House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor wrote to President Obama today and said that his American Jobs Act provisions "merit consideration." The top House Republicans maintained their conciliatory tone of the past week in the letter, but did not endorse any of the President's proposals, demanded more details and made clear they won't just sit back and "pass the bill" as the President urged Congress to do so many times last night.
After receiving legislative text and a Congressional Budget Office analysis of the president's bill, "the House and our committees will immediately begin the process of reviewing and considering your proposals" they wrote. But Boehner and Cantor warned that House members will also "identify modifications and additional ideas that could achieve economic and job growth in a manner that may be more impactful or effective."
They wrote that in addition to reviewing Obama's proposals, the House will continue to move forward with its fall agenda which includes removing regulations that they say are a burden to American businesses.
Mr. Obama began his tour of the country today in Richmond, Virginia, the home district of Majority Leader Eric Cantor, to sell his plan that would include tax cuts to small business for hiring new workers, an extension and expansion of the payroll tax holiday, new infrastructure spending and the passage of free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama so that more American goods could be sold in those countries.
With the exception of the House Republican conference chairman, top leadership Republicans haveon the American Jobs Act so far saying that they are waiting to see the actual legislative language and the President's deficit reduction proposal.
But the letter from Boehner and Cantor makes clear that House Republicans will likely cherry pick items from Obama's proposals that Republicans can stomach, like some of the business tax breaks, but leave most of the new spending out.
"As we are certain your advisers have told you, not all your ideas should be packaged in a single legislative vehicle" they wrote. "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."