Minority leader Boehner: Fire Obama's economic team, extend tax cuts
CLEVELAND -- House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) called Tuesday for the mass firing of the Obama administration's economic team, including Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and White House adviser Larry Summers, arguing that November's midterm elections are shaping up as a referendum on sustained unemployment across the nation and saying the "writing is on the wall."
Boehner said President Obama's team lacks "real-world, hands-on experience" in creating jobs that are needed for a full economic recovery. The Republican lawmaker cited reports that some senior aides complained of "exhaustion," including the recently departed budget chief Peter Orszag.
"President Obama should ask for - and accept - the resignations of the remaining members of his economic team, starting with Secretary Geithner and Larry Summers, the head of the National Economic Council," Boehner said in the morning speech to business leaders at the City Club of Cleveland. The mass dismissal, he added, would be "no substitute for a referendum on the president's job-killing agenda. That question will be put before the American people in due time. But we do not have the luxury of waiting months for the president to pick scapegoats for his failing 'stimulus' policies."
Vice President Biden lashed back at Boehner, called his "so-called" economic plan nothing but a list of what Republicans are against and devoid of innovative new ideas that can help move the country forward.
In a sarcastic tone, Biden thanked Boehner for the suggestion that the president fire his top economic advisers.
"Very constructive advice and we thank the leader for that," Biden said.
With President Obama on vacation Martha's Vineyard, the White House largely left it to Biden to respond to the speech. He accused Boehner and the GOP of wanting to take the country back to failed policies of the past.
"Mr. Boehner is nostalgic for those good old days, but Americans are not...We've seen this movie before Mr. Boehner," Biden said. "We've seen it before. And we know how it ends."
Calls for Cabinet officials to be fired is nothing new for the party out of power -- during the Bush administration many Democrats called for the ouster of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, a demand that was not met until Democrats swept the 2006 midterms.
Bill Burton, the White House deputy press secretary, said he had reviewed Boehner's speech and found "what was most surprising was his full-throated defense of the indefensible," a reference to the congressman's proposal to give tax breaks to companies that Burton said "ship jobs overseas."