A House Republican source emails to report on the meeting with President Obama:
After an opening prayer by Rep. Sue Myrick, the President was introduced by Leader Boehner.
The President began with an overview of the grim economic scenario and the urgency of the situation, citing the recent layoffs.
“I would love to not have to spend this money,” he said of the proposed “stimulus” spending bill.
Continuing the defense of the spending, he said some of the spending he and others consider necessary can’t be done in two or three years. He promised that next month he will submit a budget with tough deficit reductions.
He added extra time to his visit for questions, joking that “his Senate friends can wait,” a good-natured jest met with laughter and applause.
Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) said he wants tax cuts to move money to the economy more quickly. The President replied by saying the $275 billion Democrats have proposed is the best way to do that, and that he’s open to new ideas. Regarding the issue of tax cuts going to people who don’t pay taxes, the President said it points to a philosophical difference between Republicans and Democrats, and said he won’t compromise on it. Reminded members that President Reagan promoted the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) commented that the President won the election because he rose above Republican-versus-Democrat politics, and said the Pelosi Democrats in the House are not living up to that standard with the “stimulus” bill they’ve written. Noted that small businesses get less help in the Democratic stimulus than expenditures like re-sodding the National Mall.
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) got applause for asking President Obama to commit to no tax increases to pay for all the spending in the Democrats’ “stimulus” bill. Brady argued that instead of asking the American people to pay, we should make Congress cut spending first. The President responded by saying he’s inheriting a huge budget deficit and a doubled national debt. He hinted that he doesn’t believe there’s a lot of waste in the federal budget, warning that his budget will be painful for both political parties to swallow.