GOP to Obama: Can We Have That in Writing?

by Andrew Stiles

House Republican leaders have sent President Obama a letter requesting a non-speech version of the “jobs plan” he outlined before Congress on Thursday. They intend to have the written legislation scored by the Congressional Budget Office. Because as CBO officials have previously made clear, they “don’t estimate speeches.”

“While we have a different vision in terms of what is needed to boost private-sector job creation in our country,” the Republicans write, “we believe your ideas merit consideration by the Congress, and believe the American people expect them to be given such consideration.”

One received, House committees plan to review the president’s proposals to determine the impact they would have on economic growth and job creation, and “will identify modifications and additional ideas that could achieve economic and job growth in a manner that may be more impactful or effective.” For example, the House has already passed a number of measures designed to encourage job growth that have yet to be taken up in the Senate. In addition House Republicans say they will continue to pursue their own jobs agenda, a key element of which is the elimination of burdensome federal regulations imposed by the administration.

“Not all of your ideas should be packaged in a single legislative vehicle,” they caution in the letter. Republicans suggest that certain items, such as the pending free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama, ought to be passed as stand-alone legislation.

“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 write.

Full text of the letter, after the jump.

September 9, 2011

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,