US President Barack Obama has called for a “year of action,” vowing to take measures into his own hands when necessary.
During his weekly address, Obama said, “I’ll keep doing everything I can to create new jobs and new opportunities for American families — with Congress, on my own, and with everyone willing to play their part.”
However, analysts believe that Obama will probably bypass Congress resorting to executive actions even more frequently that he did in the past, according to the Washington Times.
The US president called on Congress to move quickly to extend unemployment benefits for 1.3 million US citizens who have had no unemployment insurance since late December 2013.
“This vital economic lifeline helps people support their families while they look for a new job,” Obama said. “Congress needs to finish the job right away. More than one million Americans across the country will feel a little hope right away.”
1.3 million Americans lost their unemployment benefits after Congress failed to extend an emergency federal program under which jobless American workers received unemployment insurance payments.
Before December 28, 38 percent of unemployed Americans received unemployment insurance through their state or federal government. But now, as the program has expired, only a quarter of jobless Americans will receive the benefits, the lowest rate in over half a century.
In order to extend the benefits, the Senate introduced a measure this week that would cost about $6 billion over three months.
Later, Senate Democrats put forward an extension of 10 months that would be paid for, although the proposal remained pending thanks to Democrats trying to block Republican amendments. A new vote is tentatively scheduled for next week.