The drop in the unemployment rate last month wasn't enough, Republicans said Friday in reaction to the latest jobless numbers.
The GOP used the report showing that the unemployment rate had dropped to nine percent to call for new spending cuts and attack President Obama's stimulus policies.
"Instead of more ‘stimulus’ spending and more debt, as the president proposed in his State of the Union address, we need less spending, more freedom and more certainty for those in America who create jobs," House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a statement.
In truth, the report released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics presented a mixed picture — much like the political implications of the report.
The unemployment rate declined from 9.4 percent in December. It is now at its lowest rate since April 2009, just a few months into Obama's presidency. The administration trumpeted a similar drop in the unemployment rate last month, and the president is likely to play up that aspect when he meets the press this afternoon at a joint press conference with visiting Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
"The overall trend of economic data in recent months has been encouraging, as initiatives put in place by this Administration are taking hold, but there is still considerable work to do," wrote Austan Goolsbee, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), on the White House blog.
"Today’s news that unemployment fell nearly half a percent is an encouraging sign that our economy is continuing to recover," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who used the latest report to needle the GOP on its plans to cut spending and for Wednesday's unsuccessful vote to repeal healthcare reform.
Republicans, meanwhile, are likely to harp on the 36,000 jobs created in January, which fall below expectations, as well as the still high unemployment rate.
“The number of new jobs remains painfully insufficient for nearly 14 million Americans still unemployed," said Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), the head of the House GOP's campaign arm.
The GOP also credited the deal they struck with Obama to extend all tax rates with helping the economy since that legislation was approved in December.
"There is no doubt that the joint effort to prevent taxes from being raised on families ... helped to restore a sense of certainty to the private sector, but far more needs to be done," said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).