Obama to GOP Leaders: Stop Frightening the Public on Economy

Posted December 9, 2009 at 12:39pm

Updated: 2:20 p.m.President Barack Obama told Republican leaders in a face-to-face meeting Wednesday to “stop trying to frighten the American people— about the economy, according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).Reid, who spoke to reporters at the White House following a meeting between Obama and a bipartisan group of about 16 Congressional leaders, said Obama produced a chart during the session to show dramatic improvement in the economy, telling Republicans that “things are a lot better.—House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Obama was referring to Republican arguments that Democratic initiatives, including climate legislation and the health bill, were causing businesses to fret about the future and resist hiring.“It was about the fact that the agenda being promoted by the White House and this Congress are causing employers to freeze,— Boehner said.Nevertheless, Republicans said that overall, the discussions were cordial.Reid declined to say when Congress will begin to move a jobs bill.House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Republicans presented Obama with a “no-cost jobs plan that recommends several steps that we can take together that don’t cost anything.—Ways and Means ranking member Dave Camp (R-Mich.) said Republicans want a freeze in federal spending outside of war spending, to stop the federal government from creating new regulations unless they concern safety, and to prevent tax increases until the unemployment rate comes down. Cantor indicated the tax ban included tax cuts passed under former President George W. Bush that are scheduled to expire.“I think at the end of the day, there is a stark contrast between what the president is proposing and our no-cost jobs plan,— Cantor said.Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was more optimistic about the prospect for Democrats and Republicans uniting on a jobs bill. “I think it’s possible to find some common bipartisan ground,— Pelosi said.Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) demurred when asked following the meeting if he saw any common ground for Republicans and the White House on the jobs front. While Republicans are “willing to discuss some job type bill … all of us felt the sore problem here is … all the things [Obama] wants to do are in direct conflict— with job creation.McConnell and other Republicans also used the jobs issue Wednesday to argue that Democrats’ health care bill is bad policy, repeatedly calling the measure a “job killing bill.—McConnell said that it was “curious that we’re having a jobs summit the same day we’re being pressed to pass a bill that can only be described as a jobs killer.—Likewise, Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) argued that, “A trillion dollars in new taxes over 10 years is not the way to create new jobs.—