Joe Biden touted the 6.6 million jobs that have been added to the US economy in the year since he took office, describing it as a historic recovery.
“It comes alongside the largest drop in unemployment rate in a single year on record, the largest reduction in childhood poverty ever recorded in a single year and the strongest economic growth this country has seen in nearly 40 years,” Biden said.
But the president also acknowledged that many American families have not been able to fully enjoy the country’s economic recovery because US prices have increased sharply as businesses have reopened.
“Average people are getting clobbered by the cost of everything,” Biden said. “Gas prices at the pump are up. We’re working to bring them down, but they’re up. Food prices are up. We’re working to bring them down as well.”
The White House has pledged to enact policies aimed at tackling inflation, which has become a major concern for Americans and could be a drag on Democrats’ midterm prospects.
Biden celebrates strong jobs report: ‘History’s been made here’
Joe Biden is now delivering remarks on the strong January jobs report, which showed that the US economy added 467,000 jobs last month.
The president pointed to the report as the latest evidence of how the US economy is recovering from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, applauding the “extraordinary resilience and grit of the American people”.
“America is back to work,” Biden said. “History’s been made here.”
House passes bill to bolster US production of semiconductor chips
Joe Biden has still not appeared for his remarks on the January jobs report, but the House has just passed an important bill that the president may address in his speech.
In a vote of 222-210, the House passed the COMPETES Act, a bill aimed at helping the US keep up with China in the semiconductor chip industry.
Every House Democrat every Stephanie Murphy supported the bill, while every Republican member except Adam Kinzinger opposed the bill.
CNN has more details on the legislation:
The legislation put forward by House Democrats — called the America COMPETES Act of 2022 — addresses pressing economic issues facing the Biden administration, including supply chain disruptions and a global shortage of semiconductor chips, which are essential for the production of smartphones, medical equipment and cars. Additionally, the bill calls for a number of changes to US trade rules, aiming to level the playing field for American businesses and combat China’s market-distorting trade practices.
The Senate passed its own legislation last year aimed at countering China’s influence by investing in American technology, science and research — with bipartisan support. While the House bill also seeks to increase US competitiveness abroad, it is not an identical piece of legislation.
An aide for the majority staff of the House Science Committee told CNN the expectation is that differences between the House and Senate legislation will ultimately be reconciled in order to get a bill to the President’s desk as soon as possible.
As we await Joe Biden’s remarks on the January jobs report, House speaker Nancy Pelosi has released a statement celebrating the 467,000 jobs added to the US economy last month.
“Today’s jobs report makes resoundingly clear that, with nearly half a million new jobs created last month, the Biden economic recovery continues to be historic,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi noted that the US economy has added 6.6 million new jobs in the past year, and she credited that progress to “President Biden’s visionary leadership and Democrats’ effective economic plan”.
“Now, Democrats are prepared to build on this extraordinary economic momentum: continuing our work to lower families’ costs, strengthen our supply chains, and make more goods in America,” Pelosi said.
“Under the leadership of President Biden and House Democrats, our nation will continue to Build Back Better to create more good paying jobs and lower costs for families across America.”
Joe Biden is expected to soon deliver remarks at the White House on the strong January jobs report, which showed that the US economy added 467,000 jobs last month.
The report was welcome news for the White House, after the past couple of jobs reports missed economists’ expectations and intensified fears over a sluggish recovery from the pandemic.
“In 2021, we went from an economy in crisis to the fastest economic growth in nearly 40 years. Let’s keep the progress going,” Biden said on Twitter this morning.
The president is scheduled to start speaking at any moment, so stay tuned.
Some Republican lawmakers have denounced their party’s plan to censure Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger over their work for the House select committee investigating the Capitol insurrection.
“The RNC is censuring Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger because they are trying to find out what happened on January 6th – HUH?” said Bill Cassidy, one of the seven Republican senators who voted last year to convict Donald Trump for inciting the insurrection.
Mitt Romney, another one of those seven senators, added, “Shame falls on a party that would censure persons of conscience, who seek truth in the face of vitriol. Honor attaches to Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for seeking truth even when doing so comes at great personal cost.”
It’s worth noting that Romney’s niece, Ronna McDaniel, is the chairwoman of the RNC, and she has spoken in favor of the resolution, according to Buzzfeed News.
RNC expected to approve resolution censuring Cheney and Kinzinger
The Republican National Committee is expected to approve a resolution censuring Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, the two Republican members of the House select committee investigating the Capitol insurrection.
The RNC’s resolutions committee advanced the proposal last night, and all members are expected to vote on the measure later today, as the party holds its winter meeting in Salt Lake City.
According to a draft obtained by the Washington Post, the resolution accuses Cheney and Kinzinger of participating in behavior that is “destructive to the US House of Representatives, the Republican Party and our republic”.
The resolution also appears to refer to the Capitol insurrection, which resulted in the deaths of several people and has already led to hundreds of arrests, as “legitimate political discourse”.
The resolution was originally expected to include a demand for Cheney and Kinzinger to be expelled from the House Republican conference, but that does not appear to be in the latest draft.
Cheney, who is already facing a primary challenge over her work with the select committee, released a statement last night criticizing the RNC’s efforts to defend Donald Trump and the violent insurrectionists.
“The leaders of the Republican Party have made themselves willing hostages to a man who admits he tried to overturn a presidential election and suggests he would pardon Jan. 6 defendants, some of whom have been charged with seditious conspiracy,” Cheney said.
“I’m a constitutional conservative and I do not recognize those in my party who have abandoned the Constitution to embrace Donald Trump. History will be their judge. I will never stop fighting for our constitutional republic. No matter what.”
One reason why the January jobs report was so unexpectedly strong has to do with how employers dealt with their seasonal workers, who are usually let go after the holidays.
Some of the biggest job gains were in categories that have strong seasonal patterns, normally adding workers in the fall and then cutting those temporary workers in January.
But employers, desperate for staff, appear to have held onto those workers in greater numbers than in a normal year.
Due to the statistical process of seasonal adjustment, ‘cutting fewer workers than usual for this time of year’ gets translated as ‘adding lots of jobs.’
Later today, Joe Biden will also sign an executive order to “improve timeliness, lower costs and increase quality in federal construction projects”.
According to the White House’s fact sheet, the order will require the use of project labor agreements on federal construction projects above $35 million.
“The Order will help alleviate the management and coordination challenges that can stymie progress on major construction projects,” the fact sheet says. “This helps projects get completed on time and helps the government get the best value for taxpayers’ dollars.”
The White House has said the order could impact up to $262 billion in federal construction contracts and nearly 200,000 workers on those projects, and the departments of defense and labor will lead training for federal employees on the new policy.
Earlier this week, in a highly unusual move, the White House sought to manage expectations ahead of the latest jobs figure release.
White House officials cautioned that Friday’s jobs report could be “confusing” because of the timing of the survey. Covid infections have fallen sharply across the US since the report was compiled.
The government report follows on from a survey conducted by ADP, the US’s largest private payroll supplier, which reported that companies cut jobs in January for the first time in over a year. Payrolls fell by 301,000 for the month with more than half the losses coming from the pandemic-sensitive leisure and hospitality industries.
“The labor market recovery took a step back at the start of 2022 due to the effect of the Omicron variant and its significant, though likely temporary, impact to job growth,” said Nela Richardson, ADP’s chief economist.
There were signs that the jobs market is still recovering ahead of Friday’s report. On Thursday, the labor department reported that new unemployment claims fell to 238,000 for the final week in January, dropping 23,000 from the week prior, a second straight week of falls.
Biden to deliver remarks on strong January jobs report
Greetings from Washington, live blog readers.
The US economy added 467,000 jobs last month, far surpassing economists’ expectations as the country continues to grapple with the surge in coronavirus cases caused by the Omicron variant.
The AP reports:
The government’s report Friday also drastically revised up its estimate of job gains for November and December by a combined 709,000. It also said the unemployment rate ticked up last month from 3.9% to a still-low 4%.
The strong hiring gain for January, which was unexpected, demonstrates the eagerness of many employers to hire even as the pandemic maintains its grip on the economy. Businesses appear to have seen the omicron wave as having, at most, a temporary impact on the economy and remain confident about longer-term growth. …
The surprisingly healthy hiring figures will likely give the Federal Reserve leeway to raise interest rates more quickly to cool inflation. The Fed has already indicated that it will begin raising rates in March, and it could do so again at its next meeting in May.
Biden is scheduled to deliver remarks on the jobs report in about an hour, and he may comment on potential interest rate hikes, so stay tuned.