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奥巴马演讲:给美国的失业者提供救济

President Obama calls on Congress to take an up-or-down vote on extending unemployment benefits and to stop political maneuvering that Americans in need of assistance in limbo.

【Transcript】

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, everybody. Right now, across this country, many Americans are sitting at the kitchen table, they’re scanning the classifieds, they’re updating their resumes or sending out another job application, hoping that this time they’ll hear back from a potential employer. And they’re filled with a sense of uncertainty about where their next paycheck will come from. And I know the only thing that will entirely free them of those worries –- the only thing that will fully lift that sense of uncertainty –- is the security of a new job.

To that end, we all have to continue our efforts to do everything in our power to spur growth and hiring. And I hope the Senate acts this week on a package of tax cuts and expanded lending for small businesses, where most of America’s jobs are created.

So we’ve got a lot of work to do to make sure that we are digging ourselves out of this tough economic hole that we’ve been in. But even as we work to jumpstart job growth in the private sector, even as we work to get businesses hiring again, we also have another responsibility: to offer emergency assistance to people who desperately need it — to Americans who’ve been laid off in this recession. We’ve got a responsibility to help them make ends meet and support their families even as they’re looking for another job.

That’s why it’s so essential to pass the unemployment insurance extension that comes up for a vote tomorrow. We need to pass it for men like Jim Chukalas, who’s with me here today. Jim worked as a parts manager at a Honda dealership until about two years ago. He’s posted resumes everywhere. He’s gone door-to-door looking for jobs. But he hasn’t gotten a single interview. He’s trying to be strong for his two young kids, but now that he’s exhausted his unemployment benefits, that’s getting harder to do.

We need to pass it for women like Leslie Macko, who lost her job at a fitness center last year and has been looking for work ever since. Because she’s eligible for only a few more weeks of unemployment, she’s doing what she never thought she’d have to do — not at this point, anyway. She’s turning to her father for financial support.

And we need to pass it for Americans like Denise Gibson, who was laid off from a real estate agency earlier this year. Denise has been interviewing for jobs -– but so far nothing has turned up. Meanwhile, she’s fallen further and further behind on her rent. And with her unemployment benefits set to expire, she’s worried about what the future holds.

We need to pass it for all the Americans who haven’t been able to find work in an economy where there are five applicants for every opening; who need emergency relief to help them pay the rent and cover their utilities and put food on the table while they’re looking for another job.

And for a long time, there’s been a tradition –- under both Democratic and Republican Presidents –- to offer relief to the unemployed. That was certainly the case under my predecessor, when Republican senators voted several times to extend emergency unemployment benefits. But right now, these benefits –- benefits that are often the person’s sole source of income while they’re looking for work -– are in jeopardy.

And I have to say, after years of championing policies that turned a record surplus into a massive deficit, the same people who didn’t have any problem spending hundreds of billions of dollars on tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are now saying we shouldn’t offer relief to middle-class Americans like Jim or Leslie or Denise, who really need help.

Over the past few weeks, a majority of senators have tried -– not once, not twice, but three times –- to extend emergency relief on a temporary basis. Each time, a partisan minority in the Senate has used parliamentary maneuvers to block a vote, denying millions of people who are out of work much-needed relief. These leaders in the Senate who are advancing a misguided notion that emergency relief somehow discourages people from looking for a job should talk to these folks.

That attitude I think reflects a lack of faith in the American people, because the Americans I hear from in letters and meet in town hall meetings –- Americans like Leslie and Jim and Denise — they’re not looking for a handout. They desperately want to work. Just right now they can’t find a job. These are honest, decent, hardworking folks who’ve fallen on hard times through no fault of their own, and who have nowhere else to turn except unemployment benefits and who need emergency relief to help them weather this economic storm.

Now, tomorrow we will have another chance to offer them that relief, to do right by not just Jim and Leslie and Denise, but all the Americans who need a helping hand right now — and I hope we seize it. It’s time to stop holding workers laid off in this recession hostage to Washington politics. It’s time to do what’s right — not for the next election but for the middle class. We’ve got to stop blocking emergency relief for Americans who are out of work. We’ve got to extend unemployment insurance. We need to pass those tax cuts for small businesses and the lending for small businesses.

Times are hard right now. We are moving in the right direction. I know it’s getting close to an election, but there are times where you put elections aside. This is one of those times. And that’s what I hope members of Congress on both sides of the aisle will do tomorrow.

Thanks very much.

END

11:00 A.M. EDT

【相关中文报道】

美国东部时间7月19日(北京时间7月20日)消息,今天美国总统奥巴马在白宫玫瑰园发表讲话,力推国会通过一项340亿美元的失业救助法案,以此延长对美国失业人员的救助。

 据美国劳工部统计,在6月份失业金期满之后,有超过250万美国人失去了生活的来源。美国今年上半年平均失业率为9.7%,一些经济学家甚至预计到2011年失业率还将继续升高。在此之前国会否决了这项提案,理由是这项法案需要支出的340亿美元将加大美国赤字开支。

 奥巴马总统在发言中严厉地抨击了持反对意见的共和党,他认为法案之所以未被通过是因为国会中的共和党人坚持错误的看法,即领取失业救济金的人就会放弃寻找工作。而共和党人在美国经济最困难的时候,不愿意向那些失去生活来源的家庭提供帮助。他说:“现在是时候停止拿经济衰退中失业的美国人作为政治的筹码。”奥巴马希望通过此项法案,可以将失业救济金的有效期延长到11月底。

 奥巴马总统的说法立即受到共和党人的反驳,共和党人表示愿意继续为失业者提供救助金,但建议使用政府刺激基金来支付这项费用,以免再次提高美国巨额赤字。众议院共和党领袖约翰-博纳(John Boehner)在一份声明中回应:我们愿意以负责任的财政管理方式继续提供失业救助,华盛顿民主党恣意的庞大开销已经使美国债务和赤字更为恶化,我们在以正确的方式做正确的事。”

 在成功推动国会相继通过金融改革法案和医保改革之后,美国就业问题是奥巴马政府最为关注的头等大事。尽管美国政府一直试图以刺激政策拉动美国经济的增长和增加就业机会,但迄今收效甚微。为此,上周奥巴马特意会晤股神巴菲特和多位商界领袖,讨论与私人机构合作创造就业职位。其后还向前总统克林顿讨教,希望借其任职期间的成功经济政策,振兴当前美国经济。

(本段文字来源:和讯财经网)


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《奥巴马演讲:给美国的失业者提供救济》

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