Unemployment Benefits Extended

New Law Extends Unemployment Benefits, Critical for OklahomaPresident Obama has signed legislation extending critical unemployment insurance to 2.5 million Americans - including an estimated 13,600 people in Oklahoma - who are looking for a job but have not been able to find work before their benefits were exhausted.The extension of unemployment benefits was one of three important actions this week to help repair the damage to the nation's economy from this recession, and rebuild it on a stronger foundation.{} Other key actions:Wall Street Reform becomes law.{} This legislation contains the toughest financial reforms since the ones created in the aftermath of the Great Depression. It will bring greater accountability to Wall Street, and provide greater security to families and small businesses on Main Street.{} The financial industry is central to our nation's ability to grow, prosper, compete, and innovate.{} This law will help to foster that innovation, not hamper it.{} These reforms will put in place the strongest consumer protections in history, which will be enforced by an independent agency whose sole job is to establish rules of the road and enforce these protections to look out for the American consumer.{} Because of financial reform, the American people will never again be asked to foot the bill for Wall Street's mistakes. There will be no more taxpayer-funded bailouts -- period. If a large financial institution should ever fail, we will have the tools to wind it down without endangering the broader economy.{} And there will be new rules to prevent financial institutions from becoming "too big to fail" in the first place, so that we don't have another AIG.Government inefficiencies are a prime target.{} President Obama came into office determined to change the way Washington works for the American people. That means working to build a government that is more open, more transparent, and more responsive to the needs of its people; and that is focused on getting rid of the waste and inefficiencies that squander the hard-earned money of American taxpayers.{} One of the core responsibilities of government is to steward the tax dollars of the American people wisely and well. And yet each year, the federal government makes billions of dollars in improper payments to individuals, organizations, and contractors. That's why the President signed into law this week the Improper Payment Elimination and Recovery Act, an important step toward realizing the President's new goal of reducing improper payments by $50 billion between now and 2012.{} This bipartisan legislation requires every federal agency to conduct annual assessments to determine which of their programs are at risk of making improper payments; and to audit more of their programs and recapture more taxpayer dollars. And there are now rigorous enforcement mechanisms to hold agencies accountable for how much money they save.{}{}