Congress went on holiday recess without extending an emergency federal aid program to America’s unemployed, set to expire on Saturday, leaving over one million people in economic dire straits.
The federal aid program, which extended $300 per week to the long-term unemployed, helped some 1.3 million Americans and their families make ends meet in the aftermath of the Great Recession of 2008, described as the harshest economic downturn since the Great Depression.
President Obama on Thursday signed a bipartisan budget deal without guarantees on the unemployment assistance program, thus putting himself in a weak bargaining position as he scrambles to gain bipartisan support for extending jobless benefits.
“This morning, the president placed separate telephone calls to Senator Jack Reed and Senator Dean Heller to offer his support for their proposal to extend emergency unemployment benefits for three months,” White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement.
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