House Republican Minority Leader John Boehner and President Obama will go toe to toe Wednesday over economic issues and whether to allow the Bush-era tax cuts for the rich to expire.
With about eight weeks to go before the midterm elections, Boehner took to the airwaves to call for extending the tax cuts, due to expire in months.
Obama, who will insist the cuts for the rich should end, travels to Cleveland to deliver his latest speech on how his administration will deal with the nation's economic ills, the top electoral issue that the GOP hopes will catapult it into control of the House.
In comments on ABC's "Good Morning America," Boehner (R-Ohio) offered what he said was a bipartisan approach, including a freeze on government spending at 2008 levels and an extension of the Bush tax cuts for two years.
"The American people are asking the question, 'Where are the jobs?' and yet here's the White House worrying about what I've got to say instead of working together to get our economy going again and to get jobs back in America," Boehner said.
"If we're able to do this together, I think we'll show the American people that we understand what's going on in the country and we'll be able to get our economy moving again and get jobs growing in America," Boehner said.
Choosing Cleveland for the next economic speech was no accident, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said on Tuesday. Asked if the administration picked the site because Boehner recently gave an economic speech there, Gibbs was direct and terse: "Yes," he said.
Obama is expected to outline his current economic plans, including more spending on infrastructure and increased tax breaks for businesses as a way of stimulating job creation. He also is expected to be forceful in opposing extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich, which Democrats see as a wedge issue that will help them overcome what the polls say is a strong GOP electoral wave that threatens Democratic control of Congress.
Arguing that it would benefit the middle class, Obama favors extending the tax cuts for those individuals earning $200,000 or less a year and families annually earning no more than $250,000. Those earning more would lose their tax cuts under the Obama plan.
The president has also signaled this week that he will formally propose a $50-billion infrastructure plan to build roads, rails and runways; a permanent extension of research development tax credits; and allowing businesses to write off 100% of new capital spending.
In less ideologically harsh times, Republicans would likely back some of the tax cuts. But for them, the tax cuts should go across the board, including the rich. Large tax cuts and government spending cuts are hallmarks of the GOP electoral strategy.