Republicans make nice, but wary of Stimulus 2

@CNNMoney September 8, 2011: 10:25 PM ET

WASHINGTON (CNNMoney) -- The president called for bipartisan support for his jobs package, but Republicans were wary of any proposals that would repeat the 2009 stimulus.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, said Obama's proposals sounded like "nothing new."

"It just doubles down on the same failed policies he has pursued before," Hatch said in a statement Thursday night.

Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican, sounded a similar note: "The failed stimulus and its successor policies have proven that massive government deficit spending is not the solution -- it is the problem."

Republican leaders, however, were trying to strike a more moderate stance.

House Speaker John Boehner said the president's proposals "merit consideration." In a cordial statement after the speech, Boehner said, "It's my hope that we can work together to end the uncertainty facing families and small businesses, and create a better environment for long-term economic growth and private-sector job creation."

On Twitter, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor wrote: "Good people can disagree. We should work together to find common ground and quickly pass where we agree to grow this economy."

But Cantor also told CNN he objected to Obama's "take it or leave it approach" in asking Congress to pass all his proposals as one package.

What small businesses want from government

In a memo circulated earlier Thursday, Republican House leadership suggested some areas for agreement. There were several items the Republicans cited, and all of them ended up in Obama's speech.

To address the nation's infrastructure problems, Republicans suggested they could agree to a public-private "bank" for repairs of the nation's broken roads and bridges, and to speeding up permitting for construction projects.

Republicans also said they are willing to help the unemployed by replicating a Georgia program that matches job seekers with potential employers for on-the-job training. That program allows employers to train a jobless person for eight weeks without having to pay him.

Republicans and the White House have long pointed to common ground in passing free trade deals with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. But the president hasn't officially sent those deals to Congress, because the White House has been seeking some guarantee that Congress would extend the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, which retrains workers laid off when a company moves jobs overseas.

When it comes to extending payroll tax cuts, Republican support is questionable. Cantor reportedly said earlier Thursday that extending the payroll tax cuts was "in the mix."

But a Republican leadership memo suggested that the payroll tax cut extension is not high on their list of priorities, since "there have been no signs that the temporary measure worked in the first place." To top of page

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