House Speaker John Boehner told reporters this morning that Republicans have a “different approach” to job creation than the $447 billion proposal President Obama pitched to Congress last week, explaining that the GOP would not support paying for temporary relief through permanent tax increases.
“As a former small businessman myself, I can tell you that we’ve got a little different approach to creating jobs than our friends across the aisle,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said. “When you look at what we saw in the president’s pay-for’s yesterday, we see permanent tax increases put into effect in order to pay for temporary spending. I just don’t think that’s really going to help our economy the way it could.”
Boehner added that drawing from his meetings with constituents and entrepreneurs during the August recess, he believed there’s a growing concern among Americans about the stagnant state of the economy.
“While there’s a lot of uncertainty out there, what I’ve seen over the last six straight weeks is a lot of that uncertainty is turning to certainty and the certainty is resulting in fear. Fear that the economy isn’t coming back anytime soon,” Boehner warned. “All of the efforts that the administration tried when they had total control of the House and the Senate and the White House, they have not worked. And as we get into this conversation with the president about we help our economy, I hope he’ll listen to our ideas, and I hope that he’ll work with us to find common ground to get our economy moving and create jobs again.”
Boehner said he talked to “thousands” of people and employers throughout August recess, and “what the American employers want is they want some certainly about what’s happening in Washington.”
“Certainty about what tax rates are going to be, certainty about what their health care commitments are going to be, and certainty about the regulatory onslaught that they’re under,” Boehner said. “These are the kinds of things that need to be addressed if we’re going to create the kind of environment where employers will feel comfortable in adding more employees to their companies.”
Boehner said that before deciding how to move on the president’s legislation, he is awaiting the Congressional Budget Office’s score of the 155-page bill known as the “American Jobs Act.” But, in the meantime, the speaker said he expected the bill to begin moving through committees as Republicans continue pushing their own agenda on the House floor.
“We’re going to consider legislation this week that stops the government from telling companies where and where they cannot locate,” Boehner said. “Now here’s the administration looking the other way when companies move jobs to China, and yet have the ability to say, or want the ability to say you can’t move your jobs to South Carolina.”
Boehner was asked whether the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, which conducts its first hearing today with testimony from the CBO’s director, Doug Elmendorf, should aspire to reach for a big deal to cut the deficit beyond the $1.5 trillion mandate the exclusive panel is targeting.
“We should tackle as much of our debt problem as is possible. As you all know I spent months working with the president trying to do the big deal, and I always believed that it’d be easier to get the votes if in fact we got a big deal,” Boehner said. “The debt that hangs over our economy, the debt that hangs over our society, is a serious impediment for our country, and so the bigger the job of the debt committee, the more that they’re able to do, frankly I think is very helpful for our country.”
Finally, the speaker attempted to downplay expectations in New York’s 9th Congressional district today (to replace former Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner), telling reporters that the race provides an opportunity where Republicans “can be happy or we can be sad” but he was mindful that the district is traditionally held by Democrats.
“We’ve got a great candidate in New York,” Boehner said of the Republican candidate Bob Turner. “But this is a very serious Democrat district, one that’s been represented by Anthony Weiner, also represented by Chuck Schumer, and also represented by Geraldine Ferraro. This is not a district that Republicans have any right to believe that we can win, but we do have a good candidate. I think it’s going to be a close race, and hope springs eternal.”