WASHINGTON - House Republican leader John Boehner said Friday the high unemployment rate shows the need for President Barack Obama to work with Republicans to extend Bush-era tax cuts and reduce federal spending.
The Labor Department reported a larger than expected rise of 151,000 jobs in the nonfarm payroll that eclipsed analyst expectations, but still left the U.S. unemployment rate at 9.6 percent for the third straight month.
"Any job growth is a positive sign, but stagnant and stubbornly high unemployment makes clear why permanently stopping all the looming tax hikes should top Washington's to-do list this month," said Boehner, who is widely expected to become House speaker in January after Republicans regained a House majority in this week's congressional elections.
"Stopping these tax hikes -- and cutting spending to pre-'stimulus,' pre-bailout levels -- would help eliminate the uncertainty gripping small businesses and show Americans asking 'where are the jobs?' that Washington is finally on the job," Boehner added in a statement.
"I'm hopeful that the president will be willing to work with us on these priorities when he returns from his trip to Asia," he said.
In the first possible policy shift since Democrats suffered heavy election losses, the White House said Thursday that Obama is open to a temporary extension of tax cuts for the wealthy as part of a compromise to extend Bush-era tax cuts for all income levels.
Obama has insisted on keeping the tax cuts for families making less than $250,000, but letting them expire for wealthier Americans, while Republicans want them extended for all income levels. If no agreement is reached, all Americans will see higher tax rates on Jan. 1.
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