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. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    The President put you on blast Sen. Paul. You thought he was just catching some rays out in Hawaii and didn't hear any of your idiotic statements? Jokes on you.

    January 7, 2014 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  2. Dean

    As always, extending unemployment benefits is a way to garner more votes from the 'entitlement' class.

    January 7, 2014 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  3. smith

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

    January 7, 2014 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  4. O'drama ya Mama

    Dean

    As always, extending unemployment benefits is a way to garner more votes from the 'entitlement' class.
    January 7, 2014 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
    _________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Dean, here's a crazy concept. People vote based on which candidate (or party) benefits them. Republican policies only benefit a minority of voters which is why you will never get a majority of votes again.

    January 7, 2014 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  5. just asking

    why does the obama snake oil show always need human props behind him? it has become rather comical at this point. obama, it's all about the show, not about the substance or results. the last 5 years has proven that.

    January 7, 2014 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  6. barryinlasvegas

    What a joke. Those people standing behind Obama can blame him for not having jobs. It is his economy. He has been president for 5 years – he can't blame Bush or the Republicans. It is his policies that have let Wall Street boom. It is Obama's policies that have 7 million people dropping out of the workforce because they can't find work.

    The economy is like Obamacare – he owns them both and so does the Democrat party.

    January 7, 2014 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  7. robert

    Ladies and Gentlemen, Obama's "recovery" plan

    January 7, 2014 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  8. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    “These Americans rely on their unemployment benefits to pay for the mortgage or rent, food, and other critical bills. They need our assistance in these difficult times, and we cannot let them down.” – George W. Bush 12/14/02
    -------------------------------------------
    Congress extended unemployment benefits 5 times under Bush. That's leaving out the fact that the unemployment rate was at 6% at the time he made the above quoted statement. See the double standard. IOKIYAR

    January 7, 2014 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  9. truth hurts but reality bites

    OK, so let's throw a few billions more down the drain. Now down to the hard questions.

    What will the Democrats agree to cut to pay for this?

    When will this endless gravy train stop, if ever?

    The House can pass this BUT not until they add an amendment declaring that there will be no more extensions after this one. Otherwise, the name of this must be changed from Unemployment to Short Term Vacation.

    January 7, 2014 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    Extending UI is predicted by expert economists to create 310,000 jobs next year. It is, in and of itself, a job creation proposal. This makes Boehner's nonsense a lie. It's. That. Simple.

    January 7, 2014 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "he can't blame Bush or the Republicans."

    Too bad for you that the majority of Americans still do.

    January 7, 2014 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  12. Lars

    Here's a factual dose of reality to be pondered:

    Data from the U.S. Department of Commerce showed that “U.S. multinational corporations, the big brand-name companies that employ a fifth of all American workers… cut their work forces in the U.S. by 2.9 million during the 2000s while increasing employment overseas by 2.4 million.”

    And according to a report on outsourcing by Working America, “Manufacturing employment collapsed from a high of 19.5 million workers in June 1979 to 11.5 workers in December 2009, a drop of 8 million workers over 30 years. Between August 2000 and February 2004, manufacturing jobs were lost for a stunning 43 consecutive months—the longest such stretch since the Great Depression.” Manufacturing plants have also declined sharply in the last decade, shrinking by more than 51,000 plants, or 12.5 percent, between 1998 and 2008. These stable, middle-class jobs have been the driving force of the U.S. economy for decades and theses losses have done considerable damage to communities across the country.

    Data from the U.S. Department of Commerce showed that “U.S. multinational corporations, the big brand-name companies that employ a fifth of all American workers… cut their work forces in the U.S. by 2.9 million during the 2000s while increasing employment overseas by 2.4 million.”

    January 7, 2014 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  13. Jeff Brown in Jersey

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

    Smith, you heartless turd. How about having the filthy rich pay what they don't deserve thanks to the Bush tax cuts?

    January 7, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  14. Silence DoGood

    @Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes
    “These Americans rely on their unemployment benefits to pay for the mortgage or rent, food, and other critical bills. They need our assistance in these difficult times, and we cannot let them down.” – George W. Bush 12/14/02
    ---------------
    Congress extended unemployment benefits 5 times under Bush. That's leaving out the fact that the unemployment rate was at 6% at the time he made the above quoted statement. See the double standard. IOKIYAR
    --------------
    Also Federal spending total didn't rise as quickly with Obama in charge compared to Bush. Spending has always gone up though. The "Obama spending" myth is getting tired.

    January 7, 2014 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  15. Fair is Fair

    O'drama ya Mama

    Dean

    As always, extending unemployment benefits is a way to garner more votes from the 'entitlement' class.
    January 7, 2014 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
    _________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Dean, here's a crazy concept. People vote based on which candidate (or party) benefits them. Republican policies only benefit a minority of voters which is why you will never get a majority of votes again.
    -------
    Proving these famous quotations correct:

    "The American Republic will endure, until politicians realize
    they can bribe the people with their own money."

    - Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–1859)

    "A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover
    that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.
    From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates
    who promise the most benefits from the public treasury,
    with the result that every democracy will finally collapse
    due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship”

    - Alexander Tytler 1787

    January 7, 2014 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  16. anonymous

    Obama, the never ending gravy train hand out President. Actually, the lunatic Democrats consider this economic stimulation and a good thing. Welcome to the nutty down is up, up is down looney leftist world. Almost a quarter of a trillion dollars spent and counting. I can hardly wait until the 3 months expire and we are faced with another "emergency".

    January 7, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  17. Fair is Fair

    Sniffit

    Extending UI is predicted by expert economists to create 310,000 jobs next year. It is, in and of itself, a job creation proposal. This makes Boehner's nonsense a lie. It's. That. Simple.
    ------–
    Uh huh... KEYNESIAN economists, perhaps. The kind you form your opinions on exclusively. YAWN.

    January 7, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  18. truth hurts but reality bites

    Sniffit
    Extending UI is predicted by expert economists to create 310,000 jobs next year. It is, in and of itself, a job creation proposal. This makes Boehner's nonsense a lie. It's. That. Simple.
    ---

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

    January 7, 2014 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  19. GOP = Greed Over People

    So, go ahead House GOP vote against an extension that 60+% of Americans approve of and agree should be extended.

    Then, yammer on about how you are doing the "will of the people", therefore, once again proving the GOP is the "party of stupid".

    Pretty soon the GOP is going to need an "outreach" program to every working, middle class American.

    January 7, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  20. 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.

    January 7, 2014 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  21. tom l

    Sniffit and Fair

    Extending UI is predicted by expert economists to create 310,000 jobs next year. It is, in and of itself, a job creation proposal. This makes Boehner's nonsense a lie. It's. That. Simple.
    --–
    Uh huh... KEYNESIAN economists, perhaps. The kind you form your opinions on exclusively. YAWN.

    =======

    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...

    January 7, 2014 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  22. 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?

    January 7, 2014 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  23. Gunderson

    Hey,
    What you vote for ney? Wonder what happen at end of 3 months after latest Give Away ends? Now remember old Vaudville Mantra. WITH YOUR MONEY AND MY BRAINS, WE WILL GO PLACES. Who need job, we have Obama. On with Food Stamps, Welfare Check, Unemployment Benefits! Also Health Care. Rich pay, no?

    January 7, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  24. just saying

    Silence DoGood
    Also Federal spending total didn't rise as quickly with Obama in charge compared to Bush. Spending has always gone up though. The "Obama spending" myth is getting tired.
    --

    wrong again jethro. the last year under bush included $800 billion of one time tarp spending. did the spending go down the following year? no. because obama and the democrats made that amount a permanent spending level. and of course, blamed it on bush, as usual.

    more lies and deceit from the democrats. nothing new really.

    January 7, 2014 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  25. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    truth hurts but reality bites
    OK, so let's throw a few billions more down the drain. Now down to the hard questions.

    What will the Democrats agree to cut to pay for this?

    When will this endless gravy train stop, if ever?

    The House can pass this BUT not until they add an amendment declaring that there will be no more extensions after this one. Otherwise, the name of this must be changed from Unemployment to Short Term Vacation.
    -----------------------------------------
    "You know, Paul, Reagan proved that deficits don't matter."- Dick Cheney

    January 7, 2014 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
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