In his weekly address released by the White House on Saturday President Barack Obama again called on republicans in Congress upon their return from their taxpayer-paid, three-and-a-half week vacation to pass an extension of unemployment benefits for over one million Americans and their families struggling with long-term unemployment through no fault of their own.
President Obama remarked in the address, “Just a few days after Christmas, more than one million of our fellow Americans lost a vital economic lifeline – the temporary insurance that helps folks make ends meet while they look for a job. Republicans in Congress went home for the holidays and let that lifeline expire. And for many of their constituents who are unemployed through no fault of their own, that decision will leave them with no income at all.”
The President yet again also reminded the country that a failure to extend unemployment benefits would also result in a slowdown of the economy at a crucial time when the nation can ill afford such a “self-inflicted wound.”
Despite the numerous continuing legislative actions needed for the nation’s best interest, Republicans in the House of Representatives instead left for their vacations on Dec. 13 and will not be back in full session until Jan. 7, 2014.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor and the White House Council of Economic Advisers a failure to extend benefits could cost businesses 240,000 jobs in 2014.
Unemployment benefits for 1.3 million Americans expired on Dec. 28.
“Our focus as a country this year shouldn’t be shrinking our economy,” the President stated, “but growing it; not narrowing opportunity, but expanding it; not fewer jobs, but doing everything we can to help our businesses create more of the good jobs that a growing middle class requires.”
In closing, he added, “After five years of working and sacrificing to recover and rebuild from crisis, we have it within our power, right now, to move this country forward. It’s entirely up to us. And I’m optimistic for the year that lies ahead."