Obama's top economic adviser urges support for unemployment extension

Jan. 5, 2014 at 1:06 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- Gene Sperling, President Obama's top economic adviser, said Sunday Republicans risk damaging the U.S. economy if they threaten default on the debt limit.

"I think that it will be harmful, not just for the economy, but harmful politically, if Republicans use 2014 as a year to threaten default again on the debt limit," Sperling said on CNN's "State of the Union."

Sperling noted the bipartisan progress the two parties have made following last month's budget compromise.

"We are building off some bipartisan cooperation in the budget agreement," he said. "Are we going to build off that momentum?"

Sperling also echoed Obama's weekly address that urged for the passing of extended unemployment insurance

The Senate will begin considering the measure Monday. Democrats are unsure if they have enough Republican support to pass the bill if it is filibustered, CNN reported.

Sperling urged Republicans to assist 1.3 million Americans who have been out of work for more than six months.

"The question is: Is the only reason people want to work together on jobs politics? Or are we here to try to create jobs, strengthen the middle class, deal with inequality, have each other's backs in hard times?" he said.

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