Republicans focus on jobs at August town hall meetings

House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (Ind.) on Thursday told reporters that one issue is front and center at GOP town halls this summer: Jobs. 

Pence said members of the GOP House conference are holding more than 500 events since Congress adjourned for the August recess, and that in most the subjects of jobs and the economy are dominating. The nation's stubbornly high unemployment rate is a persistent worry for voters attending the meetings, as is spending by Washington, Pence said. 

"The American people are looking for a new approach that will bring certainty to our economy and encourage the kind of investment that will put people back to work," said Pence. 

House Republicans are hoping voters will return them to power in this fall's midterm elections. If that happens, the struggling economy will be a major reason. 

Republicans are trying to take advantage of voter anger over the economy. House GOP leader John Boehner (Ohio) on Tuesday ripped the Obama administration's policies and said Obama should fire the remaining members of his economic team. 

Pence continued the attack on Thursday in comments to reporters.

"Washington Democrats have spent more than $5.56 trillion since President Obama took office; and now Democrats are poised, in the midst of that spending spree, to allow what could be the largest tax increase in American history to take effect on January 1, 2011," he said. "So I can tell you from here in Indiana, what I'm hearing is that uncertainty is the enemy of our prosperity. The American people want a new approach that focuses on jobs and getting runaway federal spending under control."

Democrats this week said Republicans would return to the policies of former President George W. Bush in arguing a GOP-run Congress would be bad for the country. Vice President Joe Biden rebutted Boehner on Wednesday, criticizing the GOP leader for supporting the retention of the Bush tax cuts for wealthier taxpayers. 

Boehner is "nostalgic" for the days of the Bush presidency and GOP control of Congress, but the country is not, Biden argued.