- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 3, 2014

Seizing on a positive jobs report, President Obama said Thursday that America is “making progress” on the economy and urged congressional Republicans to cooperate on his agenda.

“We have not seen more consistent job growth since the ‘90s,” Mr. Obama said during a hastily arranged visit to a tech start-up incubator in Washington. “But we can make even more progress if Congress is willing to work with my administration and to set politics aside, at least occasionally.”

The president added the event to his schedule after the Labor Department reported Thursday that the jobless rate had dropped from 6.3 percent to 6.1 percent and that the economy had added more than 200,000 jobs for the fifth consecutive month. The positive news came after the government reported that the economy had contracted by a startling 2.9 percent in the first quarter of the year.

“We’ve now seen the fastest job growth in the United States in the first half of the year since 1999,” Mr. Obama said. “And we’ve seen the quickest drop in unemployment in 30 years. It gives you a sense that the economy has built momentum, that we are making progress.”

Referring to Republicans’ opposition to his proposals such as raising the minimum wage, Mr. Obama said, “It’s really important for us to understand that we could be making even stronger process, we could be growing even more jobs, we could be creating even more business opportunities for smart, talented folks like these if those of us here in Washington were focused on them, focused on you, the American people, rather than focused on politics.”

But Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said the jobs report “reminds us that there are far too many of our friends and neighbors out of work.”

“The unemployment rate doesn’t even reflect the millions of Americans who have given up on finding a job,” Mr. Priebus said. “As we head into the Independence Day weekend, it’s disappointing to realize that millions of our fellow Americans think the American Dream is slipping away because they can’t find good jobs in the Obama economy.”

And House GOP Speaker John Boehner argued that it was President Obama and congressional Democrats who were blocking even faster progress by failing to take up dozens of job-creating measures approved by the House.

“From trade to workplace flexibility, there’s no shortage of common ground where [Mr. Obama] can push his party’s leaders in the Senate to work with us,” Mr. Boehner said. “Until he provides that leadership, he is simply part of the problem.”

 

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