House Republican Leader Eric Cantor rebuffed President Obama’s calls for Congress to quickly pass his American Jobs Act and said the GOP-controlled House would only take up parts of the president’s plan.
At a press briefing Monday afternoon, Cantor said there was little hope of Obama’s jobs plan passing the Republican-controlled House intact.
“The $447 billion jobs package as a package: Dead?” a reporter asked.
“Yes,” Cantor replied.
However, Cantor said House Republicans will consider pieces of Obama’s jobs bill and “focus on trying to put some wins on the board.”
“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.”
Cantor also said the House would be acting on several other GOP bills rolling back business regulations and taxes before taking up Obama’s jobs bill. (RELATED: Abandon ship? Durbin, Buffett change tone on jobs plan)
Despite Obama’s calls for an up-down vote on the bill, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the president would sign individual pieces of the bill if they came to his desk, “provided that they’re paid for in an acceptable and fair way.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Monday that he expects Obama’s jobs bill to be brought to the floor sometime this month.
Meanwhile, there has been movement today on one of the few pieces of common ground between House Republicans and the Obama administration — new free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. The White House submitted the three new trade agreements to Congress Monday afternoon, and leaders of both chambers said they would fast-track them through the legislative process.
The trade agreements will lift tariffs on most U.S. exports to the three countries.