- The Washington Times - Friday, January 20, 2012

As rancorous and partisan as Congress was in 2011, Capitol Hill looks to be even more politically charged this year, as House Republican leaders plan a sustained attack on the Obama administration’s domestic agenda.

House Speaker John A. Boehner said Friday he has asked all House committee chairmen to review President Obama’s economic and jobs policies to find ways to counterbalance “the devastating impact these policies have on our economy.”

“When you look at this election that’s coming up, it’s pretty clear it’s going to be a referendum on the president’s policies regarding our economy,” the Ohio Republican said at Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel, where House Republicans were gathered for their annual retreat.

“Maybe we can convince some of our colleagues across the aisle — maybe we can even convince the president of the United States — that these policies not only are not helping, but they’re hurting the ability of small businesses to create jobs in our country.”

Mr. Boehner, when asked if he would prefer bipartisan cooperation or pushing through his conference’s agenda, said, “It’s always preferable to have bipartisan action.”

But “when it comes to oversight, it’s pretty clear to me that Mr. Obama and some members of Congress really don’t have a good understanding of how our economy works.”

House Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling said that, “regardless of his good intentions,” the president’s polices “have failed the American people.”

“It’s a new year, Mr. President, lets try some new ideals,” the Texas Republican said.

Mr. Hensarling also rebuked the Democratic-controlled Senate for refusing to take up several jobs-related bills that passed the House last year.

“They continue to be stacked up like cord wood” in the Senate, he said.

While unemployment rates have inched downward in recent months, House Republicans downplayed the trend, noting that the jobless rate has hovered above 8 percent since Mr. Obama took office three years ago.

“Even if that number has gone down a little bit, it mostly reflects that people have simply stopped looking for work in the first place,” said House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican. “We’re on track for fewer jobs occurring in America than when President Obama took office.”

Mr. Ryan, who blasted the Senate for failing to have a budget for almost a thousand days, added that Republicans on his panel have drafted a rewrite of the 1974 Budget Act — a seminal law that created the Congressional Budget Office — “to give us a budget system that has teeth.”

Mr. Ryan’s proposal would, among other things, move up the budget timetable earlier in the year.

“Right now, the budget resolution simply serves as sort of a mere guideline,” he said.

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