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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs countermeasure at UN More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs