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Posted at 04:54 PM ET, 09/09/2011

House GOP leaders request Obama jobs plan details


(Joshua Roberts - BLOOMBERG)
The top four House Republican leaders on Friday requested the details of the jobs plan outlined by President Obama in an address before a joint session of Congress.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling (Texas) made their request in a letter to Obama Friday afternoon.

“We look forward to receiving legislative text for any of your ideas in a manner that can be scored by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, and to the upcoming speech you described last night in which you will detail the offsets that will be needed to ensure your proposals are paid for,” the leaders wrote.

They pledged that committees in the House “will immediately begin the process of reviewing and considering your proposals,” examining their impact on short- and long-term growth and offering suggestions “that could achieve economic and job growth in a manner that may be more impactful or effective.”

The CBO normally scores legislation to determine its potential impact on the economy. Often, the economic impact estimated by the CBO differs from the projections of the legislation’s authors; such was the case in July, when Boehner re-worked his debt-ceiling proposal after the CBO estimated that it would have a smaller-than-expected impact on the deficit.

The parties have frequently sparred over CBO scores, however. Despite the office’s finding that the 2009 stimulus has had a net positive effect on the economy, for instance, congressional Republicans have maintained that flawed assumptions made by the CBO have led to an inaccurate assessment of the measure’s impact.

Obama said Thursday that he would submit the details of his plan on Sept. 19, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday urged House GOP leaders to consider the legislation as swiftly as possible.

The House Republican leaders also on Friday urged Obama to submit to Congress three long-pending trade deals with South Korea, Panama and Colombia. The deals have hit repeated road bumps due to a disagreement between the White House and GOP leaders over an aid program for workers whose jobs have been displaced due to outsourcing.

In their letter, the leaders called for Obama to submit the trade deals separately from the trade adjustment assistance legislation. The White House and most congressional Democrats have urged that the program and the deals to be considered in one package.

The House Republican leaders ended their letter on a bipartisan note that echoed their rhetoric in the days since both chambers returned from their August recess.

“We share your desire for bipartisan cooperation, and assume that your ideas were not presented as an all-or-nothing proposition, but rather in anticipation that the Congress may also have equally as effective proposals to offer for consideration,” they wrote. “The American people expect us to bring together the best of both parties’ ideas, and it is our desire to work together to find common ground between your ideas and ours. The House is committed to working with our Senate colleagues and your administration to confront our nation’s economic and employment challenges.”

The full text of the letter is below.

President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

Thank you for your address to a Joint Session of the Congress last night, and for presenting your ideas. We believe creating long-term, sustainable jobs must be the top priority for elected leaders of both parties, and it is our desire to work with you to find common ground on steps that can be taken to allow our economy to grow and to create those jobs. While we have a different vision in terms of what is needed to boost private-sector job creation in our country, we believe your ideas merit consideration by the Congress, and believe the American people expect them to be given such consideration.

We look forward to receiving legislative text for any of your ideas in a manner that can be scored by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, and to the upcoming speech you described last night in which you will detail the offsets that will be needed to ensure your proposals are paid for.

The House and our committees will immediately begin the process of reviewing and considering your proposals. We will examine the impact of your proposals on both short and long term economic growth and we will identify modifications and additional ideas that could achieve economic and job growth in a manner that may be more impactful or effective.

For instance, these ideas could include elements of the multiple bills passed by the House earlier this year to remove government barriers to private-sector job creation that are currently awaiting action in the Senate. In addition, the House will continue with the jobs agenda outlined last month which among other things would provide relief to our nation’s job creators – especially small businesses -- from the high costs of some of your Administration’s pending regulatory actions

As we are certain your advisors have told you, not all your ideas should be packaged in a single legislative vehicle. For instance, due to the structure of Trade Promotion Authority procedures, passage of the free trade agreements with our allies – Colombia, Panama and South Korea – is better achieved moving as stand-alone legislation. We again ask that you send those agreements immediately to the Congress for our consideration and approval.

We share your desire for bipartisan cooperation, and assume that your ideas were not presented as an all-or-nothing proposition, but rather in anticipation that the Congress may also have equally as effective proposals to offer for consideration. The American people expect us to bring together the best of both parties’ ideas, and it is our desire to work together to find common ground between your ideas and ours. The House is committed to working with our Senate colleagues and your administration to confront our nation’s economic and employment challenges.

Sincerely,

John Boehner Eric Cantor

Speaker Majority Leader

Kevin McCarthy Jeb Hensarling

Majority Whip Conference Chairman

By  |  04:54 PM ET, 09/09/2011

 
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