Republicans are crying foul over President Barack Obama’s Sept. 7 jobs speech, announced Wednesday, which will conflict with a long-scheduled GOP candidate debate.
Obama has requested a joint session of Congress to unveil his new jobs plan. It would be at the same time as a GOP presidential candidate debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.
Republicans have called Obama’s timing a campaign ploy, and Texas Representative and GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul has hinted that he is considering objecting to the president’s request.
“Dr. Paul is weighing his options,” Paul’s campaign spokesman Jesse Benton told Slate. “Our campaign, however, thinks it is undignified that the President of the United States would resort to such transparent tactics to step on our Republican debate. The real losers here are the American People who deserve the opportunity to hear from both the President and the GOP contenders.”
Paul could not block the president’s request by himself, but he — or any other member of Congress — could force a roll-call vote. Since Congress is currently out of session, the most likely way for Obama’s request to be approved would be through a “unanimous consent” vote during a pro forma session of Congress.
If a member of Congress requests a recorded vote, Congress would have to reconvene sometime before the speech. Unified Republican opposition in either the House or the Senate would block the president’s request.
Other GOP candidates also criticized Obama’s announcement. (PICTURE IN PICTURE: Obama requests joint session of Congress to introduce ‘jobs plan’ on same day as GOP presidential debate)
“Desperate political times for the president call for desperate political measures,” Huntsman spokesman Tim Miller said. “His latest purely political maneuver won’t work though, because his economic policies have failed.”
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called Obama’s timing a “thinly-veiled political ploy.”
“President Obama’s decision to address Congress at the same time as a long-scheduled Republican Presidential debate cements his reputation as Campaigner-in-Chief,” Priebus said in a statement. “While the White House claims it’s simply a ‘coincidence,’ the American people can see right through that excuse. The President has had months to get to work on the economy, but instead he chose to take a taxpayer-funded campaign trip and a cushy Martha’s Vineyard vacation. If the President were serious about putting ‘country before politics,’ as he said in his request to speak to Congress, he wouldn’t be caught in such a thinly-veiled political ploy.”