Leaders in both parties seized on new numbers out Friday showing that unemployment dropped from 9.8 percent to 9.4 percent last month as proof that their party’s policies are the better way forward.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi took to Twitter to highlight the effect of Democratic policies on job growth.
“It’s official — while there’s much more to be done, we created more jobs in 2010 than Bush did in 8 yrs,” the California Democrat tweeted.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the drop in the jobless rate — the most significant in months — is a sign that Republicans need to back off their plans to let tax cuts expire for small businesses.
“The Republicans’ plan to take tax cuts away from small businesses couldn’t come at a worse time. We need to give small businesses help, not take it away,” the Nevada Democrat said.
“Rather than provide small businesses with incentives to grow and hire new workers, Republicans want to raise their taxes and give power back to the insurance companies. We cannot afford that at a time when our economy continues to recover,” he said.
Austan Goolsbee, chairman of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, touted that private-sector jobs increased by 113,000 in December. He also highlighted that the new figures cap 12 consecutive months of growth.
“The overall trend of economic data over the past several months has been encouraging, due in large part to the initiatives passed by this administration,” Goolsbee said. He acknowledged, however, that “we still have a ways to go” to let Democratic policies take effect. Obama will address the job figures later Friday.
But GOP leaders, newly emboldened by their House majority, said that while the signs of growth are encouraging, an unemployment rate still hovering at 9.4 percent means it is time for new economic policies.
“It isn’t new faces Americans are looking for, it’s new policies that will cut spending and grow our economy. These are the priorities of the new House majority,” Speaker John Boehner said.
“Our economy will ultimately recover, but it will do so because of hard work and entrepreneurship, not more wasteful Washington spending,” the Ohio Republican said.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Republicans will focus on trying to dismantle Democratic policies such as health care reform in an effort to boost the private sector.
Republicans are “already working to cut government spending and the overreaching regulations put in place by the last Democrat-led majority so that the private-sector economy can grow. First and foremost, we will repeal ObamaCare,” the Virginia Republican said.
“The new Republican majority is committed to a ‘cut-and-grow’ agenda, which will signal to the private sector that we are ready and able to provide a pro-growth environment where businesses small and large can do what they do best: innovate, compete and lead,” he said.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.