House Speaker John Boehner pointed to high unemployment to make his case that the country is worse off than it was four years ago, and he continued to press Democrats to work with the GOP to create a better environment for job creation.
“Are you kidding me?!” Boehner, R-Ohio, exclaimed when asked if Americans are better off now. “Why don’t you go ask the 14 million Americans who are out of work whether they’re better than they were four years ago.”
Boehner was reacting to President Obama’s answer to the same question Tuesday: “We are better off now than we would have been if I hadn’t taken all the steps that we took,” said Obama, while conceding that the economy had not fully rebounded from the financial crisis.
The speaker called on the president to pressure Senate Democrats to act on 16 bills languishing in the upper chamber that Republicans believe will “help create a better environment for job creation in our country.”
“While the president is out doing campaign events all over the country, what he could do is to actually come to Washington and be focused on trying to help pass bills that would create a better environment for job creation and help put the American people back to work,” Boehner said. “He’s a former member of the Senate. I’m sure he has great influence over there in terms of getting them to take up these bills that really will help put the American people back to work.”
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said that this week Republicans would continue to move bills on the House floor that were part of the president’s American Jobs Act, and he joined Boehner in directing his frustration at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
“Republicans in the House are interested in trying to set aside differences and look for ways that we can actually work with the president and the other side to accomplish results for the American people, and results right now mean jobs,” Cantor, R-Va., said. “What I’m concerned about is that what we see now in the Senate is Harry Reid refusing to go along now with the president, and us, especially on this 3 percent withholding bill. What we’re hearing today is that for no reason at all the leader in the Senate is desirous of trying to change that bill, and therefore decreasing the possibility it can make it to the White House and be signed into law and create jobs.”
“When people around the country are looking for jobs … they’re asking where the jobs are,” he said. “They’re stuck in the Senate, that’s where the jobs are.”
Last week Boehner called a proposal from Democrats on the deficit super committee to raise $1.3 trillion in new tax revenue unreasonable, but today he declined to specify what he believed would be a fair amount, even though he and the president had nearly agreed on $800 billion in new revenues during the “grand bargain” negotiations.
“The super committee’s got a tough job. I know they’re hard at it. I met with some of their members yesterday trying to find a way forward,” Boehner said. “The crushing debt and deficit of our government is like a wet blanket over our economy, so we’ve got to deal with this deficit and this debt. They’ve got a tough job to do, and I’m going to do everything I can to help them.”
With Herman Cain visiting Capitol Hill today to appear before the Congressional Healthcare Caucus and to hold a meet and greet with Republicans, Boehner was asked whether the GOP presidential contender was welcome on Capitol today considering the ongoing frenzy over news reports that he allegedly sexually harassed two female employees in the late 1990s.
“We welcome all Americans to Capitol Hill,” Boehner told reporters, declining to comment directly on the news reports as he ended the news conference.