Posted: 01/29/10


Obama Addresses GOP House Issues Conference

Publication Date: Jan 29, 2009

by Diane W. Collins


President Obama addressed the GOP House Issues Conference in Baltimore, Maryland Friday, January 29th at the invitation of House Minority Leader, John Boehner. President ObamaThe invitation followed the President's State of the Union address in which he told the Republicans if they had any ideas to contribute, he'd like to hear them.


Although respectful, neither side held back. (R) Rep. Jason Chaffetz, of Utah questioned the President about seeming contradictions in his State of the Union address including transparency during healthcare reform and lobbyists within Obama's administration. Responding, President Obama initially blamed logistics before accepting responsibility for the lack of transparency surrounding healthcare reform. Concerning "lobbyists," although the President recognized their presence in his administration and the dispensations given Obama stated, "No president had done more to reduce their (lobbyists) influence."


In the continued back-and- forth, Republicans were allowed to dispel "The Party of No" image by discussing submitted legislation and attempts at bipartisan contribution that were either rejected or obtained no response. For example, (R) Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee stated she had submitted a plan for consideration under healthcare reform that incorporated the experience of Tennessee's "public option" yet received no reply. Rep. Blackburn told the President that the value of actual state experience with a "public option" should be considered. President Obama said he had seen the plan but in the light of her remarks would review it. The President went on to state that any plan in order to be considered must pass the review of experts in the field. "whether Democrat or Republican." and not be "boiler plate." President Obama also cited instances of Republican ideas being included in legislation for which Republicans ultimately did not vote.


In after remarks, Minority Leader BoehnerHouse Minority Leader, John Boehner stated Republicans could not support "two thousand page bills" that may have incorporated some Republican ideas but buried those ideas with the addition of Democrat programs diametrically opposed to Republican principles. Boehner suggested bipartisan efforts would be better served through smaller bills addressing specific issues where agreement could be found between both parties. Boehner went on to note bipartisan efforts depend upon Speaker of the House, (D) Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader, (D) Harry Reid opening their doors to Republicans. President Obama was asked to urge such cooperation.


The tone of the meeting was respectful yet both sides candidly expressed their frustration with Washington politics. As Democrats and Republicans strategize the value of bipartisan activity, We, the People need to ensure their feet are held to the fire. Fix the economy. Increase jobs. Democrats believe Big Government is the way. Republicans believe free markets and limited government will produce the desired result. At least they're at the table. Where it goes from here, is yet to be seen.












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