House Speaker Talks Jobs, SOTU

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) joined “Fox News Sunday” to preview the upcoming legislative session and discuss whether there is room for compromise on any of the issues that halted action last year.

Speaker Boehner defended the House GOP’s legislative record against those who would characterize that body as a “do nothing Congress.”

Thirty jobs bills passed over the last year in a Republican House of Representatives that are sitting in the United States Senate – 30,” Boehner said, adding, “Our focus over the last 12 months has been on jobs. Our focus over the course of the next 12 months is going to be on jobs.”

Boehner challenged the notion that the number of laws passed is a good measure by which to judge Congress.

Most Americans think we've got too many laws already,” he said.

The president will be laying out his agenda for the upcoming year as well, during his upcoming State of the Union address, and from what he has heard about it, the Speaker says it sounds like much of the same.

“It sounds to me like the same old policies that we've seen. More spending, higher taxes, more regulations -- the same policies that haven't helped our economy, they made it worse,” Boehner said.

“And if that's what the president is going to talk about Tuesday night, I think it's pathetic.”

One particular battle that began last year and is sure to carry into the new session is over approval to build the Keystone pipeline.

Republicans contend that construction of the project will create thousands of jobs and increase US domestic energy production, while critics argue the job creation estimates are overinflated and the environmental harm they say will occur, will outweigh any benefits.

House Republicans have made clear they are not done pushing for the pipeline however.

Boehner says “nothing is off the table” regarding what legislative vehicle the Speaker would be willing to consider to get approval of the pipeline through the House.

Asked whether he would be open to linking the pipeline to extending the payroll tax holiday, Boehner reiterated, “all options are on the table.”

The House Speaker also weighed in on the Republican primary process. We've had three primaries, one caucus and two primary elections, and we have three different winners, I think it shows the vibrancy of the Republican Party,” Boehner said.