Texas’ congressional Republicans seized on new unemployment numbers to decry President Obama’s economic policies days after he stopped in Mesquite to sell his jobs plan.
The country added 103,000 jobs in September as the unemployment rate stayed at 9.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced Friday.
“The bottom line is, there is no economic recovery and there will not be as long as the White House still piles on more debt, as long as the White House is still piling on more taxes and as long as the White House is still piling on just this incredible regulatory burden that’s just smothering our small-business people,” said House Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Dallas, on the Mark Davis radio show.
Hensarling is the co-chairman of the congressional supercommittee tasked with recommending more than $1 trillion in deficit reductions – and he represents the district where Obama spoke about his jobs proposal on Tuesday. Hensarling said trade agreements and corporate tax reform were areas of potential agreement between Republicans and the president, but that Obama’s nationwide tour cast doubt on his intent.
“We hope the president’s willing to work on it, but he’s kind of going around the nation with a chip on his shoulder saying, ‘It’s my way or the highway,’ so you just don’t know if he’s serious in working on the unemployment crisis or his own election crisis,” Hensarling said.
Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Conroe, the vice chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, said in a statement that the administration is “holding the economy back” through “high taxes, excessive spending and regulations, and uncertainty about the increasingly intrusive federal government.” He called on Obama and Congress “to get the federal government out of the way.”
Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar of Laredo, meanwhile, called the fact that the jobs number exceeded economists’ expectations “good news” and urged Congress to focus on small businesses and the long-delayed trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea that Congress is set to vote on next week.
“Whether it’s in petroleum products or ag products, Texas is going benefit from this” through increased exports and new jobs, Cuellar said in a phone interview.
Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, pointed a finger at the Republicans who control the House.
“Today’s jobs numbers are another reminder that in the 276 days Republicans have been in control of the House of Representatives they have yet to offer a single piece of legislation to create jobs, but continue to blame unemployment on the unemployed,” Doggett said in a statement. He called for an extension of federal unemployment benefits and investment in small businesses and infrastructure.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics said the number of unemployed Americans went “essentially unchanged” in September at 14 million. The jobless rates for many demographic groups, including Hispanics at 11.3 percent, also “showed little or no change.”