Seeking to strengthen his position in the fiscal battles on Capitol Hill, House Speaker John A. Boehner challenged the Senate to act on the liberal agenda that President Obama laid out in his State of the Union address.
Mr. Boehner said that if Senate Democrats support Mr. Obama’s calls to combat climate change, increase stimulus spending and raise taxes then they should pass bills out of the upper chamber spelling out exactly where they stand.
“This isn’t the agenda that many Americans are looking for, and I think many of the president’s own party won’t support those ideas,” the Ohio Republican told reporters.
The you-first approach follows a tough couple of months for Mr. Boehner on Capitol Hill, where battles over the expiring George W. Bush-era tax cuts, Hurricane Sandy spending and the debt-ceiling debate have exposed some of the philosophical fissures within the Republican ranks.
Mr. Obama called on Congress in his fifth State of the Union address to spend more on infrastructure, renewable-energy projects and education.
The Democrat also said that lawmakers must do more to combat climate change, warning that if Congress fails to act, “I will.”
Mr. Boehner said that his new approach also applies to the looming $86 billion in cuts, known as sequesters, to defense and domestic programs that are now set to kick in March 1.
News reports Thursday said that Democrats are flirting with offering a package of spending cuts and new taxes to replace some of the sequesters.
“When the Senate passes a plan we will be happy to take a look at it,” Mr. Boehner said.