The Washington Post

John Boehner prebuts President Obama’s jobs speech in new video

President Obama travels to Cleveland on Thursday to deliver what his campaign promises will be a speech designed to cast November’s election as a choice between his economic stewardship and a Republican alternative that would return the country to policies that caused the economic downturn four years ago.

But as the president flies to Ohio, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) — arguably the Buckeye State’s most prominent politician — suggests in a new video out this morning that the president could help revive the economy by pushing Senate Democrats to hold votes on GOP-sponsored legislation recently passed in the House:

Standing in his office in front of copies of what appear to be at least 24 of the roughly 30 jobs and economic-themed bills passed by the GOP-controlled House in recent weeks, Boehner says they “aren’t big, controversial bills that no one has read — they’re practical, common-sense proposals to help small businesses create jobs and build a stronger economy for all Americans.”

“This isn’t just our work — it’s our work in progress,” he adds. “You see, we’re going to keep adding to this pile, and we’re going to keep calling on President Obama and Senate Democrats to give these jobs bills a vote.”

Boehner’s decision to confront the president comes as he prepares to campaign Sunday for the first time with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The pair, who met privately on Monday in Atlanta, plan to appear side-by-side for the first time this election season in Troy, Ohio, in Boehner’s district. The event is expected to be the first of several appearances that begin to tie Romney and congressional Republicans closer together.

The message Boehner delivers in his video — that there are at least 30 economic-themed legislative proposals waiting for final approval in Washington — is a message that GOP lawmakers of both chambers continue to convey to constituents back home: We’ve held up our end of the bargain, Republicans argue, now it’s up to Obama and Senate Democrats to give final passage to the ideas we’ve put forth if the country has any hope of turning the economy around.

According to Boehner aides, the legislation displayed on his desk in the video includes bills to cut taxes for small businesses, control or repeal some federal regulations and to fully repeal the 2010 health-care reform law. Each of the proposals has virtually no chance of being considered by the Democratic-controlled Senate.

“President Obama hasn’t prodded the Senate — or his own administration — to act, first saying the private sector is ‘doing fine’ and now giving an economic speech that lacks economic proposals,” Boehner’s office wrote in a blog post accompanying the video’s release. “That’s because his team ‘made clear they don’t see many fresh options,’ and the president appears to be, well, doing fine with that. Today’s speech, a pivot to nothing after 40 months of unemployment above eight percent, is yet another indication of a shrunken presidency.”

What do you think of Boehner’s argument? And what do you make of his emerging role in the presidential campaign? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Follow Ed O’Keefe on Twitter: @edatpost

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Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.


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