President Obama this evening signed the unemployment insurance extension bill. The legislation will get jobless benefits flowing once again to more than 2.5 million long-term jobless workers who were cut off after Republican Senate filibusters derailed the program.
The legislation cleared its last hurdle today when the House approved the bill 272-152. It extends through November the long-term benefits program for workers who have been jobless for six months or more—nearly 7 million of the nation’s official 15 million unemployed workers.
The Senate was able to break the filibuster, led by Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Tuesday and passed the legislation yesterday. Rep. Sander Levin, (D-Mich.) said:
The House acted in May, but for six weeks Senate Republicans blocked unemployment insurance. They stood not on the side of, but in the way of millions of Americans.
Before signing the bill, Obama said:
Americans who are working day and night to get back on their feet and support their families in these tough economic times deserve more than obstruction and partisan game-playing that happens too often here in Washington.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said after the Senate approved the bill that more needs to be done to create jobs and sustain the economic recovery.
Our nation must invest in jobs now—so we can lay a foundation for long-term growth and shared prosperity.
This evening, Obama echoed those concerns. He urged Congress to:
act on more proposals that support our economic recovery, including passing critical aid to our states and support to small businesses to create new private-sector jobs.