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

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Video Kenyans Lament Al-Shabab's Recruitment of Youths

VOA travels to Isiolo, where residents share their fears, struggles to get loved ones back from Somalia-based militant group More

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition 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.
A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensionsi
X
May 26, 2015 11:11 PM
When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs