ABC News’ John R. Parkinson reports:
Speaker of the House John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reacted to the fresh data released this morning on two key economic indicators, disagreeing on the importance of the mixed report and disputing the best way forward to improve the economy.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced this morning that the U.S. economy added 103,000 jobs during December – which was worse than economists’ forecasts, but still enough to push the jobless rate down four-tenths of a point to a 19-month low at 9.4 percent unemployment.
“Any signs of job growth are encouraging, but 9.4 percent unemployment and a $14 trillion debt are by no means adequate to get our economy growing,” Boehner said in a statement Friday morning. “Hard work lies ahead to reduce uncertainty, start creating jobs again, and restore confidence in our economy.”
Boehner, R-Ohio, stated that despite the noteworthy improvement to the unemployment rate, the jobs report underscores the need to cut spending in order to grow the economy, which he said are “the priorities of the new House majority.”
“It isn’t new faces Americans are looking for – it’s new policies that will cut spending and grow our economy,” Boehner said. “We have already implemented reforms to make it easier to cut spending, and cut our own budget to demonstrate our commitment to making real cuts and tough choices.”
Across the aisle, the House’s top Democrat emphasized that the private sector added jobs for the 12th straight month, crediting the legislative accomplishments of the Congress when Democrats held control of the House.
“Today’s jobs report provides evidence that the policies of the Democratic-led Congress are helping to create jobs and revitalize our economy – adding more jobs in 2010 than President Bush did over eight years,” Pelosi, D-California, said. “Building on the progress of the December jobs numbers – marking the last full month of Democratic leadership of the House – we will continue to measure every proposal by whether it creates jobs, strengthens our middle class, and reduces the deficit.”
Boehner said that the Republican majority’s efforts to repeal the health care reform law passed by the Democratic Congress last year will lead a path towards a full economic recovery.
“Today, we will take the first steps towards repealing the job-killing health care law, so we can replace it with reforms that will lower costs and protect jobs,” Boehner said. “Our economy will ultimately recover, but it will do so because of hard work and entrepreneurship, not more wasteful Washington spending.”
Pelosi disagreed, and said that repealing the law would increase the deficit and do further damage to the economy, citing a CBO report on the repeal that was released Thursday.
“With so many Americans still looking for work, now is not the time to reverse course,” Pelosi said. “Republicans must join Democrats in focusing on putting people to work, instead of making their top priority repealing critical patient protections, putting insurance companies back in charge of the health of the American people and blowing a $230 billion hole in the deficit.”