Obama Says Debt Debate Contributing to Dismal Job Growth

ABC News’ Mary Bruce ( @marykbruce ) reports:

Reacting to this morning’s dismal jobs report, President Obama said today that uncertainty in the debate over the deficit is contributing to slow economic growth and the nation’s rising unemployment rate.

“The sooner we get this done, the sooner that the markets know that the debt limit ceiling will have been raised and that we have a serious plan to deal with our debt and deficit, the sooner that we give our businesses the certainty that they will need in order to make additional investments to grow and to hire, and will provide more confidence to the rest of the world as well so that they are committed to investing in America,” the President said in his remarks this morning in the Rose Garden.

Despite economists’ predictions that upwards of 100,000 new jobs would be created last month, the economy added just 18,000 jobs in June and the unemployment rate rose to 9.2 percent.

“Our economy as a whole just isn't producing nearly enough jobs for everybody who's looking. We've always known that we'd have ups and downs on our way back from this recession, and over the past few months, the economy has experienced some tough headwinds, from natural disasters, to spikes in gas prices, to state and local budget cuts that have cost tens of thousands of cops and firefighters and teachers their jobs,” Obama said.

The president urged Congress again to pass legislation that he said would create jobs, including investments in infrastructure, passing free trade deals and extending the payroll tax cuts he passed in December.

"All of them have bipartisan support. All of them could pass immediately. And I urge Congress not to wait," he said.

Obama said that today’s report confirmed what most Americans already know. “We still have a long way to go and a lot of work to do to give people the security and opportunity that they deserve,” he said.

The President also referenced the daily letters he receives from Americans. “I read letter after letter from folks hit hard by this economy…They feel that leaders on Wall Street and in Washington -- and believe me, no party is exempt -- have let them down, and they wonder if their efforts will ever be reciprocated by their leaders. They also make sure to point out how much pride and faith they have in this country that as hard as things might be today, they're positive that things can get better. And I believe that we can make things better. How we respond is up to us,” he said.

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