By Sean J. Miller - 02/05/10 03:29 PM EST
“And what a good morning it is as was indicated by the jobs figures this morning,” Pelosi told Democratic National Committee (DNC) members Friday. “We know we have to do better but it’s a big difference.”
The economy lost 20,000 jobs in January, according to government figures released Friday. The unemployment rate fell to 9.7 percent from 10 percent in December.
The Recovery Act, commonly known as the stimulus program, offered $787 billion in tax cuts and initiatives designed to stimulate the economy. No House Republican voted for the bill. Democrats have claimed without it even more jobs would have been lost.
Republicans used Friday’s numbers to continue their criticism of the stimulus.
“Today’s report confirms that the U.S. economy has lost nearly 3.3 million jobs since President Obama signed the trillion-dollar ‘stimulus’ into law,” House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a statement. “Washington Democrats promised that the trillion-dollar ‘stimulus’ would create jobs ‘immediately’, keep the unemployment rate from going above eight percent and that 90 percent of the jobs created would be private-sector jobs. None of that has occurred, and the Obama Administration’s job-killing policies are only making matters worse.”
The job losses reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics were slightly worse than expected by some analysts, who had predicted the economy could see thousands of jobs created.
The House approved a large jobs package before Christmas and the Senate plans to take up an $80 billion jobs bill as early as Monday.
Addressing Democrats at the party’s annual winter meeting Friday morning, Pelosi also reiterated her promise to pass healthcare reform and said the House will act next week to repeal the anti-trust exemptions for health insurance companies.
“The bill will increase competition, increase consumer choice and lower cost for the American people," she said.
Democratic Reps. Michael Honda (D-Calif.) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) were among the hundreds of party officials who packed into the Capital Hilton’s ballroom to hear the speaker.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was also scheduled to speak at the Friday breakfast but a spokesman said he took an earlier flight home to avoid the pending winter storm.
Some three to five inches of snow is predicted to fall on Washington Friday, with 10 to 16 inches possibly accumulating overnight, according to the National Weather Service, which has issued a winter storm warning for the region.
Snow is expected to continue on Saturday. On Thursday DNC officials said the inclement weather wouldn’t disrupt their winter meeting. “We’re closely monitoring the weather situation, but we’re continuing as planned,” a spokesman said.
Democratic officials from around the country started gathering in Washington Thursday for the start of the three-day session. President Barack Obama, who stopped over Thursday night for a fundraising event, and DNC Chairman Tim Kaine are scheduled to speak Saturday.
-- Ian Swanson contributed to this article.