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Posted at 04:25 PM ET, 03/16/2011

Dems, GOP battle over Republican jobs forum

Two influential Democratic representatives on Wednesday took aim at House Republicans’ forum on job creation, maintaining that Republicans still have not presented a jobs plan despite their efforts to promote their “cut-and-grow” agenda. Republicans immediately fired back that one of the Democrats had no right to criticize an event she had not watched.

Democratic Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.) and Rob Andrews (N.J.) held a news conference Wednesday afternoon at which they contended that one jobs forum — held Wednesday morning — does not a jobs agenda make.

“They had a meeting in which they spent an hour with some businesspeople, 30 minutes of which they talked,” Wasserman Schultz said of House Republican leaders in an interview after the news conference.

“The only thing that I detected out of that one-hour meeting was that they wanted to listen to businesspeople present ideas about how to create jobs, which shows absolutely no leadership whatsoever; which belies the fact that they ran on their ideas to create jobs and the need to make it a priority. Instead, what they’ve been doing since the first day of the 112th Congress is killing jobs and short-circuiting our economic recovery,” she added.

A spokesperson for Wasserman Schultz later acknowledged that the congresswoman was unable to watch the forum because she was at American Red Cross Save-A-Life Day event and later at a Judiciary Committee hearing.

Brad Dayspring, a spokesperson for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), responded in a statement that it was “a shame that the Congresswoman would react with such rage without even having the courtesy to listen to what these job creators came to Washington to say.”

As the budget debate continues to dominate the conversation on Capitol Hill, House Republicans this week have begun ramping up their efforts to make clear that their efforts to cut spending, rein in federal regulations and reexamine the tax code are fueled by the goal of creating jobs.

Wasserman Schultz said that while Republicans ran on a message of job-creation in 2010, they “unmasked themselves” with their actions since the beginning of the 112th Congress.

“I think it’s evident that they ran a stealth campaign in 2010,” Wasserman Schultz said. “They hid their true agenda, their extreme agenda, that’s an assault on women and an assault on children and their right to get a good education. And then right out of the gate, they open with a massive repeal of health-care and a job-killing budget that will devastate the future of children and pull the rug out from under patients.”

Dayspring said that if Wasserman Schultz had watched the forum, “she would have learned that the uncertainty and bureaucracy stemming from the policies that she, Leader Pelosi and President Obama enacted have prevented entrepreneurs and business people from doing what they do best – investing and creating jobs.”

He added that House Republicans “are taking a dual-track approach” to growing the economy by getting the country’s fiscal house in order and pursuing a “robust pro-growth agenda that will create jobs and get people back to work.”

Andrews, meanwhile, suggested that one thing House Republicans and Democrats could do to promote job creation is to work together on reaching a compromise to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year.

“We’re prepared to work with them to reach a conclusion for the rest of the year so long as it has sensible cuts in spending; it honors our values, in particular to education; and it leaves the questions about the health care repeal and Planned Parenthood aside and not shut the government down over these kinds of extremist issues,” Andrews said.

The path ahead on the longer-term funding resolution remains uncertain, however, as each party has said it is up to the other to make the next step. Both chambers have until April 8 to hammer out either a plan to fund the government through September or another stopgap bill to avoid a government shutdown.

By  |  04:25 PM ET, 03/16/2011

 
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