At a press conference today with Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) previewed next week's House vote on the pro-growth, earmark-free American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act (H.R. 7) and called on President Obama to urge the Democratic-controlled Senate to act on this, and nearly 30 other bipartisan, House-passed jobs bills languishing on its doorstep. Speaker Boehner also made clear that President Obama and Senate Democratic leaders are blocking a full-year extension of the payroll tax cut by preventing negotiators from supporting responsible spending cuts to ensure the tax break is fully paid for -- as President Obama said it must be. Following are video and text of Speaker Boehner's remarks:
ON THE UPCOMING HOUSE VOTE ON THE AMERICAN ENERGY & INFRASTRUCTURE JOBS ACT:
"The House soon will vote on the American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act, the next piece of our Plan for America's Job Creators. By breaking down government barriers to domestic energy production, it will ease rising gas prices and create up to a million new jobs. By reforming the way highway dollars are spent, it will ensure that we have reliable infrastructure in our country -- which is critical for commerce and private-sector job growth in the future."
ON THE AMERICAN ENERGY & INFRASTRUCTURE JOBS ACT REPRESENTING "A 180-DEGREE TURN" FROM THE PRESIDENT'S FAILED "STIMULUS':
"The American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act will be the first highway infrastructure bill that I've ever supported. In the past, highways bills represented everything that was wrong with Washington: earmarks, endless layers of bureaucracy, wasted tax dollars and misplaced priorities. This bill will have no earmarks. The last time Congress passed a highway bill it had 6,300 plus earmarks in it. This bill will have none.
"The bill represents not only a 180-degree turn from the failed "stimulus' approach of President Obama, but also a genuine departure from the misguided way Washington has been abusing hardworking taxpayers' dollars for years."
ON THE NEED FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA TO URGE SENATE DEMOCRATS TO PASS NEARLY 30 BIPARTISAN, HOUSE-PASSED JOBS BILLS:
"As middle-class families and small businesses continue to struggle in this economy, Republicans continue to focus on the number one issue in our country and that's jobs. The House has passed nearly 30 bipartisan bills sitting over in the United States Senate that would lower gas prices, reduce regulations on job creators, and encourage more small business job creation. Many of these bills were embraced by the president's own jobs council, and the president's actually made it clear that he's in favor of a handful of these bills. Listen, the Obama Administration told us if the president's "stimulus' plan were passed, unemployment would be at six percent today."
ON DEMOCRATS BLOCKING A FULL-YEAR EXTENSION OF THE PAYROLL TAX CUT:
"And I think it's certainly fair to ask, does the president want to accomplish anything this year? Time is running short on the payroll issue, as an example. House Republicans did what the president asked us to do. We passed a full-year extension of the payroll tax credit, unemployment benefits -- fully paid for, as the president said that they must be.
"But the president and Senate Democrat leaders will not allow their conferees to support a reasonable, bipartisan agreement on spending cuts. Worse, they refuse to allow any alternatives at all except for a job-killing small business tax hike that they know can't pass the Senate, much less pass the House.
"If the president wants to get this done, I think he needs to let Chairman Baucus and the Democrat conferees do their work. Right now, the only ones blocking an agreement are Senate Democrats and the president. It's time for them to act."
ON HOUSE PASSAGE OF THE STOCK ACT:
"Lastly, the American people have every right to expect the highest ethical standards from their elected leaders. The STOCK Act, which was approved by the Senate last week, has been strengthened and expanded in the House. I think the Majority Leader has done a great job of shepherding this bill through the process, and I look forward to this bill becoming law soon."