With Unemployment at ‘Crisis’ Level, Obama Pleads With Congress to Pass Jobs Bill

Monday, June 14, 2010 at 9:31 am

Despite improving economic indicators in GDP, consumer spending and business optimism, the United States’ unemployment rate remains high — flirting with double digits. Fifteen million Americans remain without work, and the economy is not improving quickly enough to get them employed. At the same time, Congress has become increasingly concerned with the federal debt — particularly given that the deficit has become a primary concern in American minds.

That tension is the backdrop to the alarm the White House started ringing this weekend. In a letter addressed to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), President Obama called unemployment a “crisis” and pleaded with the four congressional leaders to pass bills to preserve jobs and gin up hiring. Obama is urging Congress to spend $23 billion to save public workers’ jobs and $25 billion on additional Medicaid funding.

“I am concerned … that the lingering economic damage left by the financial crisis we inherited has left a mounting employment crisis at the state and local level that could set back the pace of our economic recovery,” Obama wrote. “Because this recession has been deeper and more painful than any in 70 years, our state and local governments face a vicious cycle. The lost jobs and foreclosed homes caused by this financial crisis have led to a dramatic decline in revenues that has provoked major cutbacks in critical services at the very time our Nation’s families need them most. Already this year, we have lost 84,000 jobs in state and local governments, a loss that was cushioned by the substantial assistance provided in the Recovery Act. And while state and local governments have already taken difficult steps to balance their budgets, if additional action is not taken hundreds of thousands of additional jobs could be lost.”

Obama urged Reid, Pelosi, Boehner and McConnell to pass the jobs bill that will be debated in the Senate this week. The bill would restore extended unemployment benefits to hundreds of thousands of Americans, if only temporarily. (Senate Democrats hope to pass a more permanent fix later, in a separate bill.) The version of the bill passed by the House just before the Memorial Day holiday stripped out the COBRA extension, which helps the newly unemployed purchase health insurance, and cut Medicare payments to doctors. Obama also encouraged Congress to pass a bill to preserve local government jobs for teachers, firefighters and police officers. Without the federal help, local governments might be forced to cut hundreds of thousands of positions.

But Republicans have already signaled their intransigence on more spending for unemployment insurance extensions and other emergency federal spending — insisting that the Democrats are sacrificing fiscal responsibility on the alter of political concessions.

McConnell responded, “The original purpose of this bill is to give America’s job creators an assurance that the longstanding tax benefits they’re counting on to retain workers won’t be pulled out from under them. But because Democrats can’t seem to resist any opportunity to use a must-pass bill like this as a vehicle for more deficit spending, they’ve piled tens of billions of dollars in unrelated spending and debt on top of it, all at a moment when the national debt has now reached $13 trillion for the first time in history. This is fiscal recklessness, plain and simple.”

McConnell continued, “[E]ven in the face of public outrage, Democrats are showing either that they just don’t get it on this issue of the debt, or that they just don’t care.”

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[...] With Unemployment at ‘Crisis’ Level, Obama Pleads With Congress to Pass Jobs Bill “Despite improving economic indicators in GDP, consumer spending and business optimism, the United States’ unemployment rate remains high — flirting with double digits. Fifteen million Americans remain without work, and the economy is not improving quickly enough to get them employed. At the same time, Congress has become increasingly concerned with the federal debt — particularly given that the deficit has become a primary concern in American minds.” [...]

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Comment posted June 14, 2010 @ 2:13 pm

For anyone that cares about the unemployed-please call your senators today to pass hr4213!!
Bank bailouts, Auto industry bailouts, bailouts for Greece and don't let anyone fool you–we WILL pay for some of BP just to heal relations with the UK. With all of this we can't pass UI deadline extensions??? People will continue to walk away from mortgages and drain their 401k's—this will have effects for decades.

Comment posted June 14, 2010 @ 2:41 pm

PS Tell CNN to cover unemployment issues!!


Comment posted June 14, 2010 @ 3:12 pm

I am not one of the unemployed and I completely support passing these bills. It is insane that Congress has totally failed this segment of the American people.

Tell Congress that you support this as well at change.org.


Glenn B NJ
Comment posted June 14, 2010 @ 3:17 pm

To Annie Lowrey, the author of this story. The media is providing shoddy investigative reporting omitting some of the most important facts of the unemployed. Please read the stories by informed reporters like Mike Rheaume of Gather.com. His reporting provides details of the unemployed that others don't mention thereby distorting the facts. The above mentioned bill is only requesting an extension of the filing deadlines for hundreds of thousands unemployed up to 99 weeks. However it does not cover over a million that have exhausted 99 weeks (2yrs) of unemployment which is continuing to increase every week. Nancy Pelosi and others indicate 99 weeks is enough! However until there are enough jobs available (1 job for 5.6 people) unemployment is needed for families that have been cut off with no payments since March of 2010. Do you think you can go this long without any income? Even if this bill is passed it will not help those referred to as 99ers waiting for a Tier 5 extension.

Comment posted June 14, 2010 @ 3:53 pm

Leaving decisions to repulicans, they will vote no everytime—i think his real name is boner, not boehner, because he is sure trying to pull one on the american people.

Comment posted June 14, 2010 @ 3:56 pm

I'm sorry but the national debt should be the last of their worries. They are going to have may more problems if they do not take care of the unemployed and jobs situation.

Comment posted June 14, 2010 @ 4:45 pm

I know some republicans that should be joining the unemployment line this year. What a bunch of selfish bastards. War is financed without the blink of an eye but helping Americans is always at the end of their list.

Comment posted June 14, 2010 @ 4:50 pm

This is so true … the micro managing of the Unemployment insurance benefits are getting out of control, the millions of people unemployed is a clear reflection of what wallstreet, AIG, etc… have created and done to our nations economy and while the senate knows the unemployment rate and that companies are NOT hiring due to the worst recession in 70+ years (Dday) how can they allow not to listen !!!!!! Mr Obama please take control of this situation or the foreclosure rate will be out of control with no recovery, people will die from no food, and the suicide rate will be higher then the cancer or heart disease ……. yours truely ?

Comment posted June 14, 2010 @ 5:12 pm

As an unemployed American, let me say that I can't believe that my livelihood lies in the balance of what happens in Congress. There are so many issues in the bill, when the core issue was supposed to be just to extend the filing deadline so that unemployed Americans can move to the next and final tiers. Couldn't they just pass a two month extension? Why do they have to take so many risks? I am so worried; mostly because I have absolutely no control on what happens in the Senate or the House. I honestly feel that they see the unemployed as half an individual, people not worth saving or helping.

Arthur Howard
Comment posted June 14, 2010 @ 6:25 pm

If this was for big breaks to the self interest,big business groups the Republicans would have no problem.However,the truly needy is another matter!

Comment posted June 14, 2010 @ 6:46 pm

thats right im ready to start killing over this shit

Glenn B NJ
Comment posted June 14, 2010 @ 8:15 pm

Ms Lowrey, I'd like to thank you for allowing my comment pointing out a problem with your story to post. I tried to point out an incorrect reference in a story by Jessie Smith @ http://cnmnewsnetwork.com/120706/unemployment-e…

Jessie, you misspelled the phrase in your article. It reads “Even though the bill cost millions more than expected, there was still no word on tier 5 benefits for those who have been employed for longer than the 99 weeks currently covered.” This should read UNEMPLOYED not employed. Last week you left this out altogether. Does anybody proof read your information? This may not be important enough to you but this information means a lifeline to some of us. Thanks for reporting but please get it right!

That was earlier today. The post was not listed as of this writing. I do not know if it is being reviewed or being denied. That's why I commend you on posting someone even if they disagree.

Comment posted June 15, 2010 @ 12:48 am

yes you dont see them talking about this. Its all about the Oil and yes its bad but they need to talk about this to let people know what is going on. I bet that they will give them selfs raises but if they dont pass the bill, then you will see people loseing homes and cars and not paying bills. Then u will have people on welfare and then more money is spent .

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Comment posted June 15, 2010 @ 10:04 am

People are facing overdue electric bills and all kinds of shut off notices where one is on payment agreements. The Senate isn't moving very fast and if it was one of them that was faced with losing their house or having their electric or water shut off, they would be acting in a flash. Too bad people have to go on Welfare til they hurry up and find a job that they are not happy in. Even the ones that are on a federally funded program trying to educate themselves for a better job, need to invert to welfare.

Comment posted June 15, 2010 @ 3:32 pm

Please congress listen to President Obama to pass HR4213! I am 51 years old and have worked since I have been 16 years old. Now I can not pay any bills have to cancel my doctors apts. cause I can't pay them $60.00 cant pay for the blood test either, triglyercides are over 400! Most of us on unemployment never made 6 number digits like people in the congress, how would they like to be in our shoes? Wow I make $170.00 a week on unemployment oh yea not now, my first tier ran out on June 5 2010 a week before the deadline. Now Im so stressed out wondering how i am goin to pay any bills, this puts alot of stress on people whether congress believes it or not! I made approximately $18,000 a year and that's still the poverty level, but at least I felt good about myself and had self esteem. I have been divorce for 10 years and was so proud of myself for supporting my family on my own. You know I do feel sorry for other countries like haiti that needs help but before the United States go helping other countries, the people born and raised in the US should come first. We are the ones that have struggled and worked hard in this country. I feel that all the tiers should be given to the states that have high unemployment rates and there should be no date set on them. The congress has in their hands whether the American People will get to eat, pay their bills or even be able to survive. How would you feel if it was your and your family?

Comment posted June 15, 2010 @ 3:40 pm

Thank u for giving ur support for the people that is unemployed, even though you are not! Maybe Congress should thing about standing together as one, as us hard working Americans do. God Bless You!

Michael Z
Comment posted June 15, 2010 @ 5:05 pm

Another day of stress, worry, humiliation, depression, confusion, insecurity, etc. And I am a former Marine. It pains me to admit this to a bunch of strangers but it's the truth. Why are we being ignored and made to feel like beggars waiting on handouts? I for one, would much prefer being employed. But, I can't even remember the last time I saw a 'Help Wanted' or 'Now Hiring' sign. Like most of you I've done everything I possibly can since being out of f/t work 3/08. Does Congress think we laid ourselves off? It is crystal clear how out of touch they are with the typical American. So, although we're broke, we're not broken. Stay strong and Pray. Don't take up violence. Just don't forget this ever. And remember to vote.

Comment posted June 15, 2010 @ 5:11 pm


What wont break us will only make us stronger! I have heard more recently of people taken their lives and others (including family members ) because they can't handle it. Can u believe that it's some of the American people that put the ones in there that don't give a hoot about their citizens, even the ones that served our country for them too!

God Bless America and the unemployed!

Glenn B NJ
Comment posted June 16, 2010 @ 11:07 am

So much for free speech! I tried to post a comment today June 16, 2010 on CNM News Network and it appears because I criticized a writer Jessie Smith when he used the word employed instead of unemployed. This error changes the story drastically, see:


I am no longer able to post comments on this site. Not because of profanity or anything like that, only because I tried to correct misinformation that is very important to those of forgotten by our government.

I also pointed out the omission of the 99ers in another article, see:


Are we not supposed to point out incorrect or unreliable information? We are being censored here just like our stories are not being carried on Mainstream network news.

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Comment posted June 21, 2010 @ 2:06 am

I’ve had two interviews in the 25 weeks of being unemployed by no fault of my own. And agree with another blogger on another site. WE NEED TO BOYCOTT THE STATES BLOCKING UNEMPLOYMENT EXTENSIONS!! Taking your next vacation, or buying something? Do not give them a dime!! Where is the bailout for the American people!!

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Comment posted June 22, 2010 @ 5:26 pm

I have been unemployed for 2 years now and was let go because the bank that I worked at decided to “Outsource” my department. I worked for this bank for 16 years before it got bought out by another bank…I understand how business is run. What I dont understand is how Congress is so concerned about the deficit…HELLO…the deficit will ALWAYS be there, but the American dream will not if Congress doesnt do something to help US Americans. My husband is in Law Enforcement and we have 3 kids one is deaf and a deaf grandbaby. Where will we go if we cant pay our mortgage???

Comment posted June 22, 2010 @ 7:50 pm

YOU are so right. I have definately never seen such utter disrespect from our politicians for the out of work Americans. This was caused by them, and for them. That is why they don't care. Obama runs around like he is on a permanent vacations traveling the world. Having concerts at the white house. Why would he care. The people on capitol hill think we are all lazy. My husband is in construction and can't get a job in California because illegal aliens all do the job for practically nothing. Our Unions are busted, isn't that what they wanted? Are military men can't find a job when they get back from defending our borders that they let anyone come into freely until they kill thousands of people. Then they say whoops, did I do that? The oceans are ruined now thanks to reckless drilling when they are scientists who have alternative fuel sources and can prove it. It makes me sick to my stomach. I can't even watch the news anymore. We lost our house and am on the verge of being homeless at 49. We have no medical and I am losing my unemployment. What next. I need surgery and can't work now because of the situation we are in. NO ONE Cares!!! They are livin it up !!!!

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Garrett Wallace
Comment posted June 29, 2010 @ 2:13 pm

The senate should pass the unemployment bill so people still out of work have a chance at saving what little they have left,before a bigger problem arises and has a greater effect on all of us.

Comment posted June 30, 2010 @ 7:19 am

As Unemployment Benefits Run Out Desperation On the Way In
As unemployment benefits run out for 1.3 million Americans desperation may soon set in. Of the 14.5 million Americans out of work, extreme hardship will hit these folks before the end of the year. Many more have already lost benefits. As of July foreclosure rates were up with 1 out of every 355 homes in actual foreclosure proceedings. Many, many more are in default which will drive these rates even higher. With unemployment benefits running out, those that were barely holding on will not survive the impending foreclosure wrath.

Those most affected are middle income workers whose unemployment benefits are woefully under their normal salary range, typically we are hearing a month’s worth of unemployment checks is less than 20% of their normal income when working. An income level these households need to survive. No amount of “cutting back” can compensate for the difference of lost income to benefit ratio.

With the “economic recovery” not happening per the administration’s plan these displaced workers have nowhere to turn and available jobs are weakening with employers still cutting back and tightening their belts awaiting the impact of proposed legislation that will increase fees and taxes.

The Cap and Trade and Healthcare bills along with the present liberalistic progressive agenda seem to be feeding employer caution. We are also hearing from job seekers, and job board observations there is a noticeable change in wages and salaries by those employers that are hiring, in some cases lessening by as much as 40 %. There also appears to be a trend forming excluding older more experienced workers from the marketplace unless they are willing to accept near entry level wages, even for positions that are considered skilled or supervisory level and higher. Employers are also appear more willing to accept less experienced recruits and trade lowered productivity and training expenses versus the expense of highly experienced personnel.

With the “recession” expected to continue, given the market trepidations of pending legislation, consumer spending down, and no help on the way from either Federal or State Legislators it appears millions may very soon be homeless. Further with unemployment benefits at almost inconsequential rates, barely enough to cover the basic needs of food, water and electricity beneficiaries have been forced to choose between putting food on the table or paying the mortgage, mortgages which in many cases are higher than the monthly benefit. As savings, college and retirement accounts are being wiped out to maintain the rent or the mortgage very few will have the necessary funds to relocate after foreclosure.

This administration and congress need to abandon their agenda of change forget Healthcare, Banks, Car companies and Green legislation and focus on a recovery package for the American people who are the ones facing the brunt of the US economic straits.

Homeless By Christmas
Per projections by the US department of Commerce Bureau of the Census there will be 114.8 million households in the United States by 2010. That’s 4 months from now. Using the unemployment numbers and assuming each job supports a household, that means that 12.63% of these households formerly supported by the now unemployed will be defunct, having been or are in the process of being foreclosed or evicted. Applying US Bureau of the Census population estimates for Jan. 1, 2009 at 305,529,237 and multiplying the rate above that translates to 38.58 million people could be homeless by as early as Christmas.

Accurate numbers could not be found to compare the numbers of homeless during the Great Depression in 1929 however we have already exceeded to number of unemployed of 13 million by 1932, by 1.5 million and we are still shedding jobs by the hundreds of thousands per month. Percentages aside, which work to the advantage of the present crisis given population growth, the numbers of homeless families will be greater than that of the 1929 to 1932 Era.

It should be noted the situations the unemployed find themselves is not of their own making. It was thrust them upon as a result of wrong thinking Congressional politicians and bureaucrats during the Carter and Clinton administrations. This started with the propagation of the Community Reinvestment Act and further tampering by the likes of Barney Frank and Chris Dodd into the federally guaranteed loan organizations such as Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and Ginnie Mae. The Government is responsible for interfering with mechanisms of the free market and the liquidity issues which are at the base of our economic fall and directly to blame for the situation the unemployed find themselves in.

This government desperately needs to recognize to real issues facing Americans and provide real solutions. The pipe dream of Universal Healthcare and the folly of Cap and Trade need to fall by the wayside before the American public is living there. First and foremost there should be an immediate moratorium on foreclosures, by use of suspension and reassignment until gainful employment can be obtained once our economy has indeed recovered. This should be the only topic on the agenda.

We have all heard the theory of this Administration is just waiting for a good crisis to “seize absolute power” and Rom Emanuel’s statement of “never wasting a good crisis” has been aptly reported, well here is a real opportunity for this government, it's leaders and legislators to lay aside some of the skepticism and prove their self aggrandized worth.

Don’t waste the opportunity to do some real good in the lives of the American people.

Scott Harring
Comment posted June 30, 2010 @ 12:16 pm

Anyone in this country that votes for a Republican just because they are Republican should be ashamed of them selves. Wake up.

pissed in pa
Comment posted June 30, 2010 @ 3:03 pm

i cant believe congress calls themselves americians people are starving and as a former marine i am ashamed to admit it. i cant believe i served 4 a country that turns its back when we need them the most i lost my job after 10 yrs now cant find a job no one wants to hire .but i guess its our fault , yea it is because we elected u people to office shame on us .

Almost Single
Comment posted June 30, 2010 @ 6:03 pm

Wow! you have money to vacation?
: (

Comment posted June 30, 2010 @ 6:09 pm

It is….

English 101
Comment posted June 30, 2010 @ 6:19 pm

I went on there and nailed 'em too!

Comment posted June 30, 2010 @ 10:20 pm

We have a VOICE and a VOTE! I urge you to send emails and call your Senators/Congressmen AND the Republican Senators blocking a stand alone Unemployment Extension Benefits Bill now! –The key Republicans blocking the Bill are: Dave Camp of Michigan, John Boehner of Kentucky, Kevin Brady of Texas. Tell all your friends and family to send emails and call the Republicans blocking this Bill and let them know that there's such as thing as – Backlash.

Let them know that their action is saying they think it’s more important to cut back on financial aide to Americans who have lost their jobs than it is to cut back on the “billions of aide” spent over 7 years to fund the War.

In my opinion they're voting against American citizens and their families. It appears that our elected gov't representatives think they can play politics with our lives during this recession. We are educated and unemployed and we have a voice and a vote. This is Big and as each month passes another 1 million American voters and their families will lose their benefits. This will have a dramatic effect our economy if some sort of extension Bill doesn't get passed soon. Make it known that even if you don't have a job, you have a vote! And you will “Vote Out the Incumbents” in the Senate and Congress in November! This is bipartisan and is going to affect both Republicans and Democrats…

Comment posted July 1, 2010 @ 12:53 am

Every cent I get in benefits goes back into the economy along with money from my savings account. I do not know what i will do when they run out. I look for work every day.

Ken C
Comment posted July 1, 2010 @ 2:42 pm

next stop welfare office. Food stamps re-education

Comment posted July 13, 2010 @ 3:12 pm

congress has suckered us again stop the damn war start awar on enemployment reduction

Comment posted July 16, 2010 @ 2:25 am

Don't people with job and unemployment pay taxes? How is undermining a tax base being fiscally responsible. I guess it takes money to make money doesn't appy to the government………only the republican's kids.

disgusted in people
Comment posted August 1, 2010 @ 8:54 pm

do you people not get it? its not that the republicans dont want to help the american people by continuing unemployment benefits, they just dont want the cost to be added to the deficit. what they want is for the TARP money, most of which is still sitting there, to be used to help the average joe. that would be fiscally responsible. but the democrats figure if they tap into that then that is less money in their slush fund to buy more corporate votes down the line or use however they want. so bottom line is that the republicans weren't blocking a vote to be asses, they just didn't want the terms that the democrats were offering. wouldnt you rather have them use bailout money to bail us out especially if its justing sitting there. of course the democrats just spin the truth and you cant rely on the media to report the whole truth, so if you people can't start reading between the lines where this regime is concerned then this country is for sure damned. i'm so tired of the uneducated people in this country voting our futures down the drain. obama has done nothing to help the economy, just damage it and blow smoke up our asses. he insults our inteligence and at the same time feeds off of the uneducated and entitlement freaks ( aka, the trailer trash ).

also disgusted
Comment posted August 5, 2010 @ 2:15 am

i agree. some people just dont get it. they listen to the mainstream media and obama spew his bs. if you people can remember at all, the economy started getting sour the last 2 yrs of the bush administration in which the democrats controlled congress. now as we all know, the president doesn't spend money, congress does. now the mortgage crisis was caused by BARNEY FRANK and CHRIS DODD by forcing banks and freddie mac/fannie mae to give loans to people who really couldn't afford the home they were buying by lowering financial regulations. banks have to follow federal regulations and there was nothing they could do about it. the democrats knew that eventually banks would start losing money and hit bottom. if you dont believe this then you need to do your homework. BARNEY and CHRIS were in charge of the finance commitee. Why, I ask, haven't they been brought up on charges. This financial meltodown and economy breakdown all happened under the control of the democrats and you people just don't see it. All you young folks that think democrats are the bomb, well youve all been brainwashed since you were young. you think that the government owes you something but what you dont see is that everything they do give you was yours to begin with and then they make you feel like your priveleged for getting it. a young spoiled generation and voters who are uneducated about the facts of what goes on in government are ruining this country.

Comment posted November 24, 2010 @ 9:38 pm

That was a fairly well thought out argument, however; it was completely undermined by the lack of capitalization where appropriate. I found that it distracted from your thought’s. Now to address the argument, whether voted into office or not, these are our politicians. They, not necessarily the oppressed uneducated “trailer trash” are supposed to be educated in how to keep our country thriving and they, not the uneducated oppressed “trailer trash” dropped the ball. They should have to pay the price for the misuse of our taxpayer funds, period. It’s time they take a pay cut and pay for the screw ups that they have afflicted on the American people. If they can’t fix it, they should get the h*ll out of office. I do agree with you about the TARP money. What needs to happen is a compromise. As long as there is dissonance between politicians, we all still sit here waiting and wondering what will become of our future. Do we even have one? I know first hand that all this stalling is causing people to give up hope. I am employed, and I hear all the time from those unemployed the sheer and utter hopelessness that they are experiencing, and to add insult to injury they are now being told that unemployment will end because it isn’t that there aren’t job’s out there, it’s because they are too lazy to go out and get them. They are applying against thousands of applicants in a job market that has changed since they were in it. Employers found, during the time that they were having to cut costs and job;s, that the one’s left in positions were so job scared that they took on more workload,missed less day’s , and were productive beyond what a normal person should have to be just to hang on to a position for fear they might get cut too. Now the employers have been spoiled by these super-employee’s fueled by fear, and they don’t necessarily want to hire. Why should they, they have a super-employee that can handle two job positions! Also, Employer’s are afraid of hiring, for fear they will just to have to turn around and make cut’s yet again as the economy is still so fragile. Add all of that to the fact that you might have 1,000 applicants for one job and what you get is a new group of chronically unemployed persons, who can’t pay their mortgages, rent or any other bill once the unemployment runs out and a totally new population of homeless, medicaid, food stamp and TANF recipients. Lets not look at the superficial here folks… these are the real issues at play now.

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