President Obama on Friday welcomed July’s jobs report as evidence to a recovering economy and pressed Congress yet again to extend current tax rates for middle-class families.
Despite the slight uptick in unemployment – which rose from 8.2 to 8.3 percent in July – Obama somberly applauded the addition of 163,000 jobs to the U.S. economy.
“Those are our neighbors and family members finding work and the security that comes with work,” Obama told voters in Washington, D.C. “But let’s acknowledge, we’ve still got too many folks out there who are looking for work [and] we’ve got more work to do on their behalf.”
A heavy dose of conservative backlash to July’s jobs report did not throw Obama off message. He reminded his audience that the economy has seen 29 months of job creation and that more time – a seemingly clear campaign plug – would be enough to fully remedy the sputtering economy.
“We knew when I started in this job that this was going to take some time,” he said. “But we also knew that if we were persistent, if we kept at it, if we kept working, that we’d gradually get to where we need to be.”
Obama quickly pointed to the lack of action by House Republicans to follow suit with Senate Democrats in passing legislation that would extend the current tax rates – better known as the Bush-era tax rates – for families earning less than $250,000.
Democrats and Republicans have been at each other’s throats over whether the wealthiest Americans – or those making upwards of the $250,000 threshold – should also see their rates extended. The Senate passed a measure that mirrors the president’s plan, while House Republicans passed a bill that includes everyone.
There was hope that Congress would be able to act before its month-long August recess, but amid election-year posturing the likelihood that the debate will be dealt with in a lame-duck session after the November election.