House Speaker John Boehner today shrugged off the president’s persistent pressure to pass quickly his jobs proposal, saying that the $447 billion American Jobs Act will not come to the House floor for consideration as one complete package, no matter how much the president wishes it would.
“Nobody gets everything they want,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said. “I don’t get everything I want, and I think the president understands the legislative process. You’ve got to go through the process.”
Instead, with Obama’s package dead on arrival in the House, the speaker ticked off a number of pieces of legislation he will work to pass through the House this fall, including elements from the president’s plan that Republicans have identified as areas of common ground.
“We made pretty clear when the president presented his plan that we were going to go through his plan, try to find those areas where we could find common ground and I think there’s some honest effort underway to try to find common ground with those elements that are in sync with those ideas that we have,” Boehner said. “Our goal is to put the American people back to work to create a healthier environment for job creation in our country, and we’ll find common ground in order to get there.”
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia announced Monday some specific areas of common ground that Republicans have identified thus far, including legislation making the 3 percent withholding provision permanent, three trade agreements with Panama, Colombia and South Korea, and, he said, they’ll “repeal onerous regulations that are bogging down businesses in uncertainty that [President Obama] has mentioned himself.”
Boehner said he was “glad” that the president sent the three pending free trade agreements to Congress Monday, but while the Senate works to pass legislation to crack down on Chinese currency manipulation, the speaker hinted that a solution to that issue was not an area of harmony with Democrats. And although he is “concerned about the Chinese currency situation,” he believes Congress should steer clear.
“There’s been an awful lot of work done over the last seven or eight years to try to bring its valuation up, but I think it’s pretty dangerous to be moving legislation through the United States Congress forcing someone to deal with the value of their currency,” Boehner said. “This is well beyond I think what the Congress out to be doing, and while I’ve got concerns about how the Chinese have dealt with their currency, I’m not sure that this is the way to fix it.”
The House of Representatives is expected to pass another continuing resolution later today to fund the government through Nov. 18, avoiding a government shutdown for now, even as the rhetoric heats up and both sides prepare for another battle in the weeks ahead.
As lawmakers brainstorm priorities to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year, including attaching policy riders to the bill to prevent funding from going to certain programs, Boehner was asked whether there is a double standard when it comes to seeking common ground.
“We go through this annual funding process to fund the government with 12 appropriations bills, and we’ve got to come to some agreement with the United States Senate, but as we go through this process, there have been limitation amendments added to these bills for as long as Congress has been appropriating money,” Boehner said. “When it comes to the regulatory onslaught that this administration has been engaged in, it’s killing jobs in America. It’s like throwing a wet blanket over our economy.”
“It’s the responsible thing for us to do, to look at some of these regulations and limit the use of funds in these appropriations bills,” he added. “In terms of funding levels, we’ll be working all of these out with our colleagues in the Senate, and I’m confident we’ll come to an agreement.”
The speaker was asked how much Democratic support he believes Republicans will get this afternoon when the House votes on the continuing resolution, but he deferred the answer to Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, who is tasked with counting votes.
“I think you’ll find a bipartisan passage of the bill,” McCarthy, R-Calif., said.
House Democrats, meanwhile, are expected to support the legislation now that it does not include any offsets for disaster-relief funding.