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President Barack Obama on Friday put the blame for a weaker-than-expected May jobs report on Congress, saying lawmakers' inaction has stymied economic recovery.
"Right now, Congress should pass a bill to prevent more layoffs," Obama told an audience gathered at Honeywell's Golden Valley, Minn., facility, which the president had earlier toured.
Obama said Congress has not passed enough provisions of his jobs plan ("There's no excuse for it," he said) and must work immediately to offer more tax breaks for small-business owners and for homeowners who refinance. He also wants to extend tax credits for clean energy manufacturers. "Do it right now," the president said.
"Now's not the time to play politics," he said. "Now's not the time to sit on your hands."
The message the president issued Friday follows the rhetoric surrounding a "to-do list" he released for Congress last month, which urged lawmakers to take steps to address the employment situation.
In Minnesota, Obama once again lamented the struggles members of the military face when returning to the workforce. "No one that fights for this country abroad should ever have to fight for a job when they come home," he said.
To help change that situation, the president announced a partnership with the military and manufacturing companies to help veterans find work. He called on U.S. employers to hire post-9/11 veterans and their spouses.
The economy added just 69,000 jobs in May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' monthly report. The national unemployment rate increased a tenth of a percentage point, from 8.1 to 8.2 percent.
Mitt Romney called the report "devastating news for American workers and American families" as other Republicans jumped to criticize the White House for the lackluster numbers.
The president is scheduled to attend six campaign events later Friday across Minnesota and the Chicago area.
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