ABC News’ Mary Bruce reports:
The White House says they consulted with House Speaker John Boehner about the Wednesday date for his address before the president sent his letter of request to Congress earlier today, but that Boehner “determined Thursday would work better.”
Speaker Boehner wrote a letter to President Obama Wednesday afternoon, rejecting the president’s request for a joint session of Congress next Wednesday, Sept. 7, and instead proposed that the president address lawmakers next Thursday, Sept. 8 “at a time that works best for your schedule.”
Obama’s request for the joint session on Wednesday would have conflicted with a planned debate of Republican presidential candidates in California. Boehner’s request for the joint session on Thursday conflicts with the opening game of the NFL season.
The spat over timing for the speech, which is intended to lay out a long-awaited jobs plan from the White House, underscored the partisan bickering that has beset Washington.
With the House of Representatives not set to return to session from a month-long recess until hours before the president’s proposed time for a joint session, Boehner pointed to concerns about “the significant amount of time – typically more than three hours – that is required to allow for a security sweep of the House Chamber before receiving a President.”
The press secretary sent a statement Wednesday night urging leaders to focus full attention on the needs of the American public.
“The President is focused on the urgent need to create jobs and grow our economy, so he welcomes the opportunity to address a Joint Session of Congress on Thursday, September 8th and challenge our nation’s leaders to start focusing 100% of their attention on doing whatever they can to help the American people,” the statement said.
Boehner is not the only Republican displeased with the president’s proposed timing for the widely anticipated address on job creation. Earlier Wednesday, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus criticized Obama for trying to steal the show from Republicans vying to defeat him and participating in the GOP debate at the Reagan Library in California.
“President Obama’s decision to address Congress at the same time as a long-scheduled Republican Presidential debate cements his reputation as Campaigner-in-Chief,” Priebus wrote in a statement. “While the White House claims it’s simply a ‘coincidence,’ the American people can see right through that excuse.”
Full statement by the Press Secretary below:
Statement by the Press Secretary on the President’s Speech to a Joint Session of Congress
“Today, the President asked to address the Congress about the need for urgent action on the economic situation facing the American people as soon as Congress returned from recess. Both Houses will be back in session after their August recess on Wednesday, September 7th, so that was the date that was requested. We consulted with the Speaker about that date before the letter was released, but he determined Thursday would work better. The President is focused on the urgent need to create jobs and grow our economy, so he welcomes the opportunity to address a Joint Session of Congress on Thursday, September 8th and challenge our nation’s leaders to start focusing 100% of their attention on doing whatever they can to help the American people.”
ABC News’ John Parkinson and Jason Volack contributed to this report.