President Obama called on Congress Friday to extend unemployment benefits, create a loan fund for construction jobs and extend payroll tax credits, saying it was time to build on the momentum on better-than-expected employment numbers released earlier in the day.
“There’ s no contradiction between taking some steps to put people to work right now and getting our long-term fiscal house in order,” Mr. Obama said in a speech at the Washington Navy Yard. “The more we grow, the easier it will be to reduce our deficits.”
But House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican, sounded cool to the idea of extending unemployment benefits, saying on CNBC, “I think those people on unemployment benefits would rather have a job. So that’s where our focus needs to be.”
A day after stock markets plummeted about 4 percent over fears of slowing growth, Mr. Obama said that the U.S. and the global economies have been through a “tumultuous year.”
“We are going to get through this,” the president said. “Things will get better. And we’re going to get there together.”
Mr. Obama appeared at the Navy Yard with military and corporate leaders to announce a program that gives companies tax credits for hiring unemployed veterans.