Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) said Friday that fears of a double-dip recession are justified.
"We are in danger of that," Kerry said on MSNBC of the prospect of a double-dip recession.
Kerry said the market downturn was triggered by fears of a widening debt crisis in Europe, and that bailing out stock exchanges will trigger even greater fears of a double-dip recession.
Kerry spoke just before the release of a monthly jobs report, which showed the economy added 117,000 jobs in July. The unemployment rate also dipped to 9.1 percent, though economists immediately chalked that up to a decrease in the number of people in the labor force.
While the report does little to suggest a change in the trajectory of the economy, it beat forecasts and could serve to calm markets that have endured huge losses over the past two weeks. Futures jumped on the news of the report.
In Europe, a debt crisis that so far has taken down smaller economies in the European Union threatens to entangle Italy and Spain, while a string of weak economic reports in the U.S. have increased fears the economy could slide back into recession.
Kerry said market losses are largely attributable to the problems in Europe, but he also faulted the new Republican lawmakers who have “inappropriately” focused only on spending cuts and deficit reduction to the neglect of the larger problems of job creation and long-term, structural debt.
“Too many people in Congress are making up their own facts,” Kerry said. “When I have a top senator in the Republican leadership tell me that he’s been calling members of his delegation and he can’t persuade them to do something reasonable here, that all they’re focused on is cutting, cutting, cutting, we’ve got a problem.”
Kerry said he gets “very upset” with criticism of Congress as an institution. “I keep hearing people say Congress is broken,” he said. Polls following the debt-limit deal indicate that a record number of Americans disapprove of Congress. A New York Times/CBS News poll released Friday found that 74 percent said members of Congress don't deserve another term.
“It’s not Congress,” Kerry said, arguing that the institution and the process it follows has not changed. “It’s the people who are in Congress. In this case, it’s the minority of people who are literally willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater because they’ve got a hard ideological point of view.”
Kerry also pleaded with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) not to appoint this type of Republican to the bicameral committee tasked, as part of the debt-limit deal, with putting together a $1.5 trillion deficit-reduction package by Thanksgiving.
The president is expected to address the economy at 11 a.m. Friday morning.
Watch Kerry below.
—This post was updated at 10:31 a.m.