WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today after President Bush defended the health of the economy days after the Department of Labor reported that the U.S. economy added a mere 18,000 jobs in December, and unemployment hit its highest point in two years:
“President Bush stood before the American people today and said that there are ‘mixed signals’ about the state of the U.S. economy. But the signals are not mixed for the millions of Americans who are grappling with the reality of economic hardship at every turn. With the price of gas and home heating skyrocketing, health care costs increasing, home values falling, and real income declining, the signals are unequivocal.
“The jobs report released last week provided further evidence that the Bush Administration’s economic program is failing the American people. Despite the President’s claim that there have been 52 straight months of job growth, the numbers have been nowhere near the level needed to keep up with the growth of the population. An uptick in the unemployment rate to 5.0 percent – its highest point in two years - further highlights the need for a new direction on the economy.
“Instead, the President offers nothing but the same old fiscally irresponsible policies that have produced record deficits, created more than $3 trillion in debt, and resulted in the economic insecurity that Americans are feeling in today’s economy.
“The Democratic-led Congress is committed to addressing the economic struggles that Americans are facing. In recent months, we have passed legislation to cut taxes for middle-class families, help homeowners caught in the subprime mortgage crisis, invest in new efficient energy sources to save on future energy costs, boost assistance for families saving for college, increase the minimum wage, and provide incentives for small businesses.
“Our work to reverse years of President Bush’s misguided economic policies has just begun, and in the year ahead we will continue to develop policy responses to alleviate the increasing burdens on middle class taxpayers and restore the health of the economy for all Americans.”