A day before President Obama hosts a summit on ways to boost the nation's sagging employment figures, a leading Republican congressman offered what he called a "contrasting approach" to job creation.
Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., the second-ranking House Republican, blasted Democratic economic policies already implemented this year and said a repeat of those ideas is unlikely to lead to additional job growth or economic recovery.
"The last 11 months have been spent on an agenda that is out of step with the struggles of the American people," Cantor said Wednesday in remarks at the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.
Cantor acknowledged that Obama and the Democratic majorities on Capitol Hill are unlikely to embrace any of the seven policy points he outlined, but hopes they will at least give some consideration to his proposals opposing tax hikes and increased regulation.
He described them as "seven simple solutions that don't involve massive new government spending, new bureaucracies or more debt. They are based on time-honored principles proven to create jobs and ultimately economic prosperity in America."
White House officials are promoting Thursday's job summit as an opportunity for the President to "explore every possible avenue" of job creation with more than 100 CEOs, union officials and economic experts.
The summit is also expected to include some small business leaders but Cantor expressed disappointment that their presence at the White House would not be representative of their importance to the American economy.
"If they're serious at doing something at the forum, then maybe they should bring someone in with experience in the pain we hear about at the dinner table," he said.
A spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi mocked Cantor's criticism.
"Despite his vote against it, Eric Cantor has done a great job touting the economic benefits of the Recovery Act in his district, so he should stop his hypocritical attacks and join Democrats' ongoing efforts to create jobs," Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said in a written statement.
But some Democrats expressed pessimism about the prospect of turning the tide on unemployment in the near future.
Rep. David Camp, D-Mich., said he believes part of the reason the economy continues to shed jobs is because employers can't make decisions.
“I think one of the reasons why you've seen unemployment not improve is employers don't know what their costs are going to be," he told Fox News. "Whether you're facing healthcare expenses or taxes to support that massive spending or climate change that could change energy costs significantly, employers are in the dark about what the future holds, therefore they've held off on any hiring decisions.
“I think the approach they've taken has really made it more difficult for our economy to recover and we're seeing that in the unemployment numbers."