Monday, October 5, 2009

Obama Eyes Economic Triage for Unemployed

"After another grim jobless report, President Obama is turning his attention to extending a lifeline to the unemployed and making the case that his health care plan would create jobs by making small business startups more affordable. 

The Obama administration has begun talks with congressional Democratic leaders on moves to extend health insurance subsidies, the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit and jobless benefits, congressional and administration officials told FOX News late Friday.

Meanwhile, in his weekly radio and Internet video address Saturday, the president linked one of his biggest challenges -- joblessness -- with passage of far-reaching changes to the nation's health care system.

The economic moves were recently pulled together by White House economic advisers as an act of economic triage aimed at millions of chronically unemployed Americans. The White House is loathe to call this emerging package a second economic stimulus.

Even so, President Obama tipped his hand that something was coming in Friday remarks on the economy in the Rose Garden.

"I'm working closely with my economic advisors to explore any and all additional options and measures that we might take to promote job creation," Obama said after the Labor Department reported that 263,000 Americans lost jobs in September and the unemployment rate rose to 9.8 percent.

Embedded in those numbers was this sobering statistic. The number of Americans unemployed for 27 weeks increased by 450,000 and now totals 5.4 million.

In the weekly Republican address, Rep. Candice Miller of Michigan blamed the continued job losses on Democratic policies and said Obama's health proposals won't help.

Miller said the Obama-backed $787 billion economic stimulus package fell far short of its goals.

And she criticized a House-passed energy bill that would set limits and costs on greenhouse gas emissions. The plan, which the Senate has not taken up, "would increase electricity bills, raise gasoline prices and ship more American jobs overseas," Miller said."

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