Weekly Address: President Obama – Improving Economic Security by Strengthening and Modernizing the Unemployment Insurance System

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the President spoke about the steps we need to take to modernize our unemployment insurance system. Our country has come a long way in the past seven years, with more than 14 million jobs created, and the unemployment rate cut in half. But, as our economy continues to change, there are still steps we need to take to ensure all Americans have the security and opportunity they deserve. In his address, the President laid out his plan to help more hardworking Americans get unemployment insurance, find a new job, and have some assurance that even if a new job pays less than their old one they will have some help paying the bills. These ideas are part of the President’s broader belief that everybody who works hard deserves their fair shot and the chance to get ahead.

Transcript: Weekly Address: Improving Economic Security by Strengthening and Modernizing the Unemployment Insurance System

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address, The White House, January 16, 2016

Hi, everybody. On Tuesday, I gave my final State of the Union Address. And a focus was this: how do we make the new economy work better for everyone, not just those at the top?

After the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes, we’re in the midst of the longest streak of private-sector job growth in our history. More than 14 million new jobs. An unemployment rate cut in half. At the same time, our economy continues to go through profound changes that began long before the Great Recession hit. It’s changed to the point where even when folks have jobs; even when the economy is growing; it’s harder for hardworking families to pull themselves out of poverty, harder for young people to start out on their careers, and tougher for workers to retire when they want to.

That’s a big part of the reason a lot of working families are feeling anxious. And it offends our fundamentally American belief that everybody who works hard should be able to get ahead.

That’s why we’ve been fighting so hard to give families more opportunity and more security – by working to create more good jobs, invest in our middle class, and help working people get a raise. It’s what the Affordable Care Act is all about – filling in the gaps in employer-based care so that when somebody loses a job, or goes back to school, or starts that new business, they still have health care. And it’s why I believe we’ve got to take steps to modernize our unemployment insurance system.

If a hardworking American loses her job, regardless of what state she lives in, we should make sure she can get unemployment insurance and some help to retrain for her next job. If she’s been unemployed for a while, we should reach out to her and connect her with career counseling. And if she finds a new job that doesn’t pay as much as her old one, we should offer some wage insurance that helps her pay her bills. Under my plan, experienced workers who now make less than $50,000 could replace half of their lost wages – up to $10,000 over two years. It’s a way to give families some stability and encourage folks to rejoin the workforce – because we shouldn’t just be talking about unemployment; we should be talking about re-employment.

That’s when America works best – when everyone has opportunity; when everyone has some security; and when everyone can contribute to this country that we love. That’s how we make sure that hardworking families can get ahead. And that’s what I’ll be fighting for with every last day of my presidency.

Thanks everybody. Have a great weekend.

Bolding added.

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4 Comments

  1. As mentioned in the State of the Unions address, the administration will be halting all leases to mine coal on federal lands, pending a review – the review will adjust the price to reflect the costs of burning coal:

    The Obama administration announced Friday that it is stopping most new coal leasing on America’s public lands as it moves to modernize and reform the federal coal leasing program, which has not been updated in more than 30 years.

    “Given serious concerns raised about the federal coal program, we’re taking the prudent step to hit pause on approving significant new leases so that decisions about those leases can benefit from the recommendations that come out of the review,” Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said Friday.

    The plan includes three measures to address these issues and update the federal coal program to account for taxpayer interests and environmental challenges. The Interior Department will conduct a review to identify potential reforms to the outdated program, put a temporary pause on new coal leasing (which will not apply to existing leases), and direct the U.S. Geological Survey to begin annual tracking and reporting on greenhouse gas emissions that result from fossil fuels extracted on public lands. […]

    Not only is the real cost of coal not currently accounted for in its royalties, but the environmental impacts from coal, including its contribution to climate change, also impose a cost to the American public. Currently, the combustion of coal from federal lands accounts for more than 57 percent of all emissions from fossil fuel production on federal lands. Air and water pollution from strip mining and failed mine reclamation also add to coal’s heavy environmental cost. The review will take into account climate change, environmental, and public health impacts of the coal program.

    This is a BHD. More from Al Jazeera:

    “We have an obligation to current and future generations to ensure the federal coal program delivers a fair return to American taxpayers and takes into account its impacts on climate change,” Jewell said on a conference call.

    Bill McKibben tweeted:

  2. Secretary John Kerry announces that Iran has complied with all requirements of nuclear deal announced last summer:

    @JohnKerry: Each of the pathways #Iran had toward enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon has been verifiably closed down.

    In addition, Iran has released 4 prisoners including a WaPo reporter.

    #DiplomacyWorks

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