White House pushes lawmakers to pass jobless benefits

McClatchy Washington BureauDecember 20, 2013 

It looks like Congress will leave town for the holidays without extending emergency jobless benefits for 1.3 million Americans.

And the White House is none too happy.

Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council, told reporters Friday that the move would be unprecedented.

"These are not the people who caused the financial crisis," he said. "This is just wrong. This is just inconsistent with our values."

The Friday conference call with reporters kicks off a Democratic campaign to pressure Republicans to agree to renew the benefits during the holiday break.

Expect TV ads, phone calls and polls with particular attention paid to House Republicans who live in states where unemployment is high.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, has vowed a vote Jan. 6 or 7 on a plan to extend the aid, which is now due to expire Dec. 28, for three months.

Many Republicans say they're willing to look at a proposal, and many want to make sure it's offset by other spending cuts.

It's uncertain if the House of Representatives will go along.

 

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