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John Boehner: Obama's State of the Union message 'pathetic'

PoliticsElectionsRepublican PartyDemocratic PartyU.S. SenateJohn BoehnerBarack Obama

House Speaker John A. Boehner called President Obama's upcoming State of the Union speech "pathetic" for rehashing stale Democratic priorities, even as Republicansare doubling-down on their own policy agenda that found little traction outside the GOP-led House.

"It sounds to me like the same old policies that we've seen: more spending, higher taxes more regulation – the same policies that haven't helped our economy; they've made it worse," Boehner said on "Fox News Sunday."

"If that's what the president is going to talk about Tuesday night, I think it's pathetic."

Republicans have made clear their intent is to spend their time investigating Obama's record this campaign year, as there appears to be little common ground on the jobs and economic issues most important to Americans.

At the same time, the House under Boehner is pressing forward with last year's legislative agenda to revamp Medicare and curtail government regulation that found little support in the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats.

The lack of serious legislating and endless rounds of brinkmanship resulted in one of the most unproductive sessions of Congress in years. Obama has positioned his reelection campaign to capitalize on this ongoing partisan stalemate, running against a "do-nothing" Congress.

Another showdown is already underway, as Republicans are considering linking approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline -- a top GOP priority -- to a continuation of the payroll tax holiday that is Obama's main legislative goal this year.

The two sides are heading toward a standoff as the temporary reduction of Social Security taxes on workers' pay expires Feb. 29. Obama shelved the pipeline project to allow time for more study. Congressional negotiators are meeting this week to begin looking for a compromise to avoid a tax hike March 1 on 160 million working Americans.

GOP leaders believe they can inoculate their party from the do-nothing label, and Boehner tried to do so Sunday by holding up a list of House-passed bills that have languished in the Senate.

"We've done our job for the American people," Boehner said.

But most of those bills are aimed at rolling back federal regulations as a way to prompt businesses to create jobs -- an economic strategy that has some bipartisan support but received mixed reviews from mainstream economists.

Republicans also intend to consider legislation that would generate road, highway and other infrastructure jobs, but Democrats are cool to the idea of expanding domestic oil drilling production to raise revenue to pay for it.

lmascaro@tribune.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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PoliticsElectionsRepublican PartyDemocratic PartyU.S. SenateJohn BoehnerBarack Obama
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