President sends jobs council packing
WASHINGTON — A day after learning that the economy contracted in the last quarter of 2012, the White House confirmed that its jobs council was closing up shop, prompting a fresh round of criticism from Republicans over President Obama's stewardship. Obama ignored or rejected the council's few proposals.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said that the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness would not be getting a renewal on its two-year charter, which expired on Thursday.
The group, largely made up of executives, was established in January 2011 to solicit ideas and engage the business community in the effort to reverse the downward spiral of job growth. But the council never took a very prominent role in policy-making and until earlier this month had not met in person in more than a year.
Carney said the White House was replacing the council with a “new, expanded effort” to work with business leaders directly on specific policy priorities, such as immigration or deficit reduction. He cited a conference call held this week with executives to discuss the president's immigration blueprint as an example.
News of the council's unceremonious end provided an opening for Republicans to renew their critiques of the president's economic policies.
“To understand the abysmal nature of our economic recovery, look no further than the president's disinterest in learning lessons from actual job creators,” said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. “Whether ignoring the group or rejecting its recommendations, the president treated his jobs council as more of a nuisance than a vehicle to spur job creation.”
Carney defended the president by noting that he had taken action on some of the group's recommendations, including an effort to streamline small business initiatives and increase energy efficiency projects.
“The work of the job council was very valuable. While the president didn't agree with all of its recommendations, he agreed with many of them and acted on a number of them,” Carney said. He said that Republicans had blocked the president's efforts to gain jobs by hiring new teachers and police and funding more construction projects.