White House slams critics as Jobs Council wraps up
The White House on Thursday dismissed criticism of President Barack Obama’s Jobs Council as “ridiculous” as the advisory body wrapped up to scorn from Republicans in Congress.
The panel of outside executives was convened by Obama in 2011 and its two-year charter expired Thursday and will not be extended, though officials said they would reach out to the business community in a different way.
Republicans accused Obama of ignoring the Council and noted that with the US unemployment rate still at 7.8 percent, it could hardly be deemed a success.
But the White House said the group had provided “very helpful” ideas, a number of which had been acted upon by the administration, and blamed Republicans for blocking Obama’s job creation plans.
“When we hear, you know, some of the somewhat ridiculous criticisms about this, they come from people who have on Capitol Hill, who have consistently opposed every growth initiative and job creation initiative the president has put forward,” Obama spokesman Jay Carney said.
“The work of the job council was very valuable. While the president didn’t agree with all of its recommendations, he agreed with many of them and acted on a number of them.”
Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the US Senate seized on the sunset of the Jobs Council to make a broader critique of Obama’s economic strategy.
“One thing the President could have done instead of wasting so much time blaming others would have been to convene the Jobs Council he created amidst so much fanfare,” McConnell said.
“He hasn’t done that for more than a year. In fact, from what I understand, the council is expected to disband today after having met only four times since 2011.”
Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Republican House of Representatives speaker John Boehner, also piled on.
“To understand the abysmal nature of our economic recovery, look no further than the president’s disinterest in learning lessons from actual job creators,” Buck said.
“Whether ignoring the group or rejecting its recommendations, the president treated his Jobs Council as more of a nuisance than a vehicle to spur job creation.”
Carney rebuked reporters when they questioned why the Council, which included such luminaries as General Electric chief Jeffrey Immelt, had only met four times, saying they were mistaking meetings for progress.
He added that the Council had suggested ideas including Obama’s plan to create jobs by retrofitting government and commercial buildings to become more energy efficient.
With the Job’s Council’s demise, the White House will begin an expanded effort to work with the business community on issues including promoting new skills for workers and on entrepreneurship and small businesses.