Obama and Boehner square off again over parties’ jobs plans

President Obama squared off with House Republicans in his weekly radio address on Saturday, calling their job creation plan “surprisingly short and sadly familiar.”

Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) rejected Obama’s characterizations of the GOP plan, saying that they were “inaccurate” and “partisan” and sprang out of the White House’s inability to gain support for Democratic proposals. 

“Out-of-touch and unable to sell his agenda in the face of near-double-digit unemployment, President Obama is resorting to partisan attacks, rather than working with Republicans to help the American people, who are asking, ‘where are the jobs?’ ” said Boehner in a statement.

Obama said that Boehner’s plan would “repeal health insurance reform” and rob millions of small-business owners of tax credits they would otherwise receive. Obama went on to say that the Republican plan would stop short of investing in clean energy technology, while maintaining the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

“These are not new ideas,” said Obama of Boehner’s plan. “They are the same policies that led us into this recession. They will not create jobs. They will kill them. They will not reduce our deficit, they will add $1 trillion to our deficit. They will take us backward at a time when we need to keep America moving forward.”

House Republicans sent Obama a letter last week summarizing their initial proposal seven months ago. The House GOP leadership said that voters did not think that the financial regulation bill, which Democrats proposed and Obama signed this week, would have stopped the economy from collapsing. Instead, small-business owners are worried that their professions may be the next to find themselves under government regulation, Republicans said.

Boehner emphasized these points again in his response to Obama’s address on Saturday.

“The fact is that Washington Democrats’ policies have created uncertainty that has undermined our economy, shaken the confidence of the nation, and cost millions of American jobs,” said Boehner. “Our nation needs leadership — not excuses.”

Republicans have proposed a block on all tax increases until the unemployment rate is down to 5 percent.

A White House report released on Friday put the unemployment rate at 9 percent next year and above 8 percent in 2012. The report said jobless numbers won’t fall below 6 percent until 2015.

Republicans are also pushing to institute free-trade agreements with Colombia, South Korea and Panama, while freezing any further regulatory action on the private sector that is “deemed harmful to job creation.”

Obama acknowledged that Democrats had not done enough to ease the concerns of the American public, but emphasized that citizens needed to keep an optimistic attitude about the country’s recovery.

“I know times are tough,” he said. “I know that the progress we’ve made isn’t good enough for the millions of Americans who are still out of work or struggling to pay the bills. But I also know the character of this nation. I know that in times of great challenge and difficulty, we don’t fear the future — we shape the future.

“We do it with optimism, and we do it with confidence. That’s the spirit we need right now, and that’s the future I know we can build together.”