House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) on Capitol Hill. (Haraz N. Ghanbari / Associated…)
WASHINGTON -- Hours before President Obama delivers an economic address in Cleveland, House Speaker John A. Boehner is out with a prebuttal intended to spotlight GOP efforts in Congress to boost the economy and create jobs.
In the online video, Boehner stands at his desk in the speaker’s office before a table full of bills that have passed the Republican-led House but stalled in the Senate, where the Democratic majority has largely panned them. The bills hew to the GOP’s small-government mantra: dismantle federal regulations, expand domestic energy production, repeal Obama’s healthcare law, revamp Medicare and cut domestic spending, among others.
“We’re going to keep adding to this pile,” Boehner said. “These aren’t big, controversial bills that no one has read — they’re practical, common-sense proposals to help small businesses create jobs and build a stronger economy for all Americans.”
Jobs and the economy remain the top issues for voters, and the president’s speech Thursday in the crucial swing state of Ohio comes after Obama stumbled last week in saying that the private sector was doing “just fine.”
After a dismal monthly jobs report, Obama was making the case that the public sector needed a boost with his proposals to fund more teachers, police and firefighters, which Republicans have dismissed. The GOP pounced on the gaffe, suggesting the president was out of touch.
The president’s speech is intended to broaden the conversation. With gridlock on Capitol Hill, the president is set to show voters the differences in the approaches that Democrats and Republicans take toward the economy.
“The president believes that this election is a fundamental choice between two very different visions for how we grow the economy, create middle-class jobs and pay down our debt,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said in advance of the speech.
“The other side’s plan is a $5-trillion tax cut that explodes the deficit while gutting the investments we need to grow. The president’s plan is to pay down our deficit in a balanced way, a way supported by the majority of the American people, while still investing in education, energy, innovation and infrastructure.”
This is not the first time Boehner and Obama have tussled on the speaker’s home turf. In the summer before the 2010 midterm election that would sweep Republicans to the House majority and the speaker into his current position, Boehner gave an economic address in Cleveland outlining many of the views he still espouses today, starting with his intention to prevent the tax breaks established during the George W. Bushadministration, including those for the wealthy, from expiring at the end of this year.
At the time, Obama responded almost directly to Boehner, returning to Ohio the next month and mentioning him 10 times and creating the contrast between the two that has grown more pronounced.
One of the items to be added to Boehner’s “pile” in the weeks ahead is a vote in the House on keeping those tax breaks — another bill that is unlikely to find support in the Senate, where many Obama allies prefer to let the tax breaks for the wealthy expire.
Follow Politics Now on Twitter