Cantor To Obama: Let’s Chop Up Your Jobs Act

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Hours after President Obama insisted both the House and Senate vote on his entire jobs bill, a top Republican says that’s not gonna happen.

Asked by a reporter for a yes or no answer, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) says the jobs bill, taken as a whole, is kaput.

“The $447 billion jobs package as a package: dead?” the reporter asked.

“Yes,” Cantor replied.This will come as little surprise to close observers of Capitol Hill, but it will likely sharpen Obama’s attacks on Congress. Monday, before a cabinet meeting, Obama said he’ll demand up or down votes on the package.

“I’ll be talking to Senator Reid, McConnell, as well as Speaker Boehner and Nancy Pelosi, and insisting that we have a vote on this bill,” he said. “We’ve been hearing from Republicans that there are some proposals that they’re interested in…. [I]f there are aspects of the bill that they don’t like, they should tell us what it is that they’re not willing to go for; they should tell us what it is that they’re prepared to see move forward.”

Cantor listed a very small number of measures Republicans and Democrats agree on — some part of Obama’s jobs bill, some separate. But he says there’s no point in fighting any longer over getting something big done.

“I think at this point Washington has become so dysfunctional that we’ve got to start focusing on the incremental progress we can make,” he said. “Both sides have their desires to do the big bold things. The problem is they’re just vastly different…. We should certainly focus on trying to put some wins on the board.”

Obama administration officials have acknowledged — and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney confirmed again Monday — that the President would sign individual elements of the jobs bill if that’s the only way to get them passed. But his public campaign for passing the whole thing continues.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com
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