While the White House believes that today’s jobs report is “further evidence” the economy is improving, House Republicans sharply disagreed with that assessment, launching an assault on President Obama for “failed economic policies” that “are the root cause of our anemic recovery.”
“Today’s report shows that families and small businesses are still struggling to get by because of President Obama’s failed economic policies,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, wrote in a statement. “Unemployment is far too high, paychecks are shrinking, gas prices are rising faster than ever, and our debt now exceeds the size of our entire economy. Unfortunately, the president is refusing to get serious about addressing our fiscal and economic challenges.”
The U.S. economy created just 120,000 jobs in March, the Labor Department announced this morning, 90,000 jobs below economists’ expectations. The unemployment rate also fell one-tenth of a point to 8.2 percent.
Rep. Michele Bachmann said that the data “represents another month of broken promises by President Obama.”
“He promised that if the stimulus passed, unemployment would not go above eight percent, but today we witness another month with unemployment above eight percent,” Bachmann, R-Minn., stated. “When will President Obama admit that his policies aren’t working, that government doesn’t create jobs and finally unleash the free market to create millions of high paying jobs?”
Earlier this week, the Natural Resources committee also subpoenaed the Department of the Interior to gain access to records projecting significant job loss as a result of the president’s rewrite of coal regulation, the 2008 Stream Buffer Zone Rule, implemented quickly after he took office.
As blame for the price of energy is a popular area of disagreement on the campaign trail for both President Obama and the four remaining GOP candidates, House Republicans ganged up on the president for double-talking on an “all-of-the-above” energy plan.
“Unlike for President Obama, an all-of-the-above energy plan is not a conveniently timed campaign slogan to House Republicans—it’s a real plan to put Americans back to work and reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign energy,” Rep. Doc Hastings, the chairman of the House committee on Natural Resources, said. “House Republicans have passed a true bipartisan, all-of-the-above energy plan that will create over a million jobs and contribute billions to the Treasury, help lower gasoline prices and make American more energy secure.”
Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., noted that rather than pursue Democratic initiatives that she believes would stymie growth, the jobs numbers “reinforce the urgency for Democrats and Republicans to work together to foster a positive environment for job growth, free of the threat of more regulations and higher taxes.”
“Especially in energy states like West Virginia, the President’s anti-coal agenda is destroying good-paying energy jobs throughout Appalachia while his refusal to approve the Keystone pipeline is a missed opportunity to create thousands of American jobs,” she said. “The President’s assault on fossil fuels is what’s most frustrating. The United States has such a tremendous opportunity to use our abundant natural resources to fuel our economy back to health, but the President refuses to act.”
Democrats, however, defended the president and shifted blame to Republicans for frustrating their party’s efforts to rebuild the economy.
House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer said the jobs report “is a further sign that the policies implemented over the past three years by President Obama and Congressional Democrats are working.”
“Republicans have wasted 15 months without addressing the need for job creation in a serious and comprehensive way and not providing the certainty businesses need to thrive,” Hoyer, D-Md., wrote. “House Democrats’ Make It In America plan for helping private sector businesses expand is the best way to start creating middle-class jobs now and to lay the foundation for a competitive, growing economy for years to come.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also took her colleagues across the aisle to task for struggling last month to pass a long-term highway bill. Instead, Boehner and the GOP settled for a temporary 90-day extension while members craft longer bill.
“For weeks, House Republicans have squandered the opportunity to bring up a bipartisan transportation bill that creates or saves more than 2 million jobs and rebuilds our infrastructure [with the Senate's two-year bill]. Instead, they kicked the can down the road with another short-term quick fix, while pushing a transportation proposal that destroys more than half-a-million jobs and undermines highway investments in nearly every state,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said. “It is long past due for Republicans to join Democrats in working on behalf of the American people who want us to create jobs, address the challenge of skyrocketing gas prices, grow our small businesses, and strengthen an all-inclusive and thriving middle class.”
On Thursday, President Obama signed the JOBS Act into law, marking a rare moment of bipartisan cooperation in Washington’s effort to strengthen the economy. But as the Democratic leadership contends “it’s long past due” for the GOP to join them on their proposals, the prospect for bipartisan cooperation may be fleeting as both parties are steadfast that their own policies are best to enact.
“Democrats are committed to reigniting the American dream, building ladders of opportunity for anyone willing to work hard, take responsibility, and play by the rules,” Pelosi said, distinguishing her party from the other. “Republicans threatened the long-term economic security of all Americans by passing a budget that ends the Medicare guarantee, hands massive tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans and Big Oil, and destroys millions of jobs.”
Despite the passionate political rhetoric, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor projected optimism and urged both parties use momentum created by the JOBS Act “to continue working together on solutions to boost economic growth and get people back to work.”
Congress is currently on recess for the Easter holiday but Cantor is expected to move a 20 percent tax cut for small businesses to the floor when the House returns to legislative business April 16.
“Job growth happens when small businessmen and women in this country have the ability to take risks, invest capital and start hiring new workers. We want to make sure they have every opportunity to do so,” Cantor, R-Va., stated today as he rallied support for the tax cut. “Members on both sides of the aisle are eager to empower small business owners and I hope we can unite around this measure to spur small business growth and job creation.”