House Dem: Focus on jobs

As recent scandals involving the IRS, the State Department’s role in Benghazi and National Security Agency garner the attention of congressional investigators and news cycles, Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) is calling for a focus on jobs.

“All [Republicans] are focused on is investigations because they want to play a ‘gotcha’ with the president while Americans go unemployed,” she said Friday on MSNBC.

“Republicans in Congress need to understand what it is that the American people already do and that is that they want us focused not on scandals, they want us focused on job creation,” Edwards told Al Sharpton. “They want us to make sure that we are investing in all of our infrastructure, research and development and education, all of the things to strengthen the economy.”

Edwards called the lack of a jobs bill this Congress “extraordinary” and put the blame on Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

“There are a ton of things that we could be doing now in Congress that would actually create jobs and opportunity for the American people. And we’re just not doing it,” she said. “The one who is in charge of that is John Boehner. He has not created a single job. Thirteen bills passed out of the Congress, none of them a jobs bill this year.”

The panel – which also included Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and former economist for the Obama administration – said the rallying cry of Republicans about the deficit and government programs is not useful to repairing the economy.

“For years, you’ve had members of Congress running around saying we have to do something about a budget deficit,” Bernstein said. “Well now, the budget deficit is coming down, as we all expected it would … as the recession faded in the rearview mirror.”

“So, the idea that you can’t go around screaming about that anymore… you would think that maybe you can move to the jobs deficit,” he continued. “Frankly, we should have been there a long time ago.”