US Vice President Joe Biden warned Saturday that the latest US jobs report demonstrated the urgent need for Congress to pass the White House-backed “American Jobs Act.”
Official Labor Department figures on Friday found that 80,000 jobs were created last month — slightly less than economists expected — and unemployment edged down slightly to 9.0 percent.
Republicans in Congress, said Biden in the weekly White House radio and Internet address, have “unanimously opposed a bill to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and create jobs for 400,000 construction workers, even though these are the kinds of programs they have supported in the past.”
President Barack Obama, who normally delivers the weekly address but is in Europe for the G20 summit of leaders of the world’s top economic powers, is “acting without Congress through executive actions to help our veterans find jobs, save families thousands of dollars by refinancing their mortgages,” Biden said.
“That is not enough,” he added.
Lawmakers from both parties “must come together to pass the American Jobs Act to strengthen the economy, because the American people can’t wait any longer for Congress to act,” Biden said.
Over the past 12 months, according to the figures released Friday, an average of 125,000 nonfarm jobs were created each month — far fewer than what is needed to substantially bring down the unemployment rate.
Republicans have argued the White House policies would result in increased taxes on small businesses that would hamper growth and job creation, in a long-running debate that reflects fierce ideological divides in Washington.