Updated: 3:35 p.m.
House Republican leaders teed off on May’s dismal job numbers this morning, blaming President Barack Obama and calling for a change in leadership.
Speaker John Boehner said Obama’s policies have not been working and that it is time to change course.
“Elections have consequences, and we believe that the policies that we have advocated over the last three and a half years would have our economy in a much better place than it is today,” the Ohio Republican said.
The economy added a lower-than-expected 69,000 jobs last month, and the unemployment rate rose to 8.2 percent, underscoring a weak economic recovery.
“These job numbers are pathetic,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said. “The American people really deserve better, and I think under the right leadership we can do better.”
Obama has been touting his to-do list for Congress, but when asked about it, Boehner characterized the items as unserious and campaign-related.
“It’s hard to sit down and find common ground with the president always out campaigning every day,” he said. “Instead of another campaign speech, the president might want to engage with Democrats and Republicans here on Capitol Hill to handle the big policies that are affecting our economy.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the jobs report was disappointing.
“We have work to do,” she said. But Pelosi noted that the report showed the 27th consecutive month of private-sector job gains and she held up a chart showing how job losses in the construction sector were particularly acute.
“We have an answer to this and that is to pass the transportation bill — the bipartisan transportation bill,” Pelosi said. “Republicans will say they sent 30 bills over to the Senate. They sent 30 pieces of message over to the Senate. We don’t need 30 message bills, we need one good bill. One good, bipartisan bill, and that’s the transportation bill — which passed in a bipartisan way a while ago.”
The House and Senate are currently in conference committee talks over the transportation, or highway, bill.
Jonathan Strong contributed to this report.