Dec. 21 - President Barack Obama praised Congress for passing a budget, but also expressed discontent over its inaction on unemployment insurance. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) President Barack Obama in his weekly address to the nation on Saturday focused on the work of Congress ahead of the Christmas holiday. He praised both the Democratic and Republican parties for passing a budget, but also expressed discontent over inaction in Congress over unemployment insurance. "For the first time in years, both parties came together in the spirit of compromise to pass a budget," Obama said. "One that helps chart our economic course for the next two years. This budget will unwind some of the damaging cuts that have threatened students and seniors and held back our businesses." "Right now, because Congress failed to act before leaving on vacation, more than one million Americans are poised to lose a vital source of income just a few days after Christmas. For many people who are still looking for work, unemployment insurance is a lifeline that can make the difference between temporary hardship or lasting catastrophe. Instead of punishing these families who can least afford it," Obama said. On Friday, at a year-end news conference in the White House briefing room, Obama declined to engage in a bout of political soul-searching and said that, despite a botched health care rollout and stalled legislative initiatives, his year had not been all that bad. He acknowledged setbacks but declined to dwell on them hours before escaping Washington for two weeks of what he described as "sleep and sun" in Hawaii.