President Obama placed a phone call to House Speaker John Boehner this afternoon to congratulate him on passing three free trade agreements through the House of Representatives Wednesday, but what started as a courtesy call ended with the two leader’s disagreeing over job creation.
According to a read-out of the phone call provided by the office of the speaker, once the president and speaker finished exchanging niceties over the FTAs, Boehner “respectfully challenged” Obama for saying he had not yet seen a plan from Republicans to create jobs.
“I want to make sure you have all the facts,” the speaker told the president during a phone call that lasted about 10 minutes, according to the read-out.
The speaker then reminded the president that House Republicans put forth a Plan for America’s Job Creators in May, and recalled that he and other members of the GOP leadership team had spoken with Obama and his staff about the plan and they’d referred to it on numerous occasions, including in letters addressed to the president.
“The speaker told the president that when he sent his jobs plan to the Hill, Republicans pledged to give it consideration, and have done so,” the read-out stated. “The president was reminded of a memo written by GOP leaders outlining the specific areas where they believe common ground can be found. The speaker also noted that a number of the president’s ideas have already been acted on in the House, including a veterans hiring bill, trade agreements, and a three percent withholding bill approved by the Ways & Means Committee today that will be considered on the House floor this month.”
Boehner and Obama also discussed transportation and infrastructure, and the speaker expressed his desire to act on the issue, but to act in a fiscally-responsible way, the speaker’s office read out concluded.
Asked to comment Thursday evening, the White House would not provide details from the phone call, but reiterated that the president has not given up on his jobs package.
“The president called speaker Boehner today to thank him for his efforts to help pass the three trade agreements,” Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said. “We won’t comment on their specific conversation. The president has been very clear that he is willing to work with Democrats and Republicans to pass measures to create jobs and get our economy moving. As independent economists have said, the American Jobs Act is the only plan that will create jobs and help the economy now.”