Point-Counterpoint: Extending unemployment benefits

President Obama today called on the Senate to vote on extending jobless benefits. Republicans want the president to identify the source of funding before passing the measure.

President Obama: “And I have to say, after years of championing policies that turned a record surplus into a massive deficit, the same people who didn’t have any problem spending hundreds of billions of dollars on tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are now saying we shouldn’t offer relief to middle-class Americans … who really need help.

“Over the past few weeks, a majority of senators have tried – not once, not twice, but three times – to extend emergency relief on a temporary basis. Each time, a partisan minority in the Senate has used parliamentary maneuvers to block a vote, denying millions of people who are out of work much-needed relief. These leaders in the Senate who are advancing a misguided notion that emergency relief somehow discourages people from looking for a job should talk to these folks.”

U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga.: “If Democrats agreed to pay for this extension, it would have passed weeks ago. Instead, they chose to play politics and ignore an obvious bipartisan solution. Rather than work toward solutions that pay for what Washington spends, President Obama and Congressional Democrats want to continue deficit spending while imposing job-killing tax hikes on the small businesses we rely on to create new jobs. This is the same script they have been reading from for the last year and a half, and clearly it does not end in recovery.

“The Democrats’ deficit-fueled spending spree has completely failed to kick start the economy. But instead of changing course, the President reacts by attacking Republicans who want Washington to act in a fiscally responsible manner. Political games will not create jobs for the millions of unemployed Americans. Recovery will come when Washington stops punishing America’s job creators with massive tax increases and reckless deficit spending.”

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