Boehner Says Obama ‘AWOL,’ Lacks Courage to Fix Economy
(WASHINGTON) -- House Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday took a direct assault to President Obama, criticizing the president for “shrinking from his responsibility to lead” on the economy and suggesting the president lacks “any courage to help tackle these problems.”
“The president’s been AWOL,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said. “The president checked out last Labor Day. He spent the last six months campaigning from one end of the country to the other instead of working with members of both political parties here in Washington to address the serious challenges that our country faces.”
Playing off Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner’s comments last weekend that the Obama administration’s economic policies have been “remarkably effective,” Boehner ticked off a number of economic statistics that he was not impressed by.
“I don’t think there’s anything remarkably effective about 38 straight months of unemployment higher than eight percent, the longest such period since the Great Depression,” Boehner said. “I don’t think there’s anything remarkably effective about adding $5 trillion of debt on the backs of our kids and our grandkids. And there’s nothing remarkably effective about doubling gas prices and blocking more American energy production that could begin to address those rising gas prices.”
Boehner dismissed a suggestion from a reporter that the Republican House majority shares some of the blame for dysfunction as Washington struggles to produce results.
“I’ve told the president over a year ago if there were ideas that he and I could agree on that were in the best interests of our country, I’d be there to support him,” he said. “If the president won’t lead Republicans will, and we are.”
The House is poised to vote Wednesday on another 90-day extension of the highway bill, which would serve as the lower chamber’s legislative vehicle to conference negotiations with the Senate on a long-term agreement. That bill also has a mechanism to force approval of the GOP’s prized Keystone Pipeline, which the president opposes.
“The fact that the president has threatened to veto the Keystone pipeline just shows how out of touch he is. The American people want us to build the Keystone pipeline. They want those jobs created now,” Boehner said. “Americans are working harder than ever to create new jobs and opportunities despite the obstacles that Washington continues to throw at them. Just think about what could be achieved if the president were serious about working with members here in Congress on both sides of the aisle to address the serious challenges that face our country.”
Thursday the House is scheduled to vote on a 20 percent small business tax cut, which the speaker said would impact 20 million American small businesses. Boehner challenged Obama to work in good faith with both political parties to help improve the economy and he called on the president to pressure Senate Democrats to act on more House-passed economic initiatives.
“Maybe he doesn’t like this 20 percent tax cut that would help 20 million small businesses. What are his ideas?” Boehner asked. “When there’s no conversation, [and] there’s no engagement, all we’re left with is moving our own ideas through the regular order, through the regular process here in Congress.”
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