President Barack Obama had harsh words for Republican lawmakers on Monday, saying it's wrong for them to deny benefits to those out of work while at the same time calling for tax cuts for the wealthy.
"It's time to do what's right, not for the next election, but for the middle class," Obama said in a presidential statement in the White House Rose Garden Monday morning.
The Senate is expected to address extending jobless benefits again this week, despite Republican efforts to block the measure.
Obama chastised GOP leaders for advancing what he called a misguided notion that emergency relief discourages the unemployed from searching for work.
"That attitude, I think, reflects a lack of faith in the American people," Obama said. "These are honest, decent, hardworking folks who have fallen on hard times through no fault of their own."
Republican senators said they will back extending unemployment benefits, but only if the Senate can figure out how to pay for them without adding to the national debt.
"Everyone agrees on extending the additional unemployment insurance, but the Democrat way is to insist we add it to the national debt at the same time, while blocking Republican efforts to pass the same extension without the debt," said Don Stewart, spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.