Democrats, Republicans respond to jobs report with midterm pitches

A job seeker holds a briefcase as he waits in line to meet with recruiters during the Job Hunter's Boot Camp at College of San Mateo on June 7, 2011 in San Mateo, California.

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

The Labor Department on Friday gave encouraging news about the state of the economy, but both Democrats and Republicans in Congress say things could be better -- if their respective party gains more seats this November.

"While we're glad to see some Americans finally finding work, we can't lose sight of the fact that we should have been at this point years ago. Slow job growth may be good enough for Democrats, but Republicans know we can do better," said Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement.

There were 248,000 jobs added to the economy last month, the Labor Department reported, bringing the unemployment rate down to 5.9 percent -- its lowest level in six years.

Like Priebus, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said the numbers weren't good enough.

"Today's report shows that our nation's economy continues to improve," he said. "But Congress can still do more to help struggling American families and those Americans out of work through no fault of their own... The American people deserve more from Republicans in Congress than political stunts and government shutdowns."

Reid made a pitch for Democratic agenda items like, ensuring equal pay for equal work for women.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, didn't bother to acknowledge in his statement the improved jobs numbers. He did however, say that "instead of trying to convince Americans that things are great, Washington Democrats ought to show they're serious about helping middle-class families get ahead, not just get by."

Boehner said the Senate should take up bills passed in the House that would reduce bureaucratic red tape constraining businesses and advance other conservative ideas for economic stimulation.

Two years ago, when the Labor Department released a positive jobs report ahead of the 2012 elections, some conservatives suggested the agency was conspiring to help the president and his party.