Republicans play politics with Obama speech scheduling

REUTERS/Jason Reed

President Barack Obama on Wednesday agreed to unveil new jobs proposals in an address to Congress on September 8, bowing to pressure from Republicans, who objected to the original date set for his high-profile speech.

Obama’s long-awaited proposals could set the agenda in Washington for the coming months, but his preferred date of September 7 had an unpalatable political edge for the opposition party: Republican presidential candidates were scheduled to hold a televised debate on the same evening, at the same time.

Thus began a new round of conflict between the Democratic president and Republicans in Congress.

The White House said the timing of the Republican debate and Obama’s proposed speech — announced in a letter to congressional leaders — was a coincidence.

But Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner asked Obama to come on Thursday instead of Wednesday, and the White House agreed.

“Both houses (of Congress) will be back in session after their August recess on Wednesday, September 7th, so that was the date that was requested,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement. “We consulted with the Speaker about that date before the letter was released, but he determined Thursday would work better.

The new date could have its own complications.

The season-opening NFL football game between Wisconsin’s Green Bay Packers and Louisiana’s New Orleans Saints will air at 8:30 p.m. EDT the same night on the NBC network, and many Americans would likely tune into that rather than watch an address by the president if they are at the same time.

The timing of the speech has yet to be determined.

“We appreciate the president working with us tonight and look forward to hearing his new proposals,” said Brendan Buck, a Boehner spokesman.

Obama said in his letter to congressional leaders he would use the address to lay out job-boosting proposals that members of both parties could support.

“As I have traveled across our country this summer and spoken with our fellow Americans, I have heard a consistent message: Washington needs to put aside politics and start making decisions based on what is best for our country and not what is best for each of our parties in order to grow the economy and create jobs,” Obama said in the letter.

“We must answer this call.”

BACK AND FORTH

The speaker’s office raised no objection to the time and date when the White House first proposed it on Wednesday morning, a White House official said. Buck said Boehner’s office never signed off on the original date.

The House and the Democratic-controlled Senate must pass a joint resolution to provide for Congress to assemble for Obama’s remarks. Lawmakers get back to work in Washington on September 7 after their summer recess and start votes at 6:30 p.m. EDT (2230 GMT). Boehner cited such parliamentary “impediments” when asking for the date change.

The back-and-forth led to criticism from both parties.

“People die and state funerals are held with less fuss, so the logistics excuse by the Speaker’s office is laughable,” said one senior Democratic aide.

Republicans saw it differently. Presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann suggested Obama’s original proposed timing aimed to distract Americans from watching her party’s debate.

“Now does this show maybe a little insecurity on the part of the president?” she said in Iowa.

By seeking a joint session of Congress, much like the president’s annual televised State of the Union address, Obama sought a sweeping platform in his opening bid to get support from Democrats and Republicans for his proposals.

But the original timing would have given Obama an opportunity to upstage the other party at the same time that he was seeking its support.

Obama said he would lay out a series of steps that Congress could act on immediately to strengthen small businesses and put “more money in the paychecks of the middle class and working Americans” while reducing the deficit.

Carney said Obama’s speech would focus primarily on jobs, with detailed proposals on deficit reduction coming later.

The proposals could include programs to fund infrastructure building, measures to help struggling homeowners, and tax breaks to encourage hiring of new workers.

Business lobby group the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said it was skeptical about a payroll tax holiday to subsidize companies that hire workers.

“Companies don’t invest and hire people just because they have more cash,” said Martin Regalia, the group’s chief economist. “They hire people when they can put those people to work producing a product or a service that they can sell at a profit. That’s what they do. And right now the economy isn’t presenting that opportunity.”

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14 Responses to "Republicans play politics with Obama speech scheduling"

  1. woody188  September 1, 2011 at 10:25 am

    Any stimulus will only flow out of this country due to global labor arbitrage disguised as free trade. Obama is trying to fill a tub with the drain hole open.

  2. Sandune  September 1, 2011 at 10:37 am

    Good visual Woody and most accurate…..

  3. Carl Nemo **==  September 1, 2011 at 10:48 am

    We dont’ need no more stinkin’ speeches from Obama much less anyone else at the top. Constructive, well-planned action speaks louder than words. These clowns aren’t up to the task. They only excel in either frittering away or outright stealing taxpayer dollars.

    Carl Nemo **==

  4. Almandine  September 1, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Yeah… zero tries to schedule over the heretofore existing debate, but these clowns blame the other side for playing politics.

    So who’s being political?

  5. griff  September 1, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    Is Washington populated by kindergarteners or what? Holy crap!

    From the White House press release…

    “The President is focused on the urgent need to create jobs and grow our economy, so he welcomes the opportunity to address a Joint Session of Congress on Thursday, September 8th and challenge our nation’s leaders to start focusing 100% of their attention on doing whatever they can to help the American people.”

    How demeaning, condescending and downright arrogant, but altogether too true. We need help – from some one – any one – but the Hill People.

    You’ve helped us enough. Please – no more help!

  6. griff  September 1, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    I suppose their just playing politics with this too…

    http://dailycaller.com/2011/09/01/solyndras-predictable-collapse/

    Gee, I can’t wait to read the transcript of that speech next week, in which Herr Obama will lay out his grandiose scheme for more taxpayer-subsidized instant lottery winning scratch-offs for his contributors. Yeah, green jobs abound!

    But don’t worry, Ben Bernanke is standing by with his fleet of helicopters. After all, it’s only money (okay, it’s not really money, but you know…).

  7. Carl Nemo **==  September 1, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    As I’ve mentoned over time, I analyze photos supplied with articles. Rarely do photo’s incense me, but this one of our ever-grinning, “empty suit in chief” enrages my inner sensibilities.
    I have a scab on my forehead, that refuses to heal due to the fact I beat my forehead against the wall daily for having voted for this duplicitous a*sclown.
    Why is Obama wavin’ and grinnin’…? Whomever is witnessing this gathering must be braindead as myself in the past, they in the present. I’m cured, what’s their problem…?!
    This guy and his administration are pure bullsh*t plain and simple;I.E. interlopers that are hellbent on destroying this nation. The Republic is in harms way! I honestly don’t know if we can survive another 1.5 years of this guy and his entourage of “leftie” advisers in office. I fear for the survival of the Republic on his ‘watch’. : |
    Carl Nemo **==

    • egc52556  September 2, 2011 at 10:26 am

      Carl Nemo — what a stupid comment. Are you telling us that you want to go back to 2008 and elect McCain/Palin?

      • Carl Nemo **==  September 2, 2011 at 12:40 pm

        Hi egc52556,

        Why does it always have to be the “other party” with you referencing McCain/Palin. I surely wouldn’t have voted for those two.

        There were other choices along with abstaining from indemnifying the “chosen elect” as a function of the shadowy powerbrokers that proffer these evil clowns to the electorate.

        My problem is that I didn’t research this candidate as in depth as I should have. My wife was extremely hesitant about the guy, but by electing Obama we’ve seemingly provided the rope to hang ourselves in the final analysis.

        It takes balls to admit one’s mistake publicly. I did so because I wanted to impress upon others as to how extremely disappointed I am in this current president and the duopolists in Congress. Hopefully registered Independents as myseslf et al. won’t make the same mistake twice. Seemingly the beat will go on until the Republic is destroyed.

        Carl Nemo **==

  8. Sandune  September 2, 2011 at 8:27 am

    There is only one way to get those jobs started across America and it is for another stimulus to issue money for the workers and stuff needed to repair the problems. Congress will never approve of more money to even draw up what needs fixing.

    President Obama is facing an out-of-control angry mob called the GOP. The American people don’t like either side of the aisle. Can he handle this mob with his speech?

    There’s a lot of anger brewing with the voters but what will they do for an action? Third Party maybe?

    • griff  September 2, 2011 at 12:48 pm

      Third party? No, by the time this next election rolls around, both camps will circle the wagons, their faithful will fall in line with the aid of the Mockingbird Media, and the “independents” will once more decide which band of criminals they’d rather hand over the keys to the rape room to.

      And free-thinking, non-partisan individuals like myself will be left scratching our heads wondering just when the hell will the rest of America wake the hell up.

      That’s how it works, and presumably always will.

  9. egc52556  September 2, 2011 at 10:29 am

    In this partisan environment, the only hope for leadership that can actually lead somewhere is to elect the same party to the White House, w/supermajorities in the Senate and House.

    Otherwise the other party will block any real progress. Viz the GOP for the past 2 years.

  10. rick  September 2, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Today job growth for President Zero is just that – zero! Obama had it all in 2008 including both houses and his perceived mandate. Just how did that work out? That was answered in 2010. Just grease up the teleprompter and get out the canned lines we’ve heard the last few years. I’ll watch reruns of Gilligan’s Island unless, of course, that will be Gilligan speaking to us.

  11. b mcclellan  September 2, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    I’ll climb out on that limb,
    The vow, we won’t work with himb…In spades.

    Damn, pop said my neighbors trees are just as important as ours.

Comments are closed.