President Obama called Saturday for a “year of action,” and he acknowledged those plans include more executive action.
“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,” Mr. Obama said in his weekly address.
Entering a year of midterm elections, with much of the president’s agenda stalled in Congress, some observers expect Mr. Obama to bypass the legislative branch with executive actions even more frequently than he has in the past.
But the president said action should begin with lawmakers extending unemployment benefits for 1.3 million Americans whose insurance expired in late December.
“This vital economic lifeline helps people support their families while they look for a new job,” Mr. 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.”
The Senate cleared an initial hurdle on extending the benefits this week with a measure that would cost about $6 billion over three months, although the benefits were not paid for. Senate Democrat later proposed a 10-month extension that would be paid for, but the proposal stalled over Democrats’ move to block Republican amendments.
Another vote is tentatively set for next week.
The president outlined other steps he will take to promote economic growth, including an event he will hold in North Carolina Wednesday with colleges and manufacturing firms to attract high-tech jobs. Mr. Obama said he will also host CEOs at the White House next week to announce “commitments we’re making to put more of the long-term unemployed back to work.”
And in his State of the Union address on Jan. 28, Mr. Obama said, he will “mobilize the country around the national mission of making sure our economy offers everyone who works hard a fair shot at opportunity and success.”
“As Americans, that’s what we should expect,” Mr. Obama said.
His annual address to Congress is expected to include another call for lawmakers to increase the federal minimum wage.