Jobs, jobs, jobs.
That was the mantra throughout the fall election cycle on both the state and national levels, as Republicans repeatedly said Democrats were not focusing on economic recovery.
But ever mindful of the fact that, now in the driver's seat, they too could be criticized for not doing enough, House Republicans are making a point of reminding the public that job creation is a priority, even in the midst of a showdown with Democrats over just how to prevent a government shutdown.
House GOP Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam of Wheaton Wednesday morning moderated an interactive job creation forum with businesses from across the country and members of Republican leadership -- House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy among them.
Roskam described a Carol Stream manufacturing facility he'd recently visited, where he asked about the company's health.
The company's founder, he said, told him he wanted to invest $3 million into a new production line, but was unable to because of rising taxes, energy and health care costs.
"What this conversation is about is making that waiting go away," Roskam said. "To try to create an environment where that type of business decision gets a different signal from Washington, D.C. There's certainty, there's clarity, there's an opportunity to grow and to prosper. Ultimately this is a conversation on removing obstacles to job creation."
Removing many federal regulations will create a better environment for economic growth, Republicans say.
They also say that severely cutting spending -- and therefore the fear of higher taxes -- will spur job creation in the private sector, a point Democrats dispute.
Democrats have criticized Republicans for failing to introduce job creation bills. They say GOP spending cuts will cost hundreds of thousands of jobs.
"We need to cut the budget and reduce our deficit. No doubt about it. Let's not do so in a way that costs America jobs and cuts American innovation off at the knees," Sen. Dick Durbin said in a floor speech Tuesday. "The spending bill before the House of Representatives is going to cripple our economy at a time when it's just starting to recover."
It's not clear which message is resonating with Americans. According to a Gallup Poll released March 11, 18 percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing. Numbers were as low as 13 percent during the lame-duck session.