Boehner Battles ‘Disappointing’ President for Support on Economy

As their dueling strategies to spur job growth and cut the deficit square off on Capitol Hill this fall, House Speaker John Boehner bashed President Barack Obama today for failing to lead on the economy.

After delivering a major address on jobs last week to the Economic Club of Washington, Boehner was back on the speech circuit again today as he ventured off Capitol Hill to downtown Washington to deliver his economic pitch to the National Auto Dealers Association.

Shortly into his remarks, the speaker took dead-aim at the president and ripped him for prioritizing his campaign for reelection ahead of the responsibilities of the public office he was elected to execute.

“Watching the president here over the last couple of weeks has been a bit disappointing, and it’s been a bit disappointing because it’s pretty clear that the president’s decided to forget his role as president and leader of our nation in a time of economic uncertainty and to begin the campaign for his reelection some 14 months away,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said. “Our country needs leaders.”

Since the president’s jobs address to a joint session of Congress Sept. 8, Boehner and Obama have jockeyed for public support over their contrasting plans to create jobs.

Last week the president made multiple stops across the country to explain his plan, known as the American Jobs Act, and he has threatened to veto any legislation that makes cuts to Medicare without increasing taxes on the wealthy. Republicans, however, have insisted they will not increase taxes and prefer to cut regulations and reform the tax code to come up with a savings plan in the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.

“A couple of weeks ago, the president rolled out his jobs plan, and clearly, there are some parts of his job plan where I think there’s some common ground and we can find a way to move forward. There are other parts of it that I have real concerns about,” Boehner said. “Raising taxes on the American people is not the way to get our economy going again.”

Despite the stand-off, Boehner, who is second in line in the presidential order of succession, expressed optimism that the politically divided Congress will be able to move past their respective lines in the sand and agree to a bipartisan compromise on deficit reduction legislation by the end of the year.

“If the president won’t lead, I can tell you the Congress of the United States on both sides of the aisle will work together to do the right thing for our country. We can do it,” Boehner said. “The challenges that we have in front of us, they can be fixed and they can be dealt with, and I really do believe that the Congress of the United States can in fact lead. And I do believe that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, while we’re not going to agree on everything, can in fact find common ground to address our nation’s problems.”