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Rep. Darrell Issa, chair of the House Oversight Committee, told Fox News on Wednesday that he would look into holding congressional hearings on September’s non-farm payroll report, which saw the unemployment rate drop to 7.8 per cent last week.Fox Business reported (via Think Progress) Thursday that Issa told Greta van Susteren in an interview that he would explore holding hearings on the report.
Many conservatives and even Republican lawmakers suggested that the report was skewed deliberately by the Obama administration in an attempt to promote the president’s re-election. Former GE CEO Jack Welch started the scepticism by tweeting shortly after the report’s announcement that Obama “can’t debate so change numbers.”
“The way it is being done with the constant revisions, significant revisions, tells us that it is not as exact a science as it needs to be and there’s got to be a better way to get those numbers — or don’t put them out if they’re going to be wrong by as much as half a point,” Issa said Wednesday.
A Fox Business anchor said Issa told the network that he has no specific timetable for any potential hearings.
“We very much intend to work every day through November and December to get these kind of things done. We’re hoping that this is a good nonpartisan time,” Issa said, according to the anchor.
UPDATE: An Issa spokesperson sends over the following statement, which says there are no plans to hold hearings:
“While Chairman Issa, in response to a question asked yesterday, did state that he believes there are legitimate questions about the Department of labour’s method for calculating unemployment, the Oversight Committee has not announced or decided to hold hearings on the September unemployment report. Chairman Issa specifically pointed to the frequent revisions that the Department of labour often makes to its own numbers in questioning whether more can be done to ensure that they accurately reflect the state of our nation’s job market. At no point did he say he has made plans to convene a hearing on this subject.”
Here’s video, via TP:
Issa has suggested before that the administration paints jobs data with “a political purpose.” He said in June that the Bureau of labour statistics was re-classifying so-called “green” jobs so that more people would believe the federal stimulus’ green jobs program was a success.
“It’s about politics. It’s always been about politics,” Issa said. If you work at the Salvation Army, that’s a green job.”
Issa, of course, is leading the House Oversight Committee’s investigations into the Fast and Furious operation and the attacks on the U.S. mission in Libya.
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