Speaker of the House to the President: "We request that you change your date"

The chutzpah of it is galling.  For the past several weeks Barack Obama has been telling the country that he has yet another jobs plan and the Republicans must work with the Democrats in Congress  --  in the spirit of comity  --  to get a jobs bill passed.  If it was so important to him  --  and the country has suffered greatly under Obama's average unemployment rate of some 9%  --  he could have called Congress back into session several weeks ago to pass a jobs bill.

This afternoon, the president gave 15 minutes notice to Speaker of the House John Boehner that he will be speaking before a joint session of Congress.  It doesn't work that way.  The Speaker of the House of Representatives takes into consideration the date(s) the president requests for a joint session of Congress.  It just so happens that a Republican debate has been long-scheduled at the Ronald Reagan Library in Sima Valley, California on the exact date which Obama requested. 

Although Speaker Boehner did not mention the debate in his reply to Obama's "request" to speak at a joint session of Congress next Wednesday, the speaker told the president that Thursday would be a much better date for him to speak since the Members of the House of Representatives are not due back from their congressional districts until Wednesday evening.

Speaker Boehner wrote in his letter to the president:  "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."

The rest of Speaker Boehner's letter is directly below:

- - -

August 31, 2011

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

Thank you for your letter requesting time to address a Joint Session of Congress next week. I agree that creating a better environment for job creation must be our most urgent priority. For months, the House has been implementing an agenda designed to reduce economic uncertainty, remove unnecessary government barriers to private-sector job creation, and help small businesses, and we welcome the opportunity to hear your latest proposals.

As your spokesperson today said, there are considerations about the Congressional calendar that must be made prior to scheduling such an extraordinary event. As you know, the House of Representatives and Senate are each required to adopt a Concurrent Resolution to allow for a Joint Session of Congress to receive the President. And as the Majority Leader announced more than a month ago, the House will not be in session until Wednesday, September 7, with votes at 6:30 that evening. 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. As such, on behalf of the bipartisan leadership and membership of both the House and Senate, I respectfully invite you to address a Joint Session of Congress on Thursday, September 8, 2011 in the House Chamber, at a time that works best for your schedule.

We look forward to hearing your ideas and working together to solve America’s jobs crisis.

Sincerely,
John Boehner

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