for a package that would provide relief to 2.5 million out-of-work
Obama appeared in the
was expected to hold a key procedural vote on extending unemployment
benefits. The vote is set to take place 15 minutes after the
Obama noted that Republicans voted to extend jobless benefits under his
“For a long time, there has been a tradition under
both Democratic and Republican presidents to offer relief to the
unemployed,” he said. “That was certainly the case under my
predecessor, when Republicans several times voted to extend emergency
House Republican leader
fired back. In a prepared statement, Boehner said: “The president knows
that Republicans support extending unemployment insurance, and doing it
in a fiscally responsible way by cutting spending elsewhere in the
Senate Republicans repeatedly have used the filibuster to block the legislation, saying the
should be paid for rather than added to the national debt. They suggest
taking unused money from economic recovery funds to pay the cost.
Obama introduced three people who had lost their
jobs and struggled to find work, making the point that jobless benefits
were a humane gesture in a tough economy.
Standing next to him at the lectern was
Chukalas, the president said, had “gone door to door
looking for a job and hasn’t gotten a single interview. He’s trying to
be strong for his young kids now that he’s exhausted his unemployment
Obama did not take questions after the event, returning immediately to the Oval Office.
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