House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) have invited senior Republican lobbyists and top officials from several large trade groups to the Capitol next week to provide their suggestions for a new GOP agenda.
The meeting is part of the House leaders' initiative called America Speaking Out, which is intended to draw broad input to create a new policy agenda for the party to launch in the fall.
An e-mail invitation sent to more than 20 trade representatives and obtained by Roll Call summoned guests to Boehner's second-floor office on July 16 "to discuss House Republican efforts to produce a new policy agenda with a small group of trade association leaders."
Invitees included Dan Danner, head of the National Federation of Independent Business; Bruce Josten, top lobbyist at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Jay Timmons of the National Association of Manufacturers; and Joe Stanton of the National Association of Home Builders.
"America Speaking Out is an unprecedented initiative to listen to the American people and give them a voice in crafting solutions to grow the economy," Boehner Chief of Staff Barry Jackson wrote in the e-mail.
"Vice Chair Roskam is focused on gathering ideas from business leaders to expand private sector jobs. Discussion will cover activities during the long August break and ways the business community can be an important part of the discussion on America Speaking Out as House Republicans listen and then form a governing agenda."
Roskam serves as the vice chairman and "jobs policy director" of the America Speaking Out agenda project.
Brendan Buck, a spokesman for America Speaking Out, said it was important for Republicans to receive input from the nation's large employers so they can produce an agenda that helps lower the unemployment rate.
"This is an opportunity to hear from America's job creators about how our economy can get moving," Buck said in an e-mail. "Washington Democrats are punishing small businesses with a blizzard of new taxes and mandates. Republicans want to help them create jobs."
Republicans plan to release the agenda in September, but they say it is not meant to be a political document for use in the November elections.