Washington (CNN) – As Washington begins to debate the merits of President Barack Obama’s $447 billion jobs bill, both the White House and Republicans used their weekly addresses to urge legislative action aimed at creating jobs.
“Right now, we’ve got to get Congress to pass this jobs bill,” Obama said of his own jobs plan. “Everything in the American Jobs Act is the kind of idea that’s been supported by Democrats and Republicans before. And if they’re ideas you agree with, too, every one of you can help make it happen by telling your congressperson to pass this jobs bill right away.”
Obama’s jobs plan was unveiled last week, and includes a number of measures designed to increase hiring, including spending on infrastructure improvements and job training assistance.
The latest jobs numbers show the unemployment rate sitting at 9.1 percent, with the underemployment rate, which accounts for people who have stopped looking for work, much higher at 16.2 percent.
Republicans also encouraged action on jobs legislation in their weekly address, but blamed the economy's sluggish growth on government overreaching into the private sector.
“Small business owners are fighting every day to create and innovate, but continue to face government barriers to job creation,” said House Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam. “Among them: our unsustainable debt, the constant threat of higher taxes, and excessive regulations.”
As an example of government interference, Roskam cited the recent National Labor Relations Board ruling that Boeing abused labor laws by attempting to move a manufacturing plant to South Carolina, a right-to-work state.
Roskam argued the rollback of federal regulations would spur a significant boost in job growth.
“We can take common-sense steps like these and still have rules that look out for our health and safety," said Roskam. “What’s important is that these rules are effective and dependable. Job creators should be able to focus on their work – not on Washington’s busy-work.”
In his address, Obama suggested some Republicans were stalling on taking action on his jobs plan to gain politically.
“I know some of them would rather wait another year to wage another election than work together right now,” Obama said. “But most Americans don’t have the luxury of waiting. It was three years ago this week that a financial crisis on Wall Street made things much more difficult for working folks on Main Street. And too many are still hurting as a result.”