President Obama and Cantor are all smiles as JOBS Act is signed into law

President Obama and Cantor are all smiles as JOBS Act is signed into law

After clashing repeatedly last year, House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorEric Cantor: Moore ‘deserves to lose’ If we want to make immigration great again, let's make it bipartisan Top Lobbyists 2017: Hired Guns MORE (R-Va.) and President Obama made nice on Thursday as Obama signed Cantor’s JOBS Act into law.

The relationship between Cantor and Obama has been rocky, and reached a low point during last summer’s debt-ceiling negotiations, when Obama reportedly warned Cantor to not “call my bluff.”

But the strain has eased this year, and the two men were all smiles in the Rose Garden as the president affixed his signature to legislation that had been a top priority of Cantor’s.

Obama praised the measure as “exactly the kind of bipartisan action we should be taking in Washington to help our economy” and signed the bill with 11 ceremonial pens, one for each letter of his name.

Cantor stood directly behind Obama for the signing, and said in a statement he hoped it was a sign of things to come. 

“We have a very difficult economic situation still,” Cantor said. “The president said today that he has always believed that it is the private sector that is the job generator in this country. I agree with him. I think most Americans agree with him."

The president was joined on stage by Cantor and four other Republicans: Reps. Spencer BachusSpencer Thomas BachusTrump bank nominee gets rough reception at confirmation hearing Overnight Finance: Breaking - GOP delays release of tax bill | Changes to 401(k)s, state and local taxes hold up bill | Trump aims to sign tax legislation by Christmas | Hensarling to retire after term | Trump to repeal arbitration rule Senators, don't put Ex-Im Bank's fossil fuel financing back in business MORE (Ala.), Patrick McHenry (N.C.) and Scott GarrettErnest (Scott) Scott GarrettTrump should fill CFPB vacancy with Export-Import chief Manufacturers keep pressure on Ex-Im nominee Garrett Scott Garrett poses real threat to EXIM Bank, small businesses MORE (N.J.), along with Sen. Scott Brown (Mass.). Democratic Reps. John Larson (Conn.), John Carney (Del.) and Terri SewellTerrycina (Terri) Andrea SewellThe nearly 60 Dems who voted for impeachment House rejects Democrat's resolution to impeach Trump Facebook will let users see Russian content they've interacted with MORE (Ala.) were also on hand, as was D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton. 

Twice during the signing Obama made quiet comments that drew laughter from the lawmakers on stage, including Cantor. 

The president ruffled some feathers by backing Cantor’s bill, putting himself at odds with consumer activists, union leaders and some members of his own party.

The measure is aimed at making it easier for small businesses to access credit or go public, but some Democrats — including Illinois Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDemocrats turn on Al Franken Minnesota's largest newspaper calls on Franken to resign Democratic senator predicts Franken will resign Thursday MORE, the Democratic whip — argued it goes too far in deregulating Wall Street.

Despite the concerns of some Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidBill O'Reilly: Politics helped kill Kate Steinle, Zarate just pulled the trigger Tax reform is nightmare Déjà vu for Puerto Rico Ex-Obama and Reid staffers: McConnell would pretend to be busy to avoid meeting with Obama MORE (D-Nev.) followed Obama’s cue and fast-tracked the legislation through the Senate after it passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 380 to 41.

Last week, Cantor told The Hill he hopes the president and congressional leaders will work together more frequently over the next several months. 

“I hope it’s that all of us are looking toward driving toward results and looking toward solutions. We all know there are plenty of differences between the two sides in Washington,” he said.

But bipartisan legislation is unlikely during a high-stakes election year where even ceremonial bill-signings, like Thursday’s, have become a source of political friction.

Republicans have grumbled over the decreased frequency of the bill-signing events, arguing the president is avoiding them to avoid calling attention to Congress’s achievements while running against an obstructionist, “do-nothing” Legislative Branch.
Republicans argue that a number of recent bipartisan achievements, such as the reauthorization of funding for the Federal Aviation Administration and the passage of three trade deals last fall, were worthy of the honor. 

Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerJohn Feehery: A political forest fire Trump's pick for Federal Reserve chief is right choice at right time The two-party system is dying — let’s put it out of its misery MORE (R-Ohio) has not attended a bill signing at the White House since taking the gavel from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) last year. 

The White House has said that there is no concerted effort to bury bipartisan accomplishments, and said the signing events are dictated by the president’s schedule.

On Wednesday, again flanked by members of both parties, the president signed into law the STOCK Act, making Thursday’s event the second one this week, although it’s only the third of 2012. 

In February, the president signed former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’s (D-Ariz.) final piece of legislation, passed before she resigned to concentrate on rehabilitation from wounds suffered in a Tucson shooting spree last year. 

Asked about the infrequency of signing ceremonies on Thursday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said “there are a lot of moving pieces” in terms of schedules, and that the administration couldn’t assume Republicans in Congress wanted to participate in such events. 

Plus, Carney said, Republicans had never before seemed “eager to appear next to the president.”