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Boehner, Cantor Invite Democratic Leaders to Participate in Jobs Forum

Updated: 6:23 p.m.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on Wednesday invited Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) to participate in a televised, bipartisan forum on job creation and economic growth.

“As you are no doubt aware, President [Barack] Obama recently held public forums with both House Republicans and Senate Democrats,” the two Republican leaders wrote in a letter to Pelosi and Hoyer. “Though House Democrats have yet to participate in such a forum, we write to ask that you follow this precedent and agree to participate in an open meeting focused on job creation and economic growth between leaders of both parties in the House.”

Last month, Obama engaged in a heated live debate with members of the House Republican Conference during their annual retreat. Obama held a similar televised question-and-answer session with Senate Democrats during their yearly getaway. Next week, Obama is hosting a nationally televised, bipartisan health care summit with House and Senate Members

“Clearly, we need a different approach to developing legislation that will get Americans back to work,” Boehner and Cantor’s letter said. “Therefore, in the interest of complete transparency on the single most important issue of the day for most Americans, we ask that you join us for an open discussion so that we can begin to change a process that has not only polarized the Capitol building, but this country as well.”

Boehner and Cantor didn’t say when or where their forum would be held.

Nadeam Elshami, a spokesman for Pelosi, said the Speaker was open to the idea of the televised, bipartisan forum.

“In her most recent meeting with Leader Boehner earlier this month, the Speaker raised the subject of jobs but did not receive a positive response,” he said. “The Speaker welcomes the change in the Republican leadership and looks forward to a productive discussion on promoting jobs and economic recovery.”

Katie Grant, a spokewoman for Hoyer, said her boss was also interested in meeting with the GOP leaders and was encouraged by their letter.

“Leader Hoyer is always interested in talking to Republicans who want to offer serious, substantive ideas and work constructively together toward solutions,” Grant said. “He is encouraged that the House Republican leadership appears interested in taking him up on his repeated offers to work together and reach compromises on critical issues including job creation and strengthening the economy.”

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