White House Increases Push for Unemployment Benefits
President Obama returned to Washington from his holiday in Hawaii with the same message in hand – putting blame on the Republicans – as the White House with its allies launch a new effort to spotlight the failure by Congress to renew the long-term unemployment benefits.
On Tuesday, the White House push will ratchet up to full speed, as Obama hosts a group of Americans who are currently unemployed, at the White House.
The event will be followed by efforts each day by the White House to keep the story in the media, said a White House official. Organizing for Action, a political arm for Obama has planned events across 30 cities for Tuesday to pressure the Republicans, said people close to the matter.
Progressive and labor groups have organized phone calls to Congressional offices. The groups were to hold a rally on Wednesday on Capitol Hill featuring people who are unemployed and members of Congress who are supportive.
On Thursday, television ads from the Americans United for Change start running making the case the GOP alone was responsible for the unemployment benefits being cancelled.
Republican John Boehner the House Speaker has said he would be willing to consider an extension of unemployment benefits only if its paid for, which was reiterated on Sunday by his spokesman.
However, others disagree, saying that 14 of the past 17 times the unemployment benefits have been extended in an emergency, they did not have any strings attached.
Democrats say the issue is important for them and more advantageous than Obamacare and its problematic rollout. This comes as the Obama Administration prepares a series of events that focus on income inequality and the hike in minimum wages that is seen as impossible to pass in the House.
On Sunday, Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer made his usual blunt comments to reporters. He said he wanted to close the book on Obamacare as an albatross politically for the Democrats.
He added that with midterm elections on the horizon, the discussion needs to be moved to better issues like the extension of unemployment benefits and hiking the minimum wage rate.
Schumer believes if the Republicans block the measures it will hurt their reelection possibilities in November.