Sen. Thom Tillis refused to admit that unemployment hitting its lowest level since 1969 was good news.
On yesterday’s Your World, host Neil Cavuto predicted that, at the State of the Union, President Joe Biden will say about Friday’s jobs report, “Things are just zooming along, a half-million-plus more jobs, an unemployment rate that goes back to the early days of Richard Nixon. He’s on fire, Republicans are not.” Cavuto then asked Tillis, “You say?”
It was no surprise that Tillis would throw cold water on the good news. “I think the president also needs to admit that we’ve got a lot of job postings, not a lot of job applicants,” Tillis said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do to get America back to work. Anytime you spend trillions of dollars over the past three years, you’re going to see an economic reaction to it. The question is, whether or not it’s sustainable, and I think that remains to be seen.”
FACT CHECK: The jobless rate is at a 54 year low, and people have gone back to work.
Cavuto didn’t quite seem to buy the pessimism. He said, “Do you think when you gain a half a million jobs, you get the unemployment rate down to 3.4%, whatever your politics, I think Janet Yellen was saying, that’s not a recession right there right now. What do you say?”
Tillis seemed to flip-flop. “Well, I agree, but I think that we’re looking at the tail end of bank account balances being depleted after an infusion over the last three years. We’ve got this looming problem with the debt ceiling and the potential default of the U.S. government,” he said.
“Are you guys going to push that right to the end?” Cavuto asked.
Tillis said he hoped for “some discussions.” Then he advocated for pressuring Biden to negotiate over the debt ceiling. “I, for one, think Republicans should put forth a good faith offer to the president and get him off of this ‘I’m not negotiating.’”
“If it’s tied to the debt ceiling, to do something about spending, that’s fine by you?” Cavuto asked.
“Yeah,” Tillis said.
Cavuto replied that it’s “not fine” by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who doesn’t want to combine the two.
Tillis now seemed to agree. “We have to separate paying bills that we owe from future spending,” he said. “We have to bend the curve on spending. There’s no question that we have to do that, or the bills are going to come due at a time where we just can’t print more money, we can’t fund the government.”
Tillis didn’t offer any specifics on where to cut spending.
Cavuto said, “Even though the president says, just as Barack Obama had said in 2011, 'don’t tie any of this to raising the debt limit,' he technically did, where both sides gave up some of their pound of flesh but it got so crazy that we eventually had our debt downgraded, and I’m wondering if you could see that happening again?”
Tillis said there’s “a real risk” that the debt ceiling is reached “sometime in June.”
The Republicans’ debt-ceiling demands would increase the deficit, Washington Post columnist Catherine Rampell notes.
You can watch Tillis gripe about the great jobs report below, from the February 6, 2023 Your World.
That said, I certainly am not naive enough to expect any Republican to admit that the Biden administration is actually getting things done. Their relentless doomsaying message does get my goat, however.