WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama on Thursday slammed his Republican foes for stalling a bill to spur job creation, as he left for a 10-day vacation amid more grim US unemployment figures.
"There are times when Democrats and Republicans have legitimate differences, rooted in different views about what's best for this country. There are times when good people disagree in good faith," he said.
"But this is not one of those times," said Obama, sharply criticizing Republicans for using parliamentary delaying tactics to block a vote on the legislation.
The measure aims to create a 30-billion-dollar fund to provide capital to community banks to lend to small businesses, which would also get some 12 billion dollar in tax breaks over ten years.
"It's obstruction that stands in the way of small business owners getting the loans and the tax cuts that they need to prosper. It's obstruction that defies common sense," said Obama.
The president accused Republicans of stalling the bill for political purposes ahead of November elections in which Democrats fear a rout because of the sour economy, including unemployment hovering near 10 percent.
"When Congress reconvenes, this jobs bill will be the first business out of the gate and the Senate Republican leadership needs to stop its efforts to block it," said Obama.
He spoke after the US government released figures showing the number of Americans filing new weekly claims for jobless benefits jumped unexpectedly to 500,000, the highest level in nine months, threatening recovery hopes.
The claims in the week to August 14 increased by 12,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 488,000 and came well above most economists' expectations of 475,000.
It was the third straight week in which claims have risen, and underscores the threat posed by unemployment on the recovery from the worst US recession in decades.
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