By Mike Lillis - 11/02/11 06:25 PM EDT
Several House Democrats accused Republicans Wednesday of sacrificing the economy to win political power.
The Democrats said GOP leaders have disregarded job-creation proposals in hopes that high unemployment will chase President Obama from the White House next year.
"The challenge is to get people back to work [and] they will not hold a hearing on jobs," she charged. "It tells you who the obstructionists are, and who [is] willing to let this economy collapse because of politics."
Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) lodged similar accusations, arguing that the primary goal of Republican leaders is to oust Obama.
"We're just sort of trapped in this approach that the Republican majority has in the House where their goal – and I think everybody gets it – is to take this president down," Courtney said.
"This is about power; it's not about what's in the best interest of the country," he said.
The comments came just before the House Democrats' weekly caucus meeting, where Paul Begala — adviser to Bill Clinton's campaigns in the 1990s — met with the lawmakers on the party's economic strategy.
Supporting Obama, the Democrats have called on House Republicans to consider the president's $447 billion jobs proposal, which the Senate shot down last month.
"Bring it to the floor," House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) urged Wednesday. "If you don't like it, vote against it."
Republican leaders have resisted those pleas, arguing that they've already passed a long list of jobs bills awaiting votes in the upper chamber.
"We continue to move bills that will help create a better environment for job creation in our country," House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters Wednesday. "There’s some 16 of these bills sitting over in the United States Senate. I think it’s time for them to act."
With unemployment hovering above 9 percent for months, Obama has been increasingly critical of House Republicans for ignoring his sweeping jobs proposal, which includes billions of dollars in funding for teachers, police departments and infrastructure projects.
Appearing near the Key Bridge in Washington on Wednesday, the president mocked a GOP resolution, passed by the House Tuesday, that reaffirms "In God We Trust" as the national motto.
"That's not putting people back to work," Obama said. "I trust in God, but God wants to see us help ourselves by putting people to work."
Complicating life for Obama, GOP leaders — particularly those in the Senate — have adopted a strategy of opposing the White House even on some legislation the Republicans support.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), for instance, made headlines at the start of the deficit-reduction debate when he helped kill a bipartisan bill, a proposal he'd previously characterized as the “best way to address the [budget] crisis," after Obama endorsed it.
"The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president," McConnell told the National Journal last year.
That remark has not been overlooked by Democratic leaders, who say the Republicans are putting electioneering above the country's welfare.
"The leader in the Senate said his principal objective is to defeat Barack Obama, and therefore – and this is important – what follows is that America needs to fail over the next 14 months," Hoyer said in September.
"Because if America succeeds, if jobs are created, if the economy starts growing, then some would believe that it would be to the political benefit of Barack Obama and the Democrats," Hoyer said.