After last night’s presidential speech, the spotlight now turns to House Republican leaders who hold the power to block or “pass this bill,” as Obama stated more than 15 times. The picture looks rosy, but it may be too soon to tell.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., told CNN on Friday morning “I think there’s a lot of room for commonality and we can get something done quickly.” Cantor cited the plan’s initiatives for fostering small businesses and getting unemployed people back to work as areas where the parties could move forward.
But the plan may have to be parceled up if those goals have a shot at becoming reality. Cantor agreed with Vice President Joe Biden’s statement made on CBS’s Early Show earlier on Friday: “We are willing to compromise on any ideas that will help the middle class."
Areas where the parties may disagree, according to Cantor, include merely extending the payroll-tax holiday rather than making it permanent and creating an infrastructure bank. Cantor said that states already have money for infrastructure systems, but that much of it is tied up in government regulations. He suggested that the federal government free up states to spend the funds as they see fit before pumping more money into the system. Cantor compared a proposed infrastructure bank to “another Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.”
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, shares Cantor’s sentiment. He is willing to negotiate, but not ready to throw the Republican’s playbook out the window. “The proposals the president outlined tonight merit consideration," he said in a statement after Oama's speech. "We hope he gives serious consideration to our ideas as well.”