Today in Washington, the Department of Labor released its unemployment report for the month of December. Last month, our nation's unemployment rate dropped to 8.5% and our economy added 200, 000 jobs. However, if you add those who have given up on seeking a job and those who can only find part-time work, the nation's unemployed and underemployed totals 23.7 million -- or 15.2%.
While a step in the right direction, today's report marks the 35th straight month that unemployment has remained higher than 8% and serves as a reminder that significant work remains to be done to reverse the devastating effects of the Obama economy. As we embark on a new year, House Republicans will continue to fight for a more efficient and accountable government by passing legislation that will reduce spending, rein in burdensome regulations and encourage job creation.
In 2011, House Republicans passed 28 pro-growth bills from our Plan for America's Job Creators that still await action from the Democrat-controlled Senate. While families struggle to make ends meet, it is unacceptable that the President and Senate leaders refuse to take action on these common-sense bills to help get Americans back into the workplace. I urge the Senate and President to change directions in 2012 and join us in our efforts to strengthen the economy and provide a brighter future for the American people.
Unprecedented "Recess Appointments"
On Wednesday, President Obama announced several "recess appointments" even though the Senate was not technically in recess. Richard Cordray was appointed to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), marking a risky break from precedent. Later on Wednesday, the President also announced recess appointments to install Sharon Block, Richard Griffin and Terence Flynn as National Labor Relations Board members.
Under the U.S. Constitution, both the President and the Senate share the power to make appointments to positions in federal departments, agencies, boards and commissions. When the Senate is in recess the President may make a temporary appointment, called a recess appointment, to any such position without Senate approval. In line with decades of congressional practices, Congress must be in recess more than three days before a President can make an intra-session recess appointment. Since the Senate was not in recess on Tuesday, President Obama's actions on Wednesday defy a long-standing precedent and common checks and balances in government.
In addition to President Obama's overreach of power, I remain extremely concerned about the function and oversight of the CFPB and its effect on our nation's struggling economy. President Obama's appointment of Richard Cordray creates more uncertainty and could be potentially harmful to job creation. That is why I joined several of my colleagues in the House in writing a letter to the President decrying his unprecedented decision.