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Obama Urges Congress to Extend Unemployment Benefits

US President Barack Obama
U.S. President Barack Obama has urged Congress to extend unemployment benefits.

Obama said in his weekly address Saturday 1.3 million Americans will lose their unemployment benefits if Congress does not act before it leaves for the Christmas recess.

The president said the "economic lifeline" is in jeopardy because "Republicans in this Congress - which is on track to be the most unproductive in history - have, so far, refused to extend it."

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has predicted that allowing benefits to expire will stunt economic growth next year.

President Obama said extending unemployment benefits "isn't just the right thing to do for our families -- it's the smart thing to do for our economy."

Representative Renee Ellmers delivered the Republican weekly address. She criticized Obama's healthcare law that has resulted in some Americans losing their health insurance plans, despite a promise from the president that would not happen.

The Affordable Health Care Act was designed to make health insurance affordable for the millions of people who have no coverage.