White House urges Congress to extend unemployment benefits to 1.3 million active job seekers

By Agence France-Presse
Friday, December 27, 2013 19:14 EDT
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President Barack Obama’s administration on Friday urged US lawmakers to swiftly restore unemployment benefits, criticizing a decision not to extend emergency aid to 1.3 million people looking for work.

A statement from the Director of the National Economic Council, Gene Sperling, said the move “defied economic sense.”

“Never before have we abruptly cut off emergency unemployment insurance when we faced this level of long-term unemployment and it would be a blow to these families and our economy,” Sperling said.

“While we remain disappointed that Congress did not heed the President’s call to extend emergency unemployment benefits for next year before the holidays, the President as well as the Democratic Congressional leadership have made clear the importance of extending the benefits immediately upon Congress’s return.”

Obama signed a framework law on Thursday which will oversee the federal budget for the next two years following tough negotiations between Democrats and Republicans.

However the agreement did not settle the issue of emergency compensation for long-term unemployed, which expires on Saturday.

US lawmakers do not return from the Christmas and New Year break until January 3.

[Image via AFP]

Agence France-Presse
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