By Erik Wasson
Republicans urged President Obama to find "bipartisan common ground" on policy areas highlighted in his State of the Union address.
In Saturday's GOP address, House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said the House has introduced bills in four areas that should be ripe for bipartisan support: Bolstering federal research funding, giving workers comp time in lieu of overtime pay, consolidating job training programs and easing natural gas pipeline permitting.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) outlined the approach in a letter also signed by other House leaders earlier this week.
Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) said that it makes sense to pay for more pediatric research at the National Institutes of Health by cutting funding for political conventions.
“We’re talking about everything from cancer, autism, and Fragile X Syndrome to the rarest genetic disorders,” he said.
Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.) touted her Working Families Flexibility Act on comp time and said it is time to address rules from the Mad Men era.
“Government employees already have this option, so why not give private sector workers the same choices? Our bill would finally replace restrictions that, believe it or not, have been in place since 1938, long before Don Draper’s time,” she said.
Reps. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) said that she has worked at a community college doing job training and that the programs need to be reformed.
“The SKILLS Act would consolidate the dozens of job training programs on the books and put the focus on programs that work. Programs that actually lead to jobs,” she said.
Upton concluded by saying, “we believe that this can be a year of bipartisan action, a moment when speeches give way to solutions.”