Boehner defends Republicans on jobs ahead of Obama speech

Olivier Knox
The Ticket

With President Barack Obama set to take his message on the economy to John Boehner's backyard, the Republican House speaker landed a preemptive blow with a video blaming Senate Democrats for a congressional logjam that has stalled bills meant to create jobs. (The president makes his first major economic address of the general election cycle at a community college in Cleveland on Thursday.)

In the video, the Ohio lawmaker points to documents covering his desk, identifying them as House-passed legislation blocked by the Democratic-held Senate.

"This isn't just our work—it's your work in progress," Boehner says.

"You see, we're going to keep adding to this pile, and we're going to keep calling on President Obama and Democrats in the Senate to give these jobs bills a vote," he says.

Boehner's message aims to turn the tables on Obama—and on Democrats in general, who charge that House Republicans have locked up legislation to create jobs. The White House has described the House-passed bills—one of which would repeal "Obamacare"—as partisan nonstarters.

Obama spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday that unspecified independent economists have come down on the side of the president's approach and criticized the Republican proposals.

"Some of them would actually do near-term damage to the economy," he said."Some of them might, in the out-years and down the road, have positive economic impact," Carney said. "None of them would have near-term, short-term, positive economic impact—positive effect on growth, positive effect on job creation."

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was more blunt, charging on the floor of the chamber that "today's Republicans aren't interested in passing good policy, and they aren't interested in creating jobs."

"They're too obsessed with defeating President Obama. That's their No. 1 goal," he said.

Obama has made clear he won't shy away from attacking Republicans, including Mitt Romney, over their jobs proposals or shrink from running against Congress.

But Obama is expected to face an uphill battle on the economy: Official government data released a week ago showed paltry job creation and saw the unemployment rate tick up to 8.2 percent.

"Friday's unemployment report was a real punch in the gut," Boehner says in the video.

"Americans are again left asking the question 'where are the jobs?'

Republicans have pledged to listen. We've pledged to act, and we have," the speaker says.