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Obama to Congress: Extend unemployment insurance

9:07 PM, Dec 13, 2013   |    comments
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President Obama speaks with mayors. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster, AP)



(USA TODAY) President Obama said Friday he likes the proposed congressional budget deal, but Congress should also extend soon-to-expire unemployment insurance.

"You've potentially 1.3 million people who, during Christmastime, are going to lose their unemployment benefits, at a time when it's still very difficult for a lot of folks to find a job," Obama said before meeting with a group of newly elected mayors from across the country.

"That's not just bad for those individuals and for those families, that's bad for our economy and that's bad for our cities," Obama said.

The House approved a two-year budget agreement on Thursday, and the Senate is expected to vote next week.

The two-year plan would avoid "the constant brinksmanship and crisis governance that we've seen up on Capitol Hill that impedes growth and makes businesses and investors less certain about wanting to put their money in," Obama said.

The budget, he said, is something the federal government can do to help mayors create jobs, the topic of Obama's meeting with the mayors.

The president also again advocated an increase in the minimum wage, saying "that could have a tremendous boost in a lot of the cities where there are a lot of service workers."

After the meeting, some of the participating mayors said they also discussed income inequality, early childhood education, the Detroit bankruptcy, and other issues specific to their cities.

"It's very clear the president is focused on wages and benefits," said Bill de Blasio, the mayor-elect of New York City.

The mayors and mayors-elect in attendance, per the White House:

-- Los Angeles, CA Mayor Eric Garcetti

-- St. Petersburg, FL Mayor-elect Rick Kriseman

-- Boston, MA Mayor-elect Martin Walsh

-- Detroit, MI Mayor-elect Mike Duggan

-- Minneapolis, MN Mayor-elect Betsy Hodges

-- Jersey City, NJ Mayor Steven Fulop

-- New York, NY Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio

-- Rochester, NY Mayor-elect Lovely Warren

-- Charlotte, NC Mayor-elect Patrick Cannon

-- Greensboro, NC Mayor Nancy Vaughan

-- Cincinnati, OH Mayor John Cranley

-- Toledo, OH Mayor-elect D. Michael Collins

-- Harrisburg, PA Mayor-elect Eric Papenfuse

-- Pittsburgh, PA Mayor-elect Bill Peduto

-- Chattanooga, TN Mayor Andy Berke

-- Seattle, WA Mayor-elect Ed Murray


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