Boehner calls on Dems to focus on employment

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Wednesday criticized Democrats for focusing only on one side of the jobs issue — unemployment benefits — and called on Democrats to take up several House-passed bills aimed at creating new jobs.

"Unfortunately, instead of helping to create jobs, the president is focused on making it easier to live without one," Boehner said on the House floor.

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"The House is focused on making it easier to find a job. Our focus is on ending this new normal, improving employment, not unemployment."

Obama has said he wants 2014 to be a "year of action" on jobs, a proposal Boehner welcomed. "Sounds good to me," he said. "He can start by calling on the leaders over in the Senate to pass our jobs bills."

Republicans have noted several times that the Senate continues to ignore several dozen jobs bills the House has passed, many of which focus on deregulation. Approval of the Keystone XL pipeline is another issue the GOP has pushed, and Boehner noted Keystone and other options in his brief floor remarks.

"He can start by approving the Keystone pipeline and the tens of thousands of jobs it will create," he said. "He can start by leading on trade promotion authority, that will help employers and provide more employment in our country.

"And he can start by working with us on education and skills training to give people more opportunities."

Obama was expected to announce a program in North Carolina today that focuses on manufacturing jobs, and was also expected to focus on jobs and the economy in his State of the Union speech later this month.