Speaker of the House

John Boehner

Weekly Address: Why We Need To Stop The President's Iran Deal

2015/08/30

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Transcript

Congress will soon vote on a resolution to prevent implementation of the president’s Iran deal.  House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) is the sponsor of that resolution, and in this week’s Republican address, he makes the case that we need to stop this deal because it makes the world less safe.  “If this agreement goes through,” Royce says, “Iran gets a cash bonanza, it gets a boost to its international standing, and a path toward nuclear weapons.”

You can watch the address now, and check out these news stories:

US Republican says Iran deal makes world 'less safe.’  A top Republican from the US Congress on Saturday blasted the Iran nuclear deal as ‘deeply flawed’ and said the agreement would make the world ‘less safe.’ …  ‘If this agreement goes through, Iran gets a cash bonanza, a boost to its international standing, and a path toward nuclear weapons,’ said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce in the Republicans' weekly address.  ‘This deal is deeply flawed. It makes the world less safe. We can -- and must -- do better,’ he added.  Royce recently introduced a resolution that prevents implementation of the agreement. The House of Representatives will vote on the matter next month.” (AFP)

GOP rep: Iran deal 'falls way short'… The Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee says the nuclear deal with Iran ‘falls way short’ in keeping the Middle East nation honest. … ‘If this agreement goes through, Iran gets a cash bonanza, it gets a boost to its international standing, and a path toward nuclear weapons,’ he said in the GOP’s weekly address. ‘I have come to my conclusions. This deal is deeply flawed. It makes the world less safe.’ (The Hill)

“Republicans continued to knock the president for negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran that ensures Tehran will get ‘a cash bonanza’ after economic sanctions are lifted.  ‘Iran doesn't behave like the peaceful countries that have nuclear programs,’ Rep. Ed Royce, R-California, said in a video Saturday. ‘Why does this agreement treat it like one?’ … ‘We all wanted this negotiation to succeed, but as America's representatives, we must ask - is this agreement in the long-term national security interest of the United States?’ Royce said.” (CBS News)

“In the weekly Republican address, the California lawmaker – who's introduced a resolution preventing implementation of the agreement – delivers a blistering critique of a ‘flawed’ pact that ‘comes up short.  … Citing a long list of problems in the pact, from a 24-day period of warning of an inspection, to the reported self-inspection by Iranians, to the lifting of international restrictions on Iran's intercontinental ballistic missile program, Royce calls the deal ‘deeply flawed.’” (Newsmax)

“House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) gave this week's GOP address speaking about the Iran nuclear deal.   According to Royce, if the deal goes through, Iran will get a ‘cash bonanza,’ which will lead to a path of nuclear weapons.  ‘Is there any other reason why Iran – an energy rich country – is advancing its nuclear technology other than to make a nuclear weapon?’ asked Royce in the address.” (ABC News Radio)

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Weekly Republican Address: The President’s Iran Deal Makes The World Less Safe

2015/08/29

WASHINGTON, DC – Delivering the Weekly Republican Address, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) lays out a detailed case for why the president’s nuclear agreement with Iran makes the world less safe.  Royce recently introduced a resolution that prevents implementation of the agreement.  The House will vote on the matter next month.

“If this agreement goes through, Iran gets a cash bonanza, it gets a boost to its international standing, and a path toward nuclear weapons,” Royce says in the address.  “This deal is deeply flawed.  It makes the world less safe.  We can – and must – do better.”

Royce has been chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee since January 2013, and is in his 12th term representing California’s 39th District. 

NOTE: The audio of the weekly address is available here, embargoed until tomorrow at 6:00 am ET, when the video will be available on Speaker.gov and GOP.gov.

Remarks of House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce of California Weekly Republican Address Irvine, CA August 29, 2015

I’m Ed Royce.  I represent California’s 39th district and chair the Foreign Affairs Committee in the House of Representatives. 

For many weeks, the House and Senate have been reviewing President Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran. 

In September, we will vote on this consequential initiative. 

This is only fitting.  Figuring out how to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon is one of the biggest national security challenges we face.

Unfortunately, this agreement comes up short. 

Under its terms, the U.S. and other world powers permanently give up the financial pressure we have built against Iran.  But Iran must only temporarily stall its nuclear program. 

After just 10 or so years, the restrictions on Iran’s program begin to expire.  Iran is then allowed to expand its nuclear program to an industrial-scale. 

And since Iran is allowed to keep - and advance – key bomb-making technology, Tehran will then be just steps from a nuclear weapon – and that is if Iran doesn’t cheat. 

This will push Iran’s neighbors to begin their own programs.   

Of course, Iran is the number one state sponsor of terrorism in the world.  Its leaders live by the motto “Death to America.” 

Iran doesn’t behave like the peaceful countries that have nuclear programs.  Why does this agreement treat it like one?   

Well, President Obama is betting that Iran will change over a few short years into a country that can be trusted with nuclear bomb-making technology.  He is betting against history. 

So many in the Senate and the House - from both parties - have decided that we can’t make this bet.  And I will be opposing President Obama’s nuclear agreement. 

While most Americans are just now beginning to think about the consequences of this flawed agreement, we have been focused on Iran for many years. 

Indeed, before President Obama launched these negotiations, the House of Representatives passed bipartisan and hard-hitting sanctions I authored by a vote of 400-20.

These sanctions would have given Iran’s Supreme Leader a choice between its nuclear program or economic collapse. 

But the Administration was successful in blocking that legislation from becoming law. 

So instead of us today considering a verifiable, enforceable and accountable agreement – what the Obama Administration sought out to achieve – the Administration settled for an agreement that gives Iran too much, too fast, and at the expense of the security of the United States and our allies. 

While President Obama’s goal was to negotiate the most intrusive inspections in history – the deal falls way short in stopping Iranian cheating. 

Instead of allowing international inspectors into suspicious sites within 24 hours, it will take 24 days

That’s a far cry from “anywhere, anytime” inspections that members of Congress came to expect, and Americans should demand. 

Worse, there have been revelations in recent days about an agreement between Iran and the United Nation’s nuclear watchdog.  This agreement sets the conditions in which a key Iranian military site - suspected of nuclear bomb work - will be explored. 

While the details have been kept from Congress, it’s reported that instead of international inspectors doing the inspecting, Iranians themselves will take the inspection lead.

Iran has cheated on every agreement they’ve signed.  Why are we trusting them on this? 

And when they do cheat, we won’t have any economic pressure left to bear, as the deal guts the sanctions and revives Iran’s economy. 

And where does all the new money go?  To the largest terror network on earth, wreaking havoc across the region, arming the likes of Hezbollah and arming Hamas.

And with the Administration too eager for a deal, Iran won late concessions.  Against the advice of the Pentagon, international restrictions on its intercontinental ballistic missile program are lifted.  These missiles - designed to carry nuclear weapons - threaten our homeland. 

If this agreement goes through, Iran gets a cash bonanza, it gets a boost to its international standing, and a path toward nuclear weapons. 

As Iran grows stronger, we will have fewer ways to respond. 

We all wanted this negotiation to succeed.

But as America’s representatives, we must ask: is this agreement in the long-term national security interest of the United States?

Does it make the world and region more safe, more stable, more secure? 

Is there any other reason why Iran – an energy rich country – is advancing its nuclear technology other than to make a nuclear weapon? 

And why do its leaders chant “Death to America” and “Death to Israel?”

I have come to my conclusions.  This deal is deeply flawed.  It makes the world less safe.  

We can – and must – do better.   

And in a few weeks, I look forward to a debate and vote on this critical national security issue. 

Thank you for listening.

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Iran Deal To Be Focus of This Week’s Republican Address

2015/08/28

WASHINGTON, DC – The president’s nuclear agreement with Iran and its consequences for our national security will be the focus of this week’s Republican address,  to be delivered by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA).  Earlier this month, Royce introduced H.J. Res. 64, legislation preventing implementation of the agreement. 

"Stopping Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon is one of the biggest national security challenges we face.  Unfortunately, the President's Iran agreement is fundamentally flawed, and makes this dire threat more likely - not less,” Chairman Royce said. “I look forward to sharing with Americans the troubling aspects of this agreement as the House and Senate get set for a vote in September."

Rep. Royce became chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in January 2013.  He is in his 12th term representing Southern California’s 39th district.  Learn more by visiting the committee’s official website or by following the committee on Facebook and Twitter

The Weekly Republican Address will be available nationwide starting Saturday, August 29, at 6:00 am ET on Speaker.gov and GOP.gov

 

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The Monkey Returns

2015/08/28

Last year, about this time, the world was officially introduced to the 2nd most photographed subject in the Speaker's office: a small stuffed animal that serves as Speaker Boehner's coffee-table centerpiece.  The Monkey is just one of several unique objects in H-232, but it's the undisputed favorite of Rep. Devin Nunes' three adorable daughters.  

See for yourself in the video below or on Facebook or Twitter.

Related stories: 

  1. The Monkey in the Room
  2. The Speaker Welcomes an Adorable Visitor
  3. Seven Unusual Objects in Speaker Boehner's Office
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This Week In Ongoing VA Incompetence

2015/08/27

President Obama still has no long-term plan to fix the VA, which means our veterans continue to pay the price for its incompetence.

This week, for example, the VA is patting itself on the back for reducing its claims backlog below 100,000 – calling it a “historic milestone” that 98,535 veterans are still waiting for care. 

Well then.  Now, what’s strange about this – beyond the self-congratulation – is that the VA promised that the backlog would be down to nearly zero by now.

Here it is, right on page 5 of the VA’s “Strategic Plan to Eliminate the Compensation Claims Backlog,” issued in January 2013:

But now – outdoing itself in the excuse department – the VA says it’s not actually possible to eliminate the backlog that it’s been promising to eliminate for years.   “Zero for us is not an absolute zero,” one VA official says.  (Only in Washington is zero not really zero.)

As for the September 2015 goal, the VA says that was never a real thing either:

“The VA originally said the backlog would be eliminated by Sept. 30, 2015, then to the end of the calendar year.  Officials now maintain that no firm date was set, but offered only as a way to inspire the department.”  (Military.com)

Wait, what?  So your pledge to end this national health care crisis was just some motivational tactic?  That isn’t just moving the goalposts – it’s moving the field, the fans, and the stadium.  And it’s the kind of bureaucratic doublespeak that our veterans have been enduring for years.

There’s more, as there always is with the VA.  A new internal report says that the agency is also falling short on mental health care despite spending billions of taxpayer dollars:

The VA ‘did not effectively use psychiatrists in its efforts to improve veterans’ access to psychiatric care,’ the inspector general said in the report, adding that poor ‘clinic management practices resulted in unused capacity of its psychiatrists.’  In 2014, Secretary Robert McDonald announced another hiring initiative as part of a broad reform package… Since then, the VA hasn’t come up with effective hiring goals or an effective department-wide system for managing psychiatrists, leaving these determinations to local hospital networks that haven’t been fully effective, the report says.” (The Wall Street Journal)

This is the same thing that happened after Congress expanded access to private care: the VA did little to implement the program because of “resistance to change among employees.”

This is why Speaker Boehner always says that while we can keep passing reforms, only the president can change at the culture at the VA.  Because even when we give the VA the tools to fix problems, it doesn’t follow up with any kind of plan or urgency.  And the longer the president fails to offer a plan to clean up this mess, the longer things will go on this way.

By the way, the VA has promised to do better on mental health care, and “most of the improvements have a target completion date of September 2016.” 

Now is that a real date? Or is it just meant to ‘inspire the department’? 

It’s sad that we have to ask, and yet here we are.

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The Truth About the Iran Deal

2015/08/27

How bad is President Obama's potential deal with Iran?  So bad, that it doesn't even meet his administration's own bench marks.  And in the video below, Speaker Boehner calls out the president for his false claims about his "deal."  But there is one thing we know to be true: a bad deal with Iran is worse than no deal at all.

At just 36 seconds long, the video is worth a watch.

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The Dangerous Ramifications of Allowing Iran to Self-Inspect

2015/08/26

President Obama boasts his deal includes ‘unprecedented verification.’  He claims it’s not built on trust.   He is fooling no one.  Former International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Deputy Director General and head of Safeguards Dr. Olli Heinonen wrote a new memo about the unusual and flawed inspection protocols at Parchin – a site at which the IAEA suspects Iran may have conducted weaponization activities.  In the memo, Dr. Heinonen explains:

  • “Much of the current concerns arise from the reported arrangements worked out between the IAEA and Iran in the side documents to address [possible military dimensions (PMDs)] issues.  If the reporting is accurate, these procedures appear to be risky, departing significantly from well-established and proven safeguards practices. At a broader level, if verification standards have been diluted for Parchin (or elsewhere) and limits imposed, the ramification is significant as it will affect the IAEA’s ability to draw definitive conclusions with the requisite level of assurances and without undue hampering of the verification process.”
  • “If the parts of the leaked document and statements about Iranian sample taking at Parchin are correct, it raises questions that must be answered. ... The issue of confidentiality is an important matter for the IAEA. However, it should not be used as a blanket to stop legitimate questions, particularly regarding verification methods at Parchin. Historically, the IAEA has not viewed such issues as confidential.  The IAEA and its member states have disclosed much more detailed facility-specific approaches at regular safeguards symposia.  The best way forward will be for the IAEA and Iran, with support from the United States, to seek release of the document in question and provide explanations for the concerns raised about the Parchin process.”
  • “Parchin could well end up as the yardstick for whether or not Western countries are serious about PMD issues in the future, not just the past. We need to be aware of the likely ramifications of remote sampling—samples taken by individuals other than designated IAEA inspectors—if this indeed is the plan for Parchin. This approach creates a precedent not only for other military installations or sites with proprietary or sensitive information in Iran, but also for other countries.

National security experts and outside observers agree it is beyond absurd to allow the Iranians to self-inspect a key military site.  The American people want to know any nuclear agreement with Iran will keep our country safe.  While President Obama refuses to provide these side deals to Congress for review and desperately dodges facts, it’s not surprising that a recent CNN survey shows “a growing majority of Americans are turning against the nuclear deal with Iran and believe Congress should reject” it.   

“The Obama administration has a lot of explaining to do,” Speaker Boehner said last week.  “Why should Iran be trusted to carry out its own nuclear inspections at a military site it tried to hide from the world?  How does this not set a precedent for future inspections at suspicious military sites in Iran?”

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Speaker Boehner Honors 19th Amendment Anniversary

2015/08/26

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement in honor of the anniversary of the certification of the 19th Amendment:

“Ninety-five years ago, Republican majorities in the House and the Senate passed the 19th amendment and finally gave women the right to vote. It is one of the best bills to ever pass Congress. Our nation and our political system immediately became stronger, wiser and more powerful because American women were in the voting booths.

“Today, we celebrate this historic achievement while acknowledging that Washington has more work to do to empower women. Every decision is better when women are at the table – and especially in Congress.

“House Republicans believe that every issue is a woman’s issue. We’re continuing to move forward with a positive agenda that will improve women’s lives by helping them find good jobs, provide for their families, and achieve their dreams.” 

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A Back to School Quiz (It’s Short, Don’t Worry)

2015/08/25

With some 70 million students going back to school this fall – from elementary school all the way to college – we’ve put together a short quiz to get ready for another year of hitting the books.  Yeah, it’s too early for homework and tests, but this one is short, has chances for extra credit, and it’s an easy way to learn more about what we’re doing to help every student get a great education:

1. How many years has it been since both the House and Senate have passed K-12 education reform bills?

A)     4 B)      14 C)      24

2. How many Americans use 529 plans to help save for college?

A)     1.4 million B)      11.4 million C)      111.4 million

3. On average, each member of the Class of 2015 graduated with how much student loan debt?

A)     $3,505 B)      $35,051 C)      $350,510

4. The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) is the only program in America where the federal government allows families to choose the schools that are best for their children.  How many Opportunity Scholarship students are enrolled in local schools this year?  (Bonus if you can identify what percentage of OSP students graduate from high school.)

A)     14 B)      1,442 C)      14,442

Answer Key

1. B. After years of delay, it took just six months for the new Congress to pass K-12 education bills.  These reforms would restore local control of education, reduce the federal footprint in the classroom, and empower parents with more choices.  The next step is for the House and Senate to reach an agreement on a final bill to send to the president’s desk.  (H.R. 5 & S. 1177, 114th Congress)

2. B. Earlier this year, even with tuition rising on his watch, President Obama proposed a tax on middle-class college savings.  Republicans stopped the president’s scheme and passed a bill to expand and modernize 529 plans for working families.  This rewards people who start saving early, and encourages more Americans to do the same.  (H.R. 529, 114th Congress)

3. B. President Obama got the federal government more involved in student loans, and it hasn’t worked.   The Class of 2015 graduated college with more debt than any class in history.  Republicans fought to take the politics – and the government – out of the student loan business.  Instead of having politicians set rates, our market-based reforms will make it easier to pay for college over time.  (H.R. 1911, 113th Congress)

4. B.  Data from a recent school year shows that 97 percent of OSP students are graduating from high school.  The program has sky high approval ratings too.  One Opportunity Scholarship parent has said, “It’s one thing I don’t have to worry about…knowing that my children are going to great schools.”  This is a model for the rest of the country, but to protect the status quo, the Obama administration has repeatedly tried to shut the program down.  Led by Speaker Boehner, Republicans saved – and expanded – the D.C. school choice program.  Expanding school choice and charter schools are also key parts of our K-12 education plan.  (H.R. 1473, 112th Congress)

To learn more, just go to speaker.gov/education.  And, of course, have a great school year! 

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Speaker Boehner Applauds New Administrator of Opportunity Scholarship Program

2015/08/24

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today applauded the news that Serving Our Children has been selected to serve as the new administrator of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program (DC OSP):

“Serving Our Children is the right organization to improve oversight and accountability in the Opportunity Scholarship Program, and ensure more students have access to the invaluable resources it provides.  This program is the only initiative in America where the federal government allows parents to choose the school that best fits their child’s needs.  It has proven overwhelmingly popular among parents, and successful in increasing graduation rates amongst students.  I am disappointed that President Obama phased out funding for DC OSP in his budget, and I urge Congress to continue supporting the program to ensure more students have access to a high-quality education – the great equalizer in America - regardless of their zip code.” 

NOTE: As chairman of the Education & the Workforce Committee, Speaker Boehner helped create the Opportunity Scholarship Program, and has continued advocating for school choice initiatives throughout his time in Congress.  Improving our education system is a key tenet of Speaker Boehner’s five-point framework for resetting America’s economic foundation. 

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One Month to Go: Pope Francis Addresses a Joint Meeting of Congress

2015/08/24

One month from today – Thursday, September 24 – Pope Francis will address a joint meeting of the United States Congress. 

To start getting ready, you can watch a new teaser video in which Speaker Boehner talks about:

  • What makes this address historic;
  • How long he’s been working to make this happen; and
  • Why he, like many Americans, is looking forward to the Pope’s address.

In the coming weeks, you'll be able to take part in the run-up to the Pope’s address and go behind the scenes as it all happens.  Here’s how to make sure you don’t miss a thing:

For now, check out “The Biggest Long Shot" for more on the central role faith has played in the Speaker's life, including his decision to run for Congress.

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Boehner in Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: For the sake of jobs, lift the ban on exporting U.S. oil

2015/08/24

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review August 22, 2015

The United States recently overtook Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the world's leading oil and natural gas producer. This is a big achievement, especially when you consider that just a decade ago, our energy future looked murky. We were importing most of the oil we consumed; we were building terminals to import natural gas. Congress even passed a law in 2006 to move the country toward other sources of energy.

Republicans didn't give up, though. We included a provision in that same law — the Energy Policy Act — which recognized that the states were doing a good job regulating the process of hydraulic fracturing. We saw that Washington didn't need to dictate how things were done or get involved at all.

Ten years later, this one provision has helped unleash a national energy boom that has created countless jobs and a manufacturing revolution.

How extensive is this boom? It is the most rapid increase in oil and natural gas production in American history. Job growth in the oil and gas industry has far outpaced the economy as a whole. Across the country, gasoline prices continue to fall by the day. And if trends hold, it could soon become cheaper to make things here than in China.

The story is being repeated nationwide. For example, after decades of decline, Youngstown, Ohio, is experiencing a comeback due to a surge in energy production. Unemployment is less than half of what it was six years ago. “None of this would have happened if not for the oil and gas industry,” one local union leader said. And these aren't just good jobs. They are good-paying jobs: in Pennsylvania, wages in the oil and gas sector jumped by roughly 79 percent over a 10-year period. That's more than triple the increase for the state as a whole.

There's more. Because of this boom, we have an opportunity to reset the foundation of our economy for generations to come. Abroad, we can help our allies become less dependent on countries like Russia that essentially use energy as ransom to charge higher prices and exert more control.

All of this has happened despite the fact that the Obama administration has actually reduced energy production on federal lands. Indeed, that one provision in a 550-page bill has shown how much progress we can make when we encourage innovation as part of an all-of-the-above energy policy. And it sets the stage for what we have to do next.

You see, for all its success, this energy boom is currently running into a brick wall in the form of other federal government policies that date back to the 1970s. Even as the Obama administration seeks to lift sanctions on Iran's oil exports, the law is still keeping our own producers from exporting crude oil. Most Americans don't even know that we have such a ban, but we do, and it costs them every time they fill up their gas tank.

By lifting the ban, we can create about a million more jobs at home. We can increase household incomes and lower prices at the pump even further. And we can help our allies, including Israel, which imports much of its oil from Russia. With all the potential here, I hope the administration will work with us in the coming months to lift the oil export ban once and for all.

America has the talent, the know-how and the God-given resources to be an energy superpower if we make the right choices. Ten years from now, let's be able to again look back and say that we made the right call.

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“This is beyond absurd”

2015/08/22

“The Obama administration has a lot of explaining to do,” Speaker Boehner said this week in response to an Associated Press report that a secret side deal in the president’s proposed nuclear agreement with Iran will allow the Iranians to self-inspect a key military site.    

National security experts and outside observers agree:

  • “This is a new one in the history of arms control.” “Iran will be allowed to use its own inspectors at the secret Parchin nuclear site under its secret side agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)… the country that lied for years about its nuclear weapons program will now be trusted to come clean about those lies.” – Wall Street Journal Editorial , 8/20/15
  • "It is very unusual.” "I find it really hard to understand why you would let someone else take the samples and only see through the camera." – Olli Heinonen, Harvard senior fellow and former IAEA deputy director general8/20/15
  • "I don't know why they accepted it.” "It's really not normal, and you have to worry that this would set a bad precedent in the Iran context and in the context of other countries… I think the IAEA is probably getting a little desperate to settle this." – David Albright, founder and president of the Institute for Science and International Security, 8/20/15
  • “This isn't a game of political gotcha with Iran. It's key to ensuring Iran can't quickly build a nuclear weapon.” “Parchin is just one military facility that the IAEA should visit.  What are the ground rules for all the others?  Will Iran call the shots?” – Chicago Tribune Editorial, 7/31/15
  • “It’s… the devil in the details.” “Will the IAEA be present at the site?... U.S. officials consistently say that this is confidential, and it’s between the IAEA and Iran itself… These are hard questions the administration is going to have to answer.” Jim Sciutto, CNN Chief National Security Correspondent, 8/20/15
  • White House is asking Congress “to take a big risk.” “They're saying one, don't worry because [the deal] is iron-clad and it's good…. The other thing that's being said is that this doesn't really affect the fundamental validity of the deal.  They're asking [Congress] to believe those two things without really being able to know everything you would want to know.” – Charles Lane, Washington Post, 8/20/15
  • “This is beyond absurd.” “We know for 35 years based on evidence we cannot trust Iran…  Even those who support the deal have to insist that the administration must come forward and reveal what is the content of this agreement between Iran and the IAEA.  Without that full disclosure I don't know how anybody can vote in favor of the deal.” – Gen. Jack Keane, USA (Ret.), 8/20/15
  • Deals “must include mechanisms that allow the U.S. to gauge compliance.” “‘Trust but verify,’ as Ronald Reagan said.  Putting verification in Iran’s hands will not put anything off 10 or 15 years.  It will allow Iran to keep doing whatever it wants to.” – Fort Wayne News-Sentinel Editorial, 8/21/15
  • “What could possibly go wrong!” “Members of Congress — and the voters who sent them there — have every right to demand transparency about agreements that truly are a critical part of the Iran nuclear deal before they vote on the deal itself.” – Boston Herald Editorial, 8/21/15

The American people want to know any nuclear agreement with Iran will keep our country safe.  While President Obama refuses to provide these side deals to Congress for review and desperately dodges facts, it’s not surprising that a new CNN survey shows “a growing majority of Americans are turning against the nuclear deal with Iran and believe Congress should reject” it.   

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You Have 126 Days…

2015/08/21

…To complete your holiday shopping. 

That’s right, just 126 days until Christmas.  Wrapping presents, egg nog, and chestnuts roasting over an open fire might seem a far way off to you, but for the folks of south central Alaska, Christmas has been on their minds all year long. 

The U.S. Forest Service announced back in January that the Chugach National Forest had been selected to provide the 2015 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, also known as the People’s Tree.  Terri Marceron, Chugach Forest Supervisor says, “Alaskans rely on the Chugach National Forest and other public lands for work, food, community, inspiration, and joy.”  This is the first time the Last Frontier state has been chosen to showcase the Alaskan landscape on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol. 

Similar to years past, 5,000 ornaments made by students and community members across the tree’s homeland will embellish the tree.  The specific 60-85 foot tree has not yet been selected, but when it is we’ll be sure to keep you updated on its journey from Alaska to the nation’s capital. 

Once the mighty pine arrives in early November, the Office of the Architect of the Capitol will get to work trimming and decorating the tree before members of the House, Senate and Capitol community gather for a ceremony where Speaker Boehner and a special guest will light the tree. 

Until then, check out tree lightings from years past here and here.  And in case you haven’t already seen it, take a look at the 2011 time lapse video of the tree’s arrival.

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The Capitol Christmas Tree Lights Up

Had a very special 10-year-old guest from Make-A-Wish America to help light this year's Capitol #Christmas tree, and Aaron did a great job. Watch the quick video to see the tree light up for the first time → http://j.mp/15OcguE

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday, December 3, 2014
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PHOTO: The Speaker Welcomes an Adorable Visitor

2015/08/20

Speaker Boehner hosts a lot of different visitors in his office in the U.S. Capitol, including the Prime Minister of Ukraine, the President of Afghanistan, and the entire men's basketball team from Xavier University.  But none of those guests are nearly as adorable as Rep. Devin Nunes' three daughters, who periodically pop into H-232 to check on the Speaker and his coffee-table centerpiece.

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I have the privilege of hosting a lot of different visitors at the U.S. Capitol, such as The Prime Minister of Israel...

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Thursday, August 20, 2015

As a father of two daughters himself, Speaker Boehner can relate well with Rep. Nunes and his girls. But just recently, in an announcement on Facebook, the Speaker added a new title to his resume: grandfather.  His grandson, Alistair Lane, was born last week at 8 lbs, 3 oz and is 20 inches long.

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It’s a boy! Very excited to announce the birth of my first grandchild, Alistair Lane. Both baby & mother are doing well.

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Thursday, August 13, 2015
Stay tuned for a behind-the-scenes video of the Nunes girls' visit in a video to be released next week.

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Media Ridicules Hillary Clinton’s ‘Partisanship’ Claims

2015/08/20

In a heated and defiant appearance” over the weekend, Secretary Clinton lashed out at Republicans in a desperate bid to shift blame for the controversy surrounding her use of a private email server and the classified information found on her account.  Her strategy fell as flat as her stand up, with numerous commentators ridiculing her claims of a ‘partisan witch hunt’ when the email controversy – and the significant national security concerns it has raised – is a problem entirely of her own making:  

  • The Washington Post’s David Ignatius: “This Is a Self-Inflicted Wound” “It’s not a trivial issue.  Secretary Clinton wandered into this with her email server, she’s been scrambling ever since. … This is a self-inflicted wound.  She has nobody to blame but herself.”  (MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” 8/18/15)
  • RealClearPolitics’ Alexis Simendinger: “Clinton Can Blame Herself” “Clinton can blame herself. She may point to Republicans as culprits behind a barrage of partisan attacks, but she was advised to pull back the email curtain, seek an independent review, turn over her server and respond exhaustively to questions. She declined.” (RealClearPolitics, 8/15/15)
  • The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson: “Hard To Claim This Is All Just a Partisan Witch Hunt When the Justice Department Under a Democratic Administration Is Looking Into the Whole Email Mess” “It’s hard to claim this is all just a partisan witch hunt when the Justice Department under a Democratic administration is looking into the whole email mess.   So, that doesn’t ring so true.” (NBC’s “Meet the Press,” 8/16/15)
    • Robinson: “If Clinton now has political problems because of the e-mails — or, potentially,  even legal trouble — it’s her own doing.” (The Washington Post, 8/17/15)
  • The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza: “Hillary Clinton Is Trying to Make the E-Mail Controversy Political. But, Really, It Isn’t” “Hillary Clinton is trying to make the e-mail controversy political. But, really, it isn’t. … Without an aggressive push by Republicans, we might have never known about Clinton's e-mail server. True. But now that we do know, trying to cast the story as nothing more than the same old partisan warfare misses the factual mark. By a lot.” (The Washington Post, 8/15/15)
  • Bloomberg Politics’ Mark Halperin: “They're Dealing with this Issue with Spin and Misdirection” “They're dealing with this issue with spin and misdirection rather than authenticity and honesty and openness, which is what the public would like, I think, with everyone. … And as long as their posture toward it is to deny and to spin, I think she's setting herself for this to be a very long-running problem.” (CBS’ “Face the Nation,” 8/15/15)
  • The Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty: “It’s Impossible to Say this Is Just a Partisan Witch Hunt” “It’s impossible to say this is just a partisan witch hunt.  You know, she was saying that about the Benghazi investigation on the Hill. You cannot say that when the F.B.I. is involved and when the department of justice, as we reported on Friday, has assigned the same prosecutor who prosecuted David Petraeus to this case.” (MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” 8/17/15)
  • Bob Woodward: “But, the other issue here is, for Hillary Clinton to go out, as she did, in recent days and say, this is politics. This is dirty politics. They're trying to smear me in an unfair way, that dog will not hunt, at all. You have got Barack Obama's government now investigating her and looking at this.” (MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” 8/17/15)
  • The Charlotte Observer: “It Was Clinton, Not the Right Wing, Who Sent and Received More Than 60,000 Emails While Secretary of State on a Personal Account” This wound is entirely self-inflicted. It was Clinton, not the right wing, who sent and received more than 60,000 emails while secretary of state on a personal account run through a private server in her Chappaqua, N.Y., home. That was a deliberate attempt to block the pesky public from ever nosing around in public records.  Clinton deleted more than 31,000 of those emails, sitting as judge and jury over what’s a personal email and what’s not. Then she tried to wipe the server clean.” (Editorial, 8/18/15)
  • Former Democratic Aide Julie Roginsky: “When You Do Something You Should Not Have Done in the First Place…You’ve Got Really Nobody to Blame But Yourself When the Firestorm Erupts” “Julie Roginsky, a former aide to Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), told Fox News’s ‘Media Buzz’ over the weekend that the criticism Clinton had received was ‘deserved and it is entirely self-inflicted by Hillary Clinton…When you do something you should not have done in the first place, which is put your public emails on a private server, you’ve got really nobody to blame but yourself when the firestorm erupts.’” (The Hill, 8/19/15)

Since its inception, the House Select Committee on Benghazi has remained squarely focused on getting all the facts surrounding the terrorist attacks that took the lives of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya.  Secretary Clinton and the Obama administration have, for their part, repeatedly stonewalled those effortswithheld emails, and refused to turn over her server until the FBI was brought in.  Now, Secretary Clinton is deliberately misleading Americans and trying to deflect criticism for the choices she, and she alone, has made.  “Republicans will not stop until we get to the truth,” Speaker Boehner has made clear.  “We will press forward with our investigation until we have answers, full accountability, and justice.”

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Speaker Boehner Statement on Iran Nuclear Agreement’s Secret Side Deals

2015/08/19

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement in response to an AP report that the secret side deals in the Iran nuclear agreement will cede IAEA inspections authority to Tehran:

The Obama administration has a lot of explaining to do.  Why haven’t these secret side agreements been provided to Congress and the American people for review?  Why should Iran be trusted to carry out its own nuclear inspections at a military site it tried to hide from the world?  How does this not set a precedent for future inspections at suspicious military sites in Iran?

“President Obama boasts his deal includes ‘unprecedented verification.’  He claims it’s not built on trust.   But the administration’s briefings on these side deals have been totally insufficient – and it still isn’t clear whether anyone at the White House has seen the final documents.  The American people and their representatives in Congress have serious questions about whether this nuclear agreement will keep our country safe, and it’s time for this administration to provide honest answers.” 

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NO JOKE: 5 Whoppers from Hillary Clinton’s Press Conference

2015/08/19

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may try as she might to impugn the work of the Select Committee on Benghazi – and Republicans' efforts to get the truth about what happened before, during, and after the terrorist attack in Libya – but as one liberal columnist for the Washington Post put it this week: “If Clinton now has political problems because of the e-mails — or, potentially, even legal trouble — it’s her own doing.”

Secretary Clinton didn’t help herself yesterday, repeatedly making false claims instead of coming clean.  Here’s a summary:

Myth: “What I did was legally permitted …”

FACT: Under National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) regulations adopted in 1995 and updated in 2009, she was obligated to “ensure that Federal records sent or received on such systems [not operated by the agency] are preserved in the appropriate agency record-keeping system.”  She failed to do so.  Moreover, she’s contradicted the policies of her own State Department.  An order sent from Clinton’s office to all State Department employees on June 28, 2011 included this instruction: “Avoid conducting official Department business from your personal e-mail accounts.” And during her tenure, an American ambassador was forced to resign after an internal audit detailed his failure to “accept clear-cut U.S. Government decisions,” including those related to “the nonuse of commercial email for official government business.”  The Washington Post Fact Checker previously awarded her three Pinocchios for her dishonesty on this claim.

Myth: “I had not sent classified material nor received anything mark classified.”

FACT: First, Clinton claimed in March that “I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material.”  Conveniently, after it was discovered that her email did, in fact, include classified information she claimed that “I did not receive anything that was marked as classified.”  We know this “marked as classified” trick is a complete and total ruse, having debunked it here and here.  As Clinton well knows, whether the information was marked or not matters little.  Because writing classified intelligence information into an unclassified email does not make the information unclassified.  It’s still classified.  And it doesn’t excuse the fact that the classified information itself is still included in your emails in the first place.  Those who have security clearances are responsible, and liable, for following proper procedures and the law.

Myth: “We turned over everything that was work related. Every single thing.”

FACT:  Actually, she withheld official email records about Benghazi.  The Obama administration confirmed that Clinton withheld at least 15 work-related emails, including some related to Libya and the Benghazi attack.  Sidney Blumenthal, not Hillary Clinton, turned these email records over to the Select Committee.  The administration also confirmed that Clinton apparently deleted parts of at least six emails before turning them over to the State Department.  These parts related to official government business.  The Select Committee has previously pointed out that there are several inexplicable gaps in Clinton’s email record. What emails are still missing?

Myth:  “In order to be as cooperative as possible, we have turned over the server.”

FACT:  Secretary Clinton made clear months ago she had no intention of voluntarily surrendering her email server to anyone, despite requests from Chairman Gowdy and others to turn it over to a neutral, third party for forensic examination.  And she didn’t.  Then the FBI opened its inquiry and started asking questions, and then the FBI asked for the server.  As the Washington Post confirmed, Platte River Networks actually turned over the server to the FBI after the agency requested it.

Myth: “I want the American people to see everything that was part of my time in the State Department.”

FACT: If that were true, why did she turn over nothingnada – when she left office as Secretary of State, failing to comply with official government policy?  When the State Department finally asked her to turn over all of her work-related emails nearly two years later (to comply with a request by the Benghazi Select Committee), she and her lawyers alone decided which emails to provide to the Obama administration.  And then they wiped her server clean, deleting tens of thousands of other messages.  A December 2012 letter from the House Oversight Committee asked her the following: “Have you or any senior agency official ever used a personal email account to conduct official business? If so, please identify the account used.” She never responded.

The fact is, were in not for Speaker Boehner’s decision to create the Select Committee, as well as Chairman Gowdy’s dogged pursuit of State Department documents, all of the information we’ve learned over the last six months about her secretive email arrangement would never have become public.  She set up a private email server in her home to ensure her employer did not have access to any of her work-related emails, which are public records.  And she had no intention of ever making these email records public until she was forced to do so.  This handy chart highlights how the Select Committee’s discovery of Clinton’s private email server led to the FBI inquiry.

5 Whoppers from Hillary Clinton’s Press Conference → http://t.co/elklLUioAX pic.twitter.com/CiWCxoiNJe

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) August 19, 2015
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The White House is Abandoning Ukraine

2015/08/18

As Russian-backed forces increase their attacks, it’s clear Vladimir Putin has no intention of abiding by the internationally-brokered ceasefire in Ukraine.

Ukraine desperately needs aid and defensive weapons to defend its freedom, and Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has said he’s “very much inclined” to use the authorization Congress granted last year to give Ukraine this critical support.  But despite continued pressure from top advisers – as well as Speaker Boehner and other top Republicans and Democrats in Congress – President Obama refuses to sign off. 

Making matters worse, the White House is now delaying other, non-lethal aid for the besieged people of Ukraine.  The Wall Street Journal  notes:

“The Journal reported in July that the Pentagon was considering transferring the AN/TPQ-36 and 37 Firefinder radar system to Ukraine.  The system would allow Kiev to better surveil Kremlin-held territory, and to locate and silence the sources of incoming artillery fire.

“The system is ready to be delivered, according to a senior American military official, who says the U.S. military is also prepared to provide training.  But the Pentagon still needs political authorization in Washington almost a month after the original announcement was made to great press fanfare.”

Countering Putin's aggression in the wake of the Obama administration’s failed “reset” with Russia has been a top priority for Speaker Boehner and the House Republican majority.  In June, the speaker led a Congressional delegation to Europe for talks with key allies on bolstering transatlantic trade, energy security and defense cooperation.  “Closer ties between the United States and Europe means less leverage for Russia and the world’s aggressors,” Boehner said.  

But sadly, the Obama administration continues to focus more on befriending our enemies than helping our allies.  The crisis in Ukraine is just one more example of how giving thugs like Vladimir Putin “more flexibility” only creates a much more dangerous world.  

READ MORE:

In Lithuania, Speaker Boehner Reaffirms Commitment to Counter Russian Aggression

Speaker Boehner Welcomes the Prime Minister of Ukraine to the U.S. Capitol

President Obama Should Stand Up to Putin, Provide Energy & Arms to Ukraine

Bipartisan Pressure Leaves President Isolated on Ukraine

Boehner Praises Bipartisan Vote to Support Ukraine

Six Years Ago: President Obama’s Failed Reset with Russia

Read More

Five Things We've Done to Cut Spending

2015/08/18

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We can’t preserve the American Dream unless we get serious about solving our spending problem. That’s why this Republican Congress passed a 10 year balanced budget plan WITHOUT raising your taxes.

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday, August 18, 2015

We can’t preserve the American Dream, Speaker Boehner says, unless we get serious about solving our spending problem. That’s why, from the start, the new Republican majority instituted real fiscal discipline, forcing President Obama to accept tight spending caps.  Then we built on that success with more cuts and more reforms.  “The Obama spending blitz is over,The Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore wrote.  In fact, according to POLITICO, President Obama “will leave office with fewer real dollars for domestic appropriations than President George W. Bush had before him.” Last year, the federal deficit fell to $488 billion, its lowest point since 2007.  Of course, that’s still far too high, and the nation continues to face a long-term debt crisis, but we’re making progress

Here are some of the things we have done to stop Washington’s spending binge: 1. We have cut government spending by more than $2.1 trillion and counting.   Overall discretionary spending has been reduced by $176 billion since FY 2010.  When projected out over 10 years, we’re on track to save taxpayers $2.13 trillion.  These are the most significant spending reductions in modern history – more significant than under Reagan & O’Neill and Clinton & Gingrich. (H.R. 83, 113th Congress)

2. We have enacted the first real entitlement reform in nearly two decades.  Discretionary spending cuts are important, but to truly solve our spending problem, Speaker Boehner says, our entitlement programs “need to be fixed and put on a sustainable path, and we can in fact do that.”  A good first step, the Medicare reforms enacted this spring could save taxpayers $2.9 trillion over the long term.  That figure comes from Medicare’s own financial experts, and it shows why editorial boards are calling this reform a “milestone” for the country. (H.R. 2, 114th Congress)

3. We have passed the first 10-year joint balanced budget plan since 2001. This plan balances the budget without raising taxes, saves taxpayers more than $5 trillion, and ensures a strong national defense.  Republicans in Congress got this done within four months of taking office, while President Obama has never proposed a budget that balances – ever.  Former Speaker Newt Gingrich wrote, “The comparison between undisciplined, out-of-control spending and a pro-growth plan to cut spending and reduce the size and scope of the federal government should hearten every conservative.” (S. Con. Res. 11, 114th Congress) 4. We have cut the cost of Congress.  “I thought if we were going to make plans to cut the rest of the federal government,” Speaker Boehner says, “we ought to start with Congress first.”  As a result, we’re now on track to save taxpayers $782 million, which represents a 14 percent cut in the cost of House operations.  (H.R. 2550, 114th Congress) 5. We’ve brought transparency and accountability to the way taxpayer dollars are spent.  In March 2009, President Obama – who actually campaigned on a pledge of earmark reform – signed an appropriations measure that included roughly 9,000 earmarks.  The new Republican majority kept its word and immediately banned earmarks, eliminating a source of excessive spending and broken government.   In addition, we implemented new rules to make it both easier to cut spending and harder to increase spending.  And by instituting a more open and transparent process, we’ve boosted scrutiny of spending bills.

READ MORE: 10 Things We’ve Done to Protect Jobs & Grow Our Economy Seven Things We’ve Done to Help Veterans Five Points Roadmap: Solving Our Spending Problem

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The House’s Investigations into Planned Parenthood

2015/08/18

In July, Speaker Boehner called for hearings on the grisly practices embraced by Planned Parenthood, and called on President Obama to denounce them.  Here’s what he said:

“Nothing is more precious than life, especially an unborn child.  When anyone diminishes an unborn child, we are all hurt, irreversibly so.  When an organization monetizes an unborn child – and with the cavalier attitude portrayed in this horrific video – we must all act.   As a start, I have asked our relevant committees to look into this matter. I am also calling on President Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell to denounce, and stop, these gruesome practices.”

While the president has refused to denounce Planned Parenthood, the investigations by our House committees have begun.  Here’s an update from House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy on where they stand:

What the House is Doing About Planned Parenthood

The videos of Planned Parenthood employees detailing and engaging in gruesome abortion practices are profoundly disturbing, and no person can escape being sickened by what Planned Parenthood is doing and the callousness of how they do it. The White House may not want to look at the problem in the face, but the rest of America knows that as good and decent people, we can’t turn a blind eye to Planned Parenthood’s abortion industry.

When these videos first came out, the House immediately started investigating Planned Parenthood. And over the course of over a month, we have demanded answers to determine whether abortion providers are profiting from selling fetal body parts and organs, whether abortion providers change procedures in order to maximize their harvesting of body parts, and if there are any other violations of federal law or ways Congress can respond to these horrifying practices.

We need to get all the facts about Planned Parenthood so that the American people know exactly what is going on. Once we’ve gotten to the bottom of Planned Parenthood’s abortion business, we can work to stop any illegal selling of fetal body parts and make sure no taxpayer is ever forced to give their money to fund these repulsive practices.

This is what the House has done so far.

  • The Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to the President of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, to request a briefing with Dr. Deborah Nucatola, the Senior Director of Medical Services from the first video. Dr. Reagan McDonald-Mosley, the Chief Medical Officer of Planned Parenthood, has given a briefing to the committee.
  • The House Judiciary Committee demanded that Attorney General Loretta Lynch investigate potential violations of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act by Planned Parenthood and detail to Congress exactly how laws barring the sale of human organs and fetal tissue have or have not been enforced.
  • The Education and Workforce Committee heard testimony by Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell on the videos.
  • The Energy and Commerce Committee sent letters to Planned Parenthood and several research companies requesting information on their practices regarding fetal tissue collection, sale, and donation.
  • The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform sent letters to HHS and Planned Parenthood seeking more information on the money that Planned Parenthood receives from taxpayers and the services Planned Parenthood provides.

We will continue our investigation, and we will not rest until we know the whole truth about exactly what Planned Parenthood is doing as they harvest organs. Life is sacred, and as a good and loving society we cannot accept this callous disregard for life. We must and we will stand up for the weakest among us, especially those who can’t stand up for themselves.

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Secretary Clinton Had No Intention of Surrendering Her Email Records

2015/08/17

In an interview with Iowa Public Radio over the weekend, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton repeated one of her favorite false claims about her unusual email arrangement.  Here’s what she said:

“If I had not asked for my emails all to be made public, none of  this would have been in the public arena.”

That is false.  She actually turned over nothingnada – when she left office as Secretary of State, failing to comply with official government policy.  When the State Department finally asked her to turn over all of her work-related emails nearly two years later (to comply with a request by the Benghazi Select Committee), she and her lawyers alone decided which emails to provide to the Obama administration.  And then they wiped her server clean, deleting tens of thousands of other messages. 

A December 2012 letter from the House Oversight Committee asked her the following: “Have you or any senior agency official ever used a personal email account to conduct official business? If so, please identify the account used.” She never responded.

So her secretive email arrangement and her work-related emails were never going to become public, and Clinton had no intention of surrendering her private email server voluntarily.  Were it not for Speaker Boehner’s decision to create the Select Committee, as well as Chairman Gowdy’s dogged pursuit of State Department documents, all of the information we’ve learned over the last six months about her email arrangement would never have become public.  This handy chart highlights how the Select Committee’s discovery of Clinton’s private email server led to the FBI inquiry.

For a quick reference guide on Secretary Clinton’s false claims on this matter, please click here.  And more on her most recent false claims, here and here.

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Weekly Address: We Are Making Progress

2015/08/16

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Transcript

“These initiatives are already making a real difference,” Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) says in this week’s Republican address, which focuses on the new Congress’s accomplishments to date, including the first real entitlement reform in nearly two decades, new reforms to improve veterans’ health care, and new tools to fight human trafficking. 

In all, Guthrie lists at least seven ways we're making progress, including taking steps to stop the president's Iran deal. 

For more, watch the address, and check out these news stories:

  • Kentucky Rep. Brett Guthrie lauded congressional accomplishments, including Medicare reform, expanded private access to care for veterans and fast-track trade legislation.   ‘These initiatives are already making a real difference,' Guthrie said. ‘And they show what we can achieve when we find common ground.  But, Guthrie added, ‘we have a long way to go.’  The Kentucky Republican laid out plans to repeal the president's Affordable Care Act and neuter the recently negotiated Iran nuclear deal.” (CBS News)
  • Touting a list of accomplishments for the Republican-led Congress, Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky., said in the GOP weekly address that the party's priorities are on repealing ObamaCare and stopping President Obama's nuclear deal with Iran. … Among the accomplishments he cited were the passage of a balanced budget blueprint, a veterans' bill, an anti-human trafficking measure, the trade promotion authority given to the president and the Medicare ‘doc fix’ legislation passed in the spring.  ‘These initiatives are already making a real difference. And they show what we can achieve when we find common ground,’ Guthrie said. ‘But, of course, we know that we have a long way to go.’” (Washington Examiner)
  • The Republican-controlled House has made a great deal of progress this year, and will continue that trend by taking careful consideration of President Barack Obama's deal with Iran, Rep. Brett Guthrie said Saturday. …  Guthrie, who has co-sponsored a House bill expressing Congress' disapproval of the Iran deal, said that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle will need to determine if the deal makes the country safer. … In Saturday's speech, Guthrie also outlined Congress' achievements so far, including passing a 10-year balanced budget plan, and expansions to private care and mental health resources for veterans.” (Newsmax)
  • Guthrie added that rolling back Obama’s signature healthcare law is essential before its latest set of regulations takes effect next year.  Guthrie touted bipartisan legislation he helped author that he said would save money for consumers.  ‘We know that when Main Street does well, so do American families,’ he added.” (The Hill)
  • Guthrie mentioned some of the accomplishments of Congress this past year including passing a 10-year budget plan to reduce debt, giving law enforcement ‘new tools’ to fight human trafficking, and passing a plan for potentially better trade agreements to grow the economy.” (ABC News Radio)

READ MORE:

10 Things We’ve Done to Protect Jobs & Grow Our EconomySeven Things We’ve Done to Help VeteransNew Human Trafficking Law Already Making a DifferenceThe ABLE Act Is Making a Difference for American Families

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Another Day, Another Ruse: Secretary Clinton Didn't Turn Over Her Server Voluntarily

2015/08/15

This week, after months of demands from Speaker Boehner, Chairman Gowdy, and others, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton finally turned over her email server to the Justice Department.  This development is important progress in our efforts to get to the bottom of what happened in Benghazi, where four Americans lost their lives in a terrorist attack.  

Now, Secretary Clinton and her campaign would have you believe that she turned over her server voluntarily – as if, after months of withholding evidencemaking false claims, and facing scrutiny from every branch of government, she was suddenly all about being open and transparent.

But “Gowdy’s House committee,” The Wall Street Journal says, “has been indispensable in pressing the server issue."  And "had it not been for the investigation,” National Journal notes, “Clinton’s rogue e-mail operation likely would have remained secret."

Indeed, this is just another ruse by Secretary Clinton and her team meant to mislead the American people:

National Journal’s Ron Fournier: “Trying to Claim that She Did This Voluntarily…Is Patently, Obviously Ridiculous” “What’s happened here is her stonewall is crumbling and we’re seeing that the Clintons in a case like this, can’t even do the right thing the right way, that she should have turned – first of all, she shouldn’t even have had the server off the books. As soon as she got caught, she should have turned it over to the I.G. or to some kind of third party source. She had to have it dragged out of her and now they’re trying to claim that she did this voluntarily and of course, that is patently, obviously ridiculous.” (Fox News’ “Special Report with Bret Baier,” 8/12/15)

  • Fournier: “Ridiculous Suggestion That Coughing Up the Server and Email Were Voluntary Acts” “How about with the Clinton campaign’s ridiculous suggestion that coughing up the server and email were voluntary acts. We know that’s bunk—because Clinton herself said she wouldn’t surrender the people’s records without a fight.” (National Journal, 8/12/15)

The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza: “If You HAD Voluntarily Turned It Over, Would Your Spokesman Not Comment on Whether You Were Told to Give It Over or Whether You Did It on Your Own?  The Answer Is No.” “Clinton will portray her decision to turn over the server as entirely voluntary -- she just wants all the facts out and for this to be resolved. But, she quite clearly was resistant to doing just that as recently as March, insisting, in essence, that there was nothing to see here. Use common sense.  If you had your own private e-mail server, would you rather keep it private or allow a third party -- ANY third party -- to inspect it?  I mean, come on.  Also, if you HAD voluntarily turned it over, would your spokesman not comment on whether you were told to give it over or whether you did it on your own?  The answer is no.” (The Washington Post, 8/12/15)

Charles Krauthammer: “The Pressure Was So Intense on Hillary That It Really Had to Happen” “The pressure was so intense on Hillary that it really had to happen. It was only a question of when. I think she decided there was no use in hanging on. She was going to have to eventually release it. But as we said, she is now hostage.” (Fox News’ “Special Report with Bret Baier,” 8/12/15)

Fox News’ Gregg Jarrett: “She Had No Choice.” “So don’t believe for one moment that Clinton’s decision to suddenly ‘cooperate’ was magnanimous.  She had no choice. After five months of kicking and screaming in her vow to never hand over the server, she was finally up against the wall. The FBI, which is investigating whether classified information was improperly contained on her private e-mail system, is legally entitled to seize the server as potential evidence.  They could do it the ugly way, with a warrant and a highly visible and damning search of the premises.  Or they could do it in the least damaging way, with Clinton’s consent.  The latter would allow her to spin it in the light most favorable to her.” (Fox News, 8/13/15)

“Hillary Clinton Has Little Choice but to Hand Over Her Server to Authorities” “Hillary Clinton has little choice but to hand over her server to authorities since it now appears increasingly likely that someone on her staff violated federal laws regarding the handling of classified materials. On August 11, after extensive investigation, the intelligence community’s inspector general reported to Congress that it had found several violations of security policy in Clinton’s personal emails. … At a minimum, those suspected of mishandling things like NSA ‘signals intelligence’—intercepts calls, emails, and the like—have their clearances suspended pending the outcome of the investigation into their misconduct. Any personal items—computers, electronics—where federal investigators suspect the classified material wound up, wrongly, will be impounded and searched. If it has TOP SECRET//SI information on it, ‘your’ computer now belongs to the government, because it is considered classified.” (The Daily Beast, 8/12/15)

Shannen Coffin, Former Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Department of Justice Civil Division: “She Didn’t Turn It Over Voluntarily” “She didn’t turn it over voluntarily.  The FBI is doing an investigation.  The FBI’s investigation is looking into possible criminal mishandling of classified information.  And in the course of that they’re asking who had access to that server while she was using it, while it was operational?  Who’s had access to it since?” (Fox News’ “The Kelly File,” 8/11/15)

Brad Blakeman, Former Deputy Assistant to President George W. Bush: “Now, the FBI came to Hillary Clinton - I’m putting on my lawyer hat now - and probably said to her, ‘you can give us your email server or we can get a warrant for it,’ and she didn’t want the warrant.  So now the spin is, she’s turning it over voluntarily.  Well, it’s hardly voluntarily when the FBI says you can give it to us or we’ll get a warrant, she couldn’t sustain that in the media by them going to the court to get it.  The question now is what’s on it, what was on it, what was deleted, if anything was deleted, who maintained it?  But the fact that the IG said there was classified information on there, the FBI is going to get to the bottom of it and it’s not going to be pretty.” (Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom,” 8/12/15)

“Clinton’s Announcement Simply Anticipated by Several Hours the Inevitable FBI Knock on the Door” “So how ‘voluntary’ was Clinton’s pledge to ‘cooperate’?  [Clinton attorney David] Kendall, having been determined to be in possession of classified information (on the thumb drives) likely wasn’t exactly given a choice by the FBI. An educated guess would be that Clinton’s announcement simply anticipated by several hours the inevitable FBI knock on the door.” (Boston Herald editorial, 8/13/15)

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Weekly Republican Address: Progress on Jobs, Free Trade, and Health Care

2015/08/14

WASHINGTON, DC – In this week’s Republican address, Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) discusses the new Congress’s accomplishments to date – from the first real entitlement reform in nearly two decades to a plan that advances free trade and American jobs – and our ongoing commitment to address the people’s priorities. 

The audio of the address is available here, embargoed until tomorrow at 6:00 am ET, when the video will be available on Speaker.gov and GOP.gov.

Remarks of Representative Brett Guthrie of Kentucky Weekly Republican Address Bowling Green, KY August 15, 2015

Good morning, I'm Brett Guthrie, and I represent the people of Kentucky's Second District.  Our area is home to Fort Knox, Mammoth Cave National Park, Abraham Lincoln's birthplace and the Corvette Museum.

Last November, you elected a new Congress to get things done, and eight months in, we are making progress.

To reduce our debt, we've passed a real 10-year balanced budget plan. 

To help our veterans, we've expanded access to private care and mental health resources.

To protect our kids, we've given law enforcement new tools to fight human trafficking.

To grow our economy, we've passed a plan that paves the way for better trade agreements.   This will lead to more markets for farmers and ranchers, and more jobs and higher wages for America's workers.

To strengthen Medicare, we've enacted the first real entitlement reform in nearly two decades. It's going to save taxpayers some $2.9 trillion over the long term. 

And to help small businesses, we've reduced ObamaCare mandates that make it harder to hire.

These initiatives are already making a real difference.  And they show what we can achieve when we find common ground.  But, of course, we know that we have a long way to go. 

We've also made progress on solutions to accelerate the development of new life-saving cures, improve our education system, and modernize the VA for our veterans.

And we're fully committed to repealing ObamaCare. Here's one illustration of why.

If ObamaCare's next round of regulations take effect on January 1st - mere months from now - small businesses will be forced into larger group insurance markets that have dramatically higher rates.  That means that business owners, employees and their families will be the ones on the hook for higher costs.  I've introduced bipartisan legislation to stop this from happening. 

It would ensure that employers with 51-100 employees will be able to keep their current health care plans and avoid more burdensome Obamacare mandates.  This would give relief to American workers across the country.

My father built a small manufacturing business.  I worked alongside him and saw firsthand the challenges that business owners face.  Rising health care costs make it impossible to plan for the future, and that means it's impossible to hire more people.   We know that when Main Street does well, so do American families. 

Lastly, in September, Congress will consider one of the most important issues in recent years - the president's Iran deal.  We have made sure that Congress has a say,  and I have cosponsored H. Res. 357, which expresses Congress's disapproval of this agreement. 

Like many Americans, I have grave concerns about this deal, and whether it will make our country safer.   Every Republican - and every Democrat - has to determine whether the president's deal meets that essential standard.

We can never be satisfied until we know our children can grow up in a safe and prosperous America.  And we can make this happen if we keep working together to put the people's priorities first.

Thank you for listening.

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Speaker Boehner on Reopening of the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba

2015/08/14

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement on the reopening of the U.S. embassy in Havana, Cuba:

“While the United States has re-hung its ‘open for business’ sign in Havana, the Cuban dictatorship is continuing its business as usual.  Instead of embracing democracy and changing their oppressive behavior, the Castro regime has countered with a list of expensive demands and continued to deny basic freedoms to its own people. Once again, the Obama Administration’s fixation on collecting headlines by embracing and granting unilateral concessions to pariah states has not delivered real change in their behavior or improvement in the lives of their citizens. Opening the door to an embassy in Cuba will not open the door to democracy for the Cuban people.”

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Secretary Clinton’s “Marked Classified” Email Deception

2015/08/14

Former Secretary Hillary Clinton and her staff continue their effort to mislead the American people about her email server and the highly classified information contained in her emails. 

We already know they’ve shifted their story.  First, Clinton claimed in March that “I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material.”

Conveniently, after it was discovered that her email did, in fact, include classified information she claimed that “I did not receive anything that was marked as classified.”

We know this “marked as classified” trick is a complete and total ruse, having debunked it before.

But on Wednesday, Clinton’s spokesman repeated this deception, saying again: “No information in her emails was marked classified at the time she sent or received them.”

But as Clinton well knows, whether the information was marked or not matters little.  Because writing classified intelligence information into an unclassified email does not make the information unclassified.  And it doesn’t excuse the fact that the classified information itself is still included in your emails in the first place.  Those who have security clearances are responsible, and liable, for following proper procedures and the law.

Ron Fournier points out in his National Journal column entitled “Parsing Clinton: Deflection, Deception, and Untruths.”

“What Clinton doesn’t want you to know: Federal rules put the onus on government officials like the Secretary of State to protect classified material, even when it’s not marked as such.  Government officials have been convicted of mishandling unmarked classified material.  Any chain of events or excuses that led to the disclosure of these documents begins with Clinton’s decision to go rogue with government email.”

John R. Schindler, writing for the Daily Beast, further underscores this point:

“What, then, does all this means for Hillary? There is no doubt that she, or someone on her State Department staff, violated federal law by putting TOP SECRET//SI information on an unclassified system. That it was Hillary’s private, offsite server makes the case even worse from a security viewpoint. Claims that they ‘didn’t know’ such information was highly classified do not hold water and are irrelevant. It strains belief that anybody with clearances didn’t recognize that NSA information, which is loaded with classification markings, was signals intelligence, or SIGINT. It’s possible that the classified information found in Clinton’s email trove wasn’t marked as such. But if that classification notice was omitted, it wasn’t the U.S. intelligence community that took such markings away. Moreover, anybody holding security clearances has already assumed the responsibility for handling it properly.”

Questions about Clinton’s exclusive use of personal email and a private server for government business – first exposed as part of the investigation by the House Select Committee on Benghazi – continue to grow.  Americans aren’t going to be duped by Team Clinton’s “serially deceptive” statements. And Republicans will continue to listen to the American people, hold the Obama administration accountable, and produce a complete record of facts on the attack that killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya.

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Rep. Brett Guthrie to Deliver Weekly Republican Address

2015/08/14

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has selected Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) to deliver the Weekly Republican Address on Saturday, August 15.  Rep. Guthrie will discuss the new Congress’s accomplishments to date and our ongoing commitment to address the people’s priorities.

"Republicans have been hard at work on solutions to address many of our country's most pressing problems," Rep. Guthrie said. "I'm proud to say we are committed to continuing that effort, particularly as we work to prevent the next wave of ObamaCare mandates and consider the president's Iran deal."

Rep. Guthrie is in his fourth term representing Kentucky’s Second District.  Learn more by visiting his official website, or by following him on Facebook and Twitter.

The Weekly Republican Address will be available nationwide starting Saturday, August 15 at 6:00 am ET on Speaker.gov and GOP.gov.

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“I” is for Intercontinental

2015/08/14

A new Gallup survey shows just one in three Americans approve President Obama’s handling of Iran.  Why?  Because the more people learn about the president’s nuclear deal, the more questions they have about whether it will keep the country safe.

Take Secretary Kerry’s admission this week that Iran can openly disregard restrictions on its missile programs without having to fear automatic sanctions. 

"The arms embargo is not tied to snapback," Kerry told Reuters.  "[T]hey are not in material breach of the nuclear agreement for violating the arms piece of it."

This means Iran – which already got the United States and its partners to agree to lift arms and missiles sanctions in five and eight years respectively – can immediately begin directing cash from the deal to build ICBM missiles and military programs that export violence throughout the Middle East. 

And that’s great for the ayatollah.  "Whenever it’s needed to send arms to our allies in the region, we will do so," Iran nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi said recently.  "We are not ashamed of it."

But it’s terrible news for the American people and our partners in the Middle East.

President Obama’s top military advisers said a good deal would keep “critical sanctions” on Iran’s weapons and missile programs: 

  • Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: “‘Under no circumstances should we relieve pressure on Iran relative to ballistic missile capabilities and arms trafficking,’ Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey said this week on Capitol Hill.” (CNN, 7/13/15)
  • Marine Corps Commandant & Joint Chiefs Nominee Gen. Joseph Dunford: “A good deal rolls back Iran’s nuclear program; provides the international community with unprecedented access and transparency into Iran’s nuclear facilities and nuclear supply chain; and preserves critical sanctions on conventional arms and ballistic missiles.” (Advance Questions for General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., USMC, Nominee for the Position of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 7/9/15)

The Obama administration repeatedly assured lawmakers and the American people these issues were not on the table:

  • President Obama: “Meanwhile, other American sanctions on Iran for its support of terrorism, its human rights abuses, its ballistic missile program, will continue to be fully enforced.” (Statement, 4/2/15)
  • State Department Spokesman John Kirby: “State Department spokesman John Kirby said last week the United States is only discussing nuclear sanctions with Iran, and sanctions that target Iranian support for terrorism and its ballistic missile program would remain in place until Iran discontinues that support.” (USA TODAY, 7/9/15)
  • White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest: “[T]hose kinds of sanctions are not on the table in these negotiations… [S]anctions that are related to their weapons programs, that are related to human rights violations, that are related to their support for terrorism would continue to be in place.” (Press Briefing, 4/21/15)

President Obama’s cave to Iran’s last-minute demands on the embargoes even caught members of his own party by surprise:

  • Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY): “I… view as a dangerous concession the sunset of the international sanctions on advanced conventional weapons and ballistic missiles.  I was told that these issues weren’t on the table during the talks.  So it’s unacceptable to me that after a maximum of five and eight years, respectively, the deal lifts these restrictions.” (Statement, 8/6/15)
  • Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE): “And I, frankly, think it was an Iranian gambit at the last minute to try and divide the United States and its European allies from China and Russia which have a desire to sell weapons to Iran.  I think Iran's behavior in the region, its support for terrorism and its export of weapons and material and fighting men to support Bashar al Assad's murderous regime in Syria, to support the Houthis in Yemen and to support Hezbollah.  And Lebanon should be of real concern to us.  This was supposed to be a negotiation about their illicit nuclear weapons program.  And to throw on the table, at the last minute, a lifting of the arms embargo strikes me as trying to broaden the scope of the negotiations.” (CNN, 7/13/15)
  • Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD): “‘It’s hard for us to accept it’… said Senator Ben Cardin, top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.” (Reuters, 7/16/15)
  • Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ): “‘Listen, the last thing we need to do is give Iran the ability to have the wherewithal to have arms going throughout the region,’ he said.  ‘They're already involved in Yemen, in Syria, in Lebanon, in Iraq. … it should be a redline. And the intercontinental missile issue should also be a redline.’" (National Journal, 7/13/15)
  • Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY): “[T]he hardliners can use the freed-up funds to build an ICBM on their own as soon as sanctions are lifted (and then augment their ICBM capabilities in 8 years after the ban on importing ballistic weaponry is lifted), threatening the United States.  Restrictions should have been put in place limiting how Iran could use its new resources.” (Medium, 8/7/15)
  • Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO): “‘My concerns would be the same that anybody would have, which is a concern of a proliferation of weapons in that region by the Iranians,’ said Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, adding that the embargo concerning conventional arms ‘is not what this negotiation is about.’” (National Journal, 7/13/15)
  • Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA): “On Monday, Sen. Robert Casey of Pennsylvania said the issue was ‘of great concern’ to him…” (National Journal, 7/13/15)

“The reason that we want to stop Iran from having an ICBM program is that the I in ICBM stands for intercontinental, which means having the capability from flying from Iran to the United States,” Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told lawmakers last month. “And we don’t want that.”

So why did President Obama agree to these concessions that pave the way for Iran to acquire a missile capable of launching a nuclear warhead at the United States?  The White House has yet to offer a clear explanation.

And that’s why it’s no surprise that the American people are deeply skeptical about a deal that hands Iran billions in cash, lifts embargoes on missiles and conventional weapons, and allows Iran to keep thousands of nuclear centrifuges spinning.  

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Benghazi Committee Discovery of Hillary Clinton’s Private Email Server Leads to FBI Inquiry

2015/08/13

Speaker Boehner’s creation of the Select Committee on Benghazi has forced the Obama Administration to be more accountable to the American people.  The timeline below details exactly how the Committee’s work led to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s decision to obtain Secretary Clinton’s unsecure, personal email server that was used to send highly classified information. 

May 2, 2014 - Speaker Boehner Establishes the Select Committee on Benghazi

“The administration's withholding of documents – emails showing greater White House involvement in misleading the American people – is a flagrant violation of trust and undermines the basic principles of oversight upon which our system of government is built.  And it forces us to ask the question, what else about Benghazi is the Obama administration still hiding from the American people?

“It’s clear that questions remain, and the administration still does not respect the authority of Congress to provide proper oversight.  This dismissiveness and evasion requires us to elevate the investigation to a new level.

March 2, 2015 - News Breaks about Benghazi Committee Discovery that Secretary Clinton Used Personal Email Account at State Department

“The existence of Mrs. Clinton’s personal email account was discovered by a House committee investigating the attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi.”

March 10, 2015 - Chairman Gowdy Calls on Clinton to Turn Over Her Server

“Without access to Secretary Clinton’s personal server, there is no way for the State Department to know it has acquired all documents that should be made public, and given State’s delay in disclosing the fact Secretary Clinton exclusively used personal email to conduct State business, there is no way to accept State’s or Secretary Clinton’s certification she has turned over all documents that rightfully belong to the American people. That is why I see no choice but for Secretary Clinton to turn her server over to a neutral, detached third-party arbiter who can determine which documents should be public and which should remain private. Secretary Clinton alone created this predicament, but she alone does not get to determine its outcome.”

March 17, 2015 - Speaker Boehner Calls on Clinton to Turn Over Her Server

“The American people deserve all the facts about what happened in Benghazi.  Now that’s why it’s so important for Secretary Clinton to turn over her personal server to a neutral third party. And I think this is the fairest way to make sure that we have all the documents that belong to the public and, ultimately, all the facts.”

In the months that followed, Speaker Boehner, Chairman Gowdy, and other Republicans and national security experts continued to call on former Secretary Clinton to turn over her server.

August 12, 2015 - FBI Requests Clinton’s e-mail server

“Wells said her client was contacted by the FBI, which expressed interest in obtaining the old server.”

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The President Is Letting The VA Do This

2015/08/13

It keeps getting worse at the VA. 

The Huffington Post is reporting that “more than 35,000 combat veterans are being denied health care enrollment … because of a computer system error.”  This report is based on the VA’s internal documents, which reveal that some 16,000 of these veterans have been waiting for more than five years.  

These combat veterans are automatically eligible for care.  They didn’t fail to fill out a certain form or check a certain box.  They’re just stuck in the system.

It’s inexcusable, but as an exercise, let’s concede that glitches happen – especially in this administration.  Let’s examine what happens after the fact, because if you really want to know how bad things are at the VA, this is how bad:

1) Asked what it did to correct the error, the VA said that the VA Secretary “does not have the legal authority" to override the system and automatically enroll these veterans.  The error has to be corrected first.  If that’s the case, did the VA alert Congress to this and ask for that authority?  No.  In fact, senior VA officials have known about this since at least April and didn’t say a word to Congress or the public at large.  (Did the White House know about this? Good question.)

2) As for correcting the error, it took the VA until July to actually submit a request to fix the error.  Nothing has changed.  In the meantime, when the VA finally does connect with these veterans, the agency is asking them to fill out more forms.  “That's creating another barrier to enrollment for a group of vets who should never have been listed as pending in the first place,” says The Huffington Post, which broke this story based on a whistleblower coming forward.  The VA never came clean on its own.  (Most transparent administration in history, huh?)

3) Asked about this at a public forum, VA Secretary Bob McDonald declined to get into specifics, saying, “I’d be happy to check out their particular instance.  Customer service is about one-on-one care.”  That was a week ago.  Still no answers from him on these 35,000 or so ‘particular instances.’  But good to know he recognizes the importance of customer service.

Indeed, it would be easy to say this is about the failures of big government.  But this is bigger than that.  It’s about leadership – or a lack thereof.

President Obama is letting the VA do this.  Worse, he is letting the VA get away with it.  He protects the status quo – by opposing legislation to hold VA employees accountable, by failing to nominate an inspector general for the VA, and by refusing to offer a long-term plan to clean up this mess.

“We’re going to keep passing reforms,” Speaker Boehner says, “but what the VA needs is a sweeping change in its culture.  And we’ll keep holding President Obama accountable until our veterans start seeing the progress that they are demanding.”

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A Message for Secretary Hillary Clinton

2015/08/13

For months, Speaker Boehner and Chairman Gowdy have had one message for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: 

Surrender your email server to a neutral third party.

And for months, she chose to withhold evidenceprolong the Benghazi Committee's investigation, and offer flat-out false claims.  But the Speaker has remained resolute, and together, with the work of Chairman Gowdy and the Select Committee, they've kept the heat on Hillary.  And it's working. 

Just yesterday, after the inspector general for the intelligence community uncovered multiple Clinton emails that contained information classified as "Top Secret," the former Secretary of State finally saw the writing on the wall, and agreed to surrender the server to the FBI.

Of course, none of this would have come to pass without the steady collection of facts from the Benghazi Committee, and they will continue their investigative work until they get to the bottom about what happened in the events surrounding the 2012 terrorist attack in Libya, where four Americans lost their lives. The families of the fallen, and the entire American public, deserve the truth.

 

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Speaker Boehner Calls For Action & Accountability Following EPA’s Toxic Spill

2015/08/12

WASHINGTON, DC – Following the EPA’s toxic spill into the Animas River, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today called on the Obama administration to step up its efforts to protect the people in the affected states:

“This EPA spill is very serious, as is the EPA’s slow response.  The Obama administration must do everything in its power to protect the lives and livelihoods of the people in the affected states.  As part of this effort, the Secretary of the Interior must address tribal concerns fairly and transparently.  The House will continue to monitor the situation and the appropriate committees will conduct rigorous oversight to make sure the administration is assessing the damage the EPA has caused and taking action to clean it up.  Now that his EPA has accepted full responsibility, President Obama should demand full accountability for what happened here.”

 

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10 Things We’ve Done to Protect Jobs & Grow Our Economy

2015/08/12

It all starts with a strong economy.  That’s why, after the president’s ‘stimulus’ failed, Republicans fought for a pro-growth approach based on protecting tax relief, cutting Washington spending, and backing American energy production.

Today, jobs are coming back and the economy is slowly improving, but too many are still struggling to keep their heads above water.   We can do better.

Here are some of the things that Republicans have done to protect jobs and grow our economy:

  1. We’ve paved the way for stronger trade agreements, which means more jobs and higher wages for America’s workers.  Trade is good for our country: it supports more than one in five American jobs, and manufacturing jobs tied to trade pay 16 percent more.  New trade promotion authority (TPA) will ensure that the country makes better trade agreements.  This is a big win for American workers, and will help us sell more goods stamped with “made in America.” (H.R. 2146, 114th Congress)
  2. We’ve protected 99 percent of Americans from permanent tax hikes.  On January 1, 2013, income taxes were scheduled to go up on just about every American.  Republicans were able to protect 99 percent of Americans from permanent tax increases while locking in lower rates on the estate tax and the tax on capital gains and dividends. (H.R. 8, 112th Congress) 
  3. We’ve cut government spending by $2.1 trillion and counting.  Republicans have won the most significant spending reductions in modern history – more significant than under Reagan & O’Neill and Clinton & Gingrich.  These spending cuts have helped reduce the deficit and improve confidence in our economy. (H.R. 83, 113th Congress)
  4. We’ve backed American energy production, the biggest driver of jobs and growth in America.  From supporting the shale revolution and fighting for the Keystone XL pipeline to blocking new fees on producers and cutting funding for the EPA, we’ve done all we can to blunt the Obama administration’s attempts to decrease American energy production.  This has helped make America the world’s top oil and natural gas producer.  (H.R. 83, 113th Congress;  S.1, 114th Congress)
  5.  We’ve protected small businesses from ObamaCare mandates that make it harder to hire. In addition to repealing a paperwork mandate in ObamaCare, we recently gave small businesses relief from rules that make it harder to hire veterans.  (H.R. 4, 112th Congress; H.R. 3236, 114th Congress
  6. We won passage of three free trade agreements that are already paying dividends for American workers.  The Republican majority successfully won passage and implementation of long-delayed trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea.  (H.R. 3078, 3079 & 3080, 112th Congress)
  7. It is now easier for entrepreneurs to acquire the capital they need to start and grow a business.   It shouldn’t be easier to start a business in Belarus than it is in the United States, but it is, the experts say.  The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act helps aspiring entrepreneurs overcome government barriers to starting and expanding a business.  (H.R. 3606, 112th Congress)
  8. It is now easier for inventors and innovators to launch new products and businesses.  The America Invents Act, the most significant update to our nation’s patent system in 60 years, cuts down on costs and speeds up the process by which patents are approved while better protecting intellectual property. (H.R. 1249, 112th Congress)
  9. It is now easier for job-seekers to find the right skills to land the right jobs.  Millions of good-paying jobs in America go unfilled because workers lack the proper skills.  With the SKILLS Act, we modernized the nation’s workforce development system by eliminating programs that weren’t working and giving flexibility to the states.  (H.R. 803, 113th Congress)
  10.  It is now easier for graduates to get a good start in their careers.  We took the politics out of student loans, plain and simple.  By linking interest rates to the markets, people will see more stable and predictable rates over time, making it easier to pay for college and start contributing to the economy.  (H.R. 1911, 113th Congress)

We still have a long way to go, but we’ve shown what we can achieve when we find common ground and pursue pro-growth solutions.  Indeed, this list could be a whole lot longer if President Obama were to work with us to address the people’s priorities.  Instead, he vetoed the Keystone jobs bill, and has threatened to veto dozens of pro-growth initiatives, from restoring the 40-hour workweek to making small business tax relief permanent

Republicans remain committed to embracing America’s potential for growth so we can secure a better future and a stronger economy for our kids and grandkids.

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POTUS Desperate to Avoid Facts in Iran Debate

2015/08/12

President Obama doesn’t want a debate about the facts of his proposed nuclear deal with Iran.  A month after claiming to welcome scrutiny, the president’s push for the deal is all about fear, intimidation, and over-the-top partisan attacks:

  • “Obama: Rejection of Iran nuclear deal is a vote for war.” (NBC News, 8/5/15)
  •  “Obama: Iranian 'hardliners' have 'common cause with' GOP caucus.” (Washington Post, 8/5/15)
  • “The president… warned… no Democrat would get a pass for voting against [the Iran deal].” (POLITICO, 7/27/15)
  • “Former top Obama adviser David Plouffe… blasted Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) for opposing the Iran deal, suggesting it makes him unfit to lead Senate Democrats.” (The Hill, 8/10/15) 
  • “Daily Kos posted a cartoon showing Schumer with an Israeli flag and calling him a ‘traitor.’” (New York Post, 8/10/15)
  • “Obama doubles down: Republican opposition to Iran Deal is ‘ideological,’ ‘a lot in common’ with Iranian Revolutionary Guard.” (Real Clear Politics, 8/7/15)
  • “If the United States walks away from the nuclear deal struck with Iran… the dollar may soon cease to be the world's reserve currency, [Secretary of State John Kerry] said on Monday.” (Reuters, 8/11/15)

This smear campaign is designed to do three things.  First, the president is desperate to pick a fight with Republicans in order to distract attention away from the top Democrats – including Senator Chuck Schumer and House Committee on Foreign Affairs Ranking Member Eliot Engel – that have announced opposition to the deal. 

Second, the president wants to silence others in his own party leaning towards speaking out about the deal.  “[If you are a Democrat who opposes the agreement, you are also risking your political career.  That's the message the White House and some liberal leaders are sending,” former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg writes.  

Finally, the president wants to avoid getting bogged down in an actual discussion about the details of the deal because he knows the facts aren’t on his side.  And he doesn’t want to have to answer for:

The American people have serious, substantive questions about whether this deal will actually keep the country safe.  So far, President Obama isn’t offering any real answers.   

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A Bill on Capitol Hill

2015/08/12

Remember how the song goes?

I’m just a bill. Yes, I’m only a bill.

And if they vote for me on Capitol Hill,

Well then I’m off to the White House, where I’ll wait in a line

With a lot of other bills, for the president to sign.

It’s a pretty good overview of how the lawmaking process works.  And while it makes for a catchy children’s song and a funny skit on Saturday Night Live, there are a few more details that happen along the way.  In fact, here are three fun facts you may not already know:

  1. Before a bill can be signed into law by the President, it must first be signed by (1) the Speaker of the House and (2) the Vice President or the elected President pro tempore of the Senate.
  2. A bill must be "enrolled" before it can be signed by anyone. This process includes printing the final version on parchment paper and then certifying by either the Clerk of the House or the Secretary of the Senate, depending on which chamber the bill originated.
  3. The president has 10 days to sign or veto a bill after receiving it from Congress.

This year, the House and Senate have been working together to get a lot done on behalf of hardworking Americans, whether it’s legislation to create more jobsstop human traffickers, or help our veterans.  That’s why, if you follow Speaker Boehner on FacebookTwitter, or even Flipboard, you may have noticed that he has been signing a lot of bills lately.  In fact, you can see photos from dozens of these signings in this Flickr album

Stay tuned, as tomorrow, we’ll release seven, never-before-seen photos featuring some of the more personal moments that can happen during a bill signing ceremony. 

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Speaker Boehner on Secretary Clinton Turning Over Email Server

2015/08/12

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton finally heeded calls to turn over her private email server to investigative authorities for forensic examination:

“It's about time.  Secretary Clinton's previous statements that she possessed no classified information were patently untrue.  Her mishandling of classified information must be fully investigated."

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New York Times Highlights House’s Legal Challenge to President Obama’s Unilateral Actions

2015/08/11

This week, The New York Times highlighted the House’s unprecedented legal challenge to President Obama’s unilateral actions.  

The story delves into a process that began last year, when the full House passed a resolution authorizing litigation to challenge President Obama’s unilateral changes to provisions of his health care law.  That litigation, filed in November, dealt with two unilateral changes in particular: unlawfully waiving the employer mandate and illegally transferring funds to insurance companies.  Watch Speaker Boehner talk about the importance of this challenge, which comes at a time when courts continue to rule against the administration's executive overreach.

“This was clear as a bell to me that it needed to be done, and if we win this suit it will reverberate for decades,” Speaker Boehner says in the story. “This case goes to the constitutional structure of our government and to the heart of our democracy.”

House Republicans, Seizing on Health Law, Challenge Executive BranchThe New York Times By Carl Hulse August 11, 2015

WASHINGTON — Angry at what they saw as the Obama administration’s frequent flouting of congressional authority, House Republicans last year began casting about for a way to fight back.

Jo-Marie St. Martin, counsel to Speaker John A. Boehner and a ferocious defender of the rights of the House, quietly put the word out that the leadership was looking for potential lawsuit targets so it could challenge the White House in court.

She and House lawyers combed through lists assembled by conservative lawmakers. They met with a private lawyer who had developed a legal theory about how best to counter the White House. The House counsel’s office analyzed various options, with charts listing the pros and cons.

They settled on the health care law, now at the center of a little-noticed legal fight that could redefine the balance of power in Washington. A federal judge is expected to rule soon on whether the House can sue the executive branch for usurping its authority over spending — its vaunted “power of the purse” — in a case resulting from years of bitter struggle between the Obama administration and the Republican House over who controls which levers of power.

“It was the perfect thing we had been looking for,” Ms. St. Martin said of the spending program started by the administration to help insurance companies offset new health coverage costs for consumers. “We were off and running.”

If Judge Rosemary M. Collyer of Federal District Court lets the case proceed, it would break with a long history of the courts looking askance at such suits between the two branches and be the first time the House has won the right to sue the executive branch over appropriations power.

To an administration accustomed to opposition from congressional Republicans, the House suit is another partisan effort to unravel the health care law through the courts since Republicans have failed to do so in Congress despite scores of attempts. White House officials note that the administration successfully defended the Affordable Care Act at the Supreme Court twice and fared well in other legal skirmishes over executive authority.

“When you get these into court, the notion that the administration has been overreaching just doesn’t stand up,” said W. Neil Eggleston, the White House counsel. The Republicans’ lawsuit, he said, “is a case of them not being able do what they wanted through the constitutional process and then wanting to get the third branch involved.”

If the House prevails, it would be damaging, but not fatal, to the health care act, with nearly six million low-income consumers facing much higher deductibles, co-pays or other out-of-pocket costs unless the administration gets congressional approval for the insurance reimbursements, an unlikely occurrence. But the suit could backfire on Congress. Should the administration win, it could shift more decision-making on spending to the executive branch.

Despite criticism from congressional Democrats and some legal experts that he is turning a partisan political fight into a legal one, Mr. Boehner is resolute.

“This was clear as a bell to me that it needed to be done, and if we win this suit it will reverberate for decades,” he said in an interview. “This case goes to the constitutional structure of our government and to the heart of our democracy.”

Dating back to George Washington’s time, Congress and the White House have engaged in a tug of war over their respective powers. The strains have intensified as President Obama, frustrated that Republicans have stalled his legislative priorities and blocked confirmation of some nominees, increasingly asserted executive power to accomplish his goals. (Mr. Obama poked fun at his reputation for acting unilaterally when he recently threatened to issue an executive order to keep Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show.”)

Scholars say the complaints of House Republicans that Mr. Obama is breaking new ground in presidential power grabs might be taken more seriously if they had not been so quiet when the administration of George W. Bush flexed its executive muscleon both foreign and domestic policy.

“What makes the current moment, if not historically unique, at least distinctive is the degree to which Congress’s vigilance over its constitutional authorities seems to vary according to partisan identification,” said Peter M. Shane, an Ohio State University professor who has written on executive power issues.

The current executive power fight began in early 2011 after Republicans took back the House and installed Mr. Boehner as speaker. To the shock of Ms. St. Martin, 55, a career Capitol Hill staff member, the Justice Department that February informed the new speaker that the Obama administration would no longer stand up for the Defense of Marriage Act, judging it to be unconstitutional. (The measure defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman.)

The House joined in defending the marriage law all the way to the Supreme Court, which ultimately overturned it. But that was just the first episode; the two sides clashed over environmental, immigration and Justice Department issues. After a Republican challenge, Mr. Obama was rebuked by the Supreme Court on appointing nominees while Congress was in recess.

Ms. St. Martin, little known beyond Capitol Hill but a major force with a broad portfolio within the speaker’s office, was in the middle of most of those fights. She met Mr. Boehner when he was a freshman troublemaker on the House Education and Labor Committee in the early 1990s and she was a young lawyer for committee Republicans. She offered him advice on how to use committee rules to aggravate majority Democrats, who were soon to fall from power under an assault from Republican agitators.

When Mr. Boehner lost his position as chairman of the House Republican Conference in a shake-up that followed election losses in 1998 and returned to the education committee, he and Ms. St. Martin reconnected. She has had his confidence and ear ever since.

After weighing what would constitute the best claim against the administration, the Republican legal staff settled on the healthcare law and the administration’s delaying of dates for requiring employers to provide health insurance. Setting dates is generally considered the domain of the legislature.

Then, a potentially more potent angle surfaced. Senior staff members on the Energy and Commerce Committee alerted Ms. St. Martin to a puzzling expenditure under the health law they discovered as they pored over budget documents in the Rayburn Office Building.

Though a request for $4 billion for insurance companies to cover cost sharing had been in President Obama’s 2014 budget request, the staff experts were certain that Congress had never appropriated the money. In fact, the Senate had seemed to explicitly reject the appeal. Yet the money was flowing.

Excited Republicans seized on the spending as the perfect illustration of the Obama administration’s long reach into the exclusive domain of the legislative branch. If the House cannot lay claim to its spending power, its best weapon against executive excess, what could it ever sue over, Mr. Boehner and his legal team asked.

“Every child in this country is told as a mantra that the definitional power of Congress is the power of the purse,” said Jonathan Turley, the George Washington law professor representing the House in the case.

Lawyers for the administration, who were on the defensive in a combative May court hearing, say the decision to initially seek an appropriation for the insurance funding was a mistake. They say that officials later determined that the Department of Healthand Human Services did not need any additional authority since the funding was a permanent program, akin to Social Security and Medicare.

And even if the money is being spent inappropriately, the administration argues that the House has no standing to sue because it is wrongly using the courts to pursue a political dispute. Such fights, Justice Department lawyers say, are more properly resolved by passing a corrective law, repealing the one at issue or applying leverage such as stalling other legislation or holding up nominations.

“There are any number of tools that the legislature can use to exert its influence on the executive branch,” Joel McElvain, the lead lawyer for the administration, told Judge Collyer. “It does not need reference to the judiciary, which is why we’ve never seen a lawsuit like this one in the last 230 years.”

Even if they are set back at the district court level, administration officials say they believe they will eventually prevail. But House Republicans express confidence that they have made a persuasive case that the courts are the only option to halt an abuse of power and improper spending of nearly $136 billion over the next decade.

“The Obama administration, through magic, has created an entitlement program,” Ms. St. Martin said. “Everyone always argues you can fix every problem through the power of the purse. Well, I guess you can’t if they are just making it up.”

 

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Four BIG Reasons Editorial Boards Are Backing Boehner’s Call to Lift the Oil Export Ban

2015/08/11

“America is experiencing an energy boom, and our policy needs to follow suit,” Speaker Boehner said last month, calling for an end to the decades-old oil export ban that is holding back American energy production, costing jobs, and diminishing U.S. influence abroad.  Numerous editorial boards are backing Boehner’s call which, they say, would: 

CREATE JOBS:

  • “Allowing the United States to Export Its Crude Would Put People Back to Work” “The ban is one reason the domestic oil industry has had to cut back during the past year in the face of declining oil prices. The number of active rigs has fallen by about 50 percent, and roughly 125,000 jobs have been lost. Allowing the United States to export its crude would put people back to work. … ‘It’s well past time to end our country’s outdated, prohibitive oil export ban and let energy states like Oklahoma compete in the international market,’ [Oklahoma state finance secretary Preston] Doerflinger said. ‘If Iran gets to do it, why can’t we?’ Why indeed. The ban needs to go.” (The Oklahoman, 7/31/15)
  • “An Easy Win for Jobs & U.S. Global Influence” “The export ban is, paradoxically, one of the biggest threats to this U.S. production boom. The decline in oil prices over the past year has forced U.S. producers to slash investment and cancel projects. The U.S. rig count has dropped 50% since last autumn, and the industry has cut more than 125,000 jobs. Lifting the ban would offer new markets for U.S. oil and mean fewer layoffs. ... This should be an easy win for jobs and U.S. global influence.” (Wall Street Journal, 7/29/15)

LOWER GAS PRICES:

  • “Would Spur Economic Growth, Lower Gas Prices & Please International Allies” “Imagine there were a simple policy that would spur economic growth, lower gas prices and please international allies. This policy exists: removing the United States’ irrational and outdated ban on exporting domestically produced crude oil. … [A]nalysts counterintuitively predict that lifting the export ban would increase U.S. crude oil prices by $2 to $8 per barrel but reduce U.S. gasoline prices by 1.5 cents to 13 cents per gallon.”  (The Washington Post, 8/2/15)
  • “Would Increase Domestic Oil Production…And Thus Push Gasoline Prices Further Downward” “Leftover from the oil scarcity of the 1970s, the export ban harms consumers, stunts the economy and threatens national security. Additionally, with broad bipartisan support for lifting the ban, there’s no good reason to keep it in place. … Lifting the ban would increase domestic oil production, allow the U.S. to infiltrate the global market with its bountiful supply, and thus push gasoline prices further downward — good news for U.S. consumers.” (Detroit News, 8/4/15)

HELP OUR ECONOMY:

  • “Increase U.S. Oil Production by as Much as 1.2 Million Barrels a Day” “The economic consequences of lifting the ban on the export of oil are clear. A 2014 study by a well-regarded consulting group predicts that lifting the ban might lower domestic gasoline prices, lead to $750 billion in additional domestic investment, increase U.S. oil production by as much as 1.2 million barrels a day and create 394,000 jobs. … The ban should be lifted.” (The Washington Times, 7/9/15)
  • “Creating Jobs & Aiding Consumers with a Single Stroke” “Charles Ebinger and Heather Greenley of Brookings summed up their findings last year. … ‘[O]ur analysis demonstrates that lifting the ban will increase U.S. oil production, diversify global supply, reduce U.S. gasoline prices and provide net benefits to the U.S. economy.’  The president has the power to lift the ban on his own. Congress could do it, too.  If they did, they’d be creating jobs and aiding consumers with a single stroke.” (The Denver Post, 4/12/15)

STRENGTHEN OUR GLOBAL INFLUENCE & SUPPORT OUR ALLIES:

  • “Would Enable Us to Sell Fuel to Our Political Allies, Who Often Must Import Oil From Countries Hostile to the Free World” “[I]f the U.S. could export oil, it could create new markets and opportunities for U.S. companies. … Important, too, is that it would enable us to sell fuel to our political allies, who often must import oil from countries hostile to the free world. … The proposed international treaty with Iran, recently negotiated by the Obama administration, would enable that hostile nation to put additional oil on the market — a million barrels a day, Iran says; much more eventually, some market observers suggest. That would help Iran’s economy.  But what about the U.S. and its oil industry? Should we not be worried about the health of our oil producers and their workers? Should Europe and Japan be buying its oil from Russia and Iran — two countries with no love of freedom — when the U.S. could be filling some of those orders? No.” (The Advertiser, 8/4/15)
  • “When the United States Withholds Our Oil From the Planet, It Empowers These Less-Than-Savory Figures on the Global Stage” “Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabia have little problem flooding global markets with their own crude, and Iran is about to bring its production back to global markets. When the United States withholds our oil from the planet, it empowers these less-than-savory figures on the global stage, growing their influence at a time when U.S. policy should be aimed at diminishing their clout. … The age of oil scarcity is gone, and its policies deserve a similar farewell. Like playing Pong on an iPhone, it is time for Congress to catch up with the times.” (Houston Chronicle, 7/31/15)

Lifting the oil export ban is part of House Republicans’ continuing focus on expanding American energy to help lower costs for families, create more good-paying jobs, and reset our economic foundation.  “I hope that we can work together in a bipartisan fashion to bring our energy policies into this century,” Speaker Boehner said last month.  Lifting the oil export ban is a good place to start.

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Five Photos from Speaker Boehner’s Golf Channel Interview

2015/08/11

Last week, Speaker Boehner appeared on the Golf Channel for an interview with David Feherty on his show, Feherty.  The Speaker sat down with Feherty in Ohio and took him through his office in Washington, DC where he talked about growing up with 11 brothers and sisters in Ohio, working his way through college, and eventually becoming Speaker of the House.  The full interview will re-air next Wednesday, August 19 at 4:00pm and 9:00pm ET.  Until then, below are five photos Speaker Boehner shared with Feherty for the interview.

Boehner Family Photo

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This photo is of a Boehner family picnic in the mid-1950s. John is in the front row, center. Behind him are his grandparents, and his parents - Mary Anne and Earl - are in the upper left-hand corner.

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Thursday, March 1, 2012

Speaker Boehner (pictured bottom center) is the second oldest of 12 children and was raised by his parents, Earl and Mary Anne in southwest Ohio (pictured top left).   Growing up mopping tables in his family tavern, Andy’s Cafe, Boehner learned all the skills he needs for his current job – getting along with others, working to get things done together, and doing things as a family.  For more on Boehner’s unlikely journey to the Speaker’s chair, watch his biography, “The Biggest Long Shot.”

Suiting Up for Coach Faust

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John played football at Archbishop Moeller High School for legendary football coach Gerry Faust.

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Thursday, March 1, 2012

Speaker Boehner received a Catholic education at Moeller High School in Cincinnati, Ohio.  It was here Boehner played football for legendary Coach Gerry Faust who taught him the values of teamwork and sacrifice.  Boehner’s relationship with Faust has been a cornerstone throughout his career and instilled in him one of his greatest life lessons:  “There is nothing in this world that you can’t accomplish, if you are willing to work hard enough and willing to make the sacrifices necessary.”

The Wagers with a President

In his interview with Feherty, Speaker Boehner recalls a few of the friendly wagers he made when golfing with former President George W. Bush.  In his office in the U.S. Capitol, the Speaker has two checks hanging on his wall from President Bush that now serve as mementos of the times the two golfed together. 

Golf Legends at our Nation’s Capitol

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Was glad to welcome Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer to the U.S. Capitol recently. Together, they have won a combined 10...

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Sunday, April 12, 2015

Placed on the mantle in Speaker Boehner’s office, this photo of Speaker Boehner with golf legends and Congressional Gold Medal recipients Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer was taken in September 2012. The two golfers have received the highest honor Congress can bestow for their immeasurable contributions to the game of golf, their promotion of sportsmanship, and their civic and philanthropic contributions to the nation. 

Honoring Sacrifice

In the interview, Speaker Boehner told Feherty about his recent trip to the Middle East where he met with key allies and discussed the challenges we face in that region.  As part of that visit, Speaker Boehner was given the chance to go to Baghdad, Iraq to meet with and thank the men and women stationed in Iraq for their service to the nation. 

BONUS VIDEO:  “I love green grass

RELATED:

Eight Excerpts from Speaker Boehner’s Golf Channel Interview

Boehner shares some of his well-known fashion advice

Boehner shows Feherty the view from his Capitol office

Boehner talks about the restoration of the Capitol dome

Boehner talks with Feherty about our challenges in the Middle East

Boehner talks golfing with Presidents, beating President George W. Bush in golf

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This is Why It’s a Bad Deal

2015/08/11

In an interview airing today and tomorrow on NPR, President Obama admits that his proposed nuclear deal will give Iran a path to acquire a nuclear bomb. 

“Asked by NPR’s Steve Inskeep what Iran’s ‘breakout time’ will be 15 years from now, Obama said… ‘a matter of months,’” The Hill reports. 

This is a key admission from a president who has repeatedly insisted that his deal “cuts off all pathways” to a bomb.  But of course President Obama still doesn’t see any cause for concern:  

“If the breakout time is extended for 15 years and then it goes back to where it is right now, why is that a bad deal?”    

Mr. President, the fact that this agreement allows Iran to retain the capability to build a nuclear bomb within “a matter of months” makes this a bad deal in and of itself.  But don’t forget it also:

The American people, as well as a growing number of Democrats and Republicans in Congress, oppose this deal because it fails the key question: will this make our country safer?

A deal that puts Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, just a few short steps from a nuclear weapon isn’t just a bad deal – it’s a dangerous deal.  And it’s incredibly alarming that President Obama can’t see that.

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New Trafficking Law Helps Wounded Vets Make a Difference

2015/08/10

A new law to combat human trafficking and provide peace for victims and their families is already making a difference.  Through the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA), local law enforcement can call on state and federal agencies for assistance, such as when U.S. Marshals recovered a missing teen from Tennessee

Another component of this new law bolsters an initiative called the H.E.R.O. Child Rescue Corps, which gives wounded warriors a chance to use their training to protect our children.  The new law  makes this Department of Homeland Security initiative permanent, and with good reason:

  • Joey from Irving, Texas served in the U.S. Army and lost both his legs and his right forearm in Iraq.  After completing intense forensics training, he is now able to help with child sexual exploitation investigations: “The opportunity that it allows me to continue a mission which is very close to my heart, which is serving my country.” (CBS11 – DFW, 7/16/15)
  • Two marines who lost both their legs in the same attack in Afghanistan are serving together in the HERO Corps.  Sgt. Gabriel Martinez starts his training in the fall, and Cpl. Justin Gaertner is working in the Tampa, FL Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office to track down sex traffickers: “It’s given me back the life I had before I lost my legs. [In the military] you know what you get into.  You know you might not get back… but these children, they don’t know.” (USA TODAY, 6/2/15)
  • Retired U.S. Army Special Ops Staff Sgt. Nathan Cruz, who works with Cpl. Justin Gaertner in Tampa, believes that mental toughness from the military is what makes them a good fit: “People ask me, ‘How do you do it?’  My answer is that pedophiles are worse than the Taliban.  At least the Taliban is fighting a country that has an army that can defend itself.  The pedophiles are targeting innocent kids that cannot do anything to defend themselves.” (The Christian Science Monitor, 7/12/15)
  • Army veteran and North Carolina native Robert Clegg served two tours in Afghanistan.  He recently finished his training and is ready for his new mission to fight online child exploitation: “You want to rebuild. You want to get back into the fight. … Once I got an understanding of what [the program] was all about, I was all-in.” (Indianapolis Star, 6/22/15)
  • Marine veteran Jeremy Boutwell was severely injured in Iraq, but found hope in the HERO program: “These are the same communities that we live, work, and sleep in and our children play in. And we’re out there protecting these kids. … Coming back and recovering, a lot of us have scars, mental scars. And I think the very best thing I did for my recovery – and for what I have seen of other veterans’ recoveries – is to find a positive purpose and apply yourself to that.” (San Antonio Express, 7/2/15)               

The fourth class for wounded and disabled veterans to become HERO Corps members started training this week in Forest, Virginia.   The new human trafficking law has now made this program a permanent part of our efforts to combat child exploitation, all while providing our veterans with a new mission to serve and protect our country.

This is more good news, and it’s all part of the new Congress’s effort to help our veterans and address the people’s priorities

READ MORE: New Human Trafficking Law Already Making a Difference The ABLE Act Is Making a Difference for American Families

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The Obama Administration’s Abysmal Record on Protecting Christians and Defending Human Rights

2015/08/08

One year ago today, President Obama signed into law a bipartisan bill creating the position of Special Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia. But one year later, this State Department position remains unfilled. President Obama has still not found the time to nominate someone for the role. What’s taking so long?

This isn’t the first time his administration has dragged its feet when it comes to protecting Christians and defending human rights and religious freedom around the world. For this White House, it simply isn’t a priority – despite the severity of the crisis.

Just two weeks ago, The New York Times Magazine featured a lengthy report asking, “Is This the End of Christianity in the Middle East?”:

For more than a decade, extremists have targeted Christians and other minorities, who often serve as stand-ins for the West. …

The Arab Spring only made things worse. ... Now, ISIS is looking to eradicate Christians and other minorities altogether. … Recently, ISIS posted videos delineating the second-class status of Christians in the caliphate. Those unwilling to pay the jizya tax or to convert would be destroyed, the narrator warned, as the videos culminated in the now-infamous scenes of Egyptian and Ethiopian Christians in Libya being marched onto the beach and beheaded, their blood running into the surf.

The future of Christianity in the region of its birth is now uncertain. ‘‘How much longer can we flee before we and other minorities become a story in a history book?’’ says Nuri Kino, a journalist and founder of the advocacy group Demand for Action. According to a Pew study, Christians face religious persecution in more countries than any other religious group. ‘‘ISIL has put a spotlight on the issue,’’ says Anna Eshoo, a California Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives, whose parents are from the region and who advocates on behalf of Eastern Christians. ‘‘Christianity is under an existential threat.’’

President Obama may have punted when it comes to destroying ISIL, but he and other administration officials can’t say they aren’t aware of what’s at stake for religious minorities in the Middle East. Their plight has been well documented:

  • “After billions of dollars spent and more than 10,000 extremist fighters killed, the Islamic State group is fundamentally no weaker than it was when the U.S.-led bombing campaign began a year ago, American intelligence agencies have concluded,” the Associated Press reported a week ago.
  • “If the Islamic State is not defeated in Iraq, [a report by an advocacy organization co-founded by former Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA)] warns that Christians, Yezidis, Shabak, Turkmen and other religious and ethnic minority groups face a looming genocide,” the Washington Examiner summarized in March.
  • The Washington Post described in April how Muslim “militants desecrated churches and religious symbols” in Syria and kidnapped hundreds of Assyrian Christians, including women and children. According to its report, recent “attacks have added to concerns that this unique Mesopotamian people are in danger of disappearing from the region.”
  • “Christianity, whose presence in the Middle East predates Islam’s by 600 years, is about to be cleansed from the Middle East,” columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote last week. “Over the decades, many Middle Eastern Christians, seeing the rise of political Islam and the intensification of savage sectarian wars, have simply left. Lebanon’s Christians, once more than half the population, are now estimated at about a third. The number of Christians under Palestinian Authority rule in the West Bank has dwindled — in Bethlehem, for example, dropping by half.”

In a related development this week, Reuters exposed the actions of “senior political staff” at the Obama State Department who saw to it that human rights experts were overruled and the “annual U.S. report on human trafficking that publicly shames the world’s worst offenders” was “watered down.”

This is an abysmal record, especially for a president who once promised to “restore our moral standing in the world.” Under his leadership, the United States is less and less a defender of the downtrodden – and that’s troubling.

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Speaker Boehner Statement on the Fight Against ISIL

2015/08/08

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement today marking the one-year anniversary of the first airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq:

"One year after authorizing the first airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq, President Obama still doesn’t have the overarching strategy that’s needed to actually defeat these savage terrorists.  Today ISIL forces control huge swaths of both Iraq and Syria. Scores of innocent men, women and children in these countries are murdered every week.  And Iraq’s stability and sovereignty, a vital U.S. interest, remains at risk.

“Instead of punting this crisis to the next administration, it’s time for President Obama to change course, and put forth a strategy to win this fight.  I’ve outlined on a number of occasions what – in my view – an overarching strategy should look like.  Ultimately, however, we only have one commander-in-chief.  It’s his job to lead, and put forward a plan that will succeed. 

“This spring I had a chance to visit with some of our men and women serving in Iraq, and personally express my gratitude and continued support for all that they do.  Our airmen, soldiers, sailors and marines, diplomats and intelligence experts are making extraordinary sacrifices every day to carry out their mission to keep America safe.  They deserve a plan that can get the job done and bring them home safely to their families.” 

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Is there anything he won't do?

2015/08/07

It’s been a bad week for the president’s push for his Iran deal.  But despite growing opposition from his own party and widespread public concern that the deal won’t keep the country safe, President Obama isn’t turning back.

Scare tactics?  He can do that.  False choices?  He can do that, too.

It seems there’s nothing President Obama won’t do to sell his deal with Iran – even if that means contradicting, ignoring and steamrolling:

His vice president, his former secretary of state, and his current secretary of state:

OBAMA: “More than a decade later, we still live with the consequences of the decision to invade Iraq… I raise this recent history because now more than ever we need clear thinking in our foreign policy.” (8/5/2015)

CNN: “[F]ormer senators who have served in his administration -- including Vice President Joe Biden and his former and current secretaries of State, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry -- all voted for the resolution” to authorize use of force in Iraq. (8/5/2015)

His lead negotiator:

OBAMA: “The choice we face is ultimately between diplomacy or some form of war.” (8/5/2015)

SENATOR MENENDEZ (D-NJ): “Madam Secretary, this agreement or war? Is that the choice? A simple yes or no.”

UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS WENDY SHERMAN: “I don’t think it’s a simple yes or no ... it’s not a binary choice … I don’t think any of us can predict the future in that way.” (8/6/2015)

His top general:

OBAMA: “Now, this is not to say that sanctions relief will provide no benefit to Iran’s military.” (8/5/2015)

SENATOR AYOTTE (R-NH): “You said under no circumstances should we relieve pressure on Iran on [ballistic missiles and conventional arms].  So was it your military recommendation that we not agree to the lifting of those sanctions?”

CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF, GEN. DEMPSEY: “Yes that was my military advice.” (7/30/2015)

His nuclear expert:

OBAMA: “Unfortunately, we’re living through a time in American politics where every foreign policy decision is viewed through a partisan prism, evaluated by headline-grabbing sound bites.” (8/5/2015)

ENERGY SECRETARY MONIZ: “I’ve been very, frankly, pleased at how many members are really digging into the documents, both the public and the confidential documents that we have supplied.” (7/31/2015)

His party:

OBAMA: “Now, the final criticism -- this sort of a catch-all that you may hear -- is the notion that there’s a better deal to be had… Those making this argument are either ignorant of Iranian society, or they’re just not being straight with the American people.” (8/5/2015)

REP. MENG (D-NY): “I strongly believe the world could and should have a better deal than that set forth in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.” (7/29/2015)

OBAMA: “[T]hose who say we can just walk away from this deal and maintain sanctions are selling a fantasy.” (8/5/2015)

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): “[U]nder this agreement [Iran] will be able to achieve its dual goals of eliminating sanctions while ultimately retaining its nuclear and non-nuclear power. Better to keep U.S. sanctions in place, strengthen them, enforce secondary sanctions on other nations, and pursue the hard-trodden path of diplomacy once more, difficult as it may be.” (8/6/2015)

OBAMA: “[T]here’s no scenario where sanctions relief turns Iran into the region’s dominant power.” (8/5/2015)

REP. ELIOT ENGEL (D-NY): “I… view as a dangerous concession the sunset of the international sanctions on advanced conventional weapons and ballistic missiles.  I was told that these issues weren’t on the table during the talks.  So it’s unacceptable to me that after a maximum of five and eight years, respectively, the deal lifts these restrictions.” (8/7/2015)

And even himself:

OBAMA THEN: “I will never question the patriotism of others.” (6/30/2008)

OBAMA NOW: “In fact, it’s those hardliners who are most comfortable with the status quo.  It’s those hardliners chanting ‘Death to America’ who have been most opposed to the deal.  They’re making common cause with the Republican caucus.” (8/5/2015)

 

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President Obama Takes a Hard Line against Civil and Honest Debate over Iran Deal

2015/08/07

President Obama has long posed as a uniter eager to rise above the partisan fray and engage in civil, honest policy debates. Delivering a commencement address in 2010, he said:

[One] way to keep our democracy healthy is to maintain a basic level of civility in our public debate. … You can disagree with a certain policy without demonizing the person who espouses it. You can question somebody’s views and their judgment without questioning their motives or their patriotism. Throwing around phrases like “socialists” and “Soviet-style takeover” and “fascist” and “right-wing nut” – that may grab headlines, but it also has the effect of comparing our government, our political opponents, to authoritarian, even murderous regimes.

Where was that guy this week?

Attempting to sell the public on his awful deal with Iran, President Obama said:

Just because Iranian hardliners chant “Death to America” does not mean that that’s what all Iranians believe. In fact, it’s those hardliners who are most comfortable with the status quo. It’s those hardliners chanting “Death to America” who have been most opposed to the deal. They’re making common cause with the Republican caucus.

The nastiness of this slander aside, it doesn’t even make sense. Bloomberg View’s Eli Lake called it “nonsense.” As he explained in May:

There is definitely a political logic to pinning this “hardliner” label on the [Republicans]. The White House can artfully shift the conversation away from the contents of the deal it is negotiating. …

It's simple, but deceptive. This tactic understates the power of Iran's hardliners and dramatically overstates the power of U.S. hardliners.

In Iran, the people inside the system who are negotiating a deal, such as Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, must take the agreement to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, for approval. In Iran, the hardliner approves the deal. In the U.S. system it's the other way around.

Khamenei, in fact, is the one leading those “Death to America” chants. “Of course, yes, death to America,” he told a crowd in March. His speech at a Tehran mosque less than three weeks ago was “punctuated by chants of ‘Death to America’ and ‘Death to Israel.’” This is the hardliner who said in February that he and President Obama “are of the same opinion.” He supports the deal because it is so good for Iran, and so bad for America.

Our president may not get this – or he does, and just doesn’t care – but the American people do:

  • The latest Quinnipiac University poll found that 57 percent – nearly six in 10 Americans – oppose the Iran deal. Only 28 percent support it.
  • The latest CNN/ORC poll found 52 percent think Congress should reject the deal.

Perhaps this is why so many Democrats are wary of supporting it. Sen. Bob Menendez (NJ) blasted the White House’s “talking points that come straight out of Tehran” in January. Rep. Steve Israel (NY), Rep. Nita Lowey (NY), and Rep. Ted Deutch (FL) all announced their opposition to the deal this week. Last night, so did Sen. Chuck Schumer (NY) and Rep. Eliot Engel (NY), the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL), the chair of the Democratic Party, has so far refused to say whether she will support it.

As a candidate for president in 2007, Obama famously said that he would talk with Iran without preconditions, telling The New York Times that “it is important for us to send a signal that we are not hellbent on regime change, just for the sake of regime change[.]” This viewpoint no doubt influenced his decision to shun Iranian moderates early in his presidency, as one National Review columnist recalls:

[I]n 2009, when Iranian democracy activists rose up in protest and appeared poised to attempt overthrowing the hardliner regime, it was Obama – not Americans who oppose Obama’s Iran deal – who turned a deaf ear to them, even as the regime shot them dead in the streets. The president had his choice between cajoling Iranian hardliners and championing Iranians who yearn for a better relationship with the West … and he made it.

Along with his affinity for cozying up to America’s enemies , his poor choice then is why he can only offer false choices and incivility now.

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President Obama Still Has No VA Reform Plan Whatsoever

2015/08/07

One year ago today, President Obama signed into law a set of reforms in response to the VA scandal in which dozens of veterans died while waiting for appointments.  Among other things, that bill made it possible for veterans to seek private care outside the VA and gave the VA Secretary the authority to fire or demote senior executives.  

It was a good start, but just that, which is why Speaker Boehner called on the president to deliver a long-term plan to fix the VA’s systemic problems.  That was the hope – if not the expectation.  And to his credit, the president said at the bill signing, “I want to be clear about something: this will not and cannot be the end of our effort.”

But one year later, Speaker Boehner says, it’s not clear that effort has even started: 

“The first step to solving a problem is admitting that you have one.  But at the VA, only a few have been fired for manipulating the wait lists.  And now the agency can’t even count how many veterans died while waiting for care. We’re going to keep passing reforms, but what the VA needs is a sweeping change in its culture.  And we’ll keep holding President Obama accountable until our veterans start seeing the progress that they are demanding.” 

It isn’t just that the administration has failed to put forward a long-term plan.  The VA has barely lifted a finger to implement last year's reforms, failing to promote private care as a viable option, and attempting to discipline only 14 employees for a scandal that affected some 110,000 veterans.  And, for more than 18 months, the president has left the VA without a permanent watchdog who can go in and get to the bottom of things.  So it’s no wonder that waiting lists are longer, care is still subpar, and billions of dollars are being spent illegally.  Here's The Arizona Republic

The more the VA changes and 'reforms,' the more its deep-seated desire to remain exactly the same becomes clear. It is going to be a long, hard struggle to refashion this agency into something more responsive to the veterans it serves.

This week, we highlighted some of the things we’ve done to help our veterans.  As you can see, we followed up on last year’s reforms with initiatives to expand access to mental health resources, prioritize ending the disability claims backlog, make it easier for veterans to find good-paying jobs, and more. We’ll keep passing reforms when and where we can, but none of this is a substitute for a real, long-term plan to transform the VA.  Only the president can deliver that kind of real change from within, and we’ll keep holding him accountable until he does.   

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Speaker Boehner on the July 2015 Unemployment Report

2015/08/07

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement in response to the Department of Labor’s unemployment report for July 2015:

“While it’s welcome news that more Americans found work last month, the president’s policies aren’t delivering the strong, sustained economic growth families need to get ahead.  Wages are flat, incomes are down, and more Americans are in poverty than when the president took office.  We can do better.

“That’s why Republicans remain focused on advancing common-sense solutions that address Americans’ top priorities.  We’ve passed jobs bills to increase energy and lower gas prices, expand markets for American-made goods and services, and cut red tape to help small businesses and manufacturers grow. We’ll continue that progress by working to lift the oil export ban and create an estimated one million new American jobs.  It’s a stark contrast to the president’s regulatory scheme that will shut down energy producers, destroy jobs, and raise costs for hardworking families.  I urge the president to reconsider his plan, and to work with us to get more House-passed jobs bills signed into law to strengthen the economy and make a real difference in the lives of every American.”

 

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The ‘Marked’ Misdirection: New Report Exposes Team Clinton’s Latest Word Games

2015/08/06

Questions about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s exclusive use of personal email and a private server for government business – first exposed as part of the investigation by the House Select Committee on Benghazi – continue to grow.

The Washington Post reports:

The FBI has begun looking into the security of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s private e-mail setup, contacting in the past week a Denver-based technology firm that helped manage the unusual system, according to two government officials.

Also last week, the FBI contacted Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall, with questions about the security of a thumb drive in his possession that contains copies of work e-mails Clinton sent during her time as secretary of state.

The FBI’s interest in Clinton’s e-mail system comes after the intelligence community’s inspector general referred the issue to the Justice Department in July. Intelligence officials expressed concern that some sensitive information was not in the government’s possession and could be “compromised.”

The inquiries are bringing to light new information about Clinton’s use of the system and the lengths to which she went to install a private channel of communication outside government control ….

The inquiries by the FBI follow concerns from government officials that potentially hundreds of e-mails that passed through Clinton’s private server contained classified or sensitive information.

That would be the classified information she and her team swore did not exist in her personal emails. We now know it was classified at the time she possessed it, and that it “contained information from five U.S. intelligence agencies and included material related to the fatal 2012 Benghazi attacks,” according to McClatchy.

So Team Clinton’s reassurances were just some of the many false claims they made, and this report revealed another.

In March, former Secretary Clinton claimed that “the [email] system we used was set up for President [Bill] Clinton’s office. And it had numerous safeguards. … So, I think that the use of that server, which started with my husband, certainly proved to be effective and secure.”

The Washington Post’s report exposed this explanation as highly misleading at best:

[T]he server installed in her Chappaqua, N.Y., home as she was preparing to take office as secretary of state was originally used by her first campaign for the presidency, in 2008, according to two people briefed on the setup. A staffer who was on the payroll of her political action committee set it up in her home, replacing a server that Clinton’s husband, former president Bill Clinton, had been using in the house. …

In 2008, responsibility for the system was held by Justin Cooper, a longtime aide to the former president who served as a personal assistant and helped research at least two of his books. Cooper had no security clearance and no particular expertise in safeguarding computers, according to three people briefed on the server setup. Cooper declined to comment. …

Those briefed on the server setup say the device installed for Bill Clinton was deemed too small for the addition of a sitting Cabinet official. Instead, a server that had been purchased for use by Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign was installed at the Chappaqua home.

The report also contains a comment from Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill that shows she and her team are shifting their story in another effort to mislead Americans:

Statements by ... Then Now Hillary Clinton “I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material.” (3/10/15) “I did not receive anything that was marked as classified.” (7/25/15) Clinton's team “Was classified material sent or received by Secretary Clinton on this email address? No.” (3/15) “She did not send nor receive any emails that were marked classified at the time.” (8/4/15)

As national security author Gabriel Schoenfeld explains:

Clinton says in her defense that the emails were not marked “classified” at the time. But that may only reflect the fact that she herself — negligently — did not mark them so as required.

Columnist Marc Thiessen points out:

Taking intelligence from classified documents and putting it in unclassified e-mails does not make the information unclassified. Indeed, that is arguably an additional offense.

In other words, of course the classified information Clinton sent was not “marked” as such – because she didn’t mark it.

Editorial boards around the country recently noted Team Clinton’s “serially deceptive” statements. Americans shouldn’t be fooled by them.

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Republican Energy Policies are Fueling a Resurgence of American Manufacturing

2015/08/06

According to Gallup, “a majority of Americans, 57%, say lower gas prices are making a noticeable difference in their household finances, including 27% who say they are making a ‘big difference.’”

This is great news – and a direct result of America’s ongoing energy boom that Republicans have championed. President Obama and other Democrats opposed it and said increased energy production would never bring about lower prices at the pump, but they were wrong.

Of course, they’re still fighting against American energy workers and producers, but despite their best efforts to stifle progress – including overseeing a big decline in energy production on federal lands – the U.S. recently claimed Russia’s crown as the world’s number one producer of oil and natural gas. It’s a significant milestone, and one that could not have happened without the hydraulic fracturing revolution, which is still making gains thanks to new technological advances that are increasing volume and efficiency.

“The U.S. oil-and-gas industry no longer spends its time trying to find new shale formations to tap. Instead, it focuses on finding ways to get more out of the formations it has found. And it is succeeding,” The Wall Street Journal reported last year, noting that the top gas well in 2013  produced five times as much as the one that set a record a decade before.

Bloomberg Business reported just last month that engineers have figured out how to lengthen the life span of wells with a technique known as “refracking”:

“When done right, the procedure not only boosts the flow of crude, but can also increase the estimate of reserves held in the well. … A study by Bloomberg Intelligence of about 80 wells that were originally tapped in North Dakota’s Bakken formation in 2008 or 2009 and then refracked again years later shows a clear pickup in output,” by an average of more than 30 percent in the first month.

In addition to affecting the price of gasoline, American energy production has made a difference in home electric bills and workers’ paychecks. The president of North America's Building Trades Unions recently described how the “U.S. energy boom is creating many new jobs here in America, and it's a leading contributor to American workers' vaulting out of the unemployment line and into the middle class. … [It’s] lifting up our nation's workforce, reducing utility bills for American families, and providing hope and opportunity for long-neglected communities.”

It’s also fueling a resurgence of American manufacturing and helping us compete with China, a little-noticed report in last month’s Fortune magazine explains:

You don’t need to a Nobel Prize in economics to know that the fracking revolution has been good for the U.S. What’s not so well known is just how competitive cheap oil and gas has made American manufacturing. BCG, the Boston consultancy, estimates the average cost to manufacture goods in the U.S. is now only 5% higher than in China and is actually 10% to 20% lower than in major European economies. Even more striking: BCG projects that by 2018 it will be 2% to 3% cheaper to make stuff here than in China. …

[F]racking has helped dramatically drive down the price of oil and gas that’s being used in energy intensive industries such as steel, aluminum, paper and petrochemicals. BCG calculates that U.S. industrial electricity prices are now 30% to 50% lower than those of other major exporters. …

Over the last few years, cheap energy has encouraged players in various industries to earmark $138 billion for new U.S.-based investments.

So that’s the good news. Now here’s the bad news: this week, President Obama announced even more new EPA regulations driven by ideology and dogma instead of facts and science – just like his false claims about us not being able to “drill our way to lower gas prices.” The Associated Press said the “winners” in his anti-affordable energy plan included radical environmentalists (like this one). National Journal said one winner was President Obama himself. Both outlets agreed that his plan would hurt natural gas production.

Another “loser,” according to the AP? “Your power bill.”

An analysis of EPA data by the American Action Forum found that the president’s plan “will shutter 66 power plants and eliminate 125,800 jobs in the coal industry.” That’s a lot of paychecks destroyed, and a lot of food not put on families’ tables.

“The plan also endangers electric reliability, and the strains to the grid could lead to brownouts or worse,” The Wall Street Journal editorialized. “The EPA added a reliability ‘safety valve’ in the final rule as a concession that these risks are real, but this offers little protection in practice.”

President Obama famously said in January 2008 that with his policies, “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” “Coal-powered plants, you know, natural gas – you name it, whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money; they will pass that [cost] on to consumers.”

These “costs are very real and will be painful for people across the country,” Speaker Boehner said this week. The president’s plan “will be remembered as another irresponsible policy that makes it even harder for Americans to provide for their families and reach the American dream.”

President Obama should change course, and work with Republicans to encourage American energy production and help American manufacturing flourish.

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The ABLE Act is Making a Difference for American Families

2015/08/06

It’s been called the most significant piece of legislation to help people with disabilities since the Americans With Disabilities Act itself.  Signed into law last December, the ABLE Act offers people with disabilities the opportunity to have their own tax-free savings accounts without any limits.  The initiative was first introduced in 2006 by Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), and it passed with an overwhelming bipartisan majority.

Already, at least 30 states have passed legislation to implement the ABLE Act, and families around the country are celebrating the difference it will make in their lives:

-          In Delaware, the state-passed ABLE Act legislation was signed into law in June and was renamed “Kayla’s Bill” in recognition of a local young girl who has Down Syndrome.  Her mother, an active supporter of the legislation, said:

"Kayla is like any other child. She is beautiful, smart, and funny" … "We wanted to ensure that when we're gone she could still have her medical benefits and the opportunity to earn a good pay." (Middletown Transcript, 4/3/2015)

-          In North Carolina, where they’ve also recently taken steps to implement the law, a mother of two, who both have autism, sees the positive impact the ABLE Act will have on her children in the long term:

“They’ll be able to look for competitive jobs, with a competitive pay, and put aside some of it to save… And we won’t have to worry about them losing their benefits.  They can save up for what they need.” (FOX8 News - WGHP, 7/22/2015)

-          In Florida, where the state-passed legislation became law in May, thousands of residents could benefit from the savings accounts and opportunities for a more independent life.  For one Naples mother, “the chance to save money for her son Steven’s future opens all kinds of possibilities.  ‘I’m so happy that it passed, she said.  It lets people with disabilities actually have the opportunity to reach whatever their potential may be.” (Naples Daily News, 7/29/2015)

-          In Illinois, the legislation has been called ‘a fair compromise’ and was signed into law last week.  All parents want what is best for their children’s future, and for those with disabilities, parents like Rachel Jackson agree that each “deserves to have the same opportunities as others that don’t have a disability and are able to save.” (CBS3 News – WCIA, 6/22/2015)

-          And in Ohio, lawmakers gave unanimous approval to the ABLE Act before it was signed into law on July 16.  Many families are excited by the opportunity to save for their children with disabilities for their long-term needs:

“This gives my wife and I the opportunity to take care of our daughter so that you don’t have to as a taxpayer, and for her to contribute to her own financial wellbeing, so you don’t have to.” – Chip Gerhardt, father & board member of NDSS (The Columbus Dispatch, 7/22/2015)

Because of the ABLE Act, Americans with disabilities have more opportunity, and their families have less worry.  That’s what it’s all about, and this is just one of several initiatives we’ve passed that is already making a difference for American families and local communities, including the new human trafficking law

 

For more about the good news coming from the Republican-led Congress:

20+ Ways We’re Addressing the People’s Priorities

Something Positive For All Americans

Boehner Touts GOP Progress on the People’s Priorities

House Continues Getting Things Done for the American People

 

For more on the ABLE Act:

More Opportunities for People With Disabilities

Stories from Ohio – The ABLE Act

The ABLE Act: A Simple But Powerful Idea

ABLE Act: From a Kitchen-Table Idea to the Law of the Land

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A Reminder from Netanyahu

2015/08/05

Today, after President Obama delivered a speech praising his own administration's work on reaching "a very good deal" with the regime in Iran, it seems prudent to reflect back on another speech delivered in Washington, DC, just five months ago.  In his joint address to Congress in March, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the American public about the very serious threat that a radical Iran poses not just to Israel - but to all those who stand for freedom around the word.  

His full speech is 42 minutes, and well worth the watch, but this short, 50 second clip serves as a powerful reminder that the alternative to President Obama's bad deal with Iran is not war.

The alternative is a better deal. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.3"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));
A Reminder from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

As The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu - בנימין נתניהו, warned earlier this year, we don't have to bet the security of the world on the hope that Iran will change for the better. President Obama’s deal with a radical Iran is bad for America and bad for our closest ally, Israel.

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Here is the corresponding text of Prime Minister Netanyahu's remarks:

I've come here today to tell you we don't have to bet the security of the world on the hope that Iran will change for the better. We don't have to gamble with our future and with our children's future.

We can insist that restrictions on Iran's nuclear program not be lifted for as long as Iran continues its aggression in the region and in the world.

Before lifting those restrictions, the world should demand that Iran do three things. First, stop its aggression against its neighbors in the Middle East.

Second, stop supporting terrorism around the world.

And third, stop threatening to annihilate my country, Israel, the one and only Jewish state.

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12 Questions for President Obama on his Iran Deal

2015/08/05

President Obama is headed to American University this morning to make the case for his proposed Iran deal to an increasingly skeptical public.  While the president will reportedly try to sell the deal by drawing parallels between his world view and John F. Kennedy’s Cold War approach to the Soviet Union, what the American people really want are the hard facts.

How is a deal that allows Iran to keep thousands of centrifuges spinning really “our best means of assuring that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon?”  And given that the president admits the deal “not contingent on Iran changing its behavior” and new cash will likely go toward terror activities that are “a threat to us and a threat to our allies,” how does this deal make America safer?   

Here are 12 other questions the president has yet to fully answer on his proposed nuclear deal with Iran:

  • Why is sanctions relief for Iran permanent while restraints on Iran’s nuclear program are only temporary?
  • Will the side agreements between Iran and IAEA on the suspect Parchin military site set a precedent for limited or conditional access to future suspicious sites?
  • Why shouldn’t Congress and the American people have a chance to review the IAEA and Iran side agreements on Iran’s past nuclear activities and access for inspectors?
  • If you wanted access to Iranian sites within 24 hours, why settle for 24-days?
  • Will international inspectors ever see the inside of a suspect Iranian military base or future undeclared facilities?
  • If Iran is allowed to dictate inspection terms, is this deal actually verifiable?
  • Are there any other secrets to this agreement?
  • When and why did you agree to give Iranian terrorists amnesty in the deal? Was it a pre-condition to bring Iran to the table?
  • Why should Iran be allowed to acquire intercontinental ballistic missiles?
  • How does a deal that gives Iran industrial nuclear capabilities in 10 years actually cut off Iran’s path to a weapon?
  • How does this not set the stage for additional confrontation in the world’s most volatile region?
  • If the international sanctions regime is on the verge of collapse, how will you succeed in snapping back sanctions when Iran cheats?
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Seven Things We’ve Done to Help Veterans

2015/08/05

“Get your checkbooks out.”  That was the demand one VA official recently made to Congress after the agency uncovered a whole new string of problems.   Waiting lists are longer.  Waste, fraud, and abuse are everywhere.  And the agency can’t even tell you exactly how many veterans died while waiting for care.  Here the VA can’t fulfill its most basic responsibilities, and its leaders expect more money from taxpayers without any reform whatsoever. 

From the start, Republicans have taken a different approach.  We’re committed to building a 21st-century VA that gives our veterans the care they need when they need it.  Several reforms we’ve passed and enacted into law over this last year are about delivering on this vision:  #1: For the first time, veterans are able to seek private care outside the VA.  A law we passed last year made it so that veterans could apply for private care through the Choice Program if they are unable to get an appointment from the VA within 30 days or if they live more than 40 miles from the nearest VA facility.  A new report shows that 65 percent of eligible veterans have chosen this private program over VA care.  (H.R. 3230, 113th Congress) #2: The VA Secretary now has the authority to fire or demote senior executives who are failing our veterans. When the VA’s leaders insisted that they did not have the authority to take action against bureaucrats, we eliminated that excuse and took the first step towards real accountability.  (H.R. 3230, 113th Congress) #3: Veterans now have better access to mental health resources.  This law is designed to help prevent veteran suicides, which occur at a rate of at least 22 per day.  It is named in honor of Clay Hunt, a decorated Marine who struggled with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. (H.R. 203, 114th Congress) #4: It is now easier for veterans to find good-paying jobs.  The Hire More Heroes Acta top priority for the new Congress, gives small businesses incentives to hire veterans by offering relief from ObamaCare mandates.  It was the first jobs bill that the House passed this year.  (H.R. 3236, 114th Congress) #5: We increased funding to improve veterans’ health care, prioritizing ending the disability claims backlog and improving the transfer of health care records while rescinding $41 million from VA performance bonuses. (H.R. 83, 113th Congress) #6: More veterans will be able to take advantage of private care because of changes we recently made to cut red tape and expand eligibility for the Choice Program.  We also directed the VA to come up with a plan to consolidate all of its private care programs into a single, stronger Choice Program.  This is good government, and could lead to even better and faster care for veterans.  (H.R. 3236, 114th Congress) #7: Veterans will now be able to use a permanent ID card that proves their military service.  Instead of making veterans carry around old forms that contain sensitive information, this will make it easier for them to get the services they need and provide more protection from identity theft.  (H.R. 91, 114th Congress) In addition, the Veterans’ Affairs Committee has conducted rigorous oversight to get to the bottom of what’s going on at the VA.  According to the Majority Leader, the committee has already conducted some 45 hearings on these issues during this Congress.  This is progress, but we still have a long way to go.  For example, even though we’ve given the VA Secretary more authority to fire executives, only a few employees have actually been fired for manipulating wait lists – a practice that went on at some 110 facilities.  So we’ve just passed a bill in the House that gives the VA Secretary the authority to fire any employee who is failing our veterans.  We will keep passing reforms when and where we can, but it’s as clear as ever that only President Obama can truly change the culture from within at the VA.  The nation needs a real, long-term vision to deliver the change our veterans are demanding.

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For the first time, veterans are able to seek private care outside the VA. A law we passed last year made it so that...

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Saturday, August 8, 2015
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Did You Miss It? Eight Excerpts from Speaker Boehner's Golf Channel Interview

2015/08/04

Last night, Speaker John Boehner appeared on the Golf Channel for an interview with David Feherty on his show, Feherty.  In the wide-ranging interview, the Speaker sat down with Feherty in Ohio and took him through his office in Washington, DC to talk about growing up with 11 brothers and sisters in Ohio, working his way through college, and eventually becoming Speaker of the House.  Times for re-airings of the full interview can be found here, but here are some excerpts and behind the scenes bonus clips.

On his parents: “Ordinary Americans, met while they were in high school, my dad went off to war, he came home, had 9 boys and 3 girls…We were clearly Catholic.”

Valuable lessons from playing sports growing up in Ohio: “Growing up in a big family, and playing every team sport there was, you have to learn how to get along with people and sacrifice what you may or may not want to do based on what the team needs.  Great lessons.”

“The biggest lesson [I learned from Coach Gerry Faust] - there is nothing in this world that you can’t accomplish, if you are willing to work hard enough and willing to make the sacrifices necessary.”

Virtues needed both on the golf course and as Speaker of the House: “Perseverance and patience. Probably one of the secrets to my tenure as Speaker is just to be patient. Listen to everyone and try to understand. It takes an awful lot of patience.”

The best thing about public service: “You get to meet people you would have never met otherwise.  I wouldn’t be here today, meeting you, doing this, if it wasn’t for this job.  I look around my own district and think of the thousands of people in my own Congressional district that I would not have met had it not been for the fact I ran for Congress.”

His involvement with the First Tee golf program for kids: “There are a lot of things kids can learn through golf…It is all about helping kids.  When you see one of these First Tee chapters…there’s a lot of kids who have nothing and there is a lot they can learn through the First Tee program.  There’s nothing more precious than a child…and one of the things I got involved with in this business is helping kids.  I want to make sure every kid has the same chance I did – an opportunity.”

On his trip to the Middle East: “I took a group of members there right before Easter over there to Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Iraq, Saudi Arabia…and [these countries] are asking ‘Where’s America?’ ‘When’s America going to lead?’

“We are the only superpower on the face of the earth and the world is begging us to lead, but the president has a different view of what America’s role should be in the world.  But I can tell you our allies, and our friends, they want us to lead, they want to be part of our team.  The threats that we face from Iran, not just the fact they want to develop a nuclear weapon, but they're the largest state sponsor of terrorism.  Then you've got ISIS, Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda, and a dozen other groups. Between these two radical terrorist operations, what we and our allies are doing is not enough to slow down their progress.  We've got to get serious about this, real serious about it real quick.”

On our relationship with Israel: “They are our strongest ally in the region, our longest ally in the region. The relationship between Israel and the United States could not be stronger.  The relationship between the Congress and the state Israel could not be stronger.  The relationship between our president and their prime minister is what I would call, shaky.  But the Prime Minister has been a friend of mine for a long time, I invited him to come and address a Joint Meeting of Congress because I don’t think there is anyone else in the world that could talk about the threats the world faces and the threat Israel faces better than Bibi Netanyahu.”

How he wants to be remembered as during his time in Congress: “Fair, decent and honest. I treat my colleagues – Democrat and Republican – the same.  Nobody more open and transparent in Washington, D.C. than I am.  At the end of the day, that is the way I ran my business and the way I run my political life.  Just tell people upfront the facts and the truth."

BONUS CLIPS:

Boehner shares some of his well-known fashion advice

Boehner shows Feherty the view from his Capitol office

Boehner talks about the restoration of the Capitol dome

Boehner talks with Feherty about our challenges in the Middle East

Boehner talks golfing with Presidents, beating President George W. Bush in golf

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Boehner Statement on Resolution of Disapproval on President’s Iran Deal

2015/08/04

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) introduced a resolution of disapproval on the President’s Iran deal:

“As Congress continues to review the President’s nuclear deal with Iran, every member must decide if this agreement truly makes our country safer. Throughout the month ahead, members will have more time to closely study this proposal, listen to the American people, and determine whether it meets this essential standard.  If members determine this deal does not make our country safer, they will have an opportunity to vote for this resolution when we return in September.”

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‘Reckless and Irresponsible,’ ‘Serially Deceptive,’ ‘Anything but Forthright’: Editorials Savage Secretary Clinton’s Email Practices

2015/08/04

A federal court forced the stonewall specialists at the Obama State Department to release former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s work-related emails in batches. The latest was released on Friday, and it revealed that she kept even more sensitive information on her private, unsecure server:

In 2,206 pages of emails, the government censored passages to protect national security at least 64 times in 37 messages, including instances when the same information was blacked-out multiple times. Clinton has said she never sent classified information from her private email server, which The Associated Press was first to identify as operating in her home in New York.

The Friday release brings the volume of emails publicly released by the State Department to roughly 12 percent of the 55,000 pages Clinton had turned over to department lawyers earlier this year. That falls short of the 15 percent goal set by a court ruling in May, a lag the State Department attributed to interest by the inspector general of the U.S. intelligence community in the possible compromise of classified information. …

Memos sent by the inspector general of the intelligence community alerted the FBI to a potential security violation arising from Clinton's use of a private server located in her home.

The inspector general said his office has found four emails containing classified information while reviewing a limited sample of 40 of the emails provided by Clinton. Those four messages were not marked as classified but should have been handled as such because they contained classified information at the time they were sent, the inspector general said. …

The emails released Friday raised new questions about Clinton's stated reason for routing all her work-related emails through a private server. On several occasions, Clinton received messages not only at her home email server — hdr22@clintonemail.combut also on a BlackBerry email account through her cellphone provider. …

There was no indication from emails released so far that Clinton's home computer system used encryption software that would have protected her communications from the prying eyes of foreign spies, hackers or any other interested parties on the Internet.

Current and former intelligence officials have said they assume the emails were intercepted by foreign intelligence services.

In recent days, newspaper editorial boards around the country have savaged Secretary Clinton for her reckless decisions, numerous false claims, and complete lack of transparency:

  • “[T]here should no longer be a shred of doubt about the reckless and irresponsible nature of Clinton's use of private e-mail while she was secretary of state.” (The Denver Post, 7/24/15)
  • “[T]here was only one logical reason for Clinton to do what would have gotten any lower-level official fired: to hide official communications from oversight and open records laws. An unsecure home server only increased the chances that sensitive, even classified, material could fall into the wrong hands. … Obviously, this would have been far less likely had Clinton simply followed the email rules. So far, we also must trust that she was truthful when she deemed another 30,000 emails nongovernmental and destroyed them.” (The Dallas Morning News, 7/27/15)
  • “[U]nfortunately, [she] can’t be trusted to provide a comprehensive answer. Clinton has been serially deceptive since it was first revealed she set-up a private email server in her home and often used it instead of her State Department email account, even while conducting government business. … A private server outside the government’s cybersecurity protections is more susceptible to hacking. For a secretary of state to disregard that danger in the interest of protecting her privacy, and who knows what else, is shockingly reckless.” (The Detroit News, 7/28/15)
  • “Hillary’s private server represented an outrageous flouting of the rules. Since its discovery, she’s been anything but forthright. ‘We are all accountable to the American people to get the facts right,’ Hillary insisted Friday. We’d say it’s long past time that principle were applied to her.” (New York Post, 7/24/15)
  • “Other senior officials have faced criminal charges for misusing classified information. … Mrs. Clinton took an enormous risk to national security by putting her official emails on a private server. Sooner or later she was certain to send or receive some information useful to foreign governments even if it wasn’t officially classified. Every intelligence expert we’ve talked to says it is close to a certainty that some foreign intelligence agency was able to hack her emails while she was America’s chief diplomat.” (The Wall Street Journal, 7/24/15)
  • “[I]f, as Mrs. Clinton has maintained since news of it broke, she wants the American people to know the whole truth about her secret email account as secretary of state, she should welcome a Justice Department inquiry.” (The Orange County Register, 7/28/15)

The House Select Committee on Benghazi announced that Secretary Clinton will testify on October 22. Meanwhile, significant gaps in her email record remain, and her aides are still getting around to turning over their own personal yet work-related emails. Also noteworthy: a federal judge has ordered “the State Department to ask Hillary Clinton to confirm, under penalty of perjury, that she has turned over certain work-related emails kept on a private email server” while she was Secretary of State.

Clinton has put herself in a box,” wrote National Journal’s Ron Fournier last week. “She can either hand the server over to an independent third party, who would protect her private email and our government's working email. Or she can stonewall.”

Why does she believe the first option would be more politically damaging than the second?

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7 Photos from July

2015/08/03

There are 31 days in July, but that seemed like a lot of pictures to put in one blog post.  So, instead, we picked seven of our favorites to give you a behind-the-scenes look at a few moments (big and small) from Speaker Boehner's schedule.  And if that's not enough, you can always find more photos on Instagram and Flickr

1. An Irish Fourth of July

For more than 30 years, the Speaker of the House has hosted the Prime Minister of Ireland for lunch at the U.S. Capitol on St. Patrick's Day.  So it was fitting that this year, Speaker Boehner visited our allies in Ireland for the 4th of July.  While there, he toured the Cliffs of Moeher, and like any prepared tourist, he snapped a couple photos on his phone.

See more photos

2. The 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War

With hundreds of Vietnam veterans and their families in attendance at the U.S. Capitol, Speaker Boehner marked the 50th anniversary since the deployment of America's first ground combat units in Vietnam.

See more photos

3.  Shark Week

Shark Week is a fun American tradition, and even though it only comes but once a year, the Speaker's own coffee mug carries with it some good advice.   

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Live every week like it's Shark Week.

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Friday, July 10, 2015
4. 38,000 Stadium Seats for the MLB All-Star Game

In Southwest Ohio, Speaker Boehner recently visited a small family business with a big job.  They made the molds for all the new seats in Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park.  He blogged about his visit here, on Medium

5. Flying the Flags at Half-Staff for Chattanooga

Speaker Boehner ordered the flags over the U.S. Capitol to be flown at half-staff to honor the five service members killed in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Hours later, the president followed suit.

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Flags at the U.S. Capitol have been lowered to half-staff today, out of respect for the courage and sacrifice of the five service members murdered in a terror attack in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday, July 21, 2015
6.  The Memorial Door 

Shots were fired, and two U.S. Capitol Police Officers went down.  That was 17 years ago, and now every day that Speaker Boehner enters the Capitol Building, he passes by the very spot where it happened.  In this blog post on Medium, he recalls the very personal experience of where he was that day.

See more photos

7. Bill Signings and More Bill Signings

Technically, this counts as more than one photo, but that's because the Republican-led Congress has been getting things done. Things like: 

Each of these bills has already been sent to the Oval Office and signed into law.  And we're just getting started.  

Similar Stories:

1. Three Behind-The-Scenes Photos from June

2. The Top 7 Photos from May

3. (From last year) A Do-Something House: July in Photos

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Boehner on President Obama’s National Energy Tax

2015/08/03

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement in response to final EPA rules that will impose a national energy tax on American families and job creators.

“While I described their draft plan as nuts, I believe this final plan is an expensive, arrogant insult to Americans who are struggling to make ends meet.  For more than a year, Americans have told President Obama and his Administration that they cannot afford his new national energy tax.  Instead of listening to families and job creators, the Administration has ignored their concerns and the law and finalized a plan that is even worse than we expected. This rule is being issued in the slowest growing recovery since the Great Depression and it will be another massive burden on our economy.

“Even under their own models, there are no benefits, but the costs are very real and will be painful for people across the country.  It will destroy jobs, discourage economic growth and cause energy bills to ‘skyrocket’ – just like the President promised years ago.  Instead of being a shining achievement for his legacy, this will be remembered as another irresponsible policy that makes it even harder for Americans to provide for their families and reach the American dream. 

“House Republicans understand we can develop American energy and protect our environment and we are committed to striking that responsible balance.  We will continue to take steps to stop this national energy tax, protect workers and lower energy costs for all Americans.”

NOTE: On March 6, 2014, the House passed the Electricity Security and Affordability Act (H.R. 3826) to prevent the administration’s new rules on coal-fired energy producers from taking effect unless the House and Senate approved them by law.  And on June 24, 2015, the House passed the Ratepayer Protection Act (H.R. 2042) which would ensure that states do not have to comply with the president’s national energy tax until it is proven that it is legal.  The House has also taken additional steps to curb the administration’s excessive red tape and protect small businesses and manufacturers, including the REINS Act (H.R. 427) and the Regulatory Accountability Act (H.R. 185).  

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New Human Trafficking Law Already Making a Difference

2015/08/03

Whether it is creating more jobs and promoting trade, helping our veterans, or strengthening Medicare, this Republican majority is making a difference.  Nowhere is that more evident than the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA), which was recently signed into law.  With more than one million suspected child exploitation reports in 2014, and half-a-million reports of missing children, the new anti-trafficking law is already assisting law enforcement efforts to recover victims and put a stop to these traffickers.

Last month, the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) recovered a missing Tennessee teen who was preyed on by a known sex offender.  After more than two weeks, the young teen was found in Virginia unharmed and was safely rescued:

The case may be the first in which the Marshals Service has used new power granted [to] it under the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, signed into law May 29.”

Through the JVTA law, the U.S. Marshals Service has new authority to assist state and local law enforcement agencies in locating and recovering missing children.  Upon request, they are ready and able to support these cases and put these criminals behind bars.  On the impact of the new law, the USMS said:

This legislation services to bolster an already robust partnership between the U.S. Marshals Service and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that has resulted in the recovery of more than 600 missing children by U.S. Marshals service personnel since 2003.”

Just as this bill was passed on a bipartisan basis by Congress working together on the American people’s highest priorities, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act encourages interagency cooperation to expedite the recovery and care of victims, to bring justice for the innocent and put these perpetrators behind bars. 

Every life matters, and this new law will continue to help end human trafficking in every form.

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Weekly Address: This Is What Progress Looks Like

2015/08/02

YouTube | Facebook | Google+Twitter | Transcript

The new Congress is getting things done for the American people, and in this week's Republican address, House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) ticks off some of the progress made in the first seven months, including: 

  • The first real entitlement reform in nearly two decades, which is on track to save taxpayers $2.9 trillion; 
  • The first 10-year balanced budget blueprint since 2001; and 
  • New tools to fight human trafficking; improve veterans' care; and advance free trade and American jobs.

She also ticks off some items Congress is working on, saying that “we are just getting started”: 

  • Fixing the VA to help veterans get the care they need it when they need it; 
  • Accelerating the discovery, development, and delivery of life-saving cures; and
  • Education reform so that every child has a chance to go to great schools no matter where they're from. 

For more, watch the address in English and Spanish, and check out these headlines: 

  • GOP touts productive legislative record… In their own video, Republicans boasted of their legislative record in the latest session of Congress… Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Washington, ticked off Saturday a list of legislative accomplishments, including enacting Medicare reform, expiring bulk collection of phone data, ensuring Congress has some say in approving the recently negotiated Iran nuclear deal, and adding more resources to fight human trafficking. …  She went on to list bills still on the agenda, including legislation to reform education standards, modernize the VA system, and change the federal government's role in biomedical research and funding.” (CBS News)
  • “GOP rep: Congress ‘just getting started’ on progress.  Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) on Saturday touted her party’s recent legislative efforts, promising the GOP-led Congress would keep improving life for everyday Americans. …. McMorris Rodgers praised Congress for its efforts against human trafficking, improving care for military veterans and advancing U.S. trading abroad. …  She said improving the Veterans’ Affairs system and medical solutions are coming moves in the future.  ‘Of course, we have much more to do,’ McMorris Rodgers said. ‘Dozens of effective solutions to deliver you real results are in the works.’” (The Hill)
  •  “GOP: 7 months into a Republican-controlled Congress and 'we're just getting started.’  The first seven months of a new Republican-controlled Congress have ended, and House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., wants Americans to know the GOP is just beginning its work to provide solutions for the American people.  McMorris Rodgers provided a list of things the GOP is happy to have accomplished, including ending the bulk collection of phone data, enacting some entitlement reforms, and passing the first balanced budget plan to make it through both chambers since 2001.” (Washington Examiner)
  • McMorris Rodgers: GOP-Controlled Congress 'Just Getting Started'… A GOP-controlled Congress in just seven months has enacted entitlement reform, balanced the budget, improved veterans' care, protected phone data privacy and ensured a congressional say in an Iran nuclear deal, but is ‘just getting started,’ Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers said Saturday. … Still, there's ‘much more to do,’ she said, including bills to accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery of life-saving innovations; reduce the power of the federal government in education; and modernize the VA system.” (Newsmax)

And for more good news, take a look at this supercut of the first half of 2015:

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Weekly Republican Address: Progress on The People’s Priorities

2015/07/31

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WASHINGTON, DC – In this week’s Republican address, House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) provides an update on the progress that the new Congress is making on the people’s priorities, from the first real entitlement reform in nearly two decades to a plan that advances free trade and American jobs.

KEY QUOTE: "We are just getting started on solving problems to empower you have the opportunity to pursue your own future and reach your full potential."

The audio of the address is available here. The video will be available tomorrow at 6:00 am ET on Speaker.gov and GOP.gov.

Remarks of House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington Weekly Republican AddressAugust, 1, 2015

Today I’d like to share with you some good news about the progress that Congress is making for every American.

From the start, our focus has been your priorities.  So instead of top-down bureaucrats picking winners and losers, our goal is an opportunity economy built on good-paying jobs and the freedom to innovate.

And instead of the same-old outdated models in Washington, DC, we’re working on solutions that empower you to achieve a better life.

Already, we enacted the first real entitlement reform in nearly two decades.  Now, seniors will have the peace of mind to count on Medicare and taxpayers will save $2.9 trillion over the long term.

We passed the first 10-year House-Senate balanced budget plan since 2001.

We enacted new tools to fight the evil of human trafficking; new resources to improve care for our veterans; and a plan to advance American trade and promote American jobs.

We ended the bulk collection of phone data, and ensured that Congress will have a say on the bad nuclear deal with Iran.

And that’s just in the last seven months. Since 2010, when you first elected a Republican majority in the House:

We cut spending by more than $2.1 trillion – the most significant spending reductions in modern history.

We protected 99 percent of Americans from permanent tax increases.

We achieved job skills reform, student loan reform, VA reform, and Medicare reform.

We stopped the transfer of terrorist detainees into the United States.

We enacted the most significant measure to help Americans with disabilities in 25 years.

And we passed the most sweeping pro-life legislation in history.

Of course, we have much more to do.

Dozens of effective solutions to deliver you real results are in the works.

For example, the 21st Century Cures Act would accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery of life-saving innovations.

The Student Success Act would take power away from the federal government so every child can have an equal opportunity to get a great education.

And we’re ready to modernize the VA system with new technologies to honor our heroes with world-class care to match their world-class service.

Here’s the bottom line: we are just getting started on solving problems to empower you have the opportunity to pursue your own future and reach your full potential.

Thank you for listening, and have a great weekend.

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Growing Our Economy: We Can Do Better

2015/07/31

According to figures announced by the Obama administration yesterday, America’s economy grew just 2.3 percent in the second quarter, following a measly 0.6 percent growth in the first. Politico described it as “a middling economy” with “low unemployment but also tepid growth and persistently stagnant wages.”

“This is now the weakest expansion we have had in 70 years,” said Megan Greene, chief economist at Manulife Asset Management.

There’s no doubt that jobs are being created and the economy has improved, but most families aren’t seeing those improvements in their day-to-day lives. The Wall Street Journal explained:

The economic expansion—already the worst on record since World War II—is weaker than previously thought, according to newly revised data.

From 2012 through 2014, the economy grew at an all-too-familiar rate of 2% annually, according to three years of revised figures the Commerce Department released Thursday. That’s a 0.3 percentage point downgrade from prior estimates. …

Since the recession ended in June 2009, the economy has advanced at a 2.2% annual pace through the end of last year. That’s more than a half-percentage point worse than the next-weakest expansion of the past 70 years, the one from 2001 through 2007. While there have been highs and lows in individual quarters, overall the economy has failed to break out of its roughly 2% pattern for six years.

This is why Republicans in Congress remain focused on the American people’s priorities, including jobs and the economy. This week, the House passed the REINS Act to combat the mounting costs of new regulations crushing entrepreneurs, small businesses, and workers. Congress also sent the Hire More Heroes Act to the president’s desk – a bill that rolls back harmful ObamaCare mandates so that it’s easier for businesses to hire veterans. Last month, Republicans and conservatives supported bipartisan trade legislation that strengthened America’s ability to secure the best trade agreements for our workers and our economy. And on Wednesday, Speaker Boehner called for lifting the ban on exporting American oil, which will help our allies and create American jobs.

Republicans have consistently supported pro-American energy policies – which is one reason why the U.S. recently took Russia’s crown as the world’s number one producer of oil and natural-gas. That could not have happened without the hydraulic fracturing revolution, which, according to one study, “will drive the U.S. economy 1 percent higher in 2040 than it would have otherwise grown.”

Instead of embracing this potential for growth, President Obama opposes it. He’s also busy making false claims, touting a record of accomplishment that doesn’t really exist. “The economy, by every metric, is better than when I came into office,” he told one interviewer last week.

PolitiFact promptly labeled that line “mostly false”:

We found several important measurements that went in the wrong direction during Obama’s tenure.

  • Real median weekly earnings. Between the first quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of 2015, inflation-adjusted weekly earnings for full-time wage and salary workers fell from $348 to $344, a decline of about 1 percent. Comparing the second quarter of 2009 and the second quarter of 2015, weekly earnings fell from $342 to $337, a decline of about 1.4 percent.
  • Median income. Inflation-adjusted median household income, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, fell from $54,059 in 2009 to $51,939 in 2013 -- a decline of about 4 percent. …
  • Percent of people in poverty. The data show that 13.2 percent of Americans were living in poverty in March 2009. By March 2014, that percentage had risen to 14.5 percent. …
  • Median weeks unemployed. In January 2009, the median number of weeks an unemployed person was unemployed was 10.7. By June 2015, that number had risen to 11.3 weeks. …
  • Civilian labor force participation rate. This is the percentage of people either working or looking for work, divided by the civilian, noninstitutionalized population. In January 2009, this stood at 65.7 percent, but by June 2015, it had fallen to 62.6 percent. …
  • Number of people on food stamps. The number of recipients has risen from 33.5 million in 2009 to 46.5 million in 2014, an increase of 39 percent. …

“[W]e must do better in order to achieve the sustained, robust economic growth we need,” Speaker Boehner has said. “Republicans are advancing solutions to promote stronger economic growth and reduce Americans’ cost of living, recently passing legislation to expand free trade, prevent electricity price hikes, and help protect Americans from the president’s health care law. Millions of Americans are still struggling to find a job or living paycheck to paycheck, and they deserve a better opportunity to get ahead.”

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Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers to Deliver Weekly Republican Address

2015/07/31

WASHINGTON, DC – House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) will deliver the Weekly Republican Address on Saturday, August 1.  She will discuss the progress that the new Congress is making on the people’s priorities, from the first real entitlement reform in nearly two decades to a plan that advances free trade and promotes American jobs.  

“Our focus is the people’s priorities, and our goal is an opportunity economy built on good-paying jobs and the freedom to innovate,” McMorris Rodgers said. “We have a long way to go, but we are making progress and getting things done for the American people.”

McMorris Rodgers represents Eastern Washington, and as Chair of the House Republican Conference, she is the fourth highest-ranking Republican in the House and the highest-ranking woman in Congress.  To learn more, visit her official website, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

The Weekly Republican Address will be available nationwide starting tomorrow at 6:00 am ET on Speaker.gov and gop.gov.

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Hire More Heroes Act, Top Republican Priority, Becomes Law

2015/07/31

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after President Obama signed H.R. 3236, which includes the Hire More Heroes Act, a top priority for the new Congress and the first jobs bill passed by the House this year: 

“Starting today, it will be easier for veterans to find good-paying jobs.  This new law, the Hire More Heroes Act, offers small businesses much-needed relief from ObamaCare mandates that make it harder to hire veterans.  The unemployment rate among recent veterans remains higher than the national average, and of course, we owe it to them to make sure they have every opportunity to earn a good living.  This is the first jobs bill that the House passed this year, and it is the latest example of how we’re getting things done for the American people.  My congratulations go to Rodney Davis, who introduced this bill after hearing from a veterans advocate in his district.  We have much more to do when it comes to helping our veterans, but this is progress.”

NOTE: Speaker Boehner and Leader McConnell cited the Hire More Heroes Act as a top priority in a Wall Street Journal op-ed the day after last November’s election.  The House passed this initiative with unanimous support on the first day of the 114th Congress.

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MONDAY: Speaker Boehner Interview With Golf Channel’s David Feherty

2015/07/31

On Monday, August 3, Speaker Boehner will appear on Golf Channel’s Feherty with host, David Feherty. 

The Speaker sat down with Feherty in Ohio and in Washington, DC to talk about growing up with 11 brothers and sisters in Ohio, working his way through college, and eventually becoming Speaker of the House. You will also hear some of the life lessons Speaker Boehner applies both on the golf course and in the halls of Congress, stories about golfing with Presidents Gerald Ford, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, and his relationship with one of the newest recipients of the Congressional Gold Medal, Jack Nicklaus. 

Feherty airs Monday, August 3 at 10:00 p.m. ET in Cincinnati, OH and Washington, DC.  You can also watch online at GolfLiveExtra.com.

Video Preview:  Speaker John Boehner Talks Golf with Presidents

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Boehner Makes News With Call to Lift Oil Export Ban

2015/07/30

At a press briefing yesterday, Speaker Boehner called for ending the oil export ban – an antiquated policy born out of the 1970s “scarcity mindset” that is standing in the way of new jobs, lower gas prices, and stronger support for our allies: 

  • “Repealing the U.S. Ban Would Create One Million Jobs” “Repealing the U.S. ban would create one million jobs, help bring down gasoline prices for consumers and be good for allies, Boehner said. … U.S. oil producers hope Congress will repeal the trade restriction, which they say has led to an oil glut that threatens to choke the drilling boom.” (Reuters)
  • “The Re-Entrance of Iran on the World’s Oil Markets Makes the Argument for Lifting the U.S. Ban Even Stronger” “On Tuesday, Boehner tied the issue to the roiling debate over the Iran nuclear deal, which would lift economic sanctions on the Islamic republic’s exports, saying the re-entrance of Iran on the world’s oil markets makes the argument for lifting the U.S. ban even stronger.  ‘If the administration wants to lift the ban for Iran, certainly the United States should not be the only country left in the world with such a ban in place,’ he said.” (U.S. News & World Report)
  • “A Growing Group of Republicans & Some Democrats…Say It’s Time to Open the United States’ Oil Industry to the World Market” “‘I would support lifting the ban,’ [Boehner] said. ‘Hopefully, we can work together in a bipartisan fashion to bring our energy policy into this century.’  In endorsing oil exports, Boehner is joining a growing group of Republicans and some Democrats, initially from oil-drilling-heavy regions, who say it’s time to open the United States’ oil industry to the world market.” (The Hill)
  • “A Big Boost to Our Economy” “‘There’s another important energy issue that would provide a big boost to our economy, and that is lifting the ban on exporting crude oil,’ Boehner said.  ‘Lifting the ban would create an estimated 1 million jobs here at home, jobs that frankly would be created in every state. It would help bring down prices at the pump for consumers, and it would be good for our allies.’” (National Journal)
  • “Would Lower Gas Prices” “Several studies, including those by the federal government, have showed that lifting the ban would lower gas prices…Advocates of ending the ban say that’s because exporting crude would allow producers to fetch higher prices, in the process circumventing a backlog at domestic refineries and encouraging more drilling.” (Washington Examiner)
  • “Years of Booming Oil Production…Have Sparked Calls to End the Ban”  “The ban on crude exports -- first established during the Arab oil embargo in the early 1970s -- was meant to conserve domestic oil reserves and prevent foreign imports.  Years of booming oil production, and America’s recent emergence as the world’s No. 1 oil producer, have sparked calls to end the ban.  ‘Until recently, our nation’s energy policy was rooted in a scarcity mindset. But now our energy and our policy needs to follow suit,’ Boehner said.” (Huffington Post)
  • “A Relic of the 1970s” “The export ban is a relic of the 1970s…Boehner said Wednesday those days are long gone. He said a ‘scarcity mindset’ has been replaced by an energy boom that has seen domestic production of oil and natural gas soar, even as renewable energy such as wind and solar power also make gains.” (Associated Press)
  • “America Is Experiencing an Energy Boom & Our Policy Needs to Follow Suit” “Oil exports would provide a ‘big boost to the economy,’ Boehner told reporters Wednesday at the Capitol. He didn’t say when a vote may happen. ‘America is experiencing an energy boom and our policy needs to follow suit,’ he said.” (Bloomberg)

“America’s energy boom presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reset our economy from the bottom up,” Speaker Boehner said in his five points speech last year.  To that end, the House has passed numerous bills in the first half of the new Congress that would expand energy production and create thousands of new American jobs.  Those efforts will continue in the months ahead, but here’s a quick look at what we’ve done so far:

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How We’re Making Medicare More Sustainable

2015/07/30

Last fall, in a speech outlining his vision for resetting the foundation of our economy, Speaker Boehner talked about the need to solve our spending problem.

“Our entitlement programs weren’t designed to deal with all of us retiring at once,” he said. “We need to put them on a more sustainable path, which we can do without making radical changes.”

Fast-forward just seven months to this April, when Republicans and Democrats came together to achieve the first real entitlement reform in nearly two decades

Today, in a message marking Medicare’s 50th anniversary, Speaker Boehner talks about this reform and what it means for the country.  Take a look:

“As Medicare turns 50 today, I’m pleased to report that new bipartisan reforms will make the program more sustainable for current and future generations. 

“Because of these reforms, seniors will be able to count on Medicare and continue to see their doctors.  And taxpayers will save some $2.9 trillion over the long term.

“This was the first entitlement reform in nearly two decades.  While we’ve got a long way to go, this is progress.  And it’s another example of how we’re getting things done for the American people.”

That $2.9 trillion figure comes from Medicare’s own financial experts, and it was recently confirmed by Medicare’s trustees.  It also echoes findings by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and American Action Forum’s Douglas Holtz-Eakin.  And it shows why editorial boards across the country hailed this reform, which ended years of short-term fixes, as a “milestone” while commentators called it “good news” coming from Capitol Hill.

We do indeed have a long way to go, but as Speaker Boehner pledged, we can do big things like this without raising taxes and making radical changes.  That’s good news too.

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It’s a “working reception”

2015/07/29

Polish up the cheese tray and bust out the chardonnay.  President Obama gets another shot at selling House Democrats on his proposed nuclear deal with Iran tonight.

At an event billed as a working reception with lawmakers at the White House, President Obama will face members of his own party who “still [have] serious concerns” after a “clash” with a “visibly frustrated” Secretary John Kerry on Capitol Hill yesterday: 

  • “Democrats harshly criticized the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran during a testy hearing Tuesday, underscoring the difficulty the White House faces in winning over its own party.” (The Hill, 7/28/15)
  • “Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he was very disappointed with the agreement.  ‘I have a fundamental concern that 15 years from now Iran will essentially be off the hook,’ he said.” (CBN, 7/29/15)
  • “Both Republicans and Democrats signaled the potential difficulty in getting Congress on board… Others expressed concern about Americans held in Iranian prisons or worried about Iran’s backing militants.  ‘They support Hamas, Hezbollah and Houthi, and those are just the organizations that begin with the letter “H,”’ said Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif.” (Reuters, 7/28/15)
  • “Other leading Democrats have also refrained from taking a public stand at this point.  No. 2 House Democrat Steny Hoyer, still undecided on the deal, said Tuesday that he will meet with top Israeli officials next month to discuss the agreement… Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Florida representative and the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, told CNN Monday that she needed more time to decide.” (CNN, 7/28/15)

President Obama’s goal tonight is clear: win as many votes as possible before members head home to face their constituents.  A number of recent surveys have shown the American people are opposed to the president’s deal.  Nearly two-thirds say that the deal will not stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

But the president still has a lot of questions to answer.  The secret deals haven’t been provided for review.  We don’t know definitively when and why the administration decided to include amnesty for terrorists in the deal.   And President Obama still hasn’t explained how a deal that gives Iran a ton of cash, lifts the embargoes on arms and missiles and lets Iran keep thousands of centrifuges spinning actually makes the world any safer.

The White House has warned House Democrats they’ll be closely watching votes on Iran.  But so will the American people, and Democrats have a great opportunity to spend a lot of time listening to their concerns in the weeks ahead.   

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Boehner Calls for Lifting Oil Export Ban

2015/07/29

WASHINGTON, DC – At his weekly press briefing today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) called for lifting the oil export ban – a move he says will help create jobs, lower energy prices, and support our allies.  Following are Boehner’s remarks:

“Lastly, another area where we continue to make progress is energy.  Until recently, our nation’s energy policy was rooted in a scarcity mindset that went back to the 1970s.  But now, America is experiencing an energy boom, and our policy needs to follow suit.

“That’s why the Energy & Commerce Committee is working on legislation to ensure that we fulfill our energy potential.  Chairman Upton will mark up a bill this fall, and it’s a top priority here in the House.  By embracing our resources, we’ll keep energy prices affordable, help create jobs, and boost our economy.

“But there’s another important energy issue that would provide a big boost to our economy, and that is lifting the ban on exporting crude oil.  Lifting the ban would create an estimated one million jobs here at home – jobs that would frankly get created in every state.  It would help bring down prices at the pump for consumers.  And it would be good for our allies. If the administration wants to lift the ban for Iran, certainly the United States should not be the only country left in the world with such a ban in place.   

“I would support lifting the ban, and I hope that we can work together in a bipartisan fashion to bring our energy policies into this century.” 

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Increasing VA Accountability & Expanding Opportunity for Our Veterans

2015/07/29

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House will vote on measures to increase VA accountability and make it easier for small businesses to hire more veterans, the latest in a series of steps the House is taking to ensure our veterans get the benefits and care they’ve earned.  Boehner highlighted both measures at a press briefing earlier today:

“We’ve got a lot more to do.  That’s why today we’ll pass more reforms to help the nation’s veterans. That includes the Hire More Heroes Act, which makes it easier for veterans to find good-paying jobs.  And we’ll pass a bill to give the VA the authority to fire any bureaucrat who is failing our veterans.  We’ll continue to pass reforms, but only the president can change the culture over at the VA.

NOTE: Learn more about the VA Accountability Act here, and the Hire More Heroes Act here.

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Boehner Touts GOP Progress on the People’s Priorities

2015/07/29

WASHINGTON, DC – “I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished in Congress so far,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said today, listing numerous measures the House has passed since January to address the people’s top priorities.  Boehner also discussed the broader list of accomplishments the Republican majority has secured, including more than $2.1 trillion in spending cuts and protecting 99 percent of Americans from permanent tax increases.  Following are Boehner’s remarks:

“Let me start by saying that I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished in Congress so far this year.  We’ve achieved the first real entitlement reform in nearly two decades, which will save taxpayers some $2.9 trillion over the long term.  We passed the first 10-year House-Senate balanced budget plan since 2001.  And, we’ve enacted new tools to fight human trafficking, new resources to improve veterans’ care, and a plan to advance free trade and promote more American jobs.   “I’m also proud of what we’ve accomplished as a Republican majority.  We’ve cut spending by more than $2.1 trillion – the most significant spending reductions in modern history, and more than what we saw under the Reagan & O’Neill arrangement back in the 80s.  We protected 99 percent of Americans from a permanent increase in their taxes.  We’ve enacted three pro-growth free trade agreements.  We’ve enacted job training reform, student loan reform, VA reform, Medicare reform.  All over just the last four and a half years.  We’ve stopped the transfer of terrorist detainees into the U.S.  We’ve banned earmarks and have the most open legislative process that we’ve seen in modern time.  We passed the most pro-life legislation in history.  And we’ve done all this with a Democrat in the White House.”

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Veterans Deserve This

2015/07/28

Yesterday, in his office in the U.S. Capitol, Speaker Boehner signed a bill that will make it easier than ever for our nation’s veterans to start and own their own business.

H.R. 2499, the Veterans Entrepreneurship Act, waives fees for any American veteran applying for an express loan through the Small Business Administration.

This common-sense legislation, sponsored by Rep. Steve Chabot, was overwhelmingly passed by both the House and the Senate, and as of this morning, it has already been signed into law by the president.

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Read More

REINS Act: Less Red Tape, More Accountability, & A Stronger Economy

2015/07/28

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today applauded House passage of the Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act (H.R. 427), legislation introduced by Rep. Todd Young (R-IN) that gives Congress an up-or-down vote on any major new regulation issued by the Obama administration:

“Having run a small business, I know how tough it can be to make payroll and stay afloat when you’re worried about every new rule or mandate Washington throws your way.  The Obama administration has only made matters worse, handing down more than 500 major new regulations that are costing our economy billions.  That’s billions of dollars that small business owners and manufacturers could be using to boost wages, hire more workers, and strengthen our economy. 

“The REINS Act will help by giving Congress – the people’s representatives – the opportunity to stop new rules that will hurt the economy or raise costs for hardworking families.  It would put a much-needed check on Washington bureaucrats who have no idea what it takes to run a business.  And, it would prevent the administration from unleashing a flood of new rules before the president leaves office.  That’s the kind of accountability we need to keep our economy moving, and I hope the Senate will follow suit and pass this critical measure.”

NOTE: Enacting regulatory reform through commonsense measures like the REINS Act is part of Speaker Boehner’s five-point framework for resetting America’s economic foundation.  Learn more at speaker.gov/5points.

 

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Making Sure More Good People Don’t Become Victims

2015/07/28

One House Democrat called the murder of #KateSteinle “a little thing” → http://t.co/aeoolx094e He’s wrong.

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) July 28, 2015

On July 1, a woman named Kate Steinle was enjoying a walk on San Francisco’s Pier 14 with her father, Jim. Suddenly, a gunshot was heard, and she fell to the ground. “Help me, dad,” she said.

“Those are the last words I will ever hear from my daughter,” Jim told Members of Congress last week.

“I had the best sister,” Kate’s brother Brad told ABC7. “She was the most wonderful, loving, caring person.”

“She was compassionate and had so much energy, and had the world in front of her,” said one of Kate’s friend.

Kate died because state and local officials refused to enforce America’s immigration laws. Her killer, Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, is an illegal immigrant from Mexico and seven-time convicted felon who had previously been deported five times. He admitted to police that he had gone to San Francisco because he knew the city wouldn’t act to deport him.

“Legislation should be discussed, enacted or changed to take these undocumented immigrant felons off our streets for good,” Jim told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Last week, House Republicans took action to stop so-called “sanctuary cities” from ignoring the law. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director testified to the House Judiciary Committee earlier this year that there are more than 200 such jurisdictions that don’t honor ICE detainers. The Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act (H.R. 3009) would cut off federal funds under the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program, the Byrne-JAG program, and COPS funding to state and local governments that work to undermine federal immigration laws. The bill passed with the support of only six Democrats.

174 Democrats voted against this bill to protect Americans from criminals, and President Obama threatened to veto it. Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL) even called Kate’s tragic death “a little thing.” He's wrong. This act of violence in San Francisco was entirely preventable.

The USA Today editorial board warned that if nothing is done, more Americans will die:

Lopez-Sanchez was in the San Francisco County jail in April and should have been deported yet again. Federal immigration authorities had lodged a "detainer," seeking to get custody and do just that. All they needed was a call or other contact from the sheriff's office.

The contact was never made, not because of some ghastly mistake or miscommunication but because of a city ordinance that prohibits police from honoring detainers except in rare cases. And, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, because of a policy by the local sheriff that bars contact with immigration authorities. …

Putting a long-term felon and serial illegal entrant on the street is the antithesis of ensuring public safety.

Kathryn Steinle's death ought to be a cause for sober reevaluation of sanctuary policies. Without a cease-fire and a working agreement in this war that has pitted local law enforcement against federal immigration authorities, there will be more innocent casualties.

That’s true. After all, Kate wasn’t the first victim of these radical policies.

By opposing this bill, President Obama is undermining the safety and security of U.S. families. Only he can ensure our laws are enforced, our borders are secured, and Americans’ safety is made the top priority. Until he’s willing to do that, Americans will remain at risk. No one in our country – whether they are a citizen or a legal resident – should be in danger of losing their lives at the hands of someone who should never have been in the country to begin with.

The Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act is a reasonable bill that will help protect American lives. Why would President Obama and Democrats in Congress oppose that?

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This Week in the House: Helping Small Businesses Create Jobs & Holding the VA Accountable

2015/07/28

WASHINGTON, DC – At a press conference today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) discussed two more bills on the House floor this week that address the people’s priorities, including: the VA Accountability Act that will allow the agency to remove employees who fail our veterans, and the REINS Act that will curb major new regulations that hurt small business job growth.  Boehner also reiterated his call for Secretary Clinton to turn over her email server in light of new reports that she maintained classified information on her private account.  Following are Boehner’s remarks:

“This Congress continues to get things done for the American people.  Already this year we’ve passed: real entitlement reform; a balanced budget blueprint; new resources to improve veterans’ health care; new tools to fight human trafficking; more reforms to make trade agreements more transparent and to help create more jobs for American workers.

“This week, we’ll pass another good jobs bill, and we’ll act to hold the Veterans Administration accountable for continuing to fail our veterans.

“Lastly, despite evidence to the contrary, Secretary Clinton continues to maintain that she never had classified emails.  Now let’s not be fooled here.  Secretary Clinton is a former Senator, a former Secretary of State.  She knows exactly how classifying material works.  At this point, the best thing for Mrs. Clinton to do is to come clean and just turn the server over to the IG at the State Department.” 

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Secretary Clinton Used to Think Possessing Unsecured Classified Information was a Big Deal

2015/07/28

Contrary to her claims, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton possessed classified information on her private, unsecure home server and personal mobile devices.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Last week, an inspector general probe concluded that Mrs. Clinton had then-classified material stored on her own personal server. …

A probe by the Intelligence Community Inspector General found four emails in a small sample of the total emails in Mrs. Clinton’s archive that contained information that was classified when they were sent and remains classified to this day. That same office also warned that other classified material could be included in the Clinton emails scheduled to be released. …

In a statement released Friday and cosigned by the State Department inspector general, the intelligence inspector general concluded: “This classified information should never have been transmitted via an unclassified personal system.”

But it was – and it is still not in the possession of the U.S. government:

The emails in question left government custody and are on both Mrs. Clinton’s personal home email sever as well as a thumb drive of David Kendall, Mrs. Clinton’s personal attorney.

The inspectors general sent a counterintelligence referral to the FBI on this mishandling of classified information.

Over the weekend, Clinton understandably sought to downplay the seriousness of her wrongdoing. “What I think you’re seeing here is a very typical kind of discussion, to some extent disagreement, among various parts of the government over what should or should not be publicly released,” she said.

So now it depends upon what the meaning of the word “classified” is?

This lackadaisical dismissal of legitimate concerns about America’s national security contrasts sharply with her emphatic condemnation of Bradley Manning, who provided classified information to Wikileaks in 2010. Clinton said then:

“The United States strongly condemns the illegal disclosure of classified information. It puts people’s lives in danger, threatens our national security, and undermines our efforts to work with other countries to solve shared problems. … I have directed that specific actions be taken at the State Department, in addition to new security safeguards at the Department of Defense and elsewhere to protect State Department information so that this kind of breach cannot and does not ever happen again.”

Apparently, those “specific actions” did not include discontinuing the use of her own private home server.

Regarding Edward Snowden, in April 2014 Clinton argued that when he moved classified material from a secure U.S. government system onto his personal device and then traveled to China and Russia, those countries were likely able to obtain the data – whether he meant to turn it over or not. In short, she said, the intentions of the person in possession of the material do not matter:

“I think turning over a lot of that material—intentionally or unintentionally, because of the way it can be drained—gave all kinds of information, not only to big countries, but to networks and terrorist groups and the like,” [Clinton] said. …

“When I would go to China or I would go to Russia,” she said, “we would leave all my electronic equipment on the plane with the batteries out, because this is a new frontier and they're trying to find out not just about what we do in our government … they were going after the personal emails of people who worked in the State Department.”

As security experts have noted, Clinton’s private home server and exclusive use of personal email for official government business was a massive vulnerability in terms of national security. Asked about this in May, former Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell said that “foreign intelligence services, the good ones, have everything on any unclassified network that the government uses.” He added of Clinton’s conduct: “I don’t think that was a very good judgment.”

Even more worrisome? In February of this year, Clinton herself admitted, “I don’t throw anything away. I’m like two steps short of a hoarder.” Too bad she didn’t wipe her server until after its contents were requested by congressional investigators.

Prior to last week, Clinton and her team had assured Americans at least four times that she did not mishandle classified information. We now know for certain that these were just more of her false claims:

  • “I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material. So I’m certainly well-aware of the classification requirements and did not send classified material.” (Hillary Clinton, 3/10/15)
  • “Was classified material sent or received by Secretary Clinton on this email address? No.” (Hillary Clinton’s team, 3/15)
  • “I’m aware that the FBI has asked that a portion of one email be held back. That happens in the process of Freedom of Information Act responses. But that doesn’t change the fact that all of the information in the emails was handled appropriately.” (Hillary Clinton, 5/22/15)
  • “Clinton only used her account for unclassified email.” (Hillary Clinton’s team, 7/13/15)
  • “'I am confident that I never sent or received any information that was classified at the time it was sent and received. … The facts are pretty clear: I did not send nor receive anything that was classified at the time.” (7/25/15)

As National Journal’s Ron Fournier writes, the American public has “the right – and every self-respecting journalist the responsibility – to ask, ‘What were you hiding, Hillary?’”

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This “Important Component” of the Iran Deal is Still a Secret

2015/07/28

When Secretaries Kerry and Moniz appear before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs this morning, it’s likely they’ll face a number of serious questions about the holes in the Iran deal’s verification process. 

Vigorous inspections and monitoring are key to any agreement that seeks to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.  Experts need unfettered access to Iran’s existing nuclear infrastructure, as well as any suspicious site. 

We already know the proposed deal falls well short of the Obama administration’s promises for “anywhere, anytime 24/7” inspections.  Inspectors will have “managed access” to declared sites, and Iran will be able to obstruct and evade inspections at other suspicious sites for at least 24 days – and possibly much longer. 

But there’s another big problem with the verifications in the president’s proposed deal.  The documents submitted to Congress say nothing about: 

  • Whether Iran will actually have to come clean about its past nuclear work.  Iran has consistently ignored its obligations under previous agreements to address the possible military dimensions (PMD) of its nuclear program.  Now it’s critical that inspectors finally know just how close Iran came to producing a nuclear weapon to verify with certainty it won’t be able to acquire one in the months ahead.  And they need to know if any other sites in Iran have been used secretly for nuclear research and production.  These disclosures are “most important because they help set the stage for all other measures,” says John Lauder, director of the DCI Nonproliferation Center.
  • Inspector access to the Parchin military site – where it is believed Iran tested detonators for nuclear missilesIran has refused inspectors access to the Parchin site for years, and has taken extensive action to try and cover up its work there.  In 2013, satellite images showed the Iranians bulldozing buildings, removing roads, and excavating large swaths of ground at the complex.

Congress recently discovered the United States and the other members of the P5+1 left these issues for the IAEA and Iran to hash out in secret.  Since then, it’s been suggested the IAEA may allow Iran to simply check a box to address the PMDs of its nuclear program, and accept soil samples supplied by Iran in lieu of access to Parchin. 

Until we know what’s actually in these agreements, we’re left to ask questions like these:

  • Is the IAEA being pressured to accept terms that fail to provide inspectors full access and disclosure?
  • Why should Iran be trusted to provide soil samples from Parchin?
  • Without full access and disclosure, how will the world know Iran has truly given up its drive for a nuclear bomb before it gains billions of dollars in sanctions relief?

Iran’s nuclear chief says the broader nuclear agreement “will continue separate from the results” of the IAEA’s reports on its past nuclear activities – leading many to refer to these agreements on PMDs and Parchin as “side deals.”  Not true says the White House. 

 “I would describe this as an important component of the agreement and not be dismissed by some as some sort of side deal,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday. 

That’s encouraging news, because the Iran Nuclear Review Act requires the president to turn over all relevant and related documents to Congress for a deal. 

Now the White House needs to answer Speaker Boehner’s call for these important documents to be provided to Congress and the American people for review. 

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‘REIN’-ing in Red Tape to Help Create Jobs & Boost Economic Growth

2015/07/27

The Obama administration hit a dubious milestone last month, issuing its 500th major regulation at a combined cost of $625 billion to the economy, according to American Action Forum analysis.  That’s billions of dollars siphoned away from manufacturers and small businesses that we’re depending on to create jobs and help grow our economy.  And, that’s why the House is taking action.

This week, the House will vote on the Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act (H.R. 427), legislation introduced by Rep. Todd Young (R-IN) that gives Congress an up or down vote on any major new Obama administration regulation, including rules that:

  • Will cost the economy $100 million or more;
  • Will increase costs for consumers, or;
  • Will have a significant adverse impact on the economy and U.S. competitiveness.

The mounting costs of new regulations are crushing small businesses, the Associated Press reports.  “‘We’re going beyond the point where we can comfortably operate a functioning business and meet the requirements of these laws,’ says Diana Lamon, who owns a Los Angeles restaurant, Poppy & Rose and a food truck, Peaches’ Smokehouse and Southern Kitchen, with her husband, Ryan.”  “Most small business owners can’t count on regulatory compliance specialists and lawyers to help them keep up with all of the new federal regulations they must follow,” Karen Harned, Executive Director of the National Federation of Independent Business’ Small Business Legal Center, told the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform earlier this month. “With an average of 10 new regulations a day, small business owners are spending more time on paperwork and less time focusing on their business. That’s bad for their bottomline and for job growth nationwide.”

Enacting regulatory reform, through the REINS Act and other measures, is a key tenet of Speaker Boehner’s five-point framework for resetting America’s economic foundation.  “The way the federal government hands down regulations is coercive, combative, and very expensive,” Boehner, a former small business owner, said in a speech laying out the five points last year. 

The REINS Act  “would serve as an important check on the regulatory system,” says the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.   It would provide much-needed accountability for the bureaucrats in Washington who have demonstrated little regard for the impact of their new rules on American workers and the economy.  And, with the prospect of a whole slew of ‘midnight regulations’ on the horizon, it would ensure Congress has the opportunity to weigh in on new rules before our economy takes a hit. 

Learn more at: toddyoung.house.gov/reins

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Big Win: Report Confirms ‘Doc Fix’ Reform Saves Taxpayers $2.9 Trillion

2015/07/27

This spring, when Congress passed the first real entitlement reform in nearly two decades, Speaker Boehner called it “a big win for the American people.”

Now a new report confirms just how big a win it is for taxpayers and future generations.  According to the trustees who oversee Medicare and Social Security, this bipartisan ‘doc fix’ measure will save taxpayers nearly $2.9 trillion over the long term.   Ryan Ellis, writing for Forbes, explains how:

“To sum up, the CMS actuarial score of H.R. 2 projected that $387 billion would be reduced from Medicare’s Part A (Hospital Insurance) unfunded liability, and $2.5 trillion would be reduced from Medicare’s Part B (doctor visits) unfunded liability. Put those together, and you have a reduction in the present value of Medicare’s unfunded liabilities of nearly $3 trillion.”

This report confirms three things:

1) Real savings. The way things were done before, taxpayers were only getting the illusion of savings.  Going forward, as Speaker Boehner wrote in April, “over the long term, the next 20, 30, and 40 years down the road, these reforms will produce hundreds and hundreds of billions in durable savings for taxpayers.”  This report confirms those savings and more. 

2) Better outlook. With Medicare’s 50th anniversary coming up on Thursday, this report confirms that our reforms will put the program on a sounder financial footing.  This echoes similar findings by the Congressional Budget Office, the Medicare actuary and American Action Forum’s Douglas Holtz-Eakin

3) Good foundation.  This shows that we can achieve real – and significant – entitlement reform without raising taxes.  More from Ellis:

For a little more spending over the next decade ($141 billion), Congress cut the unfunded liabilities of Medicare by $3 trillion. That’s a ratio of 20:1. That’s fantastic. And it’s all on the spending cut side of the ledger.  … 20:1 is a deal Republicans should not only be proud of, but should seek to repeat again and again. When it comes to structural entitlement reform, this is what winning looks like.”

It’s what more good news for taxpayers looks like, too.  This real entitlement reform is just one of a number of ways we’re getting things done for the American people. 

READ MORE:

Putting Medicare on a Sounder Financial FootingMedicare Actuary Confirms “Doc Fix” Bill’s Long-Term Savings for TaxpayersNation’s Editorials Praise House-Passed Medicare ReformTitanic Entitlement Reform

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Another Day. Another Common-Sense Law.

2015/07/27

Another common sense bill is headed to the Oval Office.  And much like the 114th Congress itself, this particular bill focuses on efficiency in government, specifically at the Department of Homeland Security.

H.R. 1626, the DHS IT Duplication Reduction Act, is just two pages long, but it has the potential to save taxpayers millions of dollars.  For example, did you know that FEMA has more than 600 separate IT systems?  Managing all of those is costly, duplicative, and wasteful.   The DHS IT Duplication Reduction Act will require the Department of Homeland Security to streamline their information technology systems and eliminate redundancy wherever it makes good sense.

Congressman Will Hurd (TX-23) sponsored the legislation, and as a former CIA undercover officer, he knows a thing or two about what it takes to keep America safe.  Just seven months into his first term in the people’s House, his debut bill is now set to become the law of the land.

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One Year Ago: Hillary Clinton Claims Her Reset with Russia ‘Worked’

2015/07/25

Speaker Boehner recently led a bipartisan delegation to Lithuania, Finland, Poland, and Ireland. These countries are good friends of America, and critical allies – particularly in the face of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Crimea, Ukraine, and the rest of the region.

The trip “was about showing our allies that we stand with them, and we are united in our commitment to their future,” Speaker Boehner said. “Closer ties between the United States and Europe mean less leverage for Russia and the world’s aggressors.”

One can imagine just how worried our European friends are given their proximity to Vladimir Putin. After all, an ocean separates the United States from Russia, but our military leaders still view it as the top threat to our country:

  • “I would put the threats to this nation in the following order: Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea, and all of the organizations that have grown around the ideology that was articulated by al Qaeda early in the turn of the century.” (President Obama’s nominee to be Vice Chairman of The Joint Chiefs Of Staff, General Paul Selva, 7/14/15)
  • “My assessment today … is that Russia presents the greatest threat to our national security. … And if you look at their behavior, it's nothing short of alarming.” (President Obama’s nominee to be Chairman of The Joint Chiefs Of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, 7/9/15)
  • “I would put Russia, right now, from a military perspective, as the number one threat.” (President Obama’s nominee to be Army Chief Of Staff, General Mark Milley, 7/21/15)

It was President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who, just over six years ago, attempted to “reset” our relations with Russia. And it was a year ago that, in the same month Russia shot down a civilian airliner, killing all 298 people on board, Clinton claimed the reset “worked.” CNN reported:

“What I think I demonstrate in the book, is that the reset worked,” Clinton told guest host John Harwood on NPR's “On Point” on Thursday during a conversation about her new memoir, “Hard Choices.” …

Clinton later said the reset “succeeded” and was meant to be “a device to try to refocus attention on the transactional efforts that we needed to get done with the Russians.” …

But hindsight has not favored Clinton.

No it has not. What's needed now is a new focus on helping our allies, rather than cozying up to our enemies.

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“A Crucifix and a Photo of the Pope”

2015/07/24

This week, The New York Times highlighted Pope Francis’ upcoming address to a joint meeting of Congress.  Here are some excerpts from the story, which also discusses Speaker Boehner’s Catholic upbringing and his mission to have a Pope address the United States Congress:

  • “In the Reading, Ohio, neighborhood where Speaker John A. Boehner grew up, nearly every house had two things on the wall: a crucifix and a photo of the pope. ‘You never ever expected to meet the pope,’ said Jerry Vanden Eynden, a lifelong friend of Mr. Boehner’s. ‘In all of our minds, the pope was the closest thing to meeting God in person here on earth.’
  • The visit will fulfill a long held dream of Mr. Boehner, who says only his working ­class roots as a bar owner’s son are more essential to his core than his Catholic upbringing.  He has extended offers to popes for the last 20 years, and Francis, after taking nearly a year to consider, was the first to accept.
  • “For Mr. Boehner, a visit from the pope is the culmination of a religious honor that he would never have expected, in the context of a job he could never have dreamed about as a child.  Mr. Vanden Eynden, the speaker’s childhood friend, recalled daily Mass during the school week: ‘There were the little old ladies and us.’ The two boys rolled up papers together at 2 a.m. for their Sunday paper route, and then zipped off for 5:30 a.m. Mass before delivering them. ‘We would sit up in the balcony because we were not dressed for church,’ Mr. Vanden Eynden said.
  • “Mr. Boehner, who came from a working­ class home with 12 children, also went on Saturdays with his father to Cincinnati to distribute charity to the poor. ‘John has been exposed to that from an early age on, that you help your fellow man,’ Mr. Vanden Eynden said.”

Speaker Boehner talked about his faith and the Pope’s address during a recent interview on Face the Nation.  The essential role faith has played in Boehner’s life and service is also featured in “The Biggest Long Shot”:

READ MORE:Pope Francis to Address a Joint Meeting of CongressSpeaker Boehner Invites Pope Francis to Address a Joint Meeting of CongressSpeaker Boehner Delivers the Commencement Address at The Catholic University of America

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Boehner Statement on Secretary Clinton’s Emails Including Classified Information

2015/07/24

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement on reports that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails on her private, unsecure server contained classified information, despite her past claims to the contrary:

“Two inspector generals appointed by President Obama have now called on the Justice Department to investigate Secretary Clinton’s mishandling of classified email.  If Secretary Clinton truly has nothing to hide, she can prove it by immediately turning over her server to the proper authorities and allowing them to examine the complete record.

“What these reports demonstrate is the inherent risk of conducting our nation’s diplomacy and foreign policy on your home email and personal server.  Secretary Clinton has repeatedly claimed that the work-related emails on her private home server did not include classified information, but we know that is not true.  She has claimed she is well-aware of what matters are classified and what are not, and yet she set up a personal email server to discuss matters of national security despite guidance to the contrary from both her State Department and the White House.  Her poor judgement has undermined our national security and it is time for her to finally do the right thing.”

NOTE: Former Secretary Clinton has repeatedly claimed that her email did not include classified information.  For example, on March 10, 2015, she said: 

“I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material. So I’m certainly well-aware of the classification requirements and did not send classified material.”

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If Secretary Hillary Clinton truly has nothing to hide, she can prove it by immediately turning over her personal e-mail server to the proper authorities and allowing them to examine the complete record.

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Friday, July 24, 2015
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@TheIranDeal is throwing out some real whoppers

2015/07/24

The White House launched a new Twitter handle this week to help sell President Obama’s proposed nuclear deal with Iran.  So far its effort to “set the record straight” is offering nothing more than baseless claims:  

CLAIM: “Thanks to the #IranDeal, Iran has agreed to provide the IAEA with the information necessary to address PMD.”

FACTS:  Iran has consistently delayed, obstructed and denied inspectors access to key information, and the proposed nuclear agreement will not compel Iran to come clean about its past activities. 

  • “Tehran should already have made a full declaration under its obligations that predated the [July 14] accord, but the IAEA has found that Iran repeatedly failed to do so… Now the new agreement calls again on Iran to cooperate, but it offers no reason to believe that the Iranian regime will end its recalcitrance,” William Tobey, a former deputy administrator for defense nuclear nonproliferation at the National Nuclear Security administration wrote in the Wall Street Journal.
  • “Implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action will continue separate from the results of this report," Iran nuclear chief Ali Salehi says of Iran’s side agreement with the IAEA on disclosing past nuclear activities.

CLAIM: “There's no ‘secret’ or ‘side’ deal with Iran. Congress has what we have.”

FACTS:  Ambassador Susan Rice and Secretary Kerry have acknowledged that side deals DO exist regarding inspector access to the Parchin military facility and Iran’s past nuclear activities.

  • “National security adviser Susan Rice on Wednesday acknowledged the existence of side agreements between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency.  ‘We’re satisfied with them and we will share the contents of those briefings in full in a classified session with the Congress,’ she told reporters.” (The Hill, 7/22/15) 

  • “It’s part of a confidential agreement between the IAEA and Iran as to how they do that… we've been briefed on it,” Secretary Kerry told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  

CLAIM: “We'll continue to respond to Iran’s arms embargo or ballistic missile violations with interdiction, sanctions, & enforcement measures.”

FACTS:  Despite the administration’s own prior promises, the Iran deal lifts arms and missile embargoes in five and eight years, respectively. 

  • “[T]he Iranians won the eventual lifting of an embargo on the import and export of conventional arms and ballistic missiles – a step the departing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, warned about…” (New York Times, 7/14/15)
  • “When embargoes on arms and missile sales to Iran expire in five and eight years…  Tehran could seek missiles capable of striking U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf or reaching the U.S. homeland.” (Washington Post, 7/14/15)

CLAIM: “Sanctions on anyone who transacts with or supports those who are connected with Iran’s terrorism remain in place.”

FACTS:  President Obama’s proposed nuclear deal with Iran gives amnesty to a dangerous terrorist, and aids Iran’s elite foreign fighting group that supports terror in places like Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.

  • “Gen. Qasem Soleimani will have his travel ban lifted and foreign assets unfrozen — sanctions imposed by the UN — if the deal goes as planned.” (ABC News Radio, 7/14/13)
  • In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Marine Corps Commandant, and the nominee to serve as the next chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joseph Dunford said Soleimani and his forces have killed at least 500 U.S. soldiers, airmen, sailors and marines in Iraq.

CLAIM: “Under the #IranDeal, inspectors have access to Iran’s nuclear program when they need it, where they need it.”

FACTS:  The proposed agreement fails to provide inspectors the “anywhere, anytime, 24/7 access” the Obama administration repeatedly said it would. 

  • “The Obama administration’s claim that the Iran nuclear accord provides for airtight verification procedures is coming under challenge from nuclear experts with long experience in monitoring Tehran’s program.” (New York Times, 7/22/15)
  • “Under the terms of the final deal, Iran will have at least 24 days before it would be compelled to allow an inspector physical access to a suspected site… This was not the impression the Obama administration left in April, after the White House announced it had the framework for a deal with Iran.” (Bloomberg View, 7/22/2015)
  • “A 24-day adjudicated timeline reduces detection probabilities exactly where the system is weakest: detecting undeclared facilities and materials,” says former Deputy Director of the IAEA, Olli Heinonen. 
  • “David Albright, the president of the Institute for Science and International Security and a former weapons inspector in Iraq, also said that three weeks might be ample time for the Iranians to dispose of the evidence of prohibited nuclear work. Among the possibilities, he said, were experiments with high explosives that could be used to trigger a nuclear weapon, or the construction of a small plant to make centrifuges.” (New York Times, 7/22/15)

CLAIM: “How long would it take Iran to build a bomb?” All “pathways to a bomb are blocked.”

FACTS:  Under the proposed agreement, Iran gains the right to enrich uranium and will have the time and space to build a nuclear bomb.

  • “Even if Iran doesn’t violate the JCPOA, over time, it will have patient pathways to nuclear weapons, an ICBM program, access to heavy weaponry, an economy immunized against sanctions pressure, and a more powerful regional position where it can continue its destabilizing and aggressive behavior,” Mark Dubowitz, Executive Director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.  “[Iran]can… test advanced centrifuges… increase the number and type of centrifuges operating at the Natanz facility… operationalize an unlimited number of advanced centrifuges.. [and] build an unlimited number of heavy water reactors…” 
  • “Teheran can also decide to reprocess plutonium in the future. Thus, the JCPOA recognizes and accepts Iran as a nuclear weapons threshold state. It gives what was – and almost certainly still is -- an illicit nuclear weapons program an international seal of approval,” says Dr. Robert Joseph, Former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. 

 

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“This Tragedy Was Preventable”: Boehner on House Vote to Enforce Immigration Laws

2015/07/23

WASHINGTON, DC Today, the House passed the Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act (H.R. 3009), legislation introduced by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) that would deny funding for states or local governments that fail to enforce immigration laws that protect Americans.  House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) discussed the measure earlier today, and called on the Obama administration to follow the House’s lead and crack down on so-called ‘sanctuary cities’:

“The recent shooting of a young woman in California highlights a serious problem in our immigration enforcement system.  Because while terrible people do terrible things, this tragedy was preventable.

“And the fact is, some cities decide to ignore our laws, and not only is that wrong, but it’s clearly dangerous as well.  The House is acting today to put state and local officials on notice that we’ll no longer allow them to decide how and when to enforce our nation’s laws.  And I call upon the Obama administration to follow suit, to stop covering up for these ‘sanctuary cities,’ and enforce the laws that are there to protect the American people.”

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A Good News, Bad News Kind of Thing

2015/07/23

At his weekly press conference today, Speaker Boehner provided his latest update on the House’s progress on the people’s priorities.   In addition to the good news, he noted that “we can get a lot more done” if President Obama were to work with us instead of threatening to veto common-sense initiatives:  

“The House continues its focus on jobs and the people’s priorities.  From real entitlement reform to new tools for fighting human trafficking, we’re getting things done for the American people.  That said, if the president will work with us, we can get a lot more done.  This week, we passed an energy bill that the president has threatened to veto to protect the EPA’s power.  And we’re finalizing a defense bill that the president has threatened to veto to protect his plan to bring terrorists to American soil.”

Indeed, President Obama has issued more than 50 veto threats so far this year.  In the winter, the president vetoed the Keystone jobs bill.   (Saturday marks 2,500 days since the Keystone application was submitted, by the way.)  He’s also threatened to veto bills that help students,  middle-class workers, seniors, and small businessesForests and fisheries are getting veto threats.  The president has even threatened to veto a pay raise for our troops – just to get more money for the IRS and the EPA. 

Of course, hope springs eternal, and our work continues.  

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Boehner on Next Week’s House Benghazi Hearing

2015/07/23

WASHINGTON, DC – At his weekly press briefing today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) took the State Department and Secretary Clinton to task for continuing to stonewall the House’s Benghazi investigation, saying that the families of the victims, and the American people, deserve all the facts about what happened.  Following are Boehner’s remarks:

“On Benghazi, the Select Committee continues its efforts to hold the administration accountable.  By refusing to comply with all relevant requests for documents, Secretary Clinton and the State Department are actually prolonging this investigation.  And because the State Department – their refusal to comply, the Committee has called Secretary Kerry’s chief of staff to testify next week.

“Listen, four Americans lost their lives in this terrorist attack.  Their families and fellow citizens deserve to see all of the facts.  That’s not too much to ask – nor frankly is it too much to expect – from our government.”

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Boehner on Iran: “Will America Be Safer?”

2015/07/23

WASHINGTON, DC “Will America be safer”?  That’s the question House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) posed today, citing numerous concerns with the administration’s Iran nuclear deal shared by members on both sides of the aisle.  Boehner also stressed that Congress and the American people have a right to review any side deals that have been made with Iran.  Following are Boehner’s remarks from his weekly press briefing:

“On Iran, we’ve come to learn about two secret side deals regarding the regime’s nuclear program.  These side deals pertain to key issues such as Iran’s past nuclear activities and access to the Parchin military facility.  Congress and the American people have a right and an obligation to review these side deals, and we sent a letter to the president asking his administration to make sure that those documents are available for Congress and the American people to review.

“But one way we know that this is a bad deal is because the more we learn, the more questions we have.  You know, is America safer with a deal that provides the world’s biggest state sponsor of terror with more than $100 billion in cash?  Is America safer with a deal that allows Iran to evade inspectors for at least 24 days, and possibly longer?  Is America safer with a deal that lifts the embargo on ballistic missiles?  And is America safer with a deal where, after 10 years, Iran will have an industrialized nuclear program?

“Will America be safer?  If it’s even a question, I think it’s a bad deal.”

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President Obama’s deal with Iran is bad, and the more we learn, the more questions we have.

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Thursday, July 23, 2015
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Boehner Calls on President Obama to Produce Secret Iran Side Deal Documents

2015/07/23

Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) wrote to President Obama yesterday calling on the president to transmit to Congress documents related to two secret side deals on Iran’s nuclear program.  The administration has acknowledged their existence, but has not yet produced or briefed members of Congress on the agreements beyond confirming their existence.  In May, President Obama signed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act into law, requiring the administration to submit all related agreements and documents to Congress for review within five days after reaching an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. 

Click here to expand and read the letter.

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Something Positive For All Americans

2015/07/23

Speaker Boehner is out with a new video today about the breakthrough 21st Century Cures initiative that recently passed the House on a bipartisan basis.  

Featuring Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and House Energy & Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), the video highlights about how the legislation will provide new opportunities by boosting medical research to find cures for diseases, cutting red tape in developing and facilitating new drugs and devices, and increasing accountability for the resources provided in the bill.  Most importantly, the Cures Act is giving people something else: hope

From coast to coast, the initiative is already picking up momentum and support:  

  • In California, residents have called this bill “a huge victory” for its designated research efforts on diseases like Valley Fever, which affects nearly 500 people a year in Kern County. 
  • In Green Bay, parents of children with rare chromosomal disorders find hope in the 21st Century Cures Act because it will streamline drugs, therapies, and cures for these ‘orphan diseases’ while speeding up the process without risking safety. 
  • In West Michigan, Mattawan mom Sarah Kennedy and her two daughters were glued to the TV last week as they watched CSPAN coverage of the vote on H.R. 6.  With hope and excitement, they believe this will open up the door to finding good treatments and possibly a cure for Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a disease that both her daughters were diagnosed with as infants.
  • In New York, constituents in Hudson Valley joined Congressman Chris Gibson (R-NY) and Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-NY) in applauding the bipartisanship in this bill, and the promising future it gives to battling the growing number of Lyme disease victims. 
  • In Philadelphia, supporters of the H.R. 6 legislation joined Congressman Pat Meehan (R-PA) in urging the Senate to pass this bill soon so it can become law.  This bill is a “game changer” that would cover everything from Alzheimer’s, Cystic Fibrosis, diabetes, Parkinson’s, MS, and more.
  • In North Carolina, the Duke Medical Research Facility is looking forward to “more collaboration and more sharing of trial data.”  According to Dr. Steven Paterno, the House passed bill has “generated a lot of excitement, a lot of enthusiasm in the biomedical research community, and a lot of positive momentum after a long period of decline.”
  • And in Ohio, the impact of this bill hits close to home for Cincinnati’s Sherry Holcomb, whose sister Laurie passed away in 2010.  In her words, “the 21st Century Cures Act aims to fund the best science, turn it into treatments and get it to the patients that need it most.”  To Sherry, that is the definition of hope.  [Note: The video featured above is dedicated in Laurie’s memory.]

The 21st Century Cures Act gives hope to the patients in need of life-saving treatments.  It will accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery of cures to diseases that plague so many.  And it’s another example of what we can accomplish when we work together to find common ground on behalf of the people we serve. 

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House Votes to Protect More Than 300,000 American Energy Jobs

2015/07/22

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement today applauding House passage of the Improving Coal Combustion Residuals Regulation Act (H.R. 1734), legislation to provide more certainty to coal ash recyclers and energy producers, and enable states to implement new EPA rules in a manner that best protects jobs and the environment:

“Coal ash recycling supports more than 300,000 American jobs, keeps energy affordable for hardworking families, and provides materials to rebuild our roads and infrastructure.  It’s a vital industry, and this bill will ensure that it remains so by reducing uncertainty and empowering states – not the federal government – to do what best protects jobs and the environment.  Expanding American energy is critical to revitalizing manufacturing and fueling stronger economic growth, and I urge the president, and his administration, to quit standing in the way.”

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President Obama: The Federal Government Just Isn’t Big Enough to Function Correctly

2015/07/22

In Comedy Central Interview, POTUS Makes Laughable Excuses for Scandals at the VA and the IRS

LOL → http://t.co/5XoRUB513h pic.twitter.com/O9IzsxJvB8

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) July 23, 2015

If only American workers were forking over bigger portions of their paychecks to the federal government. And if only there were more bureaucrats in Washington. Then the federal government could finally do its job, and do it right.

These are President Obama’s fervently held beliefs, and last night, he appeared on the Comedy Central channel to spread his gospel of big government.

“If we’re under-resourcing our government, and not staffing it the way it needs to be to do everything that’s done, then we shouldn’t be surprised that there are going to be gaps,” he said, without a hint of joking.

This is how he excused his failure to keep his promises and fix the deadly mismanagement and deliberate deception at the VA, where veterans still have to wait months and months to see a doctor, and where many were placed on secret waiting lists to be forgotten for good.

But here’s a key question: how much money does it take to make bad VA employees care about their patients? How much money does it take for them to be honest in their work? Apparently a lot – the VA has doled out millions of dollars in bonuses, but its employees are still engaged in wrongdoing. Of course, there’s virtually no accountability in the Obama administration: only two VA officials have been fired for their misdeeds.

As for funding, the VA’s budget has increased from $45 billion in 2000 to more than $153 billion today – an increase of 240 percent. From 2000 to 2013, medical care spending at the VA rose 193 percent while the number of VA patients increased only 68 percent. In less than five years, the VA spent half a billion dollars to upgrade conference rooms, buy draperies, and purchase new office furniture, and a Denver hospital construction project is more than $1 billion over budget and years behind schedule. Veterans groups, newspaper editorial boards, and even some Democrats all agree: funding is not the issue.

Those are the facts, but the president has never let them get in his way when it comes to shifting blame or covering up scandals. And last night, he also proselytized his faith in more funding as part of an absurd attempt to rewrite the indisputable history of the IRS scandal:

“I’ll give you an example: when there was that problem with the IRS. … [People said,] ‘Look, you have this back office, and they’re going after the tea party.’ Well, it turned out, no, Congress had passed a crummy law that didn’t give people guidance in terms of what it was they were trying to do. … But the truth of the matter is, is that there was not some big conspiracy there. They were trying to sort out these conflicting demands: you don’t want all this money pouring through not-for-profits, but you also want to make sure that everyone is being treated fairly. Now, the real scandal around the IRS right now is, is that it has been so poorly funded that … they cannot go after these folks who are deliberately avoiding tax payments.”

Here’s the truth:

  • The targeting was not directed by a “back office” in Cincinnati.

Lois Lerner was the Director of Exempt Organizations at the IRS in Washington, D.C. As The Wall Street Journal noted, “In a February 2011 email, Ms. Lerner advised her staff—including then Exempt Organizations Technical Manager Michael Seto and then Rulings and Agreements director Holly Paz—that a Tea Party matter is ‘very dangerous,’ and is something ‘Counsel and [Lerner adviser] Judy Kindell need to be in on.’ Ms. Lerner adds, ‘Cincy should probably NOT have these cases.’”

  • The targeting was not an innocent mistake due to a lack of “guidance.”

The Wall Street Journal has also debunked this “fairy tale,” writing: “The current rules governing 501(c)(4)s have existed, unchanged, since 1959. Prior to 2010 the IRS processed and approved tax-exempt applications in fewer than three months with no apparent befuddlement. The IRS hyper-scrutiny of conservative groups only began in 2010 amid the Obama Administration's larger political attack on political donors like the Koch brothers, and emails show that IRS officials were acutely aware of this political environment. … [A]pplications were routed through the offices of Mrs. Lerner and Obama-appointed IRS chief counsel William Wilkins, and long approval delays ensued.”

  • The targeting was a “big conspiracy.”

Merriam-Webster’s definition of a conspiracy is “the act of secretly planning to do something that is harmful or illegal,” which accurately describes IRS officials’ behavior. Senate Democrats urged the IRS to target conservative groups. Former IRS official Lois Lerner is a registered Democrat who referred to Republicans as “crazies” and “a—holes” in official emails, and she half-joked about going to work for President Obama’s political organization, Organizing For Action (OFA). Additionally, “a June 14, 2012 email from Treasury career attorney Ruth Madrigal to key IRS officials in the tax-exempt department, including former director Lois Lerner …. cites a blog post about the political activity of tax-exempt 501(c)(4) groups and reads: ‘Don't know who in your organizations [sic] is keeping tabs on c4s, but since we mentioned potentially addressing them (off-plan) in 2013, I've got my radar up and this seemed interesting,’” The Wall Street Journal explained. “The IRS typically puts out a public schedule of coming regulations, and [former Ways and Means Chairman Dave] Camp noted that in this case ‘off-plan’ appears to mean ‘hidden from the public.’” Lerner eventually invoked her Fifth Amendment right to not incriminate herself, and the investigation continues into whether she purposely destroyed her hard drive and any damning evidence.

  • The targeting did not involve liberal and conservative groups “being treated fairly.”

With the political allegiances of those involved in the scandal pretty obvious, it’s not a surprise that liberal groups were left alone. As PolitiFact concluded, “Yes, some progressive groups did have their tax-exempt status applications flagged as the IRS reviewed whether nonprofit groups were engaging in political activities. But it wasn’t to the same degree as tea party and other conservative groups, nor did it result in the same actions. The list targeting tea party groups resulted in delayed processing that in some cases lasted almost three years and inquiries into their donors. Further, the inspector general found tea party groups were systematically singled out as part of an office-wide effort, while progressive groups were not.”

  • The targeting was not due to a lack of resources.

Initially, Democrats attempted to justify the targeting by claiming that applications for (c)(4) status had increased dramatically, and that IRS staff was forced to create a system to deal with the influx. But the data show applications actually declined, as The Atlantic and The Chronicle of Philanthropy both pointed out.

  • The IRS has failed to prioritize customer service.

The IRS’s budget has been reduced significantly, and rightly so given its corrupt and possibly criminal behavior. But instead of managing resources appropriately, “it has prioritized worker bonuses, union activity and the implementation of President Obama’s health care law over assisting taxpayers during tax season.” Furthermore, as the Ways and Means Committee noted, “At the end of fiscal year 2014, the IRS estimated total tax delinquency was 3.12 percent for federal employees, representing over $3.5 billion owed in taxes.”

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Iran Needs to #FreeJason and all its Hostages Now

2015/07/22

One year ago today Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian was thrown in an Iranian prison.  While Jason remains in jail, his friends and family are determined as ever to bring him home.  This morning they announced plans to take their fight to free Jason to the United Nations’ Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.      

“For the past year, Jason has endured extensive physical mistreatment and psychological abuse, and we are deeply concerned for his welfare,” The Post’s publisher, Frederick J. Ryan Jr., said. “Jason is being deprived of his basic human rights, and we are asking the U.N. Working Group to render an opinion to Iran and the international community that Jason’s detention is unlawful and that he should be released immediately.”

The Obama administration repeatedly refused calls to secure the release of Jason and fellow Americans Saeed Abedini, Amir Hekmati, and Robert Levinson as part of a deal with Iran.  The White House stuck to that position – even as the Iranians demanded, and received, concessions lifting the arms and missile embargoes on Iran, and amnesty for terrorists.  

At a podium Friday that said “we will trample upon America,” Iran’s Supreme Leader proclaimed the regime’s policy toward the “arrogant” United States government “won’t change at all.”   

Sadly, that didn’t stop the Obama administration from ignoring the concerns of the American people and rushing a vote at the U.N. less than 24 hours after submitting the deal documents to Congress.  This is not lost on Jason’s brother, Ali.    

"This agreement was approved by the UN Security Council with little opportunity for review less than a week after it was announced, yet Jason remains in prison after 365 days held on clearly manufactured charges by parts of the Iranian government that are uninfluenced by Iran's president and hold the rule of law in contempt.”

Jason Rezaian, Saeed Abedini, Amir Hekmati, and Robert Levinson have suffered for entirely too long.  America and the world need to demand Iran release its hostages now.       

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Boehner on Iran Deal, House Focus on the People’s Priorities

2015/07/22

WASHINGTON, DC – At a press conference this morning, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) discussed the latest House action to address the people’s priorities, and reiterated his pledge to fight a bad deal with Iran that puts our national security, and that of our allies, at risk.  Following are Boehner’s remarks: 

Here in the House, the people’s priorities continue to be our priorities.  We’ve enacted the first real entitlement reform in nearly two decades; we’ve passed initiatives to fight human trafficking; improve veterans’ care; and most recently to promote free trade and American jobs. 

“This week, we’ll act to stop EPA regulations that’ll be killing thousands of jobs here in America.  And soon we’ll complete a national defense authorization bill so that our troops get the pay raise that they deserve. 

“And while the president’s Iran deal may have been applauded at the United Nations, I think he faces serious skepticism here at home.  Let me just assure you that Members of Congress will ask much tougher questions this afternoon when we meet with the president’s team.  Because a bad deal threatens the security of the American people – and we’re going to do everything possible to stop it.”

 

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How Does The VA Secretary Explain All This?

2015/07/22

This morning, VA Secretary Robert McDonald is testifying before the House Veterans Affairs Committee about the ongoing problems that are keeping our veterans from getting the care they need when they need it.  If President Obama’s rhetoric yesterday is any indication, we’ll hear more of the same instead of a commitment to real change.

But wasn’t Secretary McDonald brought in to address these very problems?  How does he defend – or even explain – all this?

  1. Waiting lists are even longer now than they were during last year’s waiting list scandal.  Last year, Congress approved $16 billion in emergency funding to improve care, but the number of veterans waiting one month or more for care has actually jumped by 50 percent.   This may have something to do with the fact that much of the money for a private care program has gone unspent because of “resistance to change among employees.”
  2. Only two lower level employees were successfully fired for the wait time manipulation at the heart of last year’s VA scandal.  Last year, Congress gave the VA Secretary new authority to fire senior officials, but the agency has only been able to fire TWO employees for actions at the heart of a scandal that affected some 110,000 veterans.  “What the hell happened to the rest of them,” Speaker Boehner asked earlier this spring.
  3. While our veterans suffer, VA bureaucrats are keeping their jobs and their bonuses.   In Montgomery, which has some of the worst waiting times in the country, bonuses went up last year.  In Memphis, where they had to shut down some services for “lack of funds,” bonuses went up last year.  And in Maywood, Illinois – under FBI investigation for fraud – bonuses hit a three-year high last year.  “If only VA bureaucrats did as good a job taking care of our veterans as they do themselves,” Speaker Boehner said in May.
  4. Many veterans have already died while waiting for care, but the VA can’t tell you exactly how many.  The VA’s records show that about one out of every three veterans waiting for care has already died.  That’s about 238,000 veterans.  The problem, as the Associated Press notes, is that the agency can’t even figure out the exact number.
  5. Meanwhile, deceased patients were still being taken care of for years by the VA.  According to an internal VA report, the records of one out of every 10 veterans were still listed as active after they died.  That means they were still getting checks, regular appointments, and in one case, “a miscommunication allowed 76 prescriptions to be filled at one pharmacy for controlled substances.”  
  6. The VA can’t account for how the cost of a single construction project ballooned by $1.1 billion.  It took only about two years for the cost of a VA hospital in Denver to go from $604 million to $1.73 billion, but when asked to explain what happened, the VA’s deputy secretary said, “you’re not going to find a dollar-by-dollar account.”  This is the same deputy secretary whose recent message to Congress was “get your checkbooks out.”  Note that $1.1 billion represents the entire construction cost of the 85,000-seat stadium Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones built in Arlington, Texas.
  7. The VA has been spending $6 billion a year illegally and has no intention to change its practices.  “Doors are swung wide open for fraud, waste and abuse,” the VA’s internal watchdog wrote in a report that details how agency officials skirt federal spending standards.  For example, supervisors take cards traditionally reserved for minor purchases and use them to pay for major expenses like prosthetics.  The VA also pays for health care expenses without contracts and says it would be “too costly and cumbersome” to change this practice.
  8. The president has left the VA without a permanent inspector general for more than 18 months.  At a time when the VA needs the most possible oversight, the president has failed to nominate a permanent independent watchdog for the agency.   The administration won’t even offer a “public timeline” for when one will be nominated.

As you can see, this isn’t just about problems that persist – it’s about a culture that can’t define and won’t commit to solving the problems at all.  That’s why, next week, the House will take up legislation that gives the VA Secretary the authority to fire any employee for misconduct.  Only the president can truly change the culture at the VA, and we’ll continue to hold him and his administration accountable until our veterans see the progress they are demanding. 

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Not Pictured: The Ice-Bucket Challenge

2015/07/21

Remember the Ice-Bucket Challenge?  More importantly, do you remember what it was for?  In short, it was designed to raise awareness for ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that can rob individuals of – among other things – their voice and their hope.  Today, Speaker Boehner signed a bill that will help restore both of those things for patients afflicted by ALS, all without spilling a single drop of water.

The Steve Gleason Act (S. 984) overturns an Obama Administration regulation that makes it harder for ALS patients to access speech-generating devices.  The bill, which was passed with bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate, now heads to the president’s desk where it is expected to become law.

But the good news does not end there.  The House recently passed the breakthrough 21st-Century Cures Act (H.R. 6), which will accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery of cures – not just treatment – for deadly diseases like ALS. 

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Remember the Ice-Bucket Challenge? Just sent a bill to the president’s desk that will significantly help Americans afflicted by ALS…all without spilling a single drop of water.

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday, July 22, 2015
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What The President Got Wrong About The VA (And One Thing He Got Right)

2015/07/21

It’s not news that President Obama has failed to fix the VA as promised.  Been there, posted about that.  But, from his VFW speech today, it’s clear President Obama has no intention of truly fixing the VA at all.  He could have offered a real, long-term plan to fix the VA’s fundamental problems.  Instead, he trotted out the same hollow platitudes our veterans have heard before:

CLAIM: “We've made real progress.”TRUTH: Waiting lists are longer.  The VA can’t count how many people died while waiting for health care. Just two lower-level employees have been fired for wait-time manipulation.  Only in Washington would this be called “real progress.”

CLAIM: “When problems arise, we work to fix them.”TRUTH: At the VA, it has become standard practice to avoid fixing – or even explaining – problems. When it was discovered that the VA was paying for billions in health care without contracts, the agency said it would be “too costly and cumbersome” to change the practice.  Congress passed a new private health care program for veterans, but much of the money has gone unspent due to “resistance to change among employees.” When asked to account for how a single construction project ballooned by $1.1 billion, one official said, “you’re not going to find a dollar-by-dollar account.” 

CLAIM: VA Secretary Bob McDonald “is bringing energetic new leadership … he is working to hold people accountable.”

TRUTH: That’s certainly what Secretary McDonald would like you to believe, so much so that he went on national television and claimed that 60 VA employees were fired for manipulating wait times.  In reality, only two lower-level employees have been fired for these actions, while bonuses continue to be doled out.

CLAIM: “We are focused on this at the highest levels.”TRUTH: The president cannot credibly claim he is focused on the VA when he has yet to produce a real, long-term plan to fix the agency.  What’s more, he has left the agency without a permanent inspector general for more than 18 months.  The administration won’t even offer a timeline for when the VA will have a new watchdog in place.  If there’s one thing the VA needs right now, it is the highest possible oversight. 

CLAIM: “Patient safety is a top priority … the care is often very good.”TRUTH:  More than 120 previously unpublished investigations found “problems at VA medical centers nationwide ranging from medical malpractice and patient safety concerns to mismanagement, infighting and corruption.”  And 88 percent of veterans, according to a nonpartisan survey, want health care options outside the VA.  That is not exactly a vote of confidence in the quality of care. 

CLAIM: “Whenever there are any missteps, there is no excuse."  TRUTH: Excuses are one thing that the VA does well.  For instance, when we learned last week that hundreds of thousands of veterans likely died while waiting for care, the VA’s response wasn’t an apology or a mea culpa.  The VA said some pending applicants likely used other insurance, so the numbers weren’t as bad as they looked.

CLAIM: “The Republican budget falls short.”TRUTH: During the Obama administration, most of which has occurred with a Republican majority in the House, the VA has enjoyed a larger budget increase by percentage than any other Cabinet department.   Last year, Congress passed $16 billion in emergency funding to improve care. And in April, the House passed a $4.6 billion increase in spending for the VA.  The VA’s main problem isn’t a lack of funding – it’s a lack of accountability.

CLAIM:  “Even with all these new resources, the VA is still struggling to keep up with the surge of veterans who are seeking care.”TRUTH:  This one is true.  Congress has done its part, approving funding and passing reforms, but the VA is still struggling.  What the agency needs is a sweeping change in culture – one that only the president can provide.  Except at this point the president can barely change his tune, making the same promises we’ve heard before. 

Next week, the House will take up legislation that gives the VA secretary the authority to fire any employee for misconduct.  Our veterans deserve the care they need when they need it – and until the VA can fulfill this basic obligation, we will hold the agency, its leaders, and the president accountable.

NOTE: President's quotes in the original post were based on a rough transcript, and have been updated here to reflect the White House transcript

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Three Things to Keep In Mind Before President’s VFW Speech

2015/07/21

President Obama is in Pittsburgh today to address the Veterans of Foreign Wars.  Before he does, a few things to keep in mind:

1. According to one report, the president “is expected to highlight his administration’s progress on veterans’ issues…”

Now, what ‘progress’ would that be exactly? 

It will certainly be interesting to see what the president defines as ‘progress.’

2. According to another report, the president will “highlight a federal rule he's finalizing on predatory lending and the military.” 

This sounds like a nice idea.  What it doesn’t sound like is a real, long-term plan to fix the VA.  You know, the one that Speaker Boehner has been calling for regularly since last year’s waiting list scandal erupted.  After all, it’s going to take more than a new rule here and there to address problems that allowed dozens to die while waiting for appointments, and hundreds of thousands to die while waiting to receive any kind of care.  Last year, the president himself said “there is a need for a change in culture” at the VA.  That brings us to….

3. The president will likely make more promises to our veterans today.  Some of them may sound similar to pledges he made last year such as:  

  • “The number one priority is making sure that problems get fixed
  • “Our first job is let’s take care of some basic management issues
  • “We’re not going to stop working to make sure they get the care, the benefits, and the opportunities that they’ve earned”
  • “This is my administration; I always take responsibility for whatever happens
  • “There is a need for a change in culture … within the VA as a whole”

It’s true.  While Congress continues to pass good reforms, only the president can change the culture at the VA.  But at this point, the president hasn’t delivered any change at all. 

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House of Representatives to Honor Five Service Members Killed in Chattanooga, Flags Fly at Half-Staff

2015/07/21

The flags @USCapitol stand at half-staff today in honor of the brave service members we lost in #Chattanooga. pic.twitter.com/N24p7aCIrc

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) July 21, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC - As Congress reconvenes today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has ordered flags over the United States Capitol to be flown at half-staff to honor the five service members killed in Chattanooga, Tennessee. 

"Last week, five brave service members were murdered in a terror attack in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Out of respect for their courageous service and sacrifice to our nation, flags at the U.S. Capitol are being lowered to half-staff.  Later today, we will also mark a moment of silence on the House floor in their memory.  We will continue to pray for their loved ones and also take action to protect our men and women in uniform who protect all Americans."

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Flags at the U.S. Capitol have been lowered to half-staff today, out of respect for the courage and sacrifice of the five service members murdered in a terror attack in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday, July 21, 2015
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The Speaker acts as leader of the House and combines several roles: the institutional role of presiding officer and administrative head of the House, the partisan role of leader of the majority party in the House, and the representative role of an elected Member of the House. By statute, the Speaker is also second in line, behind the Vice President, to succeed to the presidency.

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