Continued from page 2

Christina Romer, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said in an interview Wednesday that Mr. Obama was open to many of the job-boosting measures under discussion in Congress, including new subsidies for small businesses and more spending on public infrastructure projects.

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican, challenged the White House to adopt Republican ideas that wouldn’t require more government spending to create jobs, such as freezing tax increases and rejecting new regulations on business.

Mr. Cantor made his call a day ahead of Mr. Obama’s jobs forum, which the White House hopes will show it is trying to combat high unemployment. The White House defended its guest list for the forum, which excludes free-market economists and the self-proclaimed voices of big and small business.

“I think it’s pretty clear to say that chambers of commerce throughout this country and small-business owners throughout this country will be represented,” said press secretary Robert Gibbs, pointing to the inclusion of companies such as FedEx and Google rather than the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Federation of Independent Business.

But Republicans’ House leader, Rep. John A. Boehner of Ohio, announced a competing summit stacked with conservative economists, saying it will provide the forum Mr. Obama is denying to their point of view.

Mr. Cantor said Mr. Obama could draw bipartisan support with moves such as stopping tax hikes and new regulations. He also suggested approving pending free-trade agreements, freezing domestic discretionary spending and allowing for more domestic energy exploration.

“I know there are philosophical differences between the parties, but surely we can agree on a few common-sense things to help get America back to work,” Mr. Cantor said in a speech at the conservative Heritage Foundation.

Mr. Gibbs said the White House is open to listening.

“If anybody has got ideas, I think folks would be happy to look at them, and I’m sure people will,” he said.

Joseph Crouch, 60, of Arlington, was looking for ideas Wednesday at the Arlington Employment Center.

“I came here to get some help,” he said. “I think that it’s so hard in the job market, especially for ex-offenders. Plus I’m old.”

Kara Rowland contributed to this report.