House leaders to Obama: 'We haven't given up on working with you'

Jan. 30, 2014 at 12:10 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- House Republican leaders told President Obama they want to work with him, offering several House-passed bills languishing in the Senate as starting points.

"Naturally, we don't agree with all of the proposals you outlined in your speech, but where there is the potential for agreement we believe it is critical we come together to advance the interests of the American people," Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Whip Kevin McCarthy and Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers wrote in the letter released Thursday at the start of the House GOP's annual retreat in Maryland.

The leaders cited legislation the House has passed that would reform federal job training programs, eliminate regulations on producers of natural gas, change workplace compensation rules and redirect federal money toward pediatric research but haven't been taken up in the Senate, the Hill reported.

The GOP leaders urged Obama to pressure Democratic leaders to take them up.

The letter also allowed House leadership to extend a hand to Obama, who vowed during his State of the Union Tuesday to circumvent Congress if necessary to carry out his agenda, the Hill said.

"Mr. President, as you reminded us all on Tuesday night, sometimes things don't come easy, but we should never give up and quit," the Republicans' letter said. "We haven't given up on working with you to find areas of common agreement where we can do good things for the American people.

"There is no reason that we cannot accomplish our objectives in these areas of common agreement," the four wrote, "and we are confident that success in these areas will open up even more avenues for success."

Republican lawmakers are expected to develop plans on immigration, the debt ceiling and healthcare during the retreat in Cambridge along the Chesapeake Bay.

Before going to the closed-door retreat, Boehner told reporters he believes it's important for the GOP to demonstrate to the American people "we're not just the opposition party, we're actually the alternative party."

"Republicans have to do more to talk about the better solutions that we think we have that will help the American people grow their wages, have opportunities to have a better job and clearly have a better shot at the American dream," he said.

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