By Ramsey Cox
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Thursday said the American economy is "in a recovery" despite the decline in the nation's gross domestic product (GDP).
Reid made the remark after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blamed the White House for the unexpected contraction in the economy.
On Wednesday, the Commerce Department announced that the nation's economy unexpectedly shrank by 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012. Echoing the White House, Reid blamed the GOP's “austerity and brinkmanship” for the plunge.
“Growth went down in the fourth quarter because of reduced government spending,” Reid said. “The economy was rejecting the austerity and brinkmanship.”
More from The Hill:
♦ White House issues regulations for individual mandate
♦ White House targets oil-and-gas tax breaks in sequester plan
♦ Rendell rules out serving Obama in Transportation post
♦ Unions to Obama: Replace LaHood with transit-funding defender
♦ Senators look to extend ban on Internet taxes
♦ Gitmo judge bans outside censors from 9/11 tribunals
♦ HHS says it ditched 'exchanges' because word doesn't translate into Spanish
Before Reid spoke, McConnell accused President Obama of spending too much time talking about fixing the economy rather than actually repairing it.
“Yesterday, we learned that our economy contracted for the first time in more than three years,” McConnell said. “This news comes, of course, after President Obama spent an entire election promising Americans that a return to robust economic growth was right around the corner, and little more than a week after the President said in his inaugural address that ‘economic recovery has begun.’
“Look: if the White House spent nearly as much time trying to actually fix the economy as it did claiming it was fixed — and then finding excuses and scapegoats when its premature pronouncements turned out to be false — I suspect the economy would actually be doing better than it is today.”
McConnell went on to say that the president has had four years and that America can see that his economic views aren’t working. He added that tax increases, advocated for by Democrats, would only make the economy worse.
Economists blamed the significant downturn in government and defense spending for the surprising number.