Obama Signs $18B Benefits Bill Prez urges Congress to work on longer-term fix By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff Posted Apr 15, 2010 10:50 PM CDT 11 comments Comments The bill restores benefits to around 200,000 long-term unemployed Americans who had their cheques cut off as Congress wrangled over the bill. (AP Photo/Al Behrman) (Newser) – President Obama signed an $18 billion bill to give the long-term unemployed a 6-week benefits extension soon after it passed both houses of Congress. The bill—which also includes health subsidies for the unemployed and a restoration of full Medicaid payments to doctors—made it through the House and Senate over the objections of Republicans who complained it adds to the federal deficit, the AP reports. "Millions of Americans who lost their jobs in this economic crisis depend on unemployment and health insurance benefits to get by as they look for work and get themselves back on their feet," Obama said. "But as I requested in my budget, I urge Congress to move quickly to extend these benefits through the end of this year."