Congressional dissonance on jobless numbers

Here’s what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, had to say today about new Labor Department statistics showing that 533,000 jobs were lost in November — the largest one-month loss in 34 years, pushing the unemployment rate to 6.7 percent and bringing America’s 2008 job losses to nearly 2 million:

“Today’s shocking unemployment numbers — combined with skyrocketing requests for food assistance — should compel President Bush and Senate Republicans to end their opposition to the emergency economic recovery bill that has been stalled in the Senate.

“This bill, which passed the House more than two months ago, will immediately create jobs, provide emergency food assistance to families, and prevent the loss of health care coverage due to state budget cuts. There is no excuse for continued inaction on the part of President Bush and Senate Republicans when Americans are facing the worst economic crisis in a generation.

“Our economy cannot wait for a new President, a new Congress, or a new year to provide assistance to millions of Americans who have been ignored by the White House as the economy has steadily worsened.

“There is no need to wait — the Senate is back in session next week, and job one should be approving our economic recovery bill. The President should sign it so we can start to revive the economy and help the American people.”

And from House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-Martinez:

“Today’s devastating news that our nation lost more than a half million jobs in November is further evidence that we need to move quickly and decisively to put Americans back to work. Our economy will not get back on track until Americans are working again and families feel secure about their economic future.

“Our first priority must be to approve an economic recovery plan that will make investments in energy independence, rebuild our neglected infrastructure, and continue to provide relief to families struggling to make ends meet. Economists of every stripe tell us that targeted investments in infrastructure improvements and the green economy will create millions of jobs in the short-term and encourage long-term economic growth.

“But, as our nation builds a more resilient economy, we must also ensure that all workers are able to share in a rebounding economy. Workers must be able to earn a fair wage, decent benefits and have the ability to enjoy a secure retirement. I look forward to working with the new Congress and the Obama administration to improve the economic security of American workers and strengthen middle-class families.”

But, from House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio:

“Families and small businesses are facing difficult times, and now is not the time to make matters even worse by asking taxpayers to pay for a slate of new government spending in the name of ‘economic stimulus.’ Instead, my hope is that we’ll listen to the American people, who believe reducing the tax burden is a better way to jumpstart our economy than increasing spending on government programs. Republicans would like to work with President-elect Obama and our Democratic colleagues to enact economic solutions that will let working families keep more of what they earn, help them rebuild their 401(k)s, and help small businesses create jobs — instead of raising their taxes and spending more of their money.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.