Obamanomics under fire from GOP as economy slows to 0.1 percent growth rate

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The U.S. economy slowed to an anemic pace in the first quarter of the year, according to new Commerce Department estimates, renewing Republican claims that Obama administration policies are slamming the brakes on the recovery.

The department estimated that growth slowed to a barely discernible 0.1 percent annual rate between January and March. That was the weakest pace since the end of 2012 and was down from a 2.6 percent rate in the previous quarter.

“This report is more than a low number; it is a reflection of the real economic despair that persists in the sixth year of the Obama presidency,” said Brendan Buck, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner.

The slowdown, while worse than expected, is likely to be temporary as growth rebounds with warmer weather. The White House pointed to “historically severe winter weather” as a factor, and noted that these figures are subject to revision.

But Republicans, who even before the report was released were hammering the administration over policies they claim are holding back job growth, said weather is not the only factor. They’ve long argued that a heavy regulatory hand, and various mandates attached to the Affordable Care Act, are hurting the economy.

Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, said “the only people doing well in this recovery are those who have benefited from the Federal Reserve’s continued monetary morphine that has juiced profits on Wall Street, while family incomes have stagnated.”

He, like other Republicans and some moderate Democrats, pushed again for the approval of the Canada-to-Texas Keystone pipeline, which the administration has so far declined to make a decision on.

Boehner’s office also used the low GDP number to argue against a federal minimum wage increase. A Senate bill to gradually raise the $7.25 hourly minimum to $10.10 over 30 months came up for a test vote early Wednesday afternoon, but failed to advance.

“This news should reinforce that we need a new approach for jobs,” Buck said.

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