesses. Enhancing successful SBA programs that help them access the capital they need,” he added.

Obama also blasted Republicans for blocking efforts to extend the time unemployed Americans can receive government benefits.

“Some Republican leaders actually treat this unemployment insurance as if it’s a form of welfare,” he said. “They say it discourages folks from looking for work. Well, I’ve met a lot of folks looking for work these past few years, and I can tell you, I haven’t met any Americans who would rather have an unemployment check than a meaningful job that lets you provide for your family.”

Before last month, out-of-work Americans were eligible for extensions once they maxed out at 26 weeks of state benefits. Depending on the state, people could qualify for up to 73 weeks of federal benefits - a total of 99 weeks. But, citing deficit concerns, Senate Republicans blocked the extension with a 57-14 vote before the July 4 holiday.

Full Transcript:

This week, many of our largest corporations reported robust earnings – a positive sign of growth.

But too many of our small business owners and those who aspire to start their own small businesses continue to struggle, in part because they can’t get the credit they need to start up, grow, and hire. And too many Americans whose livelihoods have fallen prey to the worst recession in our lifetimes – a recession that cost our economy eight million jobs – still wonder how they’ll make ends meet.

That’s why we need to take new, commonsense steps to help small businesses, grow our economy, and create jobs – and we need to take them now.

For months, that’s what we’ve been trying to do. But too often, the Republican leadership in the United States Senate chooses to filibuster our recovery and obstruct our progress. And that has very real consequences.

Consider what that obstruction means for our small businesses – the growth engines that create two of every three new jobs in this country. A lot of small businesses still have trouble getting the loans and capital they need to keep their doors open and hire new workers. So we proposed steps to get them that help: Eliminating capital gains taxes on investments. Establishing a fund for small lenders to help small businesses. Enhancing successful SBA programs that help them access the capital they need.

But again and again, a partisan minority in the Senate said “no,” and used procedural tactics to block a simple, up-or-down vote.

Think about what these stalling tactics mean for the millions of Americans who’ve lost their jobs since the recession began. Over the past several weeks, more than two million of them have seen their unemployment insurance expire. For many, it was the only way to make ends meet while searching for work – the only way to cover rent, utilities, even food.

Three times, the Senate has tried to temporarily extend that emergency assistance. And three times, a minority of Senators – basically the same crowd who said “no” to small businesses – said “no” to folks looking for work, and blocked a straight up-or-down vote.

Some Republican leaders actually treat this unemployment insurance as if it’s a form of welfare. They say it discourages folks from looking for work. Well, I’ve met a lot of folks looking for work these past few years, and I can tell you, I haven’t met any Americans who would rather have an unemployment check than a meaningful job that lets you provide for your family. And we all have friends, neighbors, or family members who already knows how hard it is to land a job when five workers are competing for every opening.

Now in the past, Presidents and Congresses of both parties have treated unemployment insurance for what it is – an emergency expenditure. That’s because an economic disaster can devastate families and communities just as surely as a flood or tornado.

Suddenly, Republican leaders want to change that. They say we shouldn’t provide unemployment insurance because it costs money. So after years of championing policies that turned a record surplus into a massive deficit, including a tax cut for the wealthiest Americans, they’ve finally decided to make their stand on the backs of the unemployed. They’ve got no problem spending money on tax breaks for folks at the top who don’t need them and didn’t even ask for them; but they object to helping folks laid off in this recession who really do need help. And every day this goes on, another 50,000 Americans lose that badly needed lifeline.

Well, I think these Senators are wrong. We can’t afford to go back to the same misguided policies that led us into this mess. We need to move forward with the policies that are leading us out of this mess.

The fact is, most economists agree that extending unemployment insurance is one of the single most cost-effective ways to help jumpstart the economy. It puts money into the pockets of folks who not only need it most, but who also are most likely to spend it quickly. That boosts local economies. And that means jobs.

Increasing loans to small business. Renewing unemployment insurance. These steps aren’t just the right thing to do for those hardest hit by the recession – they’re the right thing to do for all of us. And I’m calling on Congress once more to take these steps on behalf of America’s workers, and families, and small business owners – the people we were sent here to serve.

Because when storms strike Main Street, we don’t play politics with emergency aid. We don’t desert our fellow Americans when they fall on hard times. We come together. We do what we can to help. We rebuild stronger, and we move forward. That’s what we’re doing today. And I’m absolutely convinced that’s how we’re going to come through this storm to better days ahead.

Thanks.


Filed under: Economy • President Obama
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Jim C

    I have supported President Obama since he came to office. I appreciate his help, his ideas, and the understanding what its like for all the people who have no income and no prospects for jobs at this point. Im amazed republicans say we are just lazy and dont want jobs, to all of you who feel that way I say, NOBODY can afford to STAY on unemployment grants. Theres just not enough to pay the bills period. Come together and do something about creating jobs in this country so we can support our families and ourselves and get off unemployment. That is what we all want! That is what we need, but in the meantime, help us at least eat & maintain our health so we CAN go to work.

    July 17, 2010 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  2. MONUMENTAL TRUTH!

    The idiot doesn't realize that he is wrong. All he wants is his way. And that is what Bin Laden wants him to do.

    July 17, 2010 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  3. ToldUSo

    Yeah because all Obama's economic plans to date has been soooo darn helpful to the economy!

    The stimulus that was suppose to fix the economy, in Obama's own words, (remember that?), only allowed states and local govt. to bankroll their deficit spending. So I guess the GOP should just let him continue with his stupid, inept policies? Face it Obama does not know what he is doing. His policies thus far have not helped the economy, it has made it worse!

    Say all the spin u want – such as "if we did not pass the stimulus we would have a depression" crap all day, but this president is the most incompetent moron! Obama and his admin are clueless!

    July 17, 2010 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  4. ToldUSo

    I think Obama is reporting on China's economy and not the US. Did he not see that consumer confidence is down!!!! Retail r sales down! Stock Market down!!! The only things going up are unemployment and Obama's DISAPPROVAL ratings!!!

    Yep, Obama's is finally the "intelletual" President!

    July 17, 2010 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  5. ToldUSo

    Excuse me!!?? U have a majority in both houses! How can the GOP block anything??

    I guess people are that stupid to believe this moron!

    July 17, 2010 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  6. Moderate

    About time you started hitting these guys back

    July 17, 2010 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  7. JD

    You can't blame everything on the previous administration when you are now well into the fourth year of controlling budgets and spending. That's right folks FOUR, and President Obama was a big player every year. Technically six since the numbers swung towards Democrats starting in '04. You want to see someone who perfected blocking "up/down" votes? His picture is at the top of this article.

    As for President Obama's economic policies?? His supporters, especially the big players in the variuos industries, are uncomfortable with his direction. He should focus on them.

    And as for people who turn their back on others, once again, the individual pictured at the top of this page isn't someone I would be taking advice from. His whole agenda is based on emotionally moving Americans to strike out against other Americans for some percieved injustice.

    July 17, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  8. ib

    If you don't go along with HIS AGENDA you get blasted. Now everyone bow and do as he says.

    July 17, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  9. Biased

    Democrats refuse to uphold their Paygo rules they signed into law and refuse to use stimulus money as the republicans suggested and they would have passed it long ago if not for democrats themselves. Pelosi herself said on national tv that unemployment checks were the biggest stimulus there ever was to create jobs yet now they refuse stimulus funds. Was she telling us a lie then or is she telling us a lie now? The Obama admin. could have helped small banks and businesses ages ago if they followed up on their TARP fund use but they went after more control of the big institutions instead. Their mortgage relief help is a failure with more homes under foreclosure than ever. Remember democrats had a majority and could have passed anything and everything they wanted yet couldn't get their own democrats on board, so now is more excuses against the "bogey man" and let's blame them even though they had no control or power to stop us from doing anything. This blame game is getting boring and shows a lack of leadership unwilling to be accountable for its own actions or lack there of. The promised change in tone in Washington is going from bad to worse.

    July 17, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  10. Hannah

    Hit them back, they deserve it. The battle goes on in Washington and I hope the good guys win; the Democrats. Republicans work for the rich and they are more than okay. It's time for us, the middle class to be represented. Never vote Republican if you are a working person. Never.

    July 17, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  11. Mike Hunt

    The words "GOP" and "Leadership" should never be used in the same sentence. Unless you are a lying Faux News "reporter" of course.

    July 17, 2010 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  12. SethC

    I cannot believe what I am reading, I am a small business owner who tried to get a loan with Chase, low and behold they said no! We have been in business for over 23 years. Have a good record, and all we were asking for was 20,000.00 for cash flow. Unbelievable, this is not a true story!

    July 17, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  13. Baker in SD

    Again, here we go with the constant obstruction. And why people would support the GOP is beyond me. Do they hate us small business people? I think the answer's been blatantly "yes" all along. NO on GOP! Obama, keep doing what you can to push this stuff through....yes PUSH HARDER! Let them see red if they don't like it. Most of us want to get this economy rolling so what they trashed can be rebuilt.

    July 17, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  14. Larry

    Republicans have practiced obstructionist politics for the last two years.

    They are filibustering every bill that comes to the senate floor, and we're tired of it.

    July 17, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  15. nena

    My family has known the U.S. of America as our only home for many generations so I can say that we've seen the evolution of our country. We have seen how Democrats and Republicans work, who they inspire and who they help out. The Democrats have always been the compassionate party, they've always worked for "The People", for all Americans, while the Republicans have ALWAYS worked for the wealthy. They take very good care of big corporations, preferably the Big Oil Corporations. America, wake up, Fire all Republican politicians that refuse to get to work. They only get in the way of progress. Stay home all you lazy Republicans, WE DON'T NEED YOU, YOU'RE THE PROBLEM MAKERS, THE WHINERS AND COMPLAINERS. We want people that have faith and believe that America can move forward.

    July 17, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  16. Marty, FL

    Americans from all walks of life have been affected by unemployment: Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike. It is beyond comprehension how GOP "leaders" would deny benefits for these Americans during these challenging times.

    The minimal costs that the GOP shamelessly obstructs are far less than the larger economic impacts of our fellow Americans unable to pay for basic shelter, food and living expenses. It is NOT right what the GOP is doing to these Americans as our economy continues to recover.

    July 17, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  17. Steve

    Remember this in November folks. The Republicans will be the death of all.

    July 17, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
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