After Speaker John Boehner pushed back against President Barack Obama’s request to convene a joint session of Congress on Sept. 7, the administration conceded Wednesday to the Ohio Republican’s recommendation to hold it the next day.
Obama asked Wednesday to deliver a high-profile speech on jobs to Congress at 8 p.m. Sept. 7, in conflict with a scheduled Republican presidential debate. Boehner did not mention the debate in a letter responding to the president’s request, instead warning of “logistical impediments” to holding it that day.
“As the Majority Leader announced more than a month ago, the House will not be in session until Wednesday, September 7, with votes at 6:30 that evening,” Boehner wrote in a letter to Obama. “With the significant amount of time — typically more than three hours — that is required to allow for a security sweep of the House Chamber before receiving a President, it is my recommendation that your address be held on the following evening, when we can ensure there will be no parliamentary or logistical impediments that might detract from your remarks.”
For Congress to hold a joint session, both the House and Senate must pass a concurrent resolution, and finger-pointing between the Speaker’s office and the White House appeared to put the timing of the address in limbo.
But White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s office announced after 9 p.m. that Obama “welcomes the opportunity” to speak before Congress on Sept. 8.
“Both Houses will be back in session after their August recess on Wednesday, September 7th, so that was the date that was requested,” the press secretary said in a statement. “We consulted with the Speaker about that date before the letter was released, but he determined Thursday would work better. The President is focused on the urgent need to create jobs and grow our economy, so he welcomes the opportunity to address a Joint Session of Congress on Thursday, September 8th and challenge our nation’s leaders to start focusing 100% of their attention on doing whatever they can to help the American people.”