Obama adviser Jarrett defends church pulpit criticism of GOP

Senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett is defending critical comments she made of the GOP from a church pulpit. 

Jarrett ripped congressional Republicans for blocking President Obama's jobs bill, which she said would have helped state and local governments keep teachers, firefighters and police officers on the job. 

"Teachers, and firefighters, and policemen, whose jobs are now in jeopardy because Congress, well let me be specific, because the Republicans in Congress ... " Jarrett said during a Sunday church service, according to CBS Atlanta, before being interrupted by laughter and applause. 

Conservatives criticized Jarrett over the remarks, which were made from the pulpit of an Atlanta church during a service honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Day. 

But Jarrett showed no signs of backing down on Tuesday. 

"I think it's very clear that the Republicans voted against the American Jobs Act each time when the whole act was before Congress, when each component part, practically all of them — the Republicans voted against," Jarrett said. 

"So yes, all across the country right now we have teachers, and firefighters, first responders whose jobs are at risk because we don't have that act in place, and so it did a great deal of damage. I think Republicans would agree that they voted against it, they didn't like the way we're going to pay for it … they wanted to protect the wealthiest. As a result, the direct impact is going to be all across the country we're going to see layoffs of people who provide very vital resources and services to our community."

Jarrett also argued that Obama was trying to bring Republicans into the fold with his recent proposal to merge six trade and commerce agencies.

"It's very important that we shrink government, it's very important that we streamline it, it's very important that we make it friendly to both business and consumers who want to use government," Jarrett said.

The Obama aide emphasized that the proposal was developed with input from the business community — and adopted a Republican talking point about the burden of government regulations.

"This has been the strong recommendation that has come from all of them as a way that government can help businesses grow instead of stand in their way with bureaucratic red tape," Jarrett said.

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