White House defends expiration of jobs council

January 31, 2013

The jobs council President Obama convened with much fanfare in January 2011 is expected to expire on Thursday, and the White House is defending its decision not to renew it.

“We will launch a new effort to engage with business leaders and other leaders,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters at Thursday’s daily briefing in response to a series of questions about the expiration of the group, formally known as the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

During the 2012 campaign, Republicans repeatedly dinged Obama for having held only four meetings of the group, none of which have taken place during the past year. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) renewed that criticism on Thursday.

“To understand the abysmal nature of our economic recovery, look no further than the president’s disinterest in learning lessons from actual job creators,” Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said in a statement. “Whether ignoring the group or rejecting its recommendations, the president treated his Jobs Council as more of a nuisance than a vehicle to spur job creation.”

Carney on Thursday fired back at GOP critics of the White House, arguing that many of those who have taken aim at the dissolution of the council are the same congressional Republicans who have opposed Obama administration agenda items aimed at creating jobs.

Carney also gave a terse answer to one reporter who asked whether the White House was planning a concerted effort on job creation just as it has on immigration reform and gun control.

“I know you’re kind of new to the beat, but this president has been focused on this issue more than any other, and that will not change,” Carney said.

The jobs council was the successor to an earlier effort, the Economic Recovery Advisory Board, which provided counsel as the Obama administration responded to the global financial collapse.

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Victoria Benning | January 31, 2013