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Obama Rebukes GOP as He Signs Jobless Benefits Into Law

President Barack Obama signed emergency unemployment benefits legislation into law Thursday, just hours after the House voted to send the long-delayed measure to the president’s desk.

“Today, I signed the unemployment insurance extension to restore desperately needed assistance to two and a half million Americans who lost their jobs in the recession,” he said in a statement.

“After a partisan minority used procedural tactics to block the authorization of this assistance three separate times over the past weeks, Americans who are fighting to find a good job and support their families will finally get the support they need to get back on their feet during these tough economic times,” he said.

The House passed the $34 billion jobless benefits extension on a 272-152 vote. The Senate passed the measure Wednesday night on a 59-39 vote, after weeks of delays by GOP Senators opposed to the package over its lack of offsets.

The measure had been significantly cut back from the original, with key provisions such as a youth jobs program and state aid stripped to win GOP votes.

The president called on Congress to take more steps to aid the economy by providing support to small businesses.

Small businesses are “the engine of job growth,” Obama said. Bills aimed at increasing lending “should not be held hostage to partisan tactics like those that unconscionably held up unemployment insurance.”

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