President Barack Obama called on Congress to pass an extension on unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed during a speech Wednesday in North Carolina.
The legislation stalled in the Senate late last week and has not had a hearing in the House. Unemployment benefits for those who have been jobless for longer than 26 weeks expired in late December. About 1.3 million Americans lost unemployment benefits when the extension expired.
Earlier today, President Obama pledged to side-step Congress when possible, particularly when it comes to economic issues.
“When I can act on my own without Congress, I’m going to do so," Obama said.
“In the short term, one thing Congress can do is listen to the majority of the American people and restore the unemployment insurance to people who need it,” the president told the North Carolina audience moments later. “Congress should do the right thing and extend the vital lifeline for millions of Americans.”
President Obama is set to give his State of the Union address on January 28.