January 7th, 2014
12:45 PM ET
7 months ago

Obama calls for unemployment extension as measure clears key Senate hurdle

Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama Tuesday amplified his calls for extending emergency unemployment benefits for millions of Americans, saying that passing the measure should be Congress' "first order of business in 2014."

The President made his comments less than an hour after a bill that would provide benefits to 1.3 million Americans for three months cleared its first hurdle in the Senate.

Speaking at an event at the White House flanked by people whose benefits expired at the end of last year, Obama called on Congress to pass the jobless aid extension, saying a failure to re-up the benefits would hurt the entire economy.

"Congress should pass this bipartisan plan right away, and I will sign it right away," the President added.

"We've got to make sure that this recovery leaves nobody behind," said Obama, who called unemployment insurance "a vital economic lifeline" for many.

The President spoke shortly after a $6.4 billion plan to extend unemployment insurance benefits to eligible workers for another three months cleared a key hurdle in the Senate, in a 60-37vote. Six Republican senators voted with the Democrats.Obama called the Senate vote "good news" and a "step in the right direction."

Obama, along with other White House officials, have called on Congress to pass the extension since late last year, when a renewal of the benefits was omitted from a bipartisan budget deal. Obama, who initially called on the unemployment benefits to be included in the budget deal, signed the final agreement in December.

In previewing the event, the White House pointed to a history of easy renewals for emergency unemployment in Congress. The jobless assistance has been renewed each year since 2008.

In his comments, the President argued that "the long term unemployed are not lazy" and that "they desperately want work."

Many Republicans argue the benefits act as a disincentive for out of work Americans to look for jobs, and say the $6.4 billion price tag is bad for the economy. They say the cost must be offset by spending cuts in other parts of the budget - a suggestion the White House rejected on Monday.

In a statement after the Senate vote, House Speaker John Boehner pushed back against the White House, saying that, "One month ago I personally told the White House that another extension of temporary emergency unemployment benefits should not only be paid for but include something to help put people back to work. To date, the president has offered no such plan."


Filed under: John Boehner • President Obama • unemployment
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. much thunder..little rain

    how about adding a work requirement ..say working at a school , park, hwy ,or just shoveling snow ...earn your ck and help out your state or community

    January 7, 2014 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  2. yeah right

    smith

    How do we pay for this? Do we just allow people to stay on unemployment til they find their dream job?

    --–

    Why don't you go to your state's unemployment website to educate yourself about how UE works? The length of time
    depends on the UE rate in the state. This "extension" is not adding any additional time to how long anyone can collect unemployment. It is funding the federal emergency UE that people have already qualified for. Once those benefits are exhausted they can collect no more. These people dream of finding a job, not their "dream job"

    January 7, 2014 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  3. wendel

    the snarkey remarks made on this post are exactly why the repo party of No is in the toilet. You have to have worked for along time to get unemployment insurance. These people want to work and not at some dream job as one person said. But they do need a living wage job. Most repos are really out of touch and it is reflected here too. It is obvious the only people who don't like this or raising the minimum wage or health care for all are an elite group that are not concerned about their finances in other words look at me Im a good Christian who made it all on my own so everyone else should too. Reality be told most made their way through school because mommy and daddy helped them and they can give their 10 % and not feel the pain.

    January 7, 2014 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "And how many jobs will be lost when all of it has to be repaid with interest through higher taxes? 350,00 jobs???"

    Well, if you're working as an alleged economist right now, I'd say that at the very least, your job will be lost. (Pssst: it doesn't work that way).

    January 7, 2014 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  5. Silence DoGood

    @fair is fair ""The American Republic will endure, until politicians realize
    they can bribe the people with their own money."
    -------
    Conservatives have put a twist on this with corporate welfare "..... until politicians realize they can bribe corporations with the people's money." Why isn't there a call to end corporate hand outs and try to make their business work the old fashioned honest way? Didn't the SCOTUS rule corps are people? Tell them to get off their lazy butts.

    January 7, 2014 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    "Uh huh... KEYNESIAN economists, perhaps. The kind you form your opinions on exclusively. YAWN."

    These are numbers established through quantitative methods and modeling, not by simply opining "my ideology says it just does or doesn't work." It's not an issue of Keynesian or not in this situation. Professional consensus is out there. This is another case of CBO and the rest of the expert community saying something the GOP/Teatrolls do not want to hear, so they are pretending it is not even being said.

    January 7, 2014 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  7. smith

    @Jeff-So you hate people that have more than you and because your hate, they should have to pay money to other people for no reason other than they have more money. Envy and spite will get you nowhere. Grow up.

    January 7, 2014 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "Maybe the govt should just print some more money and give everyone $100,000. That should be enough. I mean, Sniffit, just think of how many jobs THAT will create, right? In fact, maybe $250,000. Imagine the economic activity that will happen!! please note sarcasm..."

    The only thing noted is that your reliance on that canard just shows you don't understand and want to help other people avoid understanding as well.

    January 7, 2014 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  9. Ray E. (Georgia)

    @mgmg4871
    Why are we even talking politics when there are children depending on their parents to feed them, and their parents only source of income is extended unemployment benefits? What has happened to America?

    Because the GOP has become a heartless machine ever since Reagan, (welfare queens). Also, the Republican imbeciles have embraced a fiction writer named Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum who changed her name to Ayn Rand. They actually believe her fantacy world is real.

    January 7, 2014 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  10. Silence DoGood

    @Johnny in the Basement
    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!

    For a week I have been thinking about going out and getting a job and now I have been saved!!! Back to my video games and chips. Keep those checks coming Dems! You got my vote this November.
    --------–
    You are committing unemployment insurance fraud, as has been pointed out in these comments repeatedly. Unemployment benefits go along with looking for work honestly. Interesting that the conservative mind goes immediately to scamming the system and fraud. I was on unemployment and looked hard for work until I got hired.

    January 7, 2014 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  11. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    @smith
    @Jeff-So you hate people that have more than you and because your hate, they should have to pay money to other people for no reason other than they have more money. Envy and spite will get you nowhere. Grow up.

    I don't hate anyone. I respect people who worked hard and made good. I don't respect those who have taken government handouts they don't deserve and park their wealth in secret accounts to avoid paying the taxes that help all of us. I am not rich, just a middle class guy, but I do not begrudge helping people who have less than me. My wife and I run a non profit for poor children and don't accept a penny in compensation. I think I'm pretty grown up. Maybe your right wing heroes like Ryan and Cantor should grow up.

    January 7, 2014 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    smith asked:

    How do we pay for this? Do we just allow people to stay on unemployment til they find their dream job?
    ------------------------
    "It will pay for itself because it will stimulate economic activity and growth." George W. Bush speaking tax cuts.

    January 7, 2014 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  13. funnybunny

    Maybe Obama should pay for the unemployment extension with his personal money. After all he gets over $100,000.00 a year and has little expenses. We the people of the United States pays for his meals and to heat the white house. We also pay for his vacations. Wish I could take a vacation, I have not been on vacation in over 10 years.

    January 7, 2014 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  14. yolanda

    Wendel, bitter is not a good color for you. Maybe you should try on something in envy.

    January 7, 2014 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  15. yeah right

    funnybunny

    Maybe Obama should pay for the unemployment extension with his personal money. After all he gets over $100,000.00 a year and has little expenses. We the people of the United States pays for his meals and to heat the white house. We also pay for his vacations. Wish I could take a vacation, I have not been on vacation in over 10 years.

    --–

    As we have for every prior occupant of the White House. What is it about this President that is any different?

    January 7, 2014 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  16. Fair is Fair

    @funnybunny
    Maybe Obama should pay for the unemployment extension with his personal money. After all he gets over $100,000.00 a year and has little expenses. We the people of the United States pays for his meals and to heat the white house. We also pay for his vacations. Wish I could take a vacation, I have not been on vacation in over 10 years.

    How often does this Do Nothing Congress work? Just Askin.

    January 7, 2014 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  17. Greg Zotta

    The Democrat/Statists, the party of “stuff” are at it again pushing for extending unemployment benefits and some Republicans will likely fall for it. The Democrat/Statists led by Barack Hussein Obama claim extending unemployment creates “jobs.” Yet, they fail to point out that it is the Democrat/Statists’ policies that have created the loss of jobs. Obamacare alone has been destructive to the creation of jobs. In fact, many people have had their hours cut, because of Obamacare.
    Obama claims extending unemployment will let those out of work afford to turn up the heat or buy an extra loaf of bread, which will cause the utility company or store to hire one person. Obama forgets his Regime pushes the hoax of global warming, which turning up the heat creates a larger “carbon footprint.” He also forgot about the obesity problem in America that Moochele is trying to stamp out, which that extra loaf of bread might contribute to.
    These politicians want to extend unemployment benefits for three months, but what happens to them after three months when they are still out of work due to Democrat/Statists’ policies? They fail to mention the cuts made to military retiree and disability pensions in the last budget deal, pushed mainly by the Democrat/Statists and a few Republicans, which was signed by Obama. I guess those who supported the deal do not care about whether these retirees get to turn up the heat or get that loaf of bread. Obama and his Regime do not care about these people; they look to them for votes. Their policies are destructive to America and are akin to slavery; but, instead of working the fields they need only pull the D lever.

    January 7, 2014 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  18. sonny chapman

    Ayn Rand or Jesus Christ; Make your choice.

    January 7, 2014 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  19. truth hurts but reality bites

    Sniffit
    -–
    "And how many jobs will be lost when all of it has to be repaid with interest through higher taxes? 350,00 jobs???"
    --
    Well, if you're working as an alleged economist right now, I'd say that at the very least, your job will be lost. (Pssst: it doesn't work that way).
    --

    Of course it works that way! Thje government is BORROWING money, adding debt that must be repaid by taxpayers. The money comes OUT of the economy in the future and goes into tax payments which goes to repaying the debt.

    There is no free lunch as you would suggest. ANd by all means, please do educate us all on how YOU think it works! Do unicorns suddenly appear and repay the debt? Just as feasible as most of your other commentary.

    January 7, 2014 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  20. Former Republican

    The GOP fell hard for a sociopath named Ayn Rand. She worshipped a psychopath named William Edward Hickman who killed and dismembered a little girl. Google it if you don't believe me.

    January 7, 2014 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  21. GOP=ROTTEN

    The GOP painted itself into a corner again. While trying to blindly follow their patron saint Ayn Rand, they will lose even more votes at election time.

    January 7, 2014 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  22. Leftist Utopia

    According to all the leftist economic geniuses in here all we need for a booming, thriving economy is trillions of dollars paid out in unemployment payments. So if we all quit our jobs, and start collecting unemployment, the country's economy will be massively stimulated, thereby providing more unemployment money which will create more jobs that nobody will take becuase we'll all be enjoying our endless unemployment checks.

    Makes sense to me, then again I'm totally insane.

    January 7, 2014 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  23. Democrats - Stealing the Future from the Young and Unborn

    It is truly UNAMERICAN to steal from future generations of Americans in order to fund and finance the massive government giveaways of today. $17, 18, 19, 20 trillion in debt and never ending. So when does it end, if ever? Who pays it back? Or do we default and go bankrupt?

    To continue this madness is to commit the ultimate in theft. Then again, isn't that what the Democrats are all about?

    January 7, 2014 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  24. yolanda

    @Former Republican, you forgot to mention that Gerald Ford's second cousin had a boyfriend who knew someone who was a train driver who hit a school bus filled with left handed orphans and at least some of them had to change their underwear because they were so frightened. Google it if you think it's remotely relevant. I bet the Republicans miss your vote.

    January 7, 2014 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  25. NC

    Pay for unemployment benefits by cutting foreign aid. Let's build schools, bridges, roads and hospitals here first.

    January 7, 2014 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
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