In countering Obama on jobs plan, Boehner gives hint of compromise (VIDEO)
While Republicans and Obama are still far apart on how to create new jobs, Boehner signals the possibility of agreement on new infrastructure spending.
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But Boehner also laid out areas for bipartisan agreement, including cutting corporate tax breaks, lowering tax rates, and new infrastructure spending. Next week, Mr. Obama is scheduled to stump for his jobs bill in Boehner’s hometown of Cincinnati, including a visit to the interstate Brent Spence Bridge, now classified as “functionally obsolete.”Skip to next paragraph
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The White House jobs plan calls for $140 billion in stimulus spending, including $50 billion for transportation, $30 billion to modernize public schools, $35 billion to retain or rehire teachers and first responders, $15 billion to rehabilitate vacant property, and $10 billion for an infrastructure bank to help fund public works projects.
“I’m not opposed to responsible spending to repair and improve infrastructure,” Boehner said in Thursday’s address. “But if we want to do it in a way that truly supports long-term economic growth and job creation, let’s link the next highway bill to an expansion of American-made energy production.”
That means curbing government regulation of oil and gas production, including offshore exploration and drilling – ground zero for the environmental protection movement for decades. Boehner says removing “unnecessary government barriers” will create millions of new jobs and create demand for infrastructure to bring that energy to the market.
Responding to Boehner’s speech, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) of California, who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, says she is “interested in any way we can make sure that the highway trust fund is fully funded at current levels.”
In a bid to reassure businesses, Boehner also proposed that both parties pledge to not allow a default on the national debt or shutdown of the federal government, which could come as early as Oct. 1 when a new, as yet unfunded, fiscal year begins.
Even these tentative overtures to the White House on new infrastructure spending are unsettling to many House GOP conservatives, who are seeking assurances that spending not exceed the limits agreed to in the House-passed budget resolution for FY 2012.
Rep. Jeff Flake (R) of Arizona and more than 50 House Republicans called on House GOP leaders Thursday to hold the line on new spending, including spending to boost jobs, to $1.019 trillion. That’s $28 billion below the levels authorized by the debt ceiling budget control act that Congress passed last month.
“What kind of a message does it send to taxpayers when the House actually increases spending as a result of the debt deal?” said Congressman Flake in a statement.
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