Solis: Obama has been focused on jobs

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis on Wednesday rejected criticism from unions that President Obama has not focused on jobs.

Solis said Obama has “absolutely not” been nibbling around the edges in trying to fix the economy and instead had offered bold solutions to create jobs as the economy struggles. She highlighted Obama’s efforts to help the U.S. auto industry.

The Labor secretary was responding to criticism from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who last week said Obama has not offered bold enough solutions to fix the economy and has been distracted by Republican demands to bring down the national deficit.

ADVERTISEMENT
“Absolutely not,” Solis told reporters at a breakfast sponsored by the Monitor. “I can say that because the last two and a half years I have spent a tremendous amount of time ramping, reforming and reinventing some of our job-creating programs to strengthen them, to better coordinate them with our partners in the field.”

The former California congresswoman touted the administration’s efforts in providing training and seed money for “green jobs” in the renewable energy industry, the healthcare sector as well as keeping the auto industry afloat with federal funds.

“All these new technologies, I think, have received a jump-start and assistance through our concerted effort and funds,” Solis said.

Solis said the administration has often responded positively to labor’s concerns, such as by working to improve worker protections in a pending trade deal with Colombia that still is vehemently opposed by several unions.

“We have good conversations with the labor movement," Solis said. "I respect Mr. Trumka. I don’t always agree with everything he says."