The Labor Department reported today that the unemployment rate remained unchanged in the month of July at 9.5 percent. The White House and Republicans used the data from the latest report to advocate for entirely different policies.
White House economic adviser Christina Romer, who announced yesterday evening she is retiring next month, said the disappointing report proves the need for more government intervention in order to revive the economy.
Republicans, meanwhile, used the news to blast the president's economic policies and call for across-the-board extended tax relief.
Today's report revealed a net total of 131,000 jobs lost last month, mostly because of the end of 143,000 temporary Census jobs. Some permanent government jobs were also lost, but private employers added a net total of 71,000 jobs.
"Today's employment report emphasizes just how important the additional jobs measures before Congress are," Romer wrote in a White House blog post. "In addition to the state fiscal relief nearing passage, the President strongly supports the small business jobs bill and targeted incentives for clean energy investments."
Romer added that the loss of government jobs at the state and local levels underscores "the importance of the additional state fiscal relief working its way through Congress."
Republican Study Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.), however, said the Democrats' economic policies would not stimulate private sector growth. He also blasted the $26 billion aid package that passed in the Senate this week, even though it will not add to the deficit.
"Inexplicably, Democrats are still fully committed to a job-killing agenda of outrageous deficits, tax hikes on small businesses, and mounting uncertainty for employers and families," Price said in a statement. "In fact, they're so committed to this job-killing agenda that their Leadership is willing to drag Congress back into session next week to throw another $26 billion into their failed 'stimulus' boondoggle."
House Republican Whip Eric Cantor, meanwhile, responded to the news by calling for an extension of all of the Bush tax cuts. They are set to expire at the end of this year, and President Obama wants to extend all of them, except for individuals making $200,000 or families making $250,000.
"On January 1, one of two things will happen: taxes will increase or taxes will stay the same as they are today," Cantor said in a statement. "Economists, entrepreneurs and small business owners know that raising taxes during tough economic times, while millions of people remain out of work is nonsensical. If the goal is to get people working again, President Obama and the Pelosi/Reid Congress shouldn't make it harder for job creators to hire."