Weekly addresses: Obama pushes jobless benefits extension, GOP slams health care act
December 7th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
11 months ago

Weekly addresses: Obama pushes jobless benefits extension, GOP slams health care act

(CNN) - President Barack Obama continued to put pressure on Republicans on Saturday to extend unemployment benefits while Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers of North Carolina heaped criticism on the Affordable Care Act.

Their comments came in weekly addresses.

White House address:

Allowing unemployment benefits to expire will "actually harm our economy," Obama said, hitting Republicans in what’s been termed a do-nothing Congress for failing to take action.

"Unemployment insurance is one of the most effective ways there is to boost our economy. When people have money to spend on basic necessities, that means more customers for our businesses and, ultimately, more jobs. And the evidence shows that unemployment insurance doesn’t stop people from trying hard to find work.

Obama continued: "But now that economic lifeline is in jeopardy. All because Republicans in this Congress - which is on track to be the most unproductive in history - have so far refused to extend it."

On December 28, unemployment benefits will expire for 1.3 million workers. In order for the jobless benefits to continue, lawmakers must extend the recession-era program by the end of the month. The Congressional Budget Office notes that if the benefits expire the U.S. GDP could fall 0.2 percentage points next year.

Obama's remarks echo comments he made in a speech earlier this week on the growing gap between the wealthy and the poor in the United States.

Obama says wage and income gap eroding American dream

Republican House Speaker John Boehner suggested that Republicans are open to the idea of extending benefits.

GOP address:

Ellmers, chairwoman of the Republican Women’s Policy Committee, linked the so-called "war on women" to Obama's sweeping health care law.

"After all, it’s often women who make the health care decisions for our families. We put a lot of time and thought into these choices and how they’ll affect our budgets," she said in the GOP weekly address.

"So by canceling your insurance - despite a promise to let you keep your plan - the Obama administration is essentially saying it knows what’s best for you and your family. Not only that, they are making you pay more - usually much more - and in many cases, taking away the doctors you’ve been seeing for years."

Ellmers went on to share stories of constituents in her North Carolina district who face cancellations of their insurance policy because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and pushed for a delay of the individual mandate portion of that law.

Obama's health care law's online rollout was marred with technical issues after its initial launch in October. Though the functionality of the site has improved, reports of canceled insurance plans have continued to plague the President as he defends the merits of his signature legislation.

Republicans have hammered the Obama administration on both issues, continuing to point to a pledge the President made in 2009 and 2010 that if you had an insurance plan you liked, you could keep that plan under his health care reform.

"For our part, Republicans will continue to listen, focus on jobs, and give this law the scrutiny it deserves," Ellmers said.

"If the president won't scrap this law, isn't it time for him to delay it for all Americans before it does further harm?"


Filed under: Healthcare • President Obama • Renee Ellmers • unemployment
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. jinx9to88

    Gotta love the GOP. They love to run off at the mouth but has no ideas how they would do things differently. The GOP tried trickle down economics but it didn't work, they tried tax breaks for the rich but it didn't work. So the only thing they have is to bash everything this admin tries to do to move this country forward. Its actually kinda comical. The GOP actual think they have a chance in 2014 and 2016, but then again if you watch faux news reality is hard to find.

    December 7, 2013 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  2. sonkarlay

    The republican are the reason this country is the first to go down when the world come to an end, they call them selves Christian why?the world will end and your food,money, clothes, cars,houses will all go away so keep your hate on the poor

    December 7, 2013 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  3. tmbz

    "Unemployment insurance is one of the most effective ways there is to boost our economy."
    No...the most effective way to boost our economy is to create jobs.

    December 8, 2013 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  4. Experienced and educated, but left out of this economy.

    I have twenty-five years of experience as an analyst in public administration and a Masters from a big name University. This economy is clearly producing low wage jobs and the rich just keep on getting richer, but the corporations are hanging onto their cash and do not have any incentive to hire enough of the rest of us unemployed educated experienced professionals here in the U.S. I was hoping this would finally be the year I'd get back into a professional position after being laid-off in 2009, but there are still sometimes four hundred or more applicants per position. Creating a small business is a long-shot, and often not feasible for people especially with kids in College. Some of these people commenting here who have managed to keep a good job are smug and comfortable in their little fantasy worlds and don't understand the global reality, so they choose to proclaim generalities. Having recently been in sales I could see that there are still many many people deeply in debt and still putting themselves deeper with every payment in order to keep up with the Joneses. This whole economy is bent out of shape. Ending the extensions of unemployment at this time would definitely be the wrong thing to do resulting in the creation of more problems and pain. I, and I'm sure many others, have already stopped spending due to the depressing outlook for the future.

    December 8, 2013 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  5. king

    the repubs attempt of sucking money out the economy and giving to the billionaires to boast china and her war machine, just wont stop. its amazing how the repubs superior propaganda machine is working on the folks, who they have taken away their factory jobs, and send to china, are the folks that doesn't see that they are being played, now they want to get rid of the only job magnet this country has left. obamacare has been raking in jobs month after month after month, for the past 4 years now, and yet these same folks that saw their factories leave to china, are seeing manufacturing jobs slowly trickle back in, to get some of the obamacare trickle on. yet they are shouting that Obama is radically changing their country and killing jobs, and not looking on the evidence right in front of them. what has the repubs done for you in the past 40 years but bring disaster upon us. not because they have a superior propaganda machine, to fool you repubs, that doesn't mean you dont have a tip of common sense left.

    December 8, 2013 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  6. tired

    Hey, this is for the people that the minimal wage should be raised to $15/ hr. I know being paid $7.25/hr sucks, but instead of people trying to look for a new job or get a degree to improve themselves for a better job, they cry for more money for a job with a minimal skill level. Before anyone comments about well these people have families, I can understand I am married with two children. I work to part time jobs, hoping to hear bout a third full time job, while going for my paramedic license. So my only question for yall is, does a fast food worker deserving to make more than a paramedic?

    December 8, 2013 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  7. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    The only ones that should be unemployed are the GOP incompetent FOOLS!!!!

    December 8, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  8. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Elmer dud , the GOP teahage from north caralina is the laughing stock of America with their hick agenda and no healthcare and refusal of federal funds while their hospitals close because of it, thanks GOP red states for your incompetents!!!!

    December 8, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  9. GOP = Greed Over People

    "So my only question for yall is, does a fast food worker deserving to make more than a paramedic?"

    To state the obvious answer, to what was obviously not a hypothetical question, if you or paramedics are being paid the minimum wage currently, then raising the minimum wage to 10.10 would apply to paramedics as well fast food workers, therefore, maintaining wage parity(I know it is a big word, get your 8 year old to Google it for ya)!

    December 8, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  10. ThinkAgain

    @simplyput: "@rs Republicans have passed plenty of job bills...they are all on Harry Reid's desk, and will never be voted on. He's the biggest loser in the Dem party....rubber donkey."

    The House repubs passed 27 bills that they claim are "jobs bills" but are either NOT jobs bills (for example, HR 2930 – Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act, which is an anti-regulatory bill or HR 3094 – Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act, which is a union-buster bill) or they contain provisions that would reward corporations at the expense of our economy and her workers (for example, HR 2587 which prohibits the National Labor Relations Board from restricting where an employer can locate. In this case, the jobs lost would hurt the economy more than jobs created in a right-to-work state where employers are not obligated to adhere to industry standards on contracts, safety or other issues.

    So yeah, whine all you want, but the Democrats and the Senate are NOT the problem – the repubs are.

    December 8, 2013 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
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