President Obama and Congress seemed headed for another confrontation with Republicans even before the summer glow had worn off. The White House announced Wednesday that the president wanted to present his jobs plan to a joint session of Congress on Sept. 7 at 8 p.m. That turned out to be the same date and time as the Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.
House Speaker John Boehner said the date would not work. White House spokesmen said there was no need to change the date. Then Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the minority leader, said she hadn't been told about the plan either. Both sides released letters reinforcing their positions. Historians said that the public rebuff was unprecedented, according to MSNBC. Then the White House announced that the date had been changed.
Obama's choice and Boehner's rejection of it brought cries of political gamesmanship from both sides, but after negotiations between aides to the two men, the White House released a statement saying that the president would speak Sept. 8.
"The president is focused on the urgent need to create jobs and grow our economy, so he welcomes the opportunity to address a joint session of Congress on Thursday, September 8th and challenge our nation's leaders to start focusing 100% of their attention on doing whatever they can to help the American people," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
Obama's address still gives him a grand stage to unveil his economic agenda, but it falls on the same evening as the opening game of the National Football League season. White House officials were working on the precise timing of the speech.
With new August unemployment numbers ready to be released Friday, Obama is under pressure to lay out his plan. In seeking a joint session of Congress to deliver it, he is turning the effort into a public relations campaign.
The timing dispute created an inauspicious start to the jobs debate and introduced tensions before Congress even returns from its annual summer recess.
This first standoff suggests that the rest of the year will be based on an old script. We dread the reruns of the endless tales of presidential stand-downs. Just for a moment, we thought the president would stand his ground about the date for the speech. Sigh.
Read the entire article at MSNBC.com.
In more news: CBC Member: Tea Party Wants Return to Jim Crow.