In a memo to House Republicans today, the GOP leadership outlined the parts of President Barack Obama’s American Jobs Act they would be open to considering and those they would categorically oppose — leaving the White House with the monumental decision to fight for the bill, or cave to GOP demands.In short, the Republicans say they can get on board with Obama’s tax breaks for businesses and employees, and some of his stimulus spending, but that they cannot support the tax increases that would cover the cost of the bill.
The memo, sent by Speaker of the House John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and other GOP leaders, raises objection to at least $65 billion of Obama’s plan, and takes the $400 billion the president wanted to raise by eliminating tax deductions for high wage-earners off the table.
Republicans did not specifically endorse the rest of Obama’s plan, but deemed items like an extension of the payroll tax break and hiring incentives for veterans “areas of potential common agreement and areas worthy of further discussion.”
Others, like the tax increases, school construction funding and transfer payments to state and local governments to keep teachers and first responders on the payroll, are areas “where it will be harder to find common ground,” the GOP lawmakers said.
Asked how Republicans will pay for the proposals they and Obama ultimately agree to without tax increases, Cantor spokeswoman Laena Fallon said in an email to Business Insider that “our Committees will be looking at different elements of the proposals in the coming weeks.”
The White House has yet to respond to the GOP memo, and it now must decide how to proceed with the bill.
By abandoning the proposals closest to his base — basically everything the Republicans oppose — Obama could build support for the most GOP-friendly proposals in the American Jobs Act, and pass his bill with relative ease.
If he chooses to fight, he will be forced to devote the next several months pushing a plan that is far from universally supported by members of his own party. He could win, but with his poll numbers in the dumps and a tough reelection around the corner, the question is whether it is worth it.
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