BALTIMORE — President Barack Obama will speak Friday to Republicans from the House of Representatives, who voiced skepticism Thursday about his call for bipartisanship in his State of the Union address and vowed to continue opposing his agenda unless he _ not they _ changes course.
On the opening day Thursday of a two-day House GOP retreat in Baltimore, Republican leaders said that Obama must do more than invite them to the White House, offer to cut capital gains taxes for small businesses and sing the praises of offshore drilling and nuclear energy to get their cooperation on contentious issues such as health care.
Were going to continue to go down the same path this year, House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said before the retreat opened. Were going to look for common ground, but were not going to roll over on our principles.
Obama is expected to repeat his bipartisanship plea Friday.
Bipartisanship wasnt evident on Capitol Hill the morning after the presidents speech, as the Senate backed by a party-line 60-40 vote tough new pay-as-you-go curbs on future federal spending as part of legislation to increase the nations debt limit.
While Im pleased that the Senate passed pay-go, I am disappointed that no Republicans joined us in supporting this step to combat the deficits they helped create, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said in a statement. This is legislation with a strong bipartisan history, and I hope that when it returns to the House, Republicans will vote for it.
Boehner said that Obamas speech Wednesday night showed that the president didnt learn any lessons from Sen.-elect Scott Browns upset victory in the Massachusetts special election last week or from the earlier Republican gubernatorial victories in New Jersey and Virginia, and that Obama instead had decided to just double-down on his job-killing agenda.
Still, Republican leaders said they liked some elements of Obama's bipartisanship overture, particularly the presidents positive remarks about offshore drilling and nuclear power.
I don't think I've heard the president be more forceful when it comes to the expansion of nuclear energy in the United States, Boehner said. So we'll see how that will manifest itself in legislation.
Nevertheless, the tone of Obamas State of the Union address left some Republicans cold. Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif., said he didnt appreciate the president criticizing Republican resistance to the Democratic health care legislation and calling out the Supreme Court for its recent ruling on campaign-finance law.
And I have got to say that I don't remember one that was more partisan than this one, Drier said. The idea of taking on the United States Supreme Court, the idea of looking over to us and saying to us that, rather than listening to the polls, we should do what's right.
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