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Washington Briefs June 20, 2010

| June 20, 2010 9:00 PM

China to allow more exchange rate flexibility

BEIJING - President Barack Obama welcomed China's announcement Saturday that it will allow a more flexible exchange rate for its currency, saying it would help protect the economic recovery.The announcement by China's central bank suggested a possible break from the yuan's two-year peg to the U.S. dollar - a source of friction between the two countries - but ruled out any large-scale appreciation.

The People's Bank of China mentioned no specific policy changes, though markets will be watched closely Monday for the announcement's effects. Chinese officials have said all along that reforms of the yuan, also known as the renminbi, or "people's money," will be gradual.

Obama: GOP making life harder for jobless

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama on Saturday pinned blame on Republicans for making life harder for the unemployed and for those who could lose their jobs without new federal intervention. He did so even as he sought to distance himself from the "dreary and familiar politics" of Washington.Capping a week in which the administration scored a victory - a $20 billion fund to be paid by BP for the victims of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill - Obama reserved his radio and Internet address to focus on the work that didn't get done.

His main concern was the rejection of a bill in the Senate that would have provided more money for the long-term unemployed, aid for strapped state governments and the renewal of popular tax breaks for businesses and individuals.

- The Associated Press

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