President Barack Obama Wednesday sought a high profile and politically provocative venue to unveil new economic proposals, asking to address Congress on the same night Republican presidential candidates hold a debate.
But it appeared last night that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Va.) would not grant the president’s request for a joint session of the House and Senate at 8 p.m. Wednesday to lay out his plan to create jobs and boost economic growth while reducing the deficit.
Instead, in a letter, Boehner invited Obama to address Congress the following night. Boehner did not cite the GOP debate schedule, explaining instead that the House has votes scheduled for Wednesday evening — lawmakers’ first day back from a monthlong vacation.
“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,”
Boehner wrote. The time that Obama sought — on the same night as his potential Republican rivals debate how to oust him from the White House — would give him an opportunity to upstage the other party at the same time that he is seeking its support.
Television networks not airing the Republican debate at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif., would likely broadcast Obama’s address to Congress.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said the timing was coincidental.