Trumka Says ‘Suicidal’ House Members Pushed Debt-Plan Compromise

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said “suicidal” U.S. House members pushed the compromise legislation to raise the debt limit and the Obama administration must make creating jobs the top national priority.

“When you’ve got people that are suicidal in the House of Representatives, that don’t care about the economy or creating jobs, that makes it more difficult,” Trumka told reporters today after a 90-meeting meeting at the White House with more than 70 labor leaders.

Officers from unions affiliated with the AFL-CIO, the nation’s biggest labor federation, met with President Barack Obama and said creating jobs should be the No. 1 White House focus, Trumka said.

“That has to be his first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth priority,” Trumka said.

Obama called the nation’s union leaders to the White House for an East Room meeting on jobs, the economy and working families, Trumka said.

Trumka said little is known about the debt-ceiling measure passed yesterday in the House and being debated this morning in the Senate.

“I don’t think anybody quite knows what it is, or what the effect is on job creation,” he said.

Trumka said the Obama meeting was “very productive” and declined to offer specific details.

The meeting was to discuss “the urgent need to focus on job-creating policies that will propel working people and our economy forward,” said Alison Omens, an AFL-CIO spokeswoman. “Working people are desperate to hear how we’re going to focus on the real economy and the jobs crisis and President Obama conveyed his own feeling of urgency around dealing with the jobs crisis.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Holly Rosenkrantz in Washington at; Roger Runningen in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Liebert at

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