Obama calls for unemployment benefit extension

U.S. President Barack Obama walks across the South Lawn before speaking about reform of the financial regulatory system

TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: President Obama will sign one of his legislative priorities, financial regulatory reform, into law later this week. But he's not letting lawmakers head for summer vacation just yet. Today he called on senators to approve extended unemployment benefits for 2.5 million Americans. From Washington, here's Marketplace's John Dimsdale.


John Dimsdale: Tomorrow, the Senate will try for the fourth time to approve jobless benefits for long-term unemployed. Republicans have blocked the legislation, arguing the payments should be paid for, so as not to pump up record government deficits. Today, President Obama noted Republicans routinely approved jobless benefit extensions when George Bush was president.

President Barack Obama: It's time to stop holding workers laid off in this recession hostage to Washington politics. It's time to do what's right, not for the next election, but for the middle class.

Extended payments for the unemployed began expiring at the end of May. Some critics of government benefits say they are a disincentive to find another job. But the most generous individual payments run around $2,000 per month -- not much of a disincentive, according to the White House.

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

About the author

As head of Marketplace’s Washington, D.C. bureau, John Dimsdale provides insightful commentary on the intersection of government and money for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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