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House Republicans refuse to accept positive jobs numbers under Biden

Republicans whined about last month’s jobs report. Now that the December totals have been revised up, they’ve been silent or dismissive.

By Josh Axelrod - February 04, 2022
President Joe Biden

A month ago, House Republicans pointed to preliminary December jobs numbers as proof that President Joe Biden’s economic policies were a failure. Now that they have been significantly revised up, the few GOP lawmakers even acknowledging that fact are struggling to find a coherent response.

The U.S. economy added a whopping 467,000 jobs in the first month of 2022, the Labor Department reported on Friday, despite the omicron variant of the coronavirus still walloping supply chains and disrupting workplaces. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had predicted a gain of just 125,000, only to see the actual total nearly quadruple their forecasts.

The report also revised December’s job growth, from 199,000 up to 510,000. November’s numbers were increased from 249,000 to 647,000 jobs. 

Though most GOP representatives simply ignored the good news, a few tried to find ways to dismiss it or to attack Biden and the Democrats anyway.

Minnesota Rep. Tom Emmer, who chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee, argued that Biden somehow deserves no credit for the good news because his spokesperson did not anticipate the numbers would be as positive as they were.

“Today’s jobs report is no credit to President Biden’s disastrous economic agenda,” he tweeted. “On Monday, the White House was managing expectations for what they were sure would be more losses. They were prepared to fail as they always do.”

The top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, Texas Rep. Kevin Brady, falsely claimed that the jobs numbers were only good because pandemic relief programs in Biden’s American Rescue Plan had now expired.

In a press statement, Brady wrote, “Now that there is no longer a barrier to work in the form of Democrats’ unemployment bonuses and monthly stimulus checks, Americans are finally coming off the sidelines.”

In reality, the enhanced unemployment payments ended back in early September nationally and before that in many GOP-controlled states, and studies found their termination did little to get people back to work. Biden’s economy added more than 6 million jobs in 2021, all of those before the enhanced child tax credit expired.

Brady also argued that because Biden previously noted that Moody’s Analytics estimated 7 million jobs would be added in 2021 if his pandemic rescue plan passed, this meant there was still a “Biden Jobs gap” of 1.2 million positions.

Illinois Rep. Mary Miller falsely claimed that Biden had “tried to fire 84 million Americans from their jobs if they didn’t show you their vaccine paperwork.” Biden had proposed a job safety rule that would have simply required unvaccinated people in large workplaces get weekly COVID-19 tests — not that they be fired.

Georgia Rep. Jody Hice accused Democrats of trying to “distract Americans from the crises they face every day” by taking credit for the millions of jobs they and Biden have brought back. “Inflation is still skyrocketing. Gas prices are still through the roof. Stranded Americans are still in Afghanistan. The supply chain crisis still exists,” he wrote, making no mention of his own votes against Biden’s Build Back Better plan, which would have helped curb long-term inflation and prices, and against a House bill to improve supply chains.

Democrats were quick to give credit where it was due.

“Today’s data blew expectations out of the water and continue to show a year of record-breaking economic gains under President Biden,” Virginia Rep. Don Beyer, chair of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, said in a statement Friday. “January’s jobs report shows broad-based recovery that remains resilient in the face of challenges such as the Omicron variant, and thanks to widely available vaccinations and accessible testing, workers are able to safely return to work.”

Just a month ago, Republicans seized on the below-expectations job numbers from January to argue that Biden was a failure.

“Yet another dismal jobs report under Pres. Biden’s leadership — less than half the jobs expected were created in the month of December,” said Iowa Rep. Randy Feenstra on Jan. 7. “This rounds out a lackluster year for the economy, proving Biden & the Democrats’ tax & spend agenda is a reckless approach to economic policy.”

Since March, when Biden signed the American Rescue Plan — a $1.9 trillion spending bill that sent $1,400 relief checks to most Americans, expanded unemployment benefits, and invested in state and local governments, small businesses, and health care — job growth has steadily continued every month.

The American Rescue Plan is directly responsible for the rapid growth in the labor market, researchers at the progressive Roosevelt Institute found in December. The plan, which passed through Congress despite unanimous Republican opposition, grew wages, real gross domestic product, and jobs, according to the think tank, shielding the economy from the ill effects of the pandemic.

“This is an American comeback story. Biden inherited from Trump one of the worst economies & a global pandemic. On the world stage, we’d alienated our friends. It felt like America had lost her way. But Biden believed we could come back,” Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) wrote on Twitter Friday. “The economy is growing at a record clip. Americans are going back to work.”
Biden noted on Friday, “2021 was the greatest year of job creation under any president in history.”

As of Friday afternoon, not a single GOP lawmaker had acknowledged that accomplishment.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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