Agreement broke out along Pennsylvania Ave. this evening as President Barack Obama accepted House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to address a joint session of the Congress on Sept. 8, one day later than initially sought by the White House.
“The President is focused on the urgent need to create jobs and grow our economy, so he welcomes the opportunity to address a Joint Session of Congress on Thursday, September 8th and challenge our nation’s leaders to start focusing 100% of their attention on doing whatever they can to help the American people,” said the announcement from the White House, released at 9.17 p.m.
The letter’s tone reflects the White House’s frequently stated desire for a campaign-trail dispute with the House Republicans. In his recent three-state bus tour, for example, Obama repeatedly said Republicans are putting party before country, and threatened to use public opinion as a tool to force GOP agreement with a series of medium-term economy-boosting programs.
Many Democrats have repeatedly urged Obama to reverse his declining poll numbers by staging a winning fight — preferably over jobs and an economic jump-start — with Boehner and his fellow Republicans.
This aggressive stance was displayed in the surprise letter that Obama sent to Congress this morning. “As I have traveled across our country this summer and spoken with our fellow Americans, I have heard a consistent message: Washington needs to put aside politics and start making decisions based on what is best for our country and not what is best for each of our parties in order to grow the economy and create jobs,” said the letter.
Boehner quickly refused the request, citing Congress’ schedule and security problems, but his polite response also highlighted the jobs crisis. “I agree that creating a better environment for job creation must be our most urgent priority. For months, the House has been implementing an agenda designed to reduce economic uncertainty, remove unnecessary government barriers to private-sector job creation, and help small business, and we welcome the opportunity to hear your latest proposals,” said Boehner’s letter back to Obama.
“I respectfully invite you to address a Joint Session of Congress on Thursday, September 8, 2011 in the House Chamber, at a time that works best for your schedule,” Boehner wrote. (RELATED: Ron Paul threatens to object to Obama’s job speech request)
The White House has accepted the offer, but the details of Obama’s economic speech have yet to be released.