By Sophie Quinton
House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., argued on MSNBC's Morning Joe Thursday that the House is perfectly willing to talk to President Obama.
"It seems that there's a disconnect from what I see happening in the House" and media reports of House Republican obstructionism, McCarthy said.
"Did we shut down the government? No, we sat and worked with the president. Did we look at where we agreed?" McCarthy mentioned free trade deals with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama as proof that the White House and House Republicans can get along.
"I've watched us invite the president into our conference from the moment he got elected," McCarthy said. He recalled now-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., offering Republican proposals on the pending stimulus package in 2009. The president's response to Cantor, McCarthy said, was: "Elections have consequences, and you didn't win."
It was Senate Democrats, McCarthy said, who "killed" Obama's jobs bill, while House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, "said from the beginning, 'I'm going to look at it.'"
McCarthy said that he would be willing to support "some smaller versions of some actions that are about small business" in the president's bill, but he cited the stimulus package as proof that government spending does not boost the economy.
The stimulus package spent $278,000 on every job it created, McCarthy said. He didn't say where he got that number.
Former Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Austan Goolsbee, appearing after McCarthy on the show, disputed McCarthy's statistic. "That number's not correct," Goolsbee said.
"Usually the people citing a number like $278,000 are making a pretty basic math error," Goolsbee said, by accounting for one year of job creation over three years of stimulus.
Comparing the initial stimulus package to the president's jobs bill makes little sense, Goolsbee said, because "the moment has shifted." Back in 2009, the economy was "in free-fall, and the government was all there was left to prevent a depression," he said.