The latest unemployment figures are "very disturbing," House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said in an interview that aired today on "Face the Nation." Yet while she defended President Obama's attempts to move the economy forward, the former Speaker charged that House Republican leadership has yet to tackle job creation.
Republicans "set the agenda," Pelosi said. "We have said every day that they're there, another day goes by and there isn't a jobs agenda or a jobs bill that has come to the floor."
"Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer questioned Pelosi about her complaints about the economy in 2008, under the Bush administration. At that time, when gas cost $3 a gallon and unemployment stood at 5 percent, Pelosi said President Bush's economic policies had "failed our country's middle class."
The latest jobs report, however, shows that unemployment rose to 9.1 percent in May, and just 54,000 jobs were created last month - far fewer than expected.
"What the president has done has improved the situation from where it may have been," Pelosi said. "If he hadn't taken the actions he did, the situation would be worse. He pulled us from the brink of the financial crisis, from an economic crisis, and now we have to dig out of a deep debt. And we have to also make it clear that we're not getting into this situation again."
The next election, Pelosi said, will be about bolstering the middle class and preserving Medicare.
"What you'll see in the election as we go forward is one vision of America that encompasses the Republican budget plan that abolishes Medicare; that makes college almost unaffordable for nearly 10 million people and young people in our country; that takes us deeper into debt, and does not create jobs," she said. "Or you can talk about an agenda that is about making it America, investing in education, innovation, and the rest."
While Pelosi said Congress must raise the debt limit and that the ongoing negotiations have been "civil and constructive," she added that she could "never" support any plan that included a reduction in Medicare benefits.