Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-17) issued the following statement regarding today's announcement of the unemployment rate holding steady at 9.5 percent, the lowest level since July 2009. In addition, the economy added 71,000 private sector jobs, the seventh-straight month of job growth among private firms, while many more of the temporary Census Bureau jobs were phased out.
"Before Congress and President Obama began addressing the economic crisis in 2009, we were losing hundreds of thousands of jobs per month, with no end in sight. This unemployment rate is still unacceptable, but if not for the Recovery Act and other actions, it would be much higher and thousands of American working families would still be struggling to buy food and pay rent and mortgages. Too many Americans are still suffering. The economy has added over 600,000 private sector jobs in 2010 versus the first six months of 2009 when we had 3.7 million private sector jobs lost.
"The economy has come a long way since the depths of the end of the Bush Administration, and while we would like to see the recovery move faster, at least it is moving forward. Congressional Republicans have publicly stated their desire to go back to the same failed policies which caused this crisis in the first place. We simply cannot afford a return to economic policies which favor special interests, instead of the public interest.
"This year the House repeatedly passed legislation to create jobs, extend unemployment benefits and provide tax cuts to support the recovery. This includes the Small Business and Infrastructure Jobs Tax Act and the Home Star Act, which are both currently awaiting action. Sadly, the Senate continues to be dysfunctional as Republicans use procedural tricks and a historic abuse of the filibuster to prevent any of these vital measures to help Americans get back to work become law.
"These are serious times, and they require action not gamesmanship, and I call on the Senate to remember that people's livelihoods are at stake. I will continue to work to pass legislation to create jobs and provide businesses with the resources they need to help get America back to work."