Obama proposes plans for unemployment in weekly address

By Daniel Uria  |  Jan. 16, 2016 at 9:48 AM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama proposed new plans to increase financial security and modernize unemployment during his weekly radio address on Saturday.

Expanding on his remarks during Tuesday's State of the Union Address, the president identified improvements in the unemployment system and a focus on re-employment as things he would fight for "with every last day of my presidency."

The president's proposals focused on three major principles: Protecting workers with wage insurance, strengthening unemployment insurance and making it easier for workers to retool and retrain.

His plan involves providing wage insurance of up to $10,000 over two years for experienced workers who are left unemployed through no fault of their own, and requiring all states to offer a minimum of 26 weeks of unemployment insurance.

"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," he said in the Saturday address. "It's a way to give families some stability and encourage folks to rejoin the work force because we shouldn't just be talking about unemployment, we should be talking about reemployment."

Obama's plan to help unemployed workers centers around implementing work-sharing programs to help prevent lay-offs. The president's plan would also provide incentives to businesses that allow workers to receive unemployment while participating in on-the-job training.

Obama's proposal comes at a time when unemployment has been cut in half since its peak in 2009. Senior Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett said the greater focus is on quelling a sense of unease felt by the American people.

"They're concerned about their security," Jarrett told USA Today. "So what can we do to give people who have just gotten through the worst financial crisis of all of lifetimes that sense of security for the long haul? That is what the presitent is determined to address in his last year in office."

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