July 17th, 2010
08:01 AM ET
12 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. southern cousin

    Yes and all of us should be able to take as many vacations and spend as much time on the golf course as he does. What an inept, corrupt, union toady.

    July 17, 2010 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  2. rkm63

    The republicans in congress aren't there to serve you Mr. Marxist and your radical, left-wing agenda. They're serving their constituents and their constituents want them to filibuster your a$$ backward, unAmerican policies. OHHHH, just wait 'til November!!! LOL

    July 17, 2010 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  3. marlene

    The GObP faithful should take a hard look at the tax policy their leaders are supporting in Congress. To continue the "Bush Era" tax cuts on one hand, and saying this won't add to the deficit on the other hand, is the height of stupidity. The Corporate America GObP is not looking out for middle America. .

    July 17, 2010 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  4. Rob

    Barack...Can you say PAYGO. That's Pay as you Go. If the bill is payed for they will vote yes.

    It will be like the bill of dreams.

    July 17, 2010 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  5. Charlie in Maine

    We've all heard the analogy about the GOP running the car that is the econmy into a ditch. I'd like to take that accucate assessment one step further to point out that the tow truck driver (Obama) has manged to hook on and bring it back out of the ditch but on the way to the garage the GOP has set up a series of road blocks that will delay much needed repairs.

    GOP = Greedy Obstructionist Pinheads.

    July 17, 2010 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  6. Riley

    OBAMA IS CLUELESS! Based upon the polls, it appears, that- FINALLY- the people have realized this truth.

    July 17, 2010 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  7. Clint

    Republicans could care less about America, all they want is for Obama to fail. The GOP may think they are going to retake the house, but they are in for a rude awakening in Nov. I seldom get fired up about politics but this obstructionism by the Republicans will take me and my friends to the poll in Nov to vote for the Dem.

    July 17, 2010 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  8. jp,michigan

    Mr. President stop bashing others and start governing. Your so call jobs stimulus package did create jobs, temporary jobs and mostly for the Federal government. You did not save jobs employers saved jobs, by down sizing. Only some companies did it earlier, like Ford Motor Company. Well the Democrats have been in charge of Congress for some time and we all know Congress holds the purse strings. The deficits we face are do mostly to choices made by the Democrats. Time to stand up and take ownership of what has happened on your watch. Health care, idea from Repubs are also included, and the majority of Democrats fixes don't start until your out of office. Financial reform, another form of bailout for the finacial systems that make billions a year, but you never really fixed Frannie or Freddie. Oil fix done by BP, you didn't memtion the Federal government lack of inspections and regulations, that should have be continuously done. Where are the so call changes you promised in decreasing big government? You found away around that with CZARS>

    July 17, 2010 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  9. haren

    well said president,
    this is what we have to hammer in november election and make absolute majority in senate with 70 democrats so that senator like Ben Nelson can not pull the string.

    July 17, 2010 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  10. Pragmatic

    From the Post today: "Republicans in the Senate, with dimmer prospects of gaining control, are plotting a much simpler course. Their platform, to the degree they have one, is to offer themselves as an even bigger roadblock to the Democrats than they are now."

    This is working for America? Reminds me of their "alternative national budget- 19 pages and No Numbers!"

    July 17, 2010 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  11. Ancient Texan

    Thank God for somebody that will say NO! to this fiscal insanity displayed by the Obama Regime. If My Congressional representatives did not vote NO!, I would be voting Against them in November. Keep It Up.

    July 17, 2010 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  12. chris

    The GOP does everything in their power to sabotage,obstruct, and dely anything Obama is involved in. Then the Repbulicans turn around and complain how Obama isn't getting enough done. They are like some bully who throws your plate on the floor then yells at you for being so clumsy.

    July 17, 2010 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  13. g

    Need I say more. republicans are the blame for all our troubles. Bush gives a stimulus republicans say yes, but they give Obama crap. Republicans are the biggest cry babies ever. They get us into this mess, but play victim. Also immigration was the republicans to fix for eight years, but once again passed the buck. I think republicans dont try to fix now they like to wait and blame /makes a mess like a child and say: “I didn't do it, why are you always blaming me.”

    July 17, 2010 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  14. JonDie

    The Republican/Tea Party has one goal: to drive the U.S. into chaos and anarchy for its own political gain.

    July 17, 2010 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  15. GOP hacks

    Of course the GOP hacks will block anything that does not benefit their wealthy buddies that they so generously lick up and they in turn so generously respond in kind with contributions.

    GOPS are all self serving and the party of NO.

    Remember everyone- in NOvember- who betrayed you.

    July 17, 2010 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  16. benjamin braddock

    Right on President Obama!

    July 17, 2010 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  17. Indiana Voter

    Nice try Mr. President, but you have the majority in both houses of Congress. You can't pass it because not every Democrat is on board with your policies, not because of the Republicans. Stop trying to pass the buck. Start owning up to your failures as a President. Democrats called for Bush to admit his failures as President. It is time for Democrats to start following their own advice, unless of course it meant only Republicans had to follow that suggestion. The list would be long already for Obama and he hasn't even been President 2 years yet.

    July 17, 2010 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  18. Larry

    The republicans are on the take from special interests, obviously.

    The could care less about the people they were elected to represent.

    July 17, 2010 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  19. jim

    Words don't mean anything to Obama.His actions don't match his rhetoric.He has been anti small business from the start of his presidentcy.No make that all business.His so-called economic policies have stymied job creation and are the reason that companies don't want to hire more employees.Instead,they are saving up all the cash they can because they are afraid of what the next set of legislation this Congress will enact to carry forth with this president's"socialist utopia"

    July 17, 2010 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  20. snow

    Does this clown ever stop his lying. It will be nice in 2012 to kick his butt to the curb.

    July 17, 2010 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  21. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    Obama should get ready for historical blocking actions because November is just around the corner .

    July 17, 2010 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  22. Ron

    Haven't we figured out that republican CEO's are not hiring people on purpose? Survey those businesses that are holding on to cash and not hiring. Let's see which political party they belong to. Let the chips fall where they may. Come on CNN! Search the public records for CEO party affiliation. Then, those poor tea baggers (and unemployed republicans/independents) might get a real clue about who they should focus their anger on.

    July 17, 2010 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  23. papadibite

    Well SAID, Mr.President. Right on Point..

    July 17, 2010 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  24. KathyC in Minnesota

    I like this testier and more assertive President Obama, calling out Republicans in Congress for their OBSTRUCTION strategy.

    Americans trust Republicans less than 26% to Democrats 33%. Anyone who wants Republicans to take over the Houses nof Congress, Republicans who have voted AGAINST the needs of people, need to have their heads examined.

    The Republicans in Congress favor the Big Banks, Oil companies, and other Special Interests. To hell with those Unemployed, those being foreclosed on, those with no Health Care, those who wqant to work, and so forth.

    July 17, 2010 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  25. jay

    It's no secrect that the GOP will do anything and everything to stop this President from fixing the economy, it's pure politics.

    July 17, 2010 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
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