The White House Monday continued its war of words with House Republicans over their unwillingness to move his entire jobs package, confidently vowing to let voters decide how to react to Republicans’ refusal to pass provisions such as infrastructure spending and retaining teachers.
“Congress can take it up, vote on it…then if there’s a desire to take things out, we would accept that although we would not be satisfied by that… [President Obama] would say, ‘Where’s the rest of it? What about teachers and construction workers…or incentives to hire veterans?” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters during a briefing Monday.
One reporter asked whether Obama is pushing passage as a way to help Democrats gain the political upper hand over some vulnerable Republicans on specific popular issues, such as spending on infrastructure projects.
“To avoid anything like that, they could simply pass all of this,” Carney responded.
Earlier Monday, Cantor flat-out rejected Obama’s continual call to pass the entire jobs package, the latest coming before a morning cabinet meeting when he said he’ll demand up or down votes on the package.
“I’ll be talking to Senator Reid, McConnell, as well as Speaker Boehner and Nancy Pelosi, and insisting that we have a vote on this bill,” he said. “We’ve been hearing from Republicans that there are some proposals that they’re interested in…. [I]f there are aspects of the bill that they don’t like, they should tell us what it is that they’re not willing to go for; they should tell us what it is that they’re prepared to see move forward.”
Cantor listed a very small number of measures Republicans and Democrats agree on — some part of Obama’s jobs bill, some separate. But he says there’s no point in fighting any longer over getting something big done.
“I think at this point Washington has become so dysfunctional that we’ve got to start focusing on the incremental progress we can make,” he said. “Both sides have their desires to do the big bold things. The problem is they’re just vastly different…. We should certainly focus on trying to put some wins on the board.”
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