By Justin Sink - 01/07/14 01:15 PM EST
President Obama on Tuesday accused Republican critics who oppose extending federal unemployment benefits of selling “the American people short.
Shortly after the Senate voted to move a three-month extension of the benefits forward, Obama sought to tie himself to unemployed workers, who he said were neither lazy nor lacking in motivation.
“I can't name a time when I met an American who would rather have an unemployment check than the pride of having a job,” Obama said.
Unemployed workers are “coping with the aftermath of the worst economic crisis in generations.”
The White House is using the unemployment fight as part of a broader effort aimed at winning over working-class and middle-class voters in a midterm election year. Much of the effort centers around issues of income inequality, and along with the unemployment issue the White House is calling for a hike to the minimum wage.
House Republican leaders have said they will only consider an extension if its $6.4 billion cost is offset and if it includes other provisions backed by Republicans.