Taking a break from the GOP's annual issues conference in Baltimore this afternoon, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio predicted that the election this fall will be a referendum on the president's economic policies and the divided Congress provides his Republican colleagues an opportunity to draw a stark distinction with Democrats in the next 10 months.
"President Obama's policies have not helped our economy," Boehner said. "As a matter of fact, his policies have made our economy worse. It's pretty clear to the American people that these policies are not working and when you look at this election that's coming up, it's pretty clear it's going to be a referendum on the president's policies regarding our economy."
To paint a clearer picture of what Republicans consider the failed policies of the White House, Boehner said he has asked all House Republicans to examine the effect of the administration's policies in order to make sure Americans "understand the devastating impact of these policies on our economy."
"When it comes to oversight, it's pretty clear to me that there are a lot of members of Congress who really don't have a good understanding of how our economy works," Boehner said.
The speaker added that with "more extensive oversight focused on these policies, we'd be able to educate members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, which, frankly, would be the best path forward in order to get any of that changed.
"Maybe we can convince some of our colleagues across the aisle, maybe we can even convince the president of the United States that these policies are not only not helping, but they're hurting the ability of small businesses to create jobs in our country," Boehner said. "Our focus over the course of this year will be on the economy and on jobs and making sure that hard-working taxpayers have a real opportunity at a good job in our country."
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia agreed with the speaker and said Republicans will "push forward [with] an agenda that will answer the frustration" of Americans that are out of work. "We are united as a conference to fight for hard-working taxpayers in this country," he said. "The policies that we have seen come out of this administration have not been favorable for the hard-working taxpayers of America.
"We're going to continue to focus on small business job creation. As we know, small businesses are the backbone of America. Small businesses epitomize what is aspirational about our country because anyone, if they're fortunate enough to come to this country, can have the ability to start their own business, provide jobs to others and grow this economy."
Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, the chairman of the House Republican Conference, pointed out that today makes three years since President Obama was inaugurated, ample time for the president to turn around the economy he inherited.
"He promised the American people hope and change. And now we see a nation that has lost hope but they have seen the change," Hensarling said, ticking off a number of economic indicators showing the economy worsening.
"Regardless of his good intents, his policies have failed the American people, and the American people are still asking the question, 'Where are the jobs?'
"It is a new year. It is time for new ideas," he added. "House Republicans have a plan for America's jobs creators. It's a new year, Mr. President, let's try some new ideas."