Values Voter Summit Opens With Unemployment Talk

WASHINGTON – On day one of Family Research Council's Values Voter Summit, conservatives and Republican leaders cited the Department of Labor reports showing that unemployment has remained unchanged.

Republican House Speaker John Boehner opened the conference on Friday with the news that despite an uptick in hiring, the U.S. jobless rate remains at 9.1 percent.

The White House noted that private sector employers added 137,000 jobs in September. Additionally, overall payroll employment rose by 103,000. Labor Department reports also show that unemployment insurance claims decreased by 4,000 claims prior to Sept. 24.

However, unemployment claims rose by 6,000 in the last week of September alone.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor blamed the nation's stagnant job growth on President Barack Obama's failed leadership.

"Since the president has taken office, we have lost 1.8 billion private sector jobs,” Cantor said.

Obama acknowledged in a Thursday press conference that the country is now worse than it was at the start of the year. He then emphasized the importance of his jobs bill and urged Republicans to work with him to pass it.

Cantor chided the president for seeking to tax business leaders, whom he said are "the very people that we need to bring back growth to our government."

Boehner said Obama is continuing to offer Americans more of the same.

"More stimulus, more taxes, more regulation and more debt piled on the backs of our kids and grandkids," he told the audience. "It's high time we trust the American people to liberate our economy from the shackles of this government."

He announced plans to introduce legislation to mandate that regulations costing $100 billion or more be voted on by both bodies of Congress and to add a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution requiring the U.S. House and Senate to pass balanced budgets each year.

The two proposals roused the crowd. FRC President Tony Perkins reminded conservatives that both fiscal and social solutions must be employed to encourage small government.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) lamented in a panel discussion that demand for food stamps had increased by 100 percent. Retired Lt. Gen. Benjamin Mixon also bemoaned the Obama administration's attempts to advance the gay rights agenda to end the Defense of Marriage Act through the military, noting a recent Pentagon memo letting chaplains perform same-sex marriage ceremonies.

DOMA is a federal law that defines marriage as the union between a man and woman for all government benefits and agencies.

Conservatives emphasized that government must also encourage strong families with both a mother and father in order to reduce government spending on entitlement programs.

"Until we strengthen the family, we will never shrink the size and scope of the government," Perkins stated.

The Values Voter Summit is sponsored by the FRC's political advocacy arm, Family Research Council Action. The three-day conference is hosting several discussions about the social issues such marriage, abortion and religious freedom. GOP presidential candidates are also scheduled to make speaking appearances at the conference. Audience members will pick and announce a favored candidate in the Values Voter straw poll Saturday.