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Boehner, Cantor Ask for Consultation on Obama Speech

In advance of President Barack Obama’s jobs speech Thursday, top House Republicans are asking him to meet with Congressional leaders to discuss what the speech will say.

In a letter sent to Obama today, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said there are areas of bipartisan support they could quickly get passed into law, and they urged him to consult them.

“We would suggest that prior to your address to Congress you convene a bipartisan, bicameral meeting of the Congressional leadership so that we may have the opportunity to constructively discuss your proposals,” the letter says.

Though the relationship between Obama and House Republicans hit new lows last week when a war erupted over the scheduling of Obama’s Thursday address, both camps are discussing a tax cut aimed at businesses among their jobs-related proposals.

Boehner and Cantor’s letter notes their fall economic agenda includes plans for regulatory reform and “pro-growth tax relief.”

On Friday, Obama announced he was stopping a key air pollution regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency, something Boehner and Cantor say the president should follow with more actions of the same nature.

“While we appreciate your announcement on Friday asking the EPA to withdraw its new draft ozone standards, we believe it is critical to not stop there,” the letter says.

On an infrastructure initiative under discussion, Boehner and Cantor say Obama should divert existing funds rather than spend new money. Specifically, the two Republicans say Obama should eliminate an existing 10 percent set-aside from the money for educational purposes and let that money go toward the infrastructure projects themselves.

Boehner and Cantor also suggest free-trade agreements are an area the two parties could work together on, saying Obama should immediately send trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea to Congress for approval.

Passage of the deals has been stymied by a disagreement between Obama and Congressional Republicans over how to renew aid to workers displaced by trade deals, or Trade Adjustment Assistance.

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