WHEELING - President Barack Obama admits the Environmental Protection Agency should take potential job losses into account when considering the impact of its policies, according to Rep. Shelley Moore Capito.
House GOP members met with Obama at the White House Wednesday. Capito, R-W.Va., said she seized the opportunity to question the president about the EPA and why the agency doesn't consider the impact on employment when implementing policy.
Capito said EPA Director Lisa Jackson previously told her it was not the EPA's policy to consider jobs when considering economic impact.
"He said he felt the EPA should be considering job impacts," Capito said. "But then he waffled and said there may be specific language in a bill stating that it is something that needn't be considered."
Obama acknowledged that "under grave environmental dangers," the EPA wouldn't consider economics, Capito said.
"I told him the EPA was making choices that were really chilling our industry in West Virginia," she continued.
Capito was surprised at Obama's admission and had always believed Obama wanted his agencies to move toward more regulation.
"But he kept alluding to fragile economy," she noted. "And I kept saying these are jobs, and we can't close the door on that. There wasn't a definitive statement from him that this is a rogue agency, but there did seem to be a promise to follow up."
Capito has proposed House Resolution 1872, which would require the EPA to consider the impact on employment and economic activity prior to issuing new policy.
Capito termed the president's meeting with GOP members "a little better than so-so," but other local members were less impressed.
"I appreciate the thought behind the meeting at the White House but am doubtful that it will amount to much beyond a nice photo op for the president," said Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va. "The president was challenged today on his lack of job creation, the immense negative impact of his overzealous EPA and its overregulation and the fact that he is demonizing some solutions to our country's difficult problems while having no plans of his own."
Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio, also wanted more from the president.
"While I am pleased to hear the president say he wants to get spending under control, I was disappointed to hear him continue to speak in generalities," Gibbs said. "The House has already passed specific plans to spur job creation and reduce our deficit, but we have yet to see a single plan from the president or congressional Democrats."
Jessica Towhey, spokeswoman for Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, said House Republicans conveyed a clear message to Obama that they will not accept an increase in the debt limit without significant spending cuts "at least equal to - but preferably greater than - the amount of the increase."