- The Washington Times - Friday, December 5, 2014

Democratic leaders in Congress used an upbeat jobs report Friday to spread fear about a possible government shutdown next week, pressuring Republicans make concessions in upcoming spending bills.

“Last month, our economy made strong progress — building on the longest uninterrupted stretch of private sector job creation in our history,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat. “Yet with many middle class families still struggling, it is clear the last thing our economy needs is another Republican government shutdown that will undermine the confidence and stability of hardworking men and women across the country.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had an almost identical take on the surprisingly strong Labor Department report, which showed employers added 321,000 jobs in November for the largest one-month gain in more than two years.

The sharp spike in hiring shattered predictions by economists.

The unemployment rate remained steady at 5.8 percent, with the broader measure of people either working few hours than wanted or who have given up searching for a job falling to 11.4 percent, according to the Labor Department.

“These numbers could be even stronger if Republicans would work with Democrats to create jobs by investing in building roads, bridges and schools across the country,” said Mr. Reid, Nevada Democrat. “When it comes to our economy, the first thing Congress should do is do no harm. In six days, the government will shut down if Congress does not pass a funding bill.”

Democrats have made government shutdown a top talking point since the public mostly blamed Republicans for closing the government for 16 days in October 2013.

Mr. Reid said that he was encouraged by his recent conversations about the spending package with Republican leaders in the House and Senate. But he warned Republicans against adding any political measures, such as restrictions on President Obama’s temporary deportation amnesty, that would cause Democrats to kill it.

“I hope that the House will soon send us a clean funding bill that keeps the government open,” Mr. Reid said.

Republican leaders have signaled that they are sending a “clean” bill to fund homeland security, which includes the amnesty program, until early next year when they will take on the amnesty issue.

House and Senate appropriators are currently negotiating an omnibus bill that will fund the rest of the government until the end of the fiscal year in September.

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