Obama urges Congress to pass emergency extension of unemployment benefits

December 27, 2013

HONOLULU -- President Obama briefly interrupted his holiday vacation here Friday to urge Congress to pass an emergency extension of unemployment benefits.

With roughly 1.3 million out-of-work Americans set to lose their unemployment insurance starting Saturday, the White House said that Obama placed separate telephone calls Friday to Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) to offer his support for their proposal to extend benefits for three months.

"The President said he was pleased that they were working in a bipartisan fashion to address a problem that will directly affect 1.3 million Americans during the holidays and have a negative impact on the nation's economic growth and job creation," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement. "The President said his administration would, as it has for several weeks now, push Congress to act promptly and in bipartisan fashion to address this urgent economic priority."

Shortly after placing the calls, Obama and his family ventured to the white-sand beach at Bellows Air Force Station, which is on the windward side of the island of Oahu and features turquoise water and a stunning view of the Mokulua Islands.

Philip Rucker is a national political correspondent for The Washington Post, where he has reported since 2005.
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