In Letter to Obama, House Leaders Outline Plan of Action

by Andrew Stiles

As House Republicans gather in Cambridge, Md. for their annual retreat, GOP leaders are urging President Obama to work with Congress on a number of issues outlined in his State of the Union address.

In a letter to the White House, House leaders said they agreed with the president’s call to “make this a year of action” — provided he works with Congress – and identified four areas of potential agreement on which the House has already acted.

“Under our Constitution, most action requires the Congress and the President to work together,” House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) and his leadership team wrote. “Naturally, we don’t agree with all of the proposals you outlined in your speech, but where there is the potential for agreement we believe it is critical that we come together to advance the interests of the American people.”

House leaders quoted extensively from the president’s address, where he called for action on issues such as job-skills training, natural-gas production, workplace regulations, and research funding. “In each area, a House-passed bill is already sitting in the Senate so there is no reason for further delay.”

Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) riffed on the president’s remarks about having a pen and a phone to carry out his 2014 agenda, saying: ”I think the first phone [call] actually has to be to Harry Reid . . . he can say ‘move those four [House bills], I’ll use the pen to sign those.’” 

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