From NBC's Ali Weinberg
Before leaving for a ten-day vacation in Martha's Vineyard, President Obama criticized Congressional Republicans for blocking a bill that would increase loans and reduce taxes for small businesses.
Obama added that Republican opposition to the bill, which failed to pass by a 58-42 margin at the end of July, "defies common sense," asserting that the bill incorporated both Republican and Democratic ideas.
He added that today's announcement of record jobless claims, as well as a new Labor Department report that 60% of job losses come from small businesses, underscore the need for Congress to pass a bill when it reconvenes in the fall.
Unemployment claims increased by 12,000 last week to 500,000 -- the first time the benefits have reached the half-million mark since November, according to the AP.
"When Congress reconvenes," Obama said, "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."