Cities key to US economic growth

President Barack Obama says the nation

FILE - In this Oct. 30, 2013, file photo, President Barack Obama speaks at Boston's historic Faneuil Hall about the federal health care law. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says the nation's cities are central to the economic progress of the United States and says he wants to work with mayors to provide an environment that makes them key job creation hubs.

Obama was meeting with more than a dozen new mayors and mayors-elect, including Bill de Blasio of New York and Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles.

Obama said Senate passage next week of a House-approved budget will help metropolitan areas by removing the uncertainty that past fiscal brinkmanship has created in the economy.

He reiterated his call for Congress to extend jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed, a provision not contained in the budget agreement. He also said cities would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage because of their vast service sectors.

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