Although the Democrats hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, the president’s bill, the American Jobs Act of 2011, was defeated on a 50-49 vote, with two Democrats – Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Jon Tester of Montana – joining with the Republicans against the bill.
At a Capitol Hill news conference on Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said that now that Obama’s plan had failed, the GOP would turn to its own ideas, adding that the GOP would also be willing to work with Democrats on areas of common ground.
“Nearly a month ago, House Republicans outlined – for the president – areas of common agreement where we could work together,” Boehner said. “The fact is Republicans have a plan – our plan for America’s job creators that we outlined back in May – and we have been working since then to enact the ideas outlined in this proposal.”
Boehner said that Republicans would keep working on areas of common ground, stressing that finding ways to improve the economy was what the American people wanted.
At the same press conference, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said that Obama’s campaign for his own proposal had “failed” and called on Democrats to work with Republicans instead of pursuing an all-or-nothing approach.
“[T]he Senate’s action last night proved that the month-long campaign that the White House has been on to promote the president’s bill failed,” Cantor said. “The president’s bill does not have the bipartisan support needed to pass because we believe that it is contrary to what is needed right now to help small businesses grow.”
Cantor said that Republicans would introduce some of their ideas after the planned congressional recess next week, including a bill to repeal a 3 percent income tax withholding requirement for government contractors.
Despite the calls for common ground, Republicans made clear they would not support Democratic ideas that contradict their basic principles, saying that they would oppose ideas that raise new taxes or incur more federal borrowing.
GOP Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) said that part of the Republican agenda was opposing aspects of Obama’s plans that Republicans thought were bad policy.
“[W]hen this Congress began, House Republicans put forth a plan for America’s job creators,” Hensarling said. “Now, in this plan, it means that if the president wants to spend money we don’t have for jobs that we never get, we will oppose him. We believe that as part of this plan America has to be on a fiscally sustainable path.”
“If the president wants to increase taxes on job creators, we will oppose that,” said Hensarling. “We are trying to ensure that there is a fairer, simpler, more competitive tax code.”