President Barack Obama Friday welcomed data showing unemployment fell to 8.3 percent last month, and warned Congress not to “muck up” the recovery by thwarting his economic policies.
Obama said at a fire house in Arlington, Virginia that Republicans in Congressshould sustain the recovery by passing an extension of a two percent cut topayroll taxes paid by 160 million Americans for the rest of the year.
“They just need to get it done. It shouldn’t be that complicated. Now is not the time for self-inflicted wounds to our economy. Now is the time for action,” Obama said.
“So I want to send a clear message to Congress: Do not slow down the recovery that we’re on. Don’t muck it up. Keep it moving in the right direction.”
The new jobs figures gave Obama a jolt of political momentum as he cranks up the pace of his reelection bid and could blunt some of the attacks on his economic record by political opponents.
The president welcomed Labor Department figures which showed the economy added 243,000 net jobs last month, much better than the average analyst forecast, taking the unemployment rate to its lowest level in nearly three years.
“Now, these numbers will go up and down in the coming months, and there’s still far too many Americans who need a job, or need a job that pays better than the one they have now,” Obama said.
“But the economy is growing stronger. The recovery is speeding up. And we’ve got to do everything in our power to keep it going.”
Leading Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney welcomed the decline in unemployment but accused Obama of hampering the recovery.
“Unfortunately, these numbers cannot hide the fact that President Obama’s policies have prevented a true economic recovery. We can do better.
“Last week, we learned that the economy grew only 1.7% in 2011, the slowest growth in a non-recession year since the end of World War II.”
“I am running for president because I have the vision and experience to help rebuild the economy and put us on a path toward greater prosperity for all Americans.”