DALLAS — President Obama and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor engaged in a war of words Tuesday as the president continued to push his jobs package with a trip to Dallas and St. Louis.
After Cantor said Monday that House Republicans would not bring Obama’s $447 billion American Jobs Act to the floor for a vote, the White House struck back by releasing excerpts of the prepared remarks Obama was planning to deliver at Eastfield Community College in Mesquite, Texas, on Tuesday afternoon.
“I’d like Mr. Cantor to come down here to Dallas and explain what in this jobs bill he doesn’t believe in,” the president is planning to say. “Does he not believe in rebuilding America’s roads and bridges? Does he not believe in tax breaks for small businesses, or efforts to help veterans?”
He will also ask Cantor to “at least put this jobs bill up for a vote so that the entire country knows exactly where every Member of Congress stands.
Cantor’s office responded responded a short time later.
“If House Republicans sent our plan for America’s job creators to the President, would he promise not to veto it in its entirety?” asked Brad Dayspring, Cantor’s communications director. “Would he travel district to district and explain why he’d block such common sense ideas to create jobs? House Republicans have different ideas on how to grow the economy and create jobs, but that shouldn’t prevent us from trying to find areas of common ground with the President. That is precisely why Majority Leader Cantor has given his word to the President that the House will pass portions of his jobs bill in the next month.”
White House aides have said that if Congress approves portions of the jobs legislation, which includes a mix of tax breaks for small businesses and infrastructure spending, Obama will sign those pieces and demand Congress then send him the rest of the bill.
Obama’s appearance in Dallas will include a pair of fundraisers, followed by the speech at Eastfield. He is then scheduled to fly to St. Louis for two more fundraisers Tuesday night.
A Democratic National Committee official said more than 500 people are expected at the first fundraiser in Dallas, including Amb. Ron Kirk, former Dallas Cowboy Emmitt Smith and several local elected officials. Tickets start at $500 per person. The second, smaller lunch will have approximately 30 people, which cost couples $35,800 to attend.
In St. Louis, the first event is a reception at the Renaissance Grand Hotel with an expected crowd of 300 people, who paid $250 and up. The second event is a dinner at the private home of Tom and Robin Carnahan, at which 45 people who paid at least $25,000 are expected.
The stop in Dallas brings Obama to the backyard of Gov. Rick Perry, a leading Republican presidential candidate, and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R), co-chairman of the bipartisan Congressional supercommittee charged with reducing the deficit by $1.5 trillion.
“The president is always welcome in Texas, and I am particularly glad he has chosen to visit Eastfield College in my district—one of Texas’ great community colleges,” Hensarling told reporters last week. “I hope he will spend some time listening to the job creators of the 5th District and studying how Texans have created an environment for job growth—through low taxes, smart and reasonable regulation, and a balanced budget—and apply these principles to anything he asks Congress to consider.”
Darlene Ewing, chairwoman of the Dallas County Democratic Party, said she was pleased Obama was coming to her hometown because it was a bold move that will rally the Democratic base.”
“I’m really glad that he’s being more aggressive,” she said. “He wasted time trying to be bipartisan with Republicans. They made clear the moment they were elected that their objective was to destroy the presidency. He tried way too long to work with them.”