Congressional leaders reacted Friday morning to the news that the economy added 244,000 jobs in April – the highest number in five years -- even as the unemployment rate ticked upward to 9 percent from 8.8 percent in the first increase since last November.
Below are some of the reactions from Capitol Hill. We’ll update as more come in.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio):
“While any improvement is welcome news, job growth in America is still nowhere close to what it should be. Our economy continues to suffer from the uncertainty being caused for private-sector job creators by the Democrats who run Washington. Over the past month, rather than joining Republicans in focusing on policies that promote long-term economic growth to help balance the federal budget, the Democrats who control Washington have indicated they are planning to increase taxes and allow the government’s spending binge to continue. The policies proposed by the White House and Senate Democrats are causing renewed uncertainty for private-sector job creators, crowding out private investment and punishing small businesses and entrepreneurs who are willing to invest, expand, and take risks to create more American jobs. Increasing the national debt limit without significant spending cuts and fundamental budget reforms, as President Obama has proposed, will compound these problems and further hamper job creation in America. For that reason, Congressional Republicans have made clear there will be no debt limit increase unless it is accompanied by significant spending cuts and reforms.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.):
“Today’s news that the economy added 244,000 jobs, including the most private sector jobs in over five years, is more evidence that our economy is headed back on the right track. But many people in Nevada and across America are still facing tough times. That’s why Democrats remain focused on putting Americans back to work. Republicans on the other hand are wasting time on partisan grandstanding, and this week blocked a bill to help small businesses innovate, grow and hire. This is not the time to be distracted by these political games – it’s time they join us in putting middle class families first and help us pass the common-sense measures that will help out economy continue to grow.”
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.):
“Today’s announcement is good news, and should serve as a reminder that the federal government must not prevent additional job creation and economic growth by raising taxes or imposing more onerous regulations. In addition, there is no doubt that high gas prices are hurting families across America. Skyrocketing gas prices are placing increased strain on already tight budgets and we are responding by passing legislation that maximizes energy production here at home, which will bring down gas prices and create jobs. With our unemployment rate still at 9 percent, it is clear that far too many people remain out of work, which is why House Republicans are squarely focused on making Washington a partner to job creators rather than a barrier by pursuing pro-growth measures such as comprehensive reform of our tax code, reducing trade barriers, and increasing domestic energy production. ... With regard to the upcoming debt limit vote, at a time when we borrow 40 cents of every dollar we spend, any move to raise the debt limit must be accompanied by immediate spending cuts and binding reforms so that we don’t continue to push our country down the road to bankruptcy. We need real cuts and real reforms today without raising taxes so that we can begin to get our fiscal house in order, boost the economy and get people back to work.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.):
“Today’s jobs report is a sign our economy continues to move in the right direction, with more Americans going back to work. But we must do more. This is the time to invest in our future and America’s middle class to bring down unemployment and spur our economic growth. The American people have made it clear that job creation is their top priority. Republicans have not offered a single jobs bill or rolled out a jobs agenda for 120 days. In fact, their actions have actually risked jobs. Instead of acting to put people to work, Republicans have voted to end Medicare as we know it in order to give tax breaks to Big Oil, millionaires, and corporations that ship jobs overseas. It’s time to work together to create jobs, while responsibly reducing the deficit, strengthening the middle class, and growing the economy.”
House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.):
“This morning’s job report is encouraging news, but a 9 percent unemployment rate reinforces that our economy is still in fragile condition. The report also shows what House Republicans have been saying for months – we can do more. In the last month alone, we have produced a budget that not only tackles the mountain of debt holding our economy hostage, but also simplifies our tax code so that America can remain competitive in the global economy. This week, the House passed an energy bill that promotes American energy independence, lowers the cost of gasoline but most importantly creates jobs here at home immediately. Meanwhile, President Obama and Congressional Democrats have proposed more spending and higher taxes that will only set us back even further. Congressional Republicans will not stop fighting until we get our country back on a path where people are back at work, our economy is back on track, and our spending is finally under control.”
Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.):
“This job growth shows there is underlying momentum in our economy despite negative fundamentals like high commodity prices, a struggling housing market and a House Republican agenda utterly unfocused on jobs. We just may be on the verge of a period of sustained economic growth if we stick with the President’s plan and shrug off distracting Republican priorities like privatizing Medicare and protecting subsidies for oil companies.”