- The Washington Times - Monday, January 6, 2014

Ahead of a Senate vote Monday, the White House called on lawmakers to approve a three-month extension of long-term unemployment benefits at an added cost of $6.5 billion.

“It is a temporary lifeline in difficult times,” said Gene Sperling, top economic adviser to President Obama. “This deserves to pass.”

Some Republicans in Congress want the administration to find money elsewhere in the budget to pay for the cost of the extended unemployment payments. But the White House and congressional Democrats say the money should be spent without finding so-called “offsets” because the benefits expired late last month.

“We have just an urgent situation right now,” Mr. Sperling said at the White House. “Today’s the day they find the check not there. The president believes we should pass this right away with no strings attached.”

He noted that the administration of Republican President George W. Bush agreed to extend long-term benefits five times without finding the savings elsewhere in the budget.

The Senate will consider a bipartisan bill later Monday that would cover three more months of benefits. Mr. Sperling said it would give lawmakers more time to figure out a long-range solution.

Extending the benefits through 2014 would cost about $25 billion.



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