House GOP asks for jobs summit
By Ben Pershing
Is there room in this town for yet another televised bipartisan summit?
President Obama has already met publicly with House Republicans and Senate Democrats, and both parties are preparing to head to the White House Feb. 25 to talk about health care. Now the House's top two GOP leaders are challenging their Democratic counterparts to a similar session on another domestic priority -- jobs.
Citing those other high-profile discussions, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) penned a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) Thursday, asking "that you follow this precedent and agree to participate in an open meeting focused on job creation and economic growth between leaders of both parties in the House."
No House Republicans voted for the $787 billion stimulus package signed into law exactly a year ago, nor did any in the GOP back the $154 billion jobs bill passed by the House in December. Republican leaders contend that they have ideas of their own but have been systematically shut out of the legislative process, while Democrats have countered that Republicans are more concerned with obstruction and scoring political points than genuine compromise.
"Though this bipartisan meeting is only a first step, we believe that it is possible to find areas of agreement from which the foundation for real job creation can begin," Boehner and Cantor wrote. "Every accomplishment begins with the decision to try. The time to try is now."
So far, there's no indication House Democrats are interested in a televised tête-à-tête.
Asked for reaction to the GOP proposal, Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami said: "In her most recent meeting with Leader Boehner earlier this month, the Speaker raised the subject of jobs but did not receive a positive response. The Speaker welcomes the change in the Republican leadership and looks forward to a productive discussion on promoting jobs and economic recovery."
February 17, 2010; 5:39 PM ET
Categories: Capitol Briefing
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