Boehner: Obama plans 'merit consideration'

Sept. 8, 2011 at 9:03 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner said economic proposals President Barack Obama offered Thursday "merit consideration."

In a joint address to Congress, the president introduced the American Jobs Act, a $447 billion proposal calling for tax credits, tax relief and tax cuts for the middle class to get the economy going again.

"We need a tax code where everyone gets a fair shake, and everybody pays their fair share," Obama said.

Boehner, R-Ohio, issued a statement after the speech saying he hopes "we we can work together to end the uncertainty facing families and small businesses, and create a better environment for long-term economic growth and private-sector job creation."

"Republicans have laid out a blueprint for economic growth and job creation -- our Plan for America's Job Creators -- that focuses on one thing: removing government barriers to private-sector job growth.

"The proposals the President outlined tonight merit consideration," Boehner said. "We hope he gives serious consideration to our ideas as well."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Obama "stated with great clarity his commitment to grow our economy and create jobs. Now, Congress must act with great urgency."

Pelosi called the president's proposal "a clear path to help small businesses succeed and hire, provide tax relief for our workers, rebuild America, and provide aid to those who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. It will put Americans back to work and it will be paid for."

"Republicans have a choice to either work with Democrats on the immediate need to create jobs or waste more time when American families are demanding action," she said.

Before the speech, Pelosi urged House Democrats in a letter to push Republicans, who control the House, to move quickly on Obama's proposals.

Also before the speech, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he supported the president's goal -- "to create good jobs for the 14 million Americans who can't find work during these dark economic times."

Reid noted after the speech that credit rating agencies have asserted "political gridlock is the main obstacle standing in the way of our economic growth."

"I hope (Republicans) will show the American people that they are more interested in creating jobs than defeating President Obama," Reid said.

In remarks Thursday on the Senate floor, Majority Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., criticized Obama for pursuing what McConnell called "the president's apparent determination to apply the same government-driven policies that have already been tried and failed."

Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz. -- a member of the so-called supercommittee of members of Congress working on major debt reduction proposals -- said in a statement the president's proposals "will further delay economic recovery and continue to inflict harm on so many Americans."

"President Obama, perhaps not knowing what else to do, is simply calling for more of the same, as if giving us more of the failed policies of the last two-and-a-half years will somehow yield different results," Kyl said.

Sal Russo, chief strategist of the Tea Party Express, issued a statement in advance of the speech said Obama seemed headed for a "path of proposals for more government and more spending."

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