House GOP share some ground with Obama on jobs

AP News
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Posted: Sep 06, 2011 5:10 PM
House GOP share some ground with Obama on jobs

House Republican leaders are offering President Barack Obama an opening for compromise on measures that would spur job growth. They say neither Republicans nor the administration should consider their own initiatives "an all-or-nothing situation."

In a letter to Obama Tuesday, Speaker John Boehner and House Republican Leader Eric Cantor asked the president to meet with the bipartisan leadership of Congress this week to discuss his proposals in advance of his jobs address Thursday to a joint session of Congress.

The letter lists GOP proposals that have already passed the House that they said would be worthy of his consideration.

They acknowledged that both Republicans and the administration believe their policy prescriptions are best for the country and conceded that neither side would likely convince the other to adopt all of each other's proposals.

But, they added, it is critical that "our differences not preclude us from taking action in areas where there is common agreement."

The leadership letter came as Obama is pressing Congress to cooperate on measures that would help spur the economy and create jobs in advance of his highly-anticipated jobs speech Thursday.

The outreach to the president also comes amid public opinion polls that show Congress has lower approval than Obama on the economy, a political environment that Obama aides say he will exploit if Republicans block his proposals.

Boehner and Cantor said they share common ground with Obama on trade and urged him to send trade bills establishing pacts with Panama, South Korea and Colombia.

They also said Republicans were encouraged by remarks from Obama last week suggesting changes in the way transportation construction money is spent. Republicans said they would support doing away with a provision that requires setting aside 10 percent of road project money for specialized public works such as historic preservation and acquisition of scenic rights-of way.

They also voiced support for a plan for distributing jobless benefits in Georgia that Obama has cited as a potential model for extending unemployment insurance. The Georgia approach uses unemployment insurance funds to pay jobless workers in trainee positions.