News / USA

Republicans Urge Obama to Have Honest Conversation on Major Issues

Multimedia

Audio

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

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party 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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs