Washington, D.C., United States (AHN) – President Barack Obama is set to continue unemployment benefits further, the White House told journalists at the regular briefing time on Monday.
Obama Recommends Extending Unemployment Benefits
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Monday confirmed to the press the suggestions that President Barack Obama will request another extension of unemployment benefits following the ones that the Senate is set to vote and pass on Tuesday.
"If the unemployment rate stays where I think we all expect it to … we may need to extend those benefits, yes," Gibbs said.
Gibbs argued that the unemployment benefits money gets channeled back into national economy and defended the president's approach, calling unemployment benefits "emergency spending" at a time when the unemployment rate is 9.5%.
There was no clear-cut answer to the question of when that rate would be considered as tolerable but Gibbs expected it to continue at the end of November, when the soon-to-be-passed round of unemployment benefits expire.
Gibbs noted, "I think it is fair and safe to assume that we are not going to wake up and find ourselves at the end of November at a rate of employment one would not consider to be an emergency."
The current jobless rate of 9.5% reflects the aftershocks of the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s, Gibbs said.
"You see that the recession affects not just some lower skilled manufacturing jobs, as you might have seen in previous recessions, but you see the impact across the economic spectrum," he added.
Gibbs was addressing journalists at his regular press briefing just hours after Obama lambasted Republican Party for holding up the existing proposal to extend unemployment benefits. "It's time to do what's right," Obama said earlier on Monday, "not for the next election, but for the middle class."