Nov. 24, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER
Roll Call Casualty List: See Which Incumbents Lost | Check Results Here With Our Interactive Elections Map | Sign Up for Roll Call Newsletters

GOP Leaders Soften Tone Against White House

Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo

With August poll ratings for the president and Congress in a tailspin after the messy debt deal and a report of stagnant job creation, GOP leaders are breaking out their olive branches.

Indeed, the rhetoric of the top two House leaders, Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.), has softened since the August recess, when many of their Members were confronted at home by constituents fed up with Washington, D.C., and concerned primarily with unemployment.

For example, the GOP leaderships early reaction to President Barack Obamas jobs speech outlining a new $447 billion package was skeptical, but far from the usual harsh broadsides many have come to expect.

Cantor appeared to go out of his way to look for common ground with the president after his address to Congress on enacting free trade agreements, on reforming unemployment insurance and even on accelerating infrastructure investments. The leadership team also sent a conciliatory letter to the White House Friday asking the president to submit his bill and promising it would receive consideration from House committees.

Theres definitely a change in the rhetoric it remains to be seen whether theres going to be a change in policy, said Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio). He attributed the change to Members listening to voters in August.

A lot of base Republican supporters in my part of the world said, You know, you have to show us something. ... This cut-and-grow thing has a limited shelf life. You actually have to produce something, and if you can work with the president, you should, to get something done because everybody wins, LaTourette said. I think they probably heard the same thing and I think thats great.

But the Ohio Republican, who is a close ally of Boehner, said that hes not sure it will actually lead to a broad deal on a jobs bill or much else.

We continue to have a group of people in both parties that you can never make happy, and well see how that plays out, he said.

Rep. Tom Cole also acknowledged the leaderships less combative stance.

Our leaders have said, Keep your powder dry. Lets give him a chance to make his case, the Oklahoma Republican said.

Cole said that nobody is happy with how the debt limit crisis ended, and voters are unhappy for various reasons. In his district, Cole said, many Republicans didnt understand why he compromised at all on the debt ceiling.

But at a larger level, voters want us to work together, he said.

To that end, leaders are working hard to avoid the kinds of showdowns that have brought the government to the brink of financial calamity twice in the past year.

Cole, a former chairman of the partys campaign committee, said that with next year being an anti-incumbent year and an anti-Washington year, it behooves Republicans to keep the focus on Obama.

comments powered by Disqus

SIGN IN




OR

SUBSCRIBE

Want Roll Call on your doorstep?