Obama slams Congress again over stalled jobs steps

WASHINGTON Sat Jun 16, 2012 6:05am EDT

U.S. President Barack Obama responds to a reporter interrupting his comments on immigration in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington June 15, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. President Barack Obama responds to a reporter interrupting his comments on immigration in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington June 15, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama, seeking to deflect blame for a sluggish U.S. economy that could hurt his hopes for re-election, kept up the pressure on congressional Republicans on Saturday to work with him over policies designed to spur hiring.

A disappointing May jobs report and other soft data on the economy has fanned concerns that the U.S. recovery may be stalling, just as a debt crisis in Europe threatens to do further harm by rocking global financial markets.

Ticking off a long list of proposals that have been stalled in Congress for months, the Democratic president chided Republicans for seeming to prefer to wait until after the November 6 election rather than talk about finding a way forward now.

"Just this past week, one of them said, "Why not wait for the reinforcements?" That's a quote. And you can bet plenty of his colleagues are thinking the same thing," Obama said in his weekly radio and internet address.

This was an apparent reference to a remark by Jim Jordan, a Republican representative from Ohio, who was reported to have said that postponing fiscal policy decisions until after the election made sense, if one thought Republicans would win.

Obama has repeatedly claimed that Republicans are finding excuses not to work with him in order to thwart policies that might improve the pace of U.S. growth and confine him to a single White House term.

Republicans say Obama's proposals will add to the U.S. deficit unless spending cuts are made elsewhere, and have suggested ways of paying for the measures - steps that Democrats reject because they penalize programs for the poor.

"The President and many of his allies seem to measure success by how many people are dependent on government programs. Those policies have failed," said Scott Walker, Republican governor of Wisconsin, whose victory in a recall vote last week handed his party a significant win against the White House.

Walker made his remarks in the weekly address by the Republican Party.

(Reporting by Alister Bull; Editing by David Brunnstrom)

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