By Thomas Ferraro
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The "American Dream" is under siege by an out-of-control U.S. government that doesn't listen to its people, House of Representatives Republican leader John Boehner said on Friday.
In a campaign speech in his home state of Ohio in which he blasted Democrats' economic policies, Boehner said: "We have to decide: Do we want another two years of job-killing policies out of Washington? Or have we had enough?"
He spoke just hours after new figures showed that the U.S. jobless rate last month remained at a stubbornly high 9.6 percent. That was the last key report on unemployment -- a major campaign issue -- before the November 2 elections that, according to polls, may see Republicans take the House and possibly the Senate.
"Americans have been crystal clear about what they want: more jobs, less spending and a more open Congress that respects and abides by the Constitution," Boehner said.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka fired back by charging that Republicans have been part of the problem by opposing job-creation legislation to score political points.
"Boehner and his friends at the national Chamber of Commerce have no standing to provide a lecture on the economy," Trumka said in a statement.
If Republicans capture the House, Boehner would be in line to become the chamber's speaker.
In his speech, Boehner recalled his days as a small businessman before being elected to Congress in 1990, and noted that small businesses employ a quarter of U.S. workers.
"Small businesses like these are essential to the American dream. And right now that dream is under siege," he said.
He said elected officials "with no understanding of how our economy works spent money with reckless abandon, running up the deficit and telling us we could pay for it all by raising taxes."
"It was clear they believed the engine of prosperity in America is government itself. The thinking went like this: if you want more jobs, then spend more money. Collect more taxes, and redistribute them from the federal level. Make government bigger."
(Editing by Todd Eastham and Vicki Allen)