Bush Extends Unemployment Benefits For Laid-Off Workers

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:20 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - President George Bush Tuesday repeated his call for Congress to quickly pass his economic stimulus package and announced that the federal government will be extending unemployment benefits to help those laid off from their jobs because of the Sept. 11 attacks.

"There's nothing that hurts me more than to know as we head into the holiday season that some of our citizens and some of their families have been hurt because they have been laid off because of 9-11," Bush said at a town hall meeting in Orlando, Fla.

"We have a role in the government to provide immediate help as part of an economic security package," he said.

Part of that proposed package includes extending unemployment benefits to workers who were laid off because of the attacks. Bush thinks the federal government has a role to play in getting people back to work.

"I urge the United States Congress to stop talking and get an economic security bill to my desk," he said. "The House has acted and for that I'm grateful, but the Senate needs to get a bill and get it reconciled and get it to my desk, so we can say that we are doing the people's business in a way that will make you proud."

Senate Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) Monday blamed Republicans for the delay during a Senate floor speech.

"The stimulus bill is where they put it," Dorgan charged. "We were debating it on the floor. It was under active consideration. Now it is not."

He blasted Republicans for using a procedural maneuver to block consideration of the Democratic plan. He also criticized the House-passed plan, which many Senate Republicans support.

"They decided to pull out a bunch of old, left-over tax policies, package them up and call them a stimulus plan," Dorgan charged.

Democrats oppose provisions in the House-passed package that would cut taxes for businesses. They want all of the money to go to government spending programs.

Republicans say additional tax cuts for businesses would stimulate the economy through job creation and equipment purchases.

Bush also wants more tax rebates, similar to the ones that many Americans received last summer.

"I think we ought to help people with more money as we head into the Christmas season by making sure that those who filed but didn't pay taxes get a rebate. That will help low- and moderate-income Americans," he said.

"We ought to accelerate the tax cuts that we have in place, because more money in people's pockets mean more economic activity," Bush said to thunderous applause.

The corporate income tax system also needs to be reformed, the president says.

"The current system says that as you lose money you begin to pay more taxes and that doesn't make any sense when we are worried about job creation. I don't think we ought to be looking back for a decade, but I do think we ought to reform the system as we head forward," he said.

"I think we ought to provide incentives for corporate America to buy more plant equipment because that will encourage job creation," Bush added.

"We ought to ask the question in Washington," he said, "what's it take to create more jobs so hard working Americans can be able to put food on the table. That's what we ought to be asking."