(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite )
WASHINGTON --The lackluster jobs report brought a swift and coordinated response from Capitol Hill, with Republicans blaming the poor showing on President Obama’s policies, while Democrats countered that the GOP was wasting time on ideological measures that have little chance at improving the economic outlook.
“Today's report shows the private sector clearly isn’t ‘doing fine’ and that President Obama’s policies have failed,” said House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio). He singled out the 2009 economic recovery act and the new healthcare law, which House Republicans will vote -- again -- to repeal when they return to Washington next week.
Dozens of other Republicans piled on with a similar message Friday as the monthly unemployment report showed the nation’s jobless rate stuck at 8.2%. They were attempting to draw a contrast for November voters between the GOP approach to the economy and the policy efforts coming from the administration.
“Despite what President Obama says, today’s dismal jobs report is another reminder that the private sector is not doing fine,” said Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), the former presidential candidate and chair of the Tea Party Caucus in the House.
“Heading into November, there is a clear choice about the direction this country will take and two very different visions for the way forward,” said Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the majority leader. “Will we stay the course and choose more of the same big-government spending and tax hikes to pay for policies like 'Obamacare' and so-called stimulus, or will we turn to real pro-growth solutions that will empower small businessmen and women to succeed, grow and hire?”
Boehner and other Republicans on the Hill routinely point to the 30 bills that have passed the GOP-controlled House only to languish in the Senate, where Democrats, who have the majority in that chamber, have largely dismissed them.
Those bills focus on efforts to roll back federal regulations to protect the environment and worker safety that Republicans say are onerous to businesses and prevent job creation. Economists have said such efforts could help the economy in the long run, but would likely do little to immediately shift the nation’s unemployment rate. Other measures, including the development of the Keystone XL pipeline between Canada and the Gulf of Mexico, which some Democrats also support, could provide a better jolt.
Democrats, though, seized on next week’s vote to repeal the new healthcare law after it was upheld by the Supreme Court as the latest example of the GOP’s intent on having show votes rather than finding compromise on measures that could kick-start the economy.
“There is no time to waste — the American people want us to work together on jobs now,” said Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), the minority leader. “Unfortunately, Republicans are wasting more time next week on another partisan vote to repeal patients' rights and benefits — even as Americans' top priority remains job creation.”
Republicans have voted some 30 times over the past 18 months to repeal aspects of the nation’s healthcare law.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Republicans in the Senate, who have largely blocked Obama’s jobs initiatives – including efforts to provide money to the states to hire teachers, firefighters and other personnel -- with GOP-led filibusters were wasting time.
“Today's report is further evidence that Congress should be focusing on creating jobs and helping the middle class, not re-fighting old battles for political gain,” Reid said. “Unfortunately, my Republican colleagues have decided they would rather focus their energy on political grandstanding and empty, partisan exercises that will not create a single job. As this report clearly shows, it's time to move on and focus on jobs.”