GOP pushes Obama on bipartisanship
February 1st, 2014
09:50 AM ET
7 months ago

GOP pushes Obama on bipartisanship

Washington (CNN) - Republicans pressed President Barack Obama to find "bipartisan common ground" on initiatives he highlighted in his State of the Union address while faulting the administration for impeding progress on important issues.

In the GOP weekly address, a quartet of Republicans expressed hope that they can find a path forward on policy areas but blamed the White House and Democrats in the Senate for not moving forward on bills where "the House has already acted."


The Republicans - House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Michigan; Rep. Martha Roby, R-Alabama; Rep. Greg Harper, R-Mississippi; and Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Indiana - identified four areas where they believe the two fractured parties can do business: increasing federal research funding, substituting comp time in lieu of overtime pay, consolidating job training programs and fast-tracking permits for natural gas pipelines.

"We can move the ball forward without delay," Upton said.

Harper offered his support for the President's promise to work to funnel federal funds to propel the next series of innovations in medical research. The Mississippi lawmaker said he wants to put children suffering from diseases first and dispense with provisions that allow government money to pay for political party conventions.

"We're talking about everything from cancer, autism and Fragile X Syndrome to the rarest genetic disorders," Harper said. "Creating a lifetime of hope and opportunity for our most vulnerable kids is more important than subsidizing week-long political pep rallies."

Playing off one of President Obama's most oft-repeated reforms on the campaign trail - his vow to enhance community college and trade school programs as viable alternatives to four-year colleges - Brooks praised the administration's thinking but cited the need for ongoing reform in these institutions.

"The SKILLS Act would consolidate the dozens of job training programs on the books and put the focus on programs that work. Programs that actually lead to jobs," she said.

In her portion of the weekly address, Roby emphasized equalizing the playing field for federal employees and private sector workers by giving them the option to choose between comp days and overtime, dismissing the latter as a reel from the "Mad Men" era that has been in place "long before Don Draper's time."

"Government employees already have this option, so why not give private sector workers the same choices," Roby asked.

In his closing, Upton pitched his goal to tighten infrastructure by easing the pipeline application process and doing away with "red tape," but also placed the onus on achieving these reforms squarely on the shoulder of the Oval Office.

"We believe that this can be a year of bipartisan action, a moment when speeches give way to solutions," Upton said. "The American people never let us down, and we cannot let them down either."

soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. sammy750

    "bipartisan common ground" yeah Republicans, why don't you work with Pres. Obama. You have not supported any ideas of Obama since 2010, when Speaker Boehner took over the house. The Republicans are a party of "DO NOTHING".

    February 1, 2014 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  2. smith

    Both sides have dug in their heels. I`d be impressed if we saw any bit unity between them. The last time this country`s political parties were unified was after 9/11 and a certain group didn`t let that last.

    February 1, 2014 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  3. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Yes please, Mr. President... Reach out your hand so we can bite it yet again...

    February 1, 2014 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  4. don in albuquerque

    What a joke. As if the GOTP has been the most bi-partisan group of do nothings has been, in the history of congress.

    February 1, 2014 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  5. Len

    Please do not complain: In 2010 these folks were elected, why: Only 37% of registered voters voted. Not voting has consequences! 2014 is very important.....Everyone needs to vote or guess what will happen!!!! Vote

    February 1, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  6. Tampa Tim

    The GOP is disgusting. They refuse to support anything that does not repeal ACA and eliminate abortions. What a sorry group of hypocrites they are. Destroying the country is never enough for these RWNJs.

    February 1, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  7. GOP 's fault?

    Obama's entire first term he was about blaming GOP and telling them to shut up. How can you work with someone when all they do is tell you to shut up? That culture of not talking to each other is what carried over into his second term and is the current problem we are facing. It is the fault of both sides of not talking. The House has passed bills that the democrats kill on arrival to the senate and the same has happened going from the senate to the house.

    February 1, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  8. Tampa Tim

    It is February in an election year. Look for the GOP to suddenly pretend to become cute cuddly compassionate conversatives. Then in November they will go back to being domestic terrorists.

    February 1, 2014 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  9. Tampa Tim

    GOP's . . . – I am not sure where you get your nut job lies, but you cannot be farther from the truth. Wow, just wow!

    February 1, 2014 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  10. Gunderson

    It take 2 to tango, No? Obama never around to talk. Talking to Obama like talking to Mud Fence.

    February 1, 2014 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  11. Bill from GA

    How about a massive Infrastructure Bill?

    February 1, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  12. basedonfact

    GOP version of negotiation is they tell you what they want and you give it to them.

    February 1, 2014 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  13. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    GOP 's fault?
    Obama's entire first term he was about blaming GOP and telling them to shut up.

    What a crock! Obama's first term was about placating the GOP, trying to get them to work in a bipartisan way and compromising with them. THEY were busy listening to that stooge in his Florida basement telling them to do anything they could NOT to have Obama succeed at anything, even to the detriment of the country. ACA is a REPUBLICAN bill!

    February 1, 2014 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  14. rs

    "we will make him a one-term President by stopping all of his initiatives": Mitch McConnell and John Boehner January 9, 2008.

    Who needs to work with whom?

    Wake up GOP and act your age.

    February 1, 2014 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  15. rs

    Gunderson
    It take 2 to tango, No? Obama never around to talk. Talking to Obama like talking to Mud Fence.
    _____________
    And talking to the GOP is like talking to a cranky 2-year-old. Sorry Gundy- you guys started it.

    February 1, 2014 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  16. rs

    smith
    Both sides have dug in their heels. I`d be impressed if we saw any bit unity between them. The last time this country`s political parties were unified was after 9/11 and a certain group didn`t let that last.
    ____________
    Yup, Bush used 9/11 to give the nation away to the rich by extending the tax cuts to the 1%- while starting (2) $2trillion wars.

    February 1, 2014 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  17. Tom

    What a joke. The party of "no" whining about bipartisanship. Bipartisanship is a two-way street. Both sides have to give something to achieve an agreement. This sounds like the Republicans have, once again, defined "bipartisanship" to mean giving in to their demands. And why does it always take four Republicans to make a statement?

    February 1, 2014 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  18. rs

    To the Right:

    Really? The President and the Left HAVE to work with you? Which party has the "Birthers" (easily the most stupid people on the planet); which party created they hyper-racist TEA Party to strut around with guns and rifles? Which party met and took an oath to make the duly elected President "a one-term failure"?

    The Rights' record of unbelievably bad behavior includes:
    voting against and filibustering their own ideas and laws when the President sides with them;
    they lied during any negotiations they undertook with the President;
    they had a full-on freak out that their own Heritage Foundation "individual mandate" was included in the ACA;
    they have completely disowned their Sequester Bill; and lastly;
    they have attempted to crash the government and the economy any number of times with their idiotic government shutdowns and anti-American fuelled debt ceiling dramas.
    Never mind their brown-shirt social policies.

    The President should work with you all- while you are all behind bars.

    February 1, 2014 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  19. Name Uche Agonsi

    Talks with the GOPers always involve some concessions for the rich 1% Americans. When will these GOPers talk without demanding concessions for the rich.......and when will the rest 99% Americans understand the agenda of the Repub party.

    February 1, 2014 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  20. ThinkAgain - If you want Congress to actually do something FOR the American people, vote OUT the Repub/tea bag majority

    @smith: "Both sides have dug in their heels. I`d be impressed if we saw any bit unity between them. The last time this country`s political parties were unified was after 9/11 and a certain group didn`t let that last."

    In the 2012 election, a majority of Americans reelected a Democratic president, a Democratic majority in the Senate and cast 1.4 million MORE votes for Democrats than repubs in the House. THAT is the will of the American people; Dems are right to stand up and fight for their agenda – because the AMERICAN VOTER WANTS IT.

    Repubs are the ones who continually thwart the will of the American people. Repubs are the obstructionists who'd rather harm our country than let President Obama and the American people's agenda succeed.

    And regarding your comment about one side not letting the bipartisanship of 9/11 last, I'd say that was the repubs who, lead by GW, thumped their noses at the international community and responded to the tragedy (which happened on GW Bush's watch, after repeated warnings about al Qaeda) by invoking sweeping domestic surveillance.

    Look in the mirror, smith, if you've got the guts to do so. I know it's hard to admit you've been used, but for your sake and the rest of us, start dealing with the reality of the repubs and their FAILED POLICIES.

    February 1, 2014 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  21. Kinard

    Bipartisanship? The GOP, knows noting of bipartisanship. They are about to get their assess handed to them in November though, then maybe they'll know something of the word humility. Hope they never see the inside of a political office again.

    February 1, 2014 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  22. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    @Gunderson
    It take 2 to tango, No? Obama never around to talk. Talking to Obama like talking to Mud Fence.

    Back to the fake Russian/Swedish dialect I see. Charming.

    February 1, 2014 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  23. yolanda

    @Tampa, I think that if you win the lottery you'll become a Republican........have a good weekend.

    February 1, 2014 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  24. ThinkAgain - If you want Congress to actually do something FOR the American people, vote OUT the Repub/tea bag majority

    @Gunderson: "It take 2 to tango, No? Obama never around to talk. Talking to Obama like talking to Mud Fence."

    The President is around plenty. And in my reality, we have telephones, Internet, email, Skype, etc., etc., etc. Repub/tea bags don't want to talk – they want to obstruct.

    February 1, 2014 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  25. ThinkAgain - If you want Congress to actually do something FOR the American people, vote OUT the Repub/tea bag majority

    @basedonfact: "GOP version of negotiation is they tell you what they want and you give it to them."

    And if you don't, you whine, blame the lame-stream media, hold up nominations, close lanes of traffic ...

    February 1, 2014 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
1 2