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Obama agenda: Blame House Republicans

“There's a new cadence to President Barack Obama's musings about Congress: Why can't House Republicans be more like their mates in the Senate?” AP’s Josh Lederman writes. “As Obama presses his economic agenda across the country, he's playing one chamber against the other, hoping Americans will hear his calls for compromise and conclude it's not his fault almost nothing is getting done in Washington.”

President Obama heads to Capitol Hill today to meet with House and Senate Democrats, then he honors the women’s NCAA basketball champions, the Connecticut Huskies. Later, he meets with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

"President Barack Obama this morning diverts from a set of trips around the country promoting his economic agenda to make a shorter journey to Capitol Hill to meet with House and Senate Democrats," the Wall Street Journal reports. "The back-to-back meetings will occur days before lawmakers are set to leave Washington for a five-week recess. According to congressional aides, the main purpose of the meetings is to ensure that Democrats in Congress and the White House bring the same message to voters during the August break. Mr. Obama is expected to update lawmakers on his renewed focus on the economy, which he has detailed in a number of speeches over the last week, most recently on Tuesday in Chattanooga, Tenn." 

Washington shooting itself in the foot… “A report Wednesday is expected to show the U.S. economy barely grew from April through June. But economists are hopeful that the weak second quarter is a temporary lull that gives way to stronger growth in the second half of the year,” AP writes. “Higher tax increases and steep government spending cuts probably did their worst damage to the economy in the second quarter. As their impact fades, solid job gains, more business spending and a steady recovery in housing should help accelerate growth. Economists forecast that growth slowed in the April-June quarter to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of just 1 percent, according to a survey by FactSet.”

“President Obama hasn't decided whether he'll back final approval for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, but he's made it known in the last several days that he doesn't think much of GOP lawmakers lofty job projections for the transcontinental pipeline project,” USA Today writes.

House Republicans mocked Obama’s claim: Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck: "The Keystone pipeline, which experts agree will create tens of thousands of jobs and increase North American energy independence, is supported by business, labor unions, and two-thirds of the American people. Mocking it seems … bizarrely out-of-touch. "

The facts, per USA Today: “Obama appears to be using projections from a 2011 State Department report that suggests that several thousand temporary construction jobs would be created by the project. A few dozen permanent jobs would be created by the pipeline, according to the State Department report. But the State Department also says the project could ‘potentially support approximately 42,100 average annual jobs across the United States over a one-to-two-year period.’”

Boxed in again by the Pentagon? AP: “The Pentagon said Tuesday it is offering no ‘zero option’ for the number of troops that would remain in Afghanistan after the U.S. combat mission ends in December 2014. It said in a report to Congress that ‘substantial’ long-term military support will be needed to ensure that Afghans can hold off the Taliban insurgency. The White House has not ruled out leaving no troops behind after 2014, although officials say the most likely option is a residual training force of roughly 9,000.”

“The Obama administration's surprise decision to delay a key requirement of the health care law for employers will cost the government $10 billion, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday,” AP writes. “While that's a big number, the report from the official budget scorekeeper for Congress put the administration's recent move within a wider perspective: It adds up to an increase of less than 1 percent in the 10-year cost of the law.”

So… “Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain have been asked by President Barack Obama to travel to Egypt next week to urge the military to move ahead on new elections, the senators said Tuesday,” AP writes. As Roll Call notes, Both McCain and Graham are members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Graham is the ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations."

Biden-Hillary to host Today? “Just hours after [Al] Roker said it would be ‘absolutely awesome’ to have Biden co-host NBC's Today show one day, the veep took to Twitter to respond,” USA Today writes. “ ‘Keep the door open @alroker. Who knows, maybe @HillaryClinton and I can co-host. –VP’ Roker later tweeted back: ‘@VP @HillaryClinton We'd love to have you both. I'll make my famous bacon waffles for you.’”