By Caren Bohan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama and Democrats will make a major push when Congress returns January 6 to renew expired benefits for the unemployed and will seek to pressure Republicans over the issue by painting them as uncaring toward the middle class. Federal unemployment benefits will officially expire for 1.3 million out-of-work Americans on Saturday. With Congress in recess, no last-minute fix is possible. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has vowed to make an extension of the benefits the top issue in his chamber when Congress returns on January 6.
HONOLULU (Reuters) - President Barack Obama called Senator Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island, and Senator Dean Heller, Republican of Nevada, on Friday to back their proposal to extend emergency unemployment benefits for three months. Those benefits will expire on Saturday for about 1.3 million Americans. A vote on the Reed/Heller bill is likely in early January, when the U.S. Senate returns from recess. Obama said his administration would push Congress to act promptly and in bipartisan fashion on the issue. Cutting off the benefits will have a negative impact on U.S. ...
By Caren Bohan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - On the eve of the expiration of federal benefits for the long-term unemployed, U.S. President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies are stepping up pressure on Republicans to renew the program. Top White House economic adviser Gene Sperling said in a statement issued on Friday that a failure to renew emergency jobless benefits would harm the economy and he urged Congress to move quickly to pass a short-term extension of the aid. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, has vowed to bring to a vote a bill extending federal unemployment insurance benefits as soon as Congress returns from its holiday recess on January 6. "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," Sperling said in a statement.
A U.S. judge ruled the National Security Agency's program that collects records of millions of Americans' phone calls is lawful, rejecting a challenge by the American Civil Liberties Union to the controversial counter-terrorism program. Friday's decision by U.S. District Judge William Pauley in Manhattan diverges from a December 16 ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard Leon in Washington, D.C., who said the "almost Orwellian" program was likely unconstitutional. The program's existence had first been disclosed by Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor whose leaks have detailed the breadth of U.S. electronic surveillance and sparked a debate over how much leeway to give the government in protecting Americans from terrorism.