WASHINGTON, July 19 U.S. President Barack Obama
will seek on Monday to pressure Republicans to pass an
extension of unemployment benefits that he says is crucial to
help middle-class families hit by the recession.
Obama is to deliver remarks on the economy in the White
House Rose Garden at 10:30 a.m. (1430 GMT).
Fresh from a victory on landmark legislation to revamp Wall
Street regulations, Obama still faces eroding confidence in his
handling of the economy and wants to show Americans he is
focused on reviving growth and dealing with a 9.5 percent
Republicans have resisted extending jobless benefits,
saying they believe they need to be paid for in the budget
rather than through deficit spending.
With congressional elections approaching in November when
Obama's Democrats are at risk of big losses, the president
hopes to put Republicans on the defensive.
"Republicans have blocked the extension of emergency relief
for the unemployed three times in the last few weeks, denying
millions of people who are out work and trying to find a job
the needed relief," a White House official said.
The official said Obama will talk about people who need
the extension "and he will have strong words for Republicans
who have previously supported unemployment extensions under
Republican presidents but refuse to offer relief to middle
class families today."
Obama will also accuse Republicans of "calling for hundreds
of billions of dollars in tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans
while telling working families that we can't afford to help
them when they need it most."
Senate Democrats have scheduled another vote on the
unemployment benefits for Tuesday.
(Reporting by Caren Bohan, editing by Alan Elsner)