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Obama to speak on unemployment benefits extension Tuesday

U.S. President Barack Obama pauses during his his year-end news conference in the White House briefing room in Washington, December 20, 2013
U.S. President Barack Obama pauses during his his year-end news conference in the White House briefing room in Washington, December 20, 2013

HONOLULU (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will ratchet up his administration's push for an extension of emergency unemployment benefits on Tuesday with an event at the White House attended by people whose benefits have expired.

Obama, who is on vacation in Hawaii, and his advisers have been pressing Congress to extend the federal aid to help out-of-work Americans who are searching for jobs and avoid damage to the economy.

"The president will talk about the toll that allowing unemployment benefits to expire has had on 1.3 million Americans, and he'll warn of the negative consequences for the broader American economy if Congress fails to act quickly on this urgent priority," the White House said in a statement.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, has vowed to bring to a vote a bill extending federal unemployment insurance benefits as soon as Congress returns from its holiday recess on January 6.

The federal jobless aid has been renewed every year since 2008. Many Republicans oppose an extension of jobless benefits, arguing the program was always intended to be temporary. They have also said an extension would add to the federal deficit unless it is offset by spending cuts elsewhere in the budget.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

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