CAMBRIDGE, Md. – House Republican leaders on Thursday responded to President Obama’s State of the Union call for 2014 to be “a year of action” with a letter pitching four House-passed bills as a starting point for bipartisan cooperation.
“Naturally, we don’t agree with all of the proposals you outlined in your speech, but where there is the potential for agreement we believe it is critical we come together to advance the interests of the American people,” the top four leaders – Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerTrump, GOP fumble chance to govern ObamaCare gets new lease on life Ryan picks party over country by pushing healthcare bill MORE (Ohio), Majority Leader Eric CantorEric CantorDemocrats step up calls that Russian hack was act of war Paul replaces Cruz as GOP agitator GOP shifting on immigration MORE (Va.), Whip Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) and Conference Chairman Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersThe Hill's Whip List: 36 GOP no votes on ObamaCare repeal plan The one Trump pick leaving greens hopeful House, Senate leaders avoid holding town halls MORE – wrote in the four-page letter, which was released at the start of the House GOP’s annual retreat on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
More broadly, the letter represented an effort by the Republican leadership to publicly extend a hand to a president who has vowed to go around Congress wherever possible to carry out his agenda. BoehnerJohn BoehnerTrump, GOP fumble chance to govern ObamaCare gets new lease on life Ryan picks party over country by pushing healthcare bill MORE has warned Obama that the House will closely watch his moves to assure they are Constitutional, and he sharply criticized the president’s State of the Union address as ideological and divisive.
Still, the tone of the leadership’s letter on Thursday was less confrontational and amounted to both a plea and a warning for Obama not to “give up” on working with Congress.
“Mr. President, as you reminded us all on Tuesday night, come times things don’t come easy, but we should never give up and quit,” the Republicans wrote. “We haven’t given up on working with you to find areas of common agreement where we can do good things for the American people.
“There is no reason that we cannot accomplish our objectives in these areas of common agreement, and we are confident that success in these areas will open up even more avenues for success,” they wrote.