House Republican leaders used a new jobs report released Friday morning to slam the White House’s economic policies and to make their case for a deficit-reduction deal that includes significant spending cuts, not tax increases.
Democrats struck back, saying Republicans have been too focused on proposing radical changes to Medicare to address job creation.
“There have been 27 jobs reports since the stimulus, and every single one of those jobs reports has been underwhelming,” House Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) said at a news conference with other Republican leaders. “When will the White House realize that their underperformance and lack of planning -- and failure -- is a real obstacle to job creation?”
Friday’s Labor Department report showed that the economy added only 54,000 jobs in May, down from 232,000 in April, and that the unemployment rate rose to 9.1 percent from 9 percent.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said that it was clear from the report “that the economy still isn’t creating enough jobs” and that the “overtaxing, overregulating and overspending that’s going on here in Washington is creating uncertainty and holding [job creators] back.”
But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), blamed Republicans for what he called their failure to focus on jobs.
“Creating jobs has been Democrats’ top priority since day one, and I am encouraged that the private sector is continuing to grow and add jobs. Unfortunately, Republicans have been distracted, choosing instead to focus on their plan to end Medicare in order to pay for more tax breaks for millionaires,” he said in a statement. “It is time for Republicans to stop trying to force their plan to end Medicare on the American people, and work with Democrats to create jobs.”
The report comes as congressional negotiators are continuing to meet with the White House on working toward a longer-term deficit reduction plan that would smooth the way for a vote on raising the country’s $14.3 trillion debt limit this summer. President Obama met separately with House Republicans and Democrats at the White House on Wednesday and Thursday, and Vice President Biden is slated to resume talks with the six congressional negotiators next week.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Boehner’s delegate to the talks, said that there have been “significant, substantive discussions” in the White House-led meetings but that much remains to be done. There remains significant distance between both parties on the issue of including revenues, which Democrats have called for, and overhauling Medicare, which Republicans are pushing for.
Boehner reiterated Friday that Republicans are not amenable to putting tax increases on the table in the talks.
“I think raising taxes on job creators is exactly the wrong prescription at this time,” he said.