- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It’s the people’s House, as Speaker John A. Boehner made clear to President Obama on Wednesday.

Mr. Boehner, Ohio Republican, asked the president to postpone for one day his speech on jobs to a joint session of Congress, to avoid “parliamentary or logistical impediments.”

Late Wednesday, the White House released a statement agreeing to the postponement.

The time and date Mr. Obama originally chose for his major address, 8 p.m. on Sept. 7, happened to coincide with a Republican presidential debate at the Ronald W. Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in California. Mr. Boehner made no mention of the debate in his letter to the president, but said the House would be just returning from its monthlong recess on Sept. 7.

“With the significant amount of time - typically more than three hours - that is required to allow for a security sweep of the House Chamber before receiving a President, it is my recommendation that your address be held on the following evening, when we can ensure there will be no parliamentary or logistical impediments that might detract from your remarks,” Mr. Boehner wrote.

Mr. Boehner told the president that “there are considerations about the congressional calendar that must be made prior to scheduling such an extraordinary event.”

Mr. Obama’s speech now will coincide with opening day of the NFL season.

Presidents traditionally ask the leaders of Congress to schedule a speech to a joint session, which is what Mr. Obama did this time. But it’s unusual for a leader of Congress to suggest another date after the White House has announced it.

Mr. Boehner’s office said the White House broke protocol.

“No one in the speaker’s office - not the speaker, not any staff - signed off on the date the White House announced today,” spokesman Brendan Buck said. “Unfortunately, we weren’t even asked if that date worked for the House.

“Shortly before it arrived this morning, we were simply informed that a letter was coming. It’s unfortunate the White House ignored decades - if not centuries - of the protocol of working out a mutually agreeable date and time before making any public announcement,” he said.

Earlier Wednesday, the head of the House Democrats’ fundraising arm accused Mr. Boehner of playing politics and trying to stifle job-creation efforts.

“After 239 days with no action to create jobs, Speaker Boehner and House Republicans have just given the American people the clearest - and most disgraceful - proof yet that their priority is playing politics instead,” said Rep. Steve Israel of New York, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

“Republicans saw and heard from outraged constituents across the country throughout the August recess but clearly did not listen. Americans’ top priority is creating jobs and protecting Medicare while Republicans’ top priority is playing political games,” he said in a statement on DCCC letterhead.

The White House had been on the defensive about choosing a date that conflicts with the GOP debate, the first one to include Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

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