March 12, 2014
Obama calls senators to back extension on jobless benefits
President Barack Obama called today Senator Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island, and Senator Dean Heller, Republican of Nevada, to back their proposal to extend emergency unemployment benefits for three months.
Those benefits will expire on Saturday for about 1.3 million Americans. A vote on the Reed/Heller bill is likely in early January, when the US Senate returns from recess.
Obama said his administration would push Congress to act promptly and in bipartisan fashion on the issue. Cutting off the benefits will have a negative impact on US economic growth and job creation, the White House said.
Democrats have spent much of the holiday week criticizing Republicans for resisting an extension of the emergency jobless aid program, which began in 2008 under President George W. Bush and has been extended every year since then.
The issue is part of an economic agenda aimed at winning support from middle-class Americans. Along with the push for an extension of unemployment insurance, Democrats will also push for an increase in the minimum wage.