Ohio Dems blast Boehner on economy, unemployment

Ohio Democrats took House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) to task on Thursday for opposing Democratic-led initiatives on the economy.

The delegation blasted the GOP leader, who represents a southeastern Ohio district, for his stance against the economic stimulus package, and a whole host of other issues, including his tough words toward the current financial reform legislation.

"Where was he during the Bush administration when trillions were added to the deficit, but he didn't speak out?" Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D), the most senior Democratic member of the state's congressional delegation said at a press conference.

The Democrats shot at Boehner and other Republicans for what was called the "unfathomable" decision to oppose unemployment insurance extensions. Those have been stalled in the Senate over a dispute over whether the extension will be paid-for.

“You have to almost feel sorry for Ohio Democrats – they’ve chosen to embrace pork-barreling, ultra-liberal leaders in Washington who have forced them to walk the plank by voting against their constituents again and again," Boehner spokesman Cory Fritz shot back. "No wonder they’re flailing, and seem more interested in saving their political skins than helping the American people, especially in Ohio, who are asking, ‘where are the jobs?’”

The GOP leader has orchestrated near-unanimous support to a number of top Democratic priorities in the past year and a half, including healthcare reform and several pieces of jobs legislation. Boehner, like many Republicans, has said Democrats' policies tax and spend too much and exacerbate the deficit.

Rep. Steve Driehaus (D), whose district neighbor's Boehner's, said that he's had to field constituent service requests from the GOP leader's districts, and challenged Boehner to a debate on economic policies sometime in Ohio.

"Mr. Boehner's misinformation campaign is notorious," Driehaus said. "Any time Mr. Boehner wants to come to Ohio, where he spends little time, ...I'm open to debate him."

Ohio has been one of the states hardest hit by the recession, suffering from a 11.8 percent unemployment rate through the end of February.

"I would implore you to look at the policies that drove us into the ditch and what we in Ohio are doing to drive us out," Kaptur said.

Cross-posted from the Briefing Room.