Washington (CNN) – With news Friday the economy had added a better-than-expected 236,000 jobs in February, Republicans quickly turned back to the ongoing battle with the White House over the bloated national debt.
"Any job creation is positive news, but the fact is unemployment in America is still way above the levels the Obama White House projected when the trillion-dollar stimulus spending bill was enacted, and the federal government's ongoing spending binge has resulted in a debt that exceeds the size of our entire economy," House Speaker John Boehner wrote in a statement released 45 minutes after the jobs report came out.
While the unemployment rate fell to the lowest level of President Barack Obama's presidency, Republicans still weren't satisfied with the 7.7% figure the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday morning. The report was a measure of the jobs situation before the mandatory across-the-board spending cuts took effect at the beginning of March.
"We must recognize that America must do better than 7.7% unemployment," Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus wrote in a statement. "There is still more work to be done. Too many American families are living paycheck-to-paycheck, and too many of our fellow citizens have spent months and months looking for a good job."
But like Boehner, Priebus brought his criticism back the ongoing impasse over reducing the debt, writing that uncertainly in the business community over new regulations and tax increases was preventing job growth.
"We can accelerate this job creation if President Obama is willing to put together a serious budget, giving business more certainty and thus allowing them to hire more," Priebus wrote, pointing to measures accomplished by House Republicans and GOP governors as examples of fiscal responsibility.
"It's time for President Obama and his party to join us in working to get more Americans back to work and securing a debt-free future for our children," he concluded.
Alan Krueger, the chairman of Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, wrote in a White House statement that "While more work remains to be done, today's employment report provides evidence that the recovery that began in mid-2009 is gaining traction."
Krueger stressed that Friday's report reflected the hiring environment pre-spending cuts, which were triggered after the White House and Congressional Republicans failed to strike a deal to find alternative ways to reduce the federal debt.
"The Administration continues to urge Congress to move toward a sustainable Federal budget in a responsible way that balances tax loophole closing, entitlement reform, and sensible spending cuts, while making critical investments in the economy that promote growth and job creation and protecting our most vulnerable citizens," Krueger wrote.
CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.