After observing what he called another month of “disappointing job gains,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, challenged Presient Obama to abandon his day-t0-day campaigning and engage Congress on “the big policies that are affecting our economy.”
“Whether it’s the tax rates that all expire at the end of the year, whether it’s the sequester that’s due to go into effect in January that will gut our military or our $16 trillion national debt, our 1.3 trillion budget deficit,” Boehner said, “maybe the president ought to get out of the badminton game and get into the rugby game that’s right in front of him.”
Obama travels to Minnesota this afternoon to speak about the economy and press Congress to pass the items on his To-Do List for Congress, especially the Veterans Jobs Corps bill.
But congressional Republicans remain cool to any of the president’s proposals.
Asked whether there is any overlap between the president’s to-do list and House Republicans’ Plan for American Job Creators, Boehner stressed that Republicans have tried to find common ground with Democrats but said the president had been a distant partner.
“Listen, we’ve worked together to pass the three free trade agreements. We’ve worked together to pass the veterans jobless bill. I can go down a long list,” he said. “[House Majority Leader Eric Cantor] and the Minority Whip [Steny Hoyer] have worked together on the Export Import bank to get it reauthorized. There a number of places we have found common ground, but it’s a constant search and it’s hard to sit down and find common ground when the president’s always out campaigning every day.”
Cantor, R-Va., called the jobs report “pathetic” and told reporters that “the American people really deserve better.” He said Republicans would pass legislation this summer to prevent any increase in taxes at the end of the year, and Republicans would pass a bill to repeal whatever is left of the Affordable Care Act after the Supreme Court rules on the law later this month.
Boehner emphasized that Republicans have their own list of jobs bills that are languishing in the Democrat-controlled Senate, and repeated a common refrain, asking the president America’s No. 1 question: “Where are the jobs?”
“Small businesses continue to avert hiring any additional people, and it’s clear that the policies that we’ve seen are not working, and I would just hope that the president, my colleagues in the Senate, would look at our plan to create American jobs,” Boehner said. “We’ve passed over 30 bills that are sitting in the United States Senate. We can help the American people at a time of this great need if the Senate would just look at the bills that are before us.
“You’ve watched us for the last year and a half come up here every day and every week and make clear that our focus is the focus of the American people. We promised that we would listen to the American people and our focus is on this economy and jobs,” he said. “That’s why that continued to be our focus each and every day over the last year and a half, and it will remain that because the American people are in a desperate spot. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, are looking for work, and it’s time for us to change course and have real policies that will put Americans back to work.”