News / USA

Republicans Urge Obama to Have Honest Conversation on Major Issues

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +

Minority Republicans in Congress say they're prepared to negotiate with President Obama on major issues, such as health care reform and energy legislation.  The president will meet with House of Representatives Republicans at their issues conference in Baltimore, Maryland on Friday, while the Democratic Speaker of the House reiterated her determination to approve some form of health care reform legislation.

During the president's State of the Union Address, Republicans remained silent and seated for the most part, applauding only when the president proposed such things as tax breaks for small businesses and incentives for investments, and construction of new nuclear power plants.

Referring to the president's push for health care reform, which has been slowed by Democrat's loss of their 60 vote majority in the Senate after an election in Massachusetts, House minority leader John Boehner said the president failed to prove that he heard American's concerns.

"If the Democrat leaders here in Congress and the president are serious about getting our economy going again and putting people back to work we can in fact work together to promote policies that will do that," said John Boehner. "But there was nothing last night in the president's speech to indicate there was any willingness to sit down and work together."

Boehner said Republicans are eager to sit down with the president for an "honest conversation" when he joins them in Baltimore and attempt to find some common ground, but will not "roll over" on principles, such as opposition to any health care plan they assert will raise taxes and increase government's role while discouraging job creation.

Saying the president delivered rhetoric while renewing his commitment to failed policies, Mike Pence of Indiana said Republicans welcome the president's call for greater engagement and dialogue, but added.

"This is not an opportunity for one more presidential speech," said Mike Pence. "Tomorrow in Baltimore, the president has agreed to have a conversation with House Republicans about the future of this country, and House Republicans will seize the opportunity in respectful terms but candid and frank terms to make it clear to the president that we have better solutions."

Though they continue to oppose Democrat's climate change legislation, House and Senate Republicans are a bit more receptive to the president's proposals on energy and trade.

Representative David Dreier of California:

"The president did point to some issues that I found appealing, the idea of pursuing nuclear energy and offshore drilling were very appealing," said David Dreier.

Dreier welcomed  President Obama's pledge to strengthen trade relations with Panama, Colombia and South Korea, but was skeptical about the administration's commitment to finalizing bilateral agreements.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell echoed areas of agreement with the president on energy and trade.

"The president called for increased exports and for the Congress to pass trade agreements that have languished under the current majority in the Senate," said Mitch McConnell. "Republicans agree with the need to increase trade and with the need to ratify agreements with Colombia and other important trading partners that so far have met resistance on the other side of the aisle."

Meanwhile, calling the president's speech a "masterful" presentation, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi repeated her intention to ensure that Congress acts on some form of health care reform, saying the current system is unsustainable.

"We go through the gate, the gate is closed we will go over the fence, the fence is too high we will pole vault in, if that doesn't work we will parachute in, but we are going to get health care reform passed for the American people, for their own personal health and economic security and for the important role it will play in reducing the deficit," said Nancy Pelosi.

After spending all of 2009 attempting to move a single health care bill through Congress, Pelosi and top aides indicate Democrats will now try to achieve their overall goals using "many fronts", a reference to separate pieces of legislation that could move in coming weeks.

Pelosi also repeated her view that the entire Defense Department budget should not be exempted from the 3 year government spending freeze President Obama proposed in his State of the Union Address.

Asked if she sees any way to improve relations with Republicans, Pelosi said  Democrats have a responsibility to find a way and look for common ground but also stand their ground on principles important to Americans suffering in the recession-hit economy.  

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid