ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports:
President Obama accuses the Republican leadership in the Senate is filibustering the nation’s recovery and using “stalling tactics” to try to obstruct the progress of the country.
“Too often, the Republican leadership in the United States Senate chooses to filibuster our recovery and obstruct our progress,” the president said in his weekly address.
“That has very real consequences,” he warned.
Specifically, President Obama highlighted two areas where Republicans are causing a delay: a filibuster of passing unemployment benefits, and a small business aid bill that has yet to be called for a vote in the Senate.
On the small business aid bill, Obama said the “partisan minority” is using procedural tactics to block an up-or-down vote.
“Consider what that obstruction means for our small businesses – the growth engines that create two of every three new jobs in this country,” Obama said. “A lot of small businesses still have trouble getting the loans and capital they need to keep their doors open and hire new workers.”
The bill, which passed the House last month, would create a $30 billion fund run by the Treasury Department to boost lending to small businesses. Under the program, community banks – the primary source of credit for small businesses – would receive incentives to use the capital provided by the fund to extend loans to these firms.
A GOP Senate aide says that the president's description of the small business aid holdup is inaccurate. According to the aide, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, moved to that bill a couple weeks ago, but pulled it down to focus on financial regulation. Reid said that the small business bill will be on the floor Monday, but that's a no-vote day and he already announced he'll move off of that and back to unemployment insurance on Tuesday.
On the unemployment benefits extension, the president said that three times the Senate has tried to extend temporarily the emergency assistance, and three times, “the same crowd who said ‘no’ to small businesses said ‘no’ to folks looking for work and blocked a straight up-or-down vote.”
Addressing those who claim unemployment insurance discourages people from looking for work, President Obama said, “I haven’t met any Americans who would rather have an unemployment check than a meaningful job that lets you provide for your family.”
And to those who would argue the government should not provide unemployment insurance because it costs money, the president said, they “are wrong.”
“The fact is, most economists agree that extending unemployment insurance is one of the single most cost-effective ways to help jumpstart the economy," he said. "It puts money into the pockets of folks who not only need it most, but who also are most likely to spend it quickly. That boosts local economies. And that means jobs.”
Every Republican except Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine has opposed the restoration and extension of the jobless benefits through Nov. 30 on the grounds that it would add tens of billions of dollars to the nation’s deficit. One Democrat – Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska – also has opposed the measure.
Nevertheless, the long-term jobless are poised to get the help they’ve been waiting for since the benefits lapsed on June 2 when Carte Goodwin, a new interim senator from West Virginia, will be sworn in, ABC News' Matt Jaffe reported.
In his weekly address, the president calls on Congress to increase loans to small business and renew unemployment insurance, "because when storms strike Main Street, we don’t play politics with emergency aid. We don’t desert our fellow Americans when they fall on hard times.”
This blog post has been updated.