Obama Chides Congress for Ignoring Job Proposals

Posted June 8th, 2012 at 1:05 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. President Barack Obama sharply blamed Congress Friday for the sluggish growth of the American economy and said lawmakers need to approve his job-creating proposals.

Mr. Obama said that job plans he unveiled last year would boost hiring in the country's moribund construction industry and also allow many of the 450,000 local and state government workers laid off in the last few years to return to work. The president accused political opponents in Congress of ignoring many of his proposals as the country heads to national elections in November.

“They left most of the jobs plan just sitting there. And in light of the headwinds that we're facing right now, I urge them to reconsider, because there are steps we can take right now to put more people back to work. They're not just my ideas. They're not just Democratic ideas. They're ideas that independent, non-partisan economists believe would make a real difference in our economy.”

He said there is “no excuse” to not enact legislation that would boost employment and that if Congress does not, it needs to explain why it has not.

“Now if Congress decides despite all that, that they aren't going to do anything about this simply because it's an election year, then they should explain to the American people why. There's going to be plenty of time to debate our respective plans for the future. That's a debate I'm eager to have. But right now people in this town should be focused on doing everything we can to keep our recovery going and keeping our country strong.”

The American economy is the world's largest, but its labor market has grown only slightly in recent months and the jobless rate edged higher to 8.2 percent last month, well above the country's historical norm of about 5 percent.

As a result, political surveys have shown that American voters are sharply questioning Mr. Obama's handling of the economy. The president, a Democrat, is locked in a tight re-election contest with his Republican opponent, one-time venture capitalist Mitt Romney, who says the president's economic policies have failed and that he “doesn't understand what's happening in the country.”