- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 22, 2012

As rancorous and partisan as Congress was in 2011, Capitol Hill portends to be even more political this year, as House Republican leaders plan to ramp up their pushback on the Obama administration’s domestic agenda even more.

House Speaker John A. Boehner 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 Friday at the 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.”

House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican
House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican more >

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, who gave the weekly Republican address on Saturday, said that “regardless of the president’s good intentions, his policies have failed the American people.”

“His policies haven’t just failed to make the economy better — they have actually made it worse,” said the Texas Republican.

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

“Our jobs bills remain stuck in the Democrat Senate, and President Obama hasn’t urged the Democrat majority leader, Senator Harry Reid, to act,” 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, at Friday’s retreat. “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 passed 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.