Thursday, January 31, 2013

Obama's jobs council shutting down Thursday "NO PROGRESS"



As new weekly jobs numbers emerged Thursday showing a jump in unemployment claims and a report released the previous day showed the economy shrinking in late 2012, President Obama is effectively laying off his jobs council. 
The layoff -- which comes in the form of the administration not renewing the council, which sunsets Thursday -- takes off the table a first-term panel set up to field ideas from the business community for spurring growth. But the administration was accused all along of never taking full advantage of the group at a time when the economy desperately needed those ideas. 
The council itself, a group of business and labor leaders, hasn't met officially in more than a year. The group was tasked with making recommendations to Obama to help create jobs, but the 26 members only met four times in two years. 
As the council expires Thursday with no plans to extend it, House Speaker John Boehner's office panned the president's alleged disinterest in the group. 
"To understand the abysmal nature of our economic recovery, look no further than the president's disinterest in learning lessons from actual job creators," spokesman Brendan Buck said. "Whether ignoring the group or rejecting its recommendations, the president treated his Jobs Council as more of a nuisance than a vehicle to spur job creation." 
But White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Thursday that the council "was always intended" to expire after two years, and said "the work that the jobs council did was very helpful."
Further, Carney said the White House would "begin a new, expanded effort to work with the business community and other outside groups to advance specific policy priorities promoted by the jobs council -- including expanded new skills and talent initiatives, promoting entrepreneurship and small businesses, expediting permitting for infrastructure projects across the country and continuing progress on fiscal issues and tax reform."
The White House says that the president took "action" on 33 of the council's 35 recommendations in the first year and implemented 16 of them. 
Now as it comes to an end, administration officials say Obama has met with dozens of CEOs since the election -- separate from the jobs council -- and doesn't feel compelled to work only through that panel. 
But Republicans say the president is putting the economy on the back-burner. 
"Instead of taking real action, like renewing his Jobs Council or approving the Keystone Pipeline, President Obama has moved on to his second-term liberal agenda," the National Republican Congressional Committee said in a statement. "But with 12 million Americans unemployed and a national debt over $16 trillion, shouldn't President Obama keep his eye on the ball and work to find real solutions to create jobs and tackle our out-of-control spending?"

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