Speaker of the House

John Boehner

Speaker Boehner Mourns the Passing of Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh

2015/02/27

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement mourning the passing of Reverend Theodore M. Hesburgh, president emeritus of the University of Notre Dame:

“Father Ted was truly a man of God and the people.  As the Kipling poem goes, he could walk with kings and not lose the common touch.  Through his service, he showed us all the possibilities of the heart, and of complete  devotion to God.  For his many contributions, he became the first leader in higher education to be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.  Now he receives the reward of eternal rest.  I extend the condolences of the whole House to the Hesburgh family, the Congregation of Holy Cross, and the University of Notre Dame.  The passing of this fine priest is a loss for us all.”

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Speaker Boehner Invites President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan to Address Congress

2015/02/27

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today invited Ashraf Ghani, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, to address a joint meeting of Congress on March 25, 2015:

“Afghanistan is an important friend and ally to the United States.  Americans and Afghans have worked together for years on a shared mission of bringing peace and security to the region.  This address presents an important opportunity to hear from the newly-elected President on how the United States can continue to work together to promote our shared goals and reaffirms our commitment to the Afghan people.  We look forward to welcoming President Ghani to the United States Capitol.”

NOTE: Ghani will be the second president of Afghanistan to address the United States Congress: President Hamid Karzai appeared before a joint meeting on June 15, 2004.  Additional details regarding media credentialing and logistics will be released at a later date.

 

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5 Big Whoppers From President Obama

2015/02/27

We’ve seen some record cold this winter in DC, but over at the White House there’s been no lack of hot air.    

Here are five of this winter’s biggest whoppers from President Obama:

1. "We are always interested in promoting jobs here in the U.S. I'll go anywhere and do anything in terms of creating good American jobs" (2/26/15).

The Facts: This outrageous claim came just days after President Obama vetoed a bipartisan bill to approve the broadly popular Keystone XL pipeline. The president's own State Department says Keystone XL will support at least 42,000 American jobs.

2. “ISIL is on the defensive…” (2/11/15).

The Facts: This week ISIL “abducted at least 70 Christians, including women and children, after overrunning a string of villages in northeastern Syria,” USA TODAY reports.  The terror group is expanding into Libya, attackers recently infiltrated an Iraqi base where U.S. troops are stationed, and even members of the President’s own Party are now talking about “mixed messages,” “a lack of confidence” and the need for the administration to put forward “an effective winning strategy” to defeat these barbaric Islamic extremists.   

3. “If we were just rewriting the immigration laws, then the other side would have a case. We can’t violate statutes… what we can do is make choices to implement those laws” (2/25/15).

The Facts: President Obama desperately wants to justify his unilateral actions on immigration. Unfortunately for the president, he’s admitted at least 22 times that he didn’t have the authority to do exactly what he eventually did.

4. Healthcare.gov “is working flawlessly” (12/15/14).

The Facts: The ObamaCare train wreck continues to pile up as families struggle with higher costs, fewer options, and a website plagued with problems. The administration now admits it sent 800,000 Americans erroneous tax forms through Healthcare.gov, POLITICO reports the website is “a mess” and “still isn’t properly wired,” and last month the Associated Press learned Healthcare.gov “is quietly sending consumers' personal data to private companies that specialize in advertising.”

5. “I have no more campaigns to run” (1/20/15).

The Facts: For the Obama administration it’s all politics all the time.  That’s why he’s pushing “middle-class economics” that don’t actually help the middle class, that’s why he didn’t dare buck the radical left-wing environmentalists who oppose Keystone XL, and that’s why he went down to Miami this week to “blame” “attack” and “ratchet up pressure” on Republicans while doing absolutely nothing to help break Senate Democrats’ filibuster on a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security.  

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Speaker Boehner Welcomes Members of Ukrainian Government

2015/02/27

Speaker Boehner and House leaders welcomed members of the government of Ukraine to the U.S. Capitol yesterday including Andriy Parubiy, First Vice-Speaker of the Verkohona Rada (Supreme Council of Ukraine).  The group had a productive discussion about their shared goals of peace, freedom, and security.

Related stories:Ukrainian Lawmakers Visit the CapitolPresident of Ukraine Addresses the United States Congress

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Boehner Statement on New CBO Director

2015/02/27

WASHINGTON, DC -- House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) announced the selection of Dr. Keith Hall as the new director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO):

“Dr. Hall is uniquely qualified to serve as the head of the Congressional Budget Office.  He brings with him a wealth of expertise on the economy and labor markets, as well as economic, fiscal and regulatory policy.  I would like to thank Chairmen Price and Enzi for leading the search process and recommending Dr. Hall.  We look forward to working with him in his new capacity as Republicans develop common-sense policies that will create more jobs and grow our economy.  Lastly, I would like to recognize and thank Doug Elmendorf for his service to the Congress and the American people.  Doug is widely respected on both sides of the aisle, and has always been a true class act.“

NOTE: Yesterday – in a letter to Speaker Boehner – Chairman Price and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY) recommended Hall to serve as the new CBO Director.  For more information on Hall, please click here.

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Revealed: President Obama’s IRS is Still Targeting Conservatives

2015/02/26

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“I’m proud of the fact that basically you’ve had an administration that’s been in place for six years in which there hasn’t been a major scandal,” former White House advisor David Axelrod said earlier this month, doing his best impersonation of TV’s Olivia Pope.

Setting aside the fact that many military veterans died while waiting for care because of the VA’s secret lists, this is an absurd claim – and one need look no further than President Obama’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for proof:

Nearly two years after the IRS was exposed for improperly sidetracking requests for tax exemptions from tea party groups, POLITICO has learned that at least a half dozen conservative applicants are still waiting for an answer.

This challenges repeated assertions by IRS Commissioner John Koskinen that his embattled agency has “completed” a set of recommendations to fix the problem and address a backlog of nearly 300 applications, some of which had been pending already for three years. …

The years-long delay has gutted these groups’ membership, choked their ability to raise funds, forced them to reserve pots of money for possible back taxes, and driven them into debt to pay legal bills. …

[A] retired IRS veteran who oversaw the tax-exempt division called it “inexcusable.”

“While I appreciate that some determinations involving exemption for organizations engaged in political activity can involve difficult decisions, a five-year wait is inexcusable,” said Marvin Friedlander, who retired in 2008. “Justice delayed is justice denied.”

This isn’t the first time President Obama’s partisan IRS Commissioner has been caught making things up, but it’s unlikely that he’ll be apologizing any time soon.

The same goes for Lois Lerner, the registered Democrat and former IRS official who was at the center of the agency’s discrimination against conservatives. Despite her missing emails and hard drive and her defiant decision to plead the fifth before Congress, she retired after the scandal broke with a full federal pension, and after receiving $129,300 in bonuses between 2010 and 2013.

The House’s investigation into the IRS scandal continues. In fact, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is scheduled to hold another hearing this evening. Watch a preview below:

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President Obama Should Back Bipartisan College Savings Bill

2015/02/26

Now that the House has given overwhelming approval to a plan expanding college savings, Speaker Boehner has called on President Obama to lend his support to the bill authored by Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS).  This is from the Speaker’s weekly press conference:

“This week, the House continues its focus on the people’s priorities.  Today and tomorrow, we’re acting on reforms to empower parents and local schools so that more of our students can get access to a quality education.  Yesterday, with more than 400 votes, we passed a bipartisan plan to expand college savings accounts.  Remember, it was just last month that the president proposed taxing these very accounts.  Well now we have a chance to expand them and give middle-class families real peace of mind.  I hope the president will help us get this finished.”

For more, watch this brief explainer video in which Speaker Boehner talks about what 529s are, and why we should expand – not tax – them. 

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PM Netanyahu’s Address & America’s Bond With Israel

2015/02/26

Next Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel will become the second foreign leader in history to address the U.S. Congress on three occasions.  The first was Churchill.

Ahead of the joint meeting, Speaker Boehner addressed recent comments made by Susan Rice, the president’s national security adviser. Take a look:

“The president’s national security adviser says it’s ‘destructive’ for the prime minister of Israel to address the United States Congress next week.  I couldn’t disagree more.  The American people and both parties in Congress have always stood with Israel.  Nothing – and no one – should get in the way of that.

“But what is ‘destructive,’ in my view, is making a bad deal that paves the way for a nuclear Iran.  That’s destructive – and that’s why it is so important for the American people to hear what the Prime Minister has to say about the grave threats we’re facing.

“So I’m glad the prime minister is coming, and I’m glad that most of my colleagues, Democrats and Republicans, will be there to hear what he has to say.” 

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Boehner Denounces FCC’s ‘Secret Plan to Put the Federal Government in Control of the Internet’

2015/02/26

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WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement today after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to impose new federal “net neutrality” regulations that would undermine a free and open Internet and hurt our economy:

Overzealous government bureaucrats should keep their hands off the Internet. Today, three appointed by President Obama approved a secret plan to put the federal government in control of the Internet. The text of the proposal is being kept hidden from the American people and their elected representatives in Congress, and the FCC’s chairman has so far refused to testify about it. This total lack of transparency and accountability does not bode well for the future of a free and open Internet, not to mention the millions of Americans who use it every day.

“The FCC is supposed to be an independent agency, but the White House has once again meddled where it shouldn’t in order to advance what one commissioner has described as ‘a solution that won't work to a problem that doesn't exist.’ And like ObamaCare, the Obama administration’s plan for the Internet may not work, but it will create years of uncertainty and lead to expensive legal fights. More mandates and regulations on American innovation and entrepreneurship are not the answer, and that’s why Republicans will continue our efforts to stop this misguided scheme.”

NOTE: Nearly a year ago, House Republican leaders sent a letter to the FCC’s chairman urging him to drop consideration of federal net neutrality regulations. In November, Speaker Boehner warned that they would hurt our economy.

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“Outrageous”: Boehner Calls Out Senate Dems for Blocking DHS Funding

2015/02/26

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) called out Senate Democrats today for repeatedly blocking debate on a House-passed bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security in order to protect the president’s unconstitutional, unilateral action on immigration.  Here are his remarks:

“Last November, President Obama announced a series of sweeping executive actions on immigration.  In doing so, he completely reversed his own opinion.  Remember that 22 times the president said he didn’t have the authority to do what he eventually did, and that is to exceed his Constitutional authority. 

“So, on January 14th, the House passed a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security and to block the president’s executive overreach with regard to immigration.  On February 3rd, Senator McConnell tried to begin debate on the House bill.  Senate Democrats blocked the debate on that day, and they’ve blocked debate on the bill three times since then. So be clear: they weren’t voting against the bill, they’re voting to block debate on the bill.

“I just think it’s outrageous that Senate Democrats are using Homeland Security funding for blackmail to protect the actions of the president, where the president himself said he didn’t have the authority to do this. 

“Yesterday, the White House Press Secretary said that this is a fight ‘amongst Republicans.’  It is not a fight amongst Republicans.  All Republicans agree that we want to fund the Department of Homeland Security, and we want to stop the president’s executive actions with regard to immigration.   

“Meanwhile, President Obama told a left-wing blog that he opposes Senate filibusters.  But he sat there like a bump on a log watching Senate Democrats filibuster the debate on this bill.  So we’re waiting to see what the Senate can or can’t do, and then we’ll make decisions about how we’re going to proceed.”

 

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Speaker Boehner Meets with Emir of Qatar

2015/02/25

This afternoon, Speaker Boehner met with Qatar’s Emir, His Highness Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani.  They discussed issues of mutual interest and concern in the Middle East.   

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A Bipartisan Vote to Expand College Savings for Middle-Class Families

2015/02/25

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement praising the House for passing, on a strong, bipartisan vote, legislation introduced by Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) that expands and improves 529 college savings plans (H.R. 529):

“If there is one common aspiration that unites us as parents - that drives everything we do from the moment our kids are born - it is our desire to give them every opportunity to succeed.   Attaining a post-high school education is a critical part of that equation, and a goal that nearly 12 million parents use tax-free college savings accounts – known as 529 plans – to achieve.  The president’s ill-conceived proposal to tax these plans would have made it harder for middle-class families to put money away, forcing them to take on huge amounts of student loan debt.   With the cost of tuition up by double digits under President Obama, the last thing he should do is make it even harder to pay for college.  Instead, he ought to work with us to expand and strengthen 529 savings accounts, ensuring that education becomes the civil right of the 21st century.”

NOTE: In this short explainer video, Speaker Boehner talks about 529 plans and how this bipartisan plan to expand them would help middle-class families.

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Keystone Jobs Veto Draws Swift Rebuke From Editorial Boards

2015/02/25

“All I want to say is, the fight’s not over,” Speaker Boehner said in a video message shortly after the president’s veto of the Keystone XL jobs bill.  Given the overwhelming grassroots support for the project, it’s no surprise that the president’s veto has already drawn a swift rebuke from editorial boards around the country:

  • Override Keystone pipeline veto: Our view. … The administration has been evaluating Keystone for more than six years. There's just no plausible excuse for the epic delay… It is long past time to just say yes.” (USA TODAY)
  • President kills jobs with his pen.  … Siding with global warming activists, by vetoing the Keystone XL pipeline, the president signed away up to 42,000 good jobs and obstructed progress toward North American oil independence.” (Colorado Springs Gazette)
  • Veto: Wrong response on pipeline. … The president is making a mistake because he continues to dither about an issue that his administration should have decided years ago.  That White House officials haven't shows both how paralyzed they are by single-minded environmentalist pressure, and how loath they are to do the right thing when it runs afoul of political alliances.”  (The Virginian-Pilot)
  • President Veto. … The legislation to build the Keystone XL pipeline that Mr. Obama rejected Tuesday enjoys a broad bipartisan consensus, including support from nine Senate Democrats and 28 in the House. Business, labor unions, most consumers, and ally and trading partner Canada are also in favor of this $8 billion infrastructure project, which will create jobs, strengthen North American energy security and increase prosperity.  Mr. Obama is refusing these benefits to bow to the environmental-left fringe that opposes all carbon energy.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  • A pipeline to jobs…the president’s opposition to Keystone XL is driven strictly by politics.  He has cast his lot with environmental hysterics like former hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer, whose ‘friends and allies’ oppose the pipeline project, he told Mr. Obama, in an open letter, while reminding him that they ‘supported his reelection in 2012.’ (Orange County Register)
  • “Environmental activists turned what should have been a routine infrastructure question into an existential war, styling it as a test of Mr. Obama’s commitment to fighting climate change.” (The Washington Post)
  • Obama's Keystone veto leaves pipeline project in limbo. … Obama has played down Keystone XL’s ability to create jobs… Environmentalists, who made up part of the coalition that elected the president in 2008 and 2012, oppose the project because of carbon emissions involved in getting the oil it would carry out of Canadian tar sands.” (Reuters)
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A Good Conservative Bill That Empowers Parents & Students

2015/02/25

WASHINGTON, DC – At a press conference with Republican leaders today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) discussed two bills on the House floor this week that will help ensure all Americans have a shot at a quality, affordable education:

“Well I think education is the civil right of the 21st century.  And I want to applaud Chairman Kline for the job that he’s doing to provide local communities, states, more flexibility over how federal dollars are used to educate America’s kids. 

“The bill that will come forward is a good conservative bill that empowers America and does not empower the bureaucracy here in Washington.

“Got the same issue with Lynn Jenkins’ 529 bill to expand 529 plans to allow more Americans to save for their children’s college education – again, empowering parents.  And if you step back and look at what the president’s doing, the president’s trying to protect the bureaucracy here in Washington.  The president wants to have all this control here in Washington.  We’re for an opportunity society and empowering people around America to do their best and to empower them to get the education that’ll help them be successful in life.” 

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Medicare Advantage: GOP Leaders Urge Pres. Obama to Keep Promise to Seniors

2015/02/25

House and Senate Republican leaders have sent a letter to President Obama regarding the administration’s proposed cuts to the Medicare Advantage program. The administration has repeatedly threatened the popular Medicare Advantage program, leading to higher costs and fewer choices for seniors. The president’s health care law raids more than $700 billion from Medicare, including more than $300 billion from Medicare Advantage with more of these cuts to be phased in this year. Additionally, recently proposed regulations would further strain the program. 

The letter was signed by Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX), and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT).

Read the letter here.

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“A National Embarrassment”: Speaker Boehner on President Obama’s Veto of Keystone Jobs Bill

2015/02/24

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s veto of S.1, bipartisan legislation approving the Keystone XL pipeline:  

“The president’s veto of the Keystone jobs bill is a national embarrassment.  It’s embarrassing when Russia and China are plowing ahead on two massive pipelines and we can’t get this one no-brainer of a project off the ground.  The president is just too close to environmental extremists to stand up for America’s workers.  He’s too invested in left-fringe politics to do what presidents are called on to do, and that’s put the national interest first. 

“For the president, Keystone may just be today’s politics, but there are workers and unions who have spent years counting on the 42,000 jobs this project will support.  There are small business owners counting on the promise and opportunities this project will bring to their towns.  There are governors in both parties counting on the revenue and growth this project will bring to their states.  There are manufacturers clamoring for the development of North America’s resources.  And there’s an overwhelming majority of Americans who want us to put politics aside and get this done. 

“So we are not going to give up in our efforts to get this pipeline built – not even close.  We pledged to make the people’s priorities our priorities, and we will keep working every day to deliver on that commitment.”

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By The Numbers: Expanding 529 Plans Helps Families Avoid Staggering Student Loan Debt

2015/02/24

The president’s brand of ‘middle-class economics’ isn’t working for middle-class families, and nowhere is that more apparent than in his proposal to tax college savings accounts, known as 529 plans.  Instead of making it easier for students and parents to plan and save for the rising cost of tuition, the president’s proposal would have forced them to borrow even more, piling additional debt on the backs of middle-class families.

That’s why the House is taking action this week on Rep. Lynn Jenkins’ (R-KS) bipartisan plan (H.R. 529) to expand 529 college savings accounts and help families avoid the staggering student loan burden we see today:

  • $1.16 Trillion: Total Amount of Outstanding Student Loan Debt.“Student loans continue to pile up, now totaling $1.16 trillion in outstanding balances, one of the main reasons researchers have cited for the low levels home ownership among young adults.” (CNBC)
  • 77 Percent: Low-Income Students Who Graduate with Student Loan Debt.“[T]hose from low-income families continue to be more likely to graduate with student loans, with 77% graduating with debt in 2012, compared with 50% of their most affluent peers. And the share of low-income graduates who borrow has also increased in recent decades, rising from 67% to 77% over a period of roughly 20 years.” (Pew Research Center)
  • $28,400: Average Amount of Student Loan Debt. “In 2013, seven in 10 (69%) graduating seniors at public and private nonprofit colleges had student loans.  Nationally, the average debt for these graduates was $28,400…” (The Institute for College Access and Success)
  • 17 Percent: Tuition Increase for Public 4-Year Colleges Under President Obama.“In the public four-year sector…The increase over the most recent five years, from 2009-10 to 2014-15, was 17%, or 3.2% per year.” (College Board)

Given the daunting challenge of paying for a college education, it is no surprise that nearly 12 million families, the vast majority of which are in the middle class, have turned to 529 plans to help secure a better future for their children. 

According to a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, college graduates will earn more than $830,000 more over the course of their lifetimes than those with a high school diploma.  And, the unemployment rate for college graduates currently stands at 2.8 percent – significantly lower than the unemployment rate for high school graduates (5.4 percent) and those without a high school diploma (8.5 percent).

Studies have demonstrated how the existence of any sort of college savings account substantially increases the chances of a child attending college.  As little as $500 in a savings plan sees children three times as likely to enroll, and four times as likely to graduate from college,” Rep. Jenkins writes in a CNBC op-ed.  H.R. 529 helps by expanding, modernizing and strengthening this critical college savings tool .  Learn more about the bill here.

Parents, editorial boards, and experts have all weighed in in support of 529 plans.  While the president has been forced to withdraw his college savings tax hike, if he is serious about helping middle-class families he, and members of his party, will go a step further and back this bipartisan, commonsense measure.

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Boehner & McConnell in USA Today: “Pipeline Veto Purely Political”

2015/02/24

The White House should look for common ground on Keystone, not interest group approval.

By John Boehner & Mitch McConnell February 24, 2015 USA Today

Tuesday, as promised, the new Congress is sending the White House legislation that would approve the Keystone XL pipeline. This project will support tens of thousands of American jobs. It will bolster the nation's infrastructure and energy security. And it enjoys a broad base of support from Republicans and Democrats, labor unions and small business owners, not to mention an overwhelming majority of Americans.

Keystone is a no-brainer in every way, but the White House says the president will veto this jobs bill. Americans deserve to know why, and what a veto would mean.

The White House's recommendation of a veto has nothing to do with the aforementioned merits of the project. Instead, the administration claims the bill will "cut short" the process for approving the project. We disagree. If anything, the process has been needlessly drawn out: more than 2,300 days have passed since the Keystone application was first filed.

This level of delay is extreme, even for Washington. In fact, approving these types of pipelines was once routine. In 2009, this administration approved the Alberta Clipper pipeline project — one very similar to Keystone — to bring oil sands petroleum from Canada to the United States. There was little controversy and fanfare. Certainly, no years-long national debate.

What makes Keystone different? Just politics, really. Since 2009, liberal extremists have used the project as an environmental litmus test for the president. And he has repeatedly aimed to please, moving deadlines until after elections and stalling the project to near-death. The snag in their plan was, Keystone just kept on clearing hurdles, including every environmental test, leaving behind all the excuses for delay. A veto now would be the ultimate sop to these extremists at the expense of the greater good.

Keystone brings a real benefit to our economy. That's according to the president's own State Department, which says the project will support at least 42,000 American jobs. These are good-paying jobs that go to everyone from construction and energy workers to hotel and restaurant employees in small towns along the pipeline.

Keystone is also good for the country as a whole, providing a more stable and affordable energy supply to help protect against huge price spikes. Developing North America's energy resources remains one of our best opportunities for long-term growth and competitiveness. When we don't seize on this potential, it's another notch in the belt for competitors like China, which now consumes more energy than we do, produces more coal than we do, and is the world's leading manufacturer.

So that's who wins with a veto: bureaucrats, extremist environmentalists and the Chinese. Meanwhile, the American worker and the unions that represent them? Canada, our dear ally and top trading partner? The middle-class families the president claims to be committed to helping? They're all left out in the cold.

This shouldn't be a difficult decision. It shouldn't be about politics, that's for sure. The day after the election, we pledged to return Washington's focus to the people's concerns. We made Keystone a top priority precisely because it is a good starting point for both parties to come work together and make progress on the economy. And we can hope reason will prevail and the president will do the right thing.

Unfortunately, this White House refuses to listen and look for common ground. It's the same kind of top-down, tone-deaf leadership we've come to expect and we were elected to stop.

The allure of appeasing environmental extremists may be too powerful for the president to ignore. But the president is sadly mistaken if he thinks vetoing this bill will end this fight. Far from it. We are just getting started.

Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, is the speaker of the House of Representatives. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is the Senate majority leader.

 

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Post by Speaker John Boehner.

 

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10 Things You Should Know About the Student Success Act

2015/02/23

This week, the House is set to vote on the Student Success Act, legislation to replace No Child Left Behind and expand opportunity in education so that every student can get ahead – no matter where they’re from.  Read the text here, and a fact sheet from the Education & the Workforce Committee here.  This measure contains a number of conservative reforms to reduce the federal footprint, restore local control, and empower parents and local leaders to hold schools accountable. 

1. The bill replaces No Child Left Behind with conservative reforms to restore local control and stop top-down education mandates.  In the absence of congressional action, the Secretary of Education has been using waivers and pet programs to dictate national education policies and increase the federal foothold in the classroom.  The Student Success Act will put a stop to this. 

2. The bill replaces the current national accountability testing scheme.  The Student Success Act will establish a state-led accountability system, returning responsibility for measuring performance to states and school districts.

3. The bill eliminates dozens of federal programs and downsizes the education bureaucracy. All told, the Student Success Act will eliminate more than 65 existing federal programs that have been declared duplicative, ineffective, or were never funded.  It also requires the Secretary of Education to take steps to reduce the department’s workforce.

4. The bill establishes funding flexibility for local school districts.  The Student Success Act replaces the current maze of programs with a Local Academic Flexible Grant, which allows school leaders to dedicate funding where it’s needed most rather than having these decisions dictated by federal bureaucrats. 

5. The bill expands school choice and empowers parents.  The Student Success Act supports magnet schools, expands high-quality charter schools, and allows Title I funds to follow low-income children to the public or charter school of the parent’s choosing.

6. The bill prevents the feds from imposing common standards.   The Student Success Act protects state and local autonomy over decisions by preventing the Secretary of Education from coercing states into adopting Common Core or any other common standards or assessments.

7. The bill repeals federal requirements for teacher quality.  The Student Success Act supports local and state efforts to recruit and retain the best teachers.

8. The bill supports private sector initiatives.  The Student Success Act puts aside resources to support state and local programs that operate outside of traditional public school systems, providing a much-needed infusion of private sector innovation.

9. The bill boosts transparency and accountability for the Department of Education.  The Student Success Act prevents the Secretary of Education from creating additional burdens on states and districts, and outlines the specific step the Secretary must take when issuing new regulations so as to maximize public scrutiny.

10. The bill empowers parents and taxpayers with meaningful information they can use to hold their schools accountable and ensure that every dollar spent makes a direct and lasting impact for students.

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Two New Ways to Consider The Case For Keystone

2015/02/23

Republicans pledged to focus on the people’s priorities and we’re delivering on that pledge by pushing for the Keystone XL pipeline.  It’ll mean more than 42,000 American jobs, and another step towards North American energy security.   And while Keystone has been pending for nearly 2,350 days now – and we’ve made this case many times, many ways – we‘re offering you a couple of new avenues to consider why the president should reconsider his threat to veto the project.  First, you can watch this short video in which he sums up the case for Keystone in a tidy 57 seconds:

  (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/all.js#xfbml=1"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); Post by Speaker John Boehner.

 

 

Second, you can check out this series of posts from last week, when we asked whether the president would say no to, well, just about everyone: Will President Obama Say No to the American People? Running down more than 30 surveys, we show that Americans have consistently – and overwhelmingly – backed the pipeline. Will President Obama Snub Labor Unions on Keystone? “A little courage from the administration would go a long way,” says one union that backed the Obama-Biden ticket twice.

Will President Obama Say No to Small Businesses on Keystone? Keystone jobs will go to everyone from energy and construction workers to hotel and restaurant employees in the smallest towns, where the project will be a boon for local small businesses. 

Will President Obama Say No To All The Democrats Who Back Keystone? “It’s a shame, it’s just really, truly a shame,” one Senate Democrat says of the president’s opposition to the pipeline. Will President Obama Deny Science on Keystone? If President Obama vetoes Keystone, he’ll once again be putting politics before American jobs and settled science. Or third, you can do both – in which case, thank you – and then check out these bonus materials featuring more voices from outside the Beltway: From Oklahoma, the Case For Keystone Pipeline Jobs   In a recent Weekly Republican Address, Gov. Mary Fallin (R-OK) urged President Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, citing the jobs and opportunities it has already brought to her state.  It’s a compelling case for action. Republican Governors Urge President Obama to Back Keystone Earlier this month, 24 Republican governors sent a letter to the president requesting that he reconsider his decision to veto the Keystone XL pipeline Speaker Boehner Signs the Bipartisan Keystone Jobs Bill “We’re excited to be at this point … and we urge the president of the United States to put our men and women back to work across the length of this pipeline as soon as possible,” Sean McGarvey, president of North America’s Building Trades Unions, said at the enrollment ceremony. 

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17 Reasons The New Congress Is Off to a Good Start

2015/02/20

The day after the election, Speaker Boehner and Leader McConnell pledged that the new Congress would focus on the people’s priorities.  Six weeks in, take a look at how we’re doing so far:

  (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/all.js#xfbml=1"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); Post by Speaker John Boehner.

1. A new law that will help veterans get access to the mental health care resources they need.  (H.R. 203)

2. House and Senate approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would support at least 42,000 American jobs. (S. 1)

3. Protecting middle-class families from a White House scheme to tax 529 college savings plans.

4. A plan to fund the Department of Homeland Security and stop the president’s unilateral immigration actions – actions he said at least 22 times that he did not have the authority to take.  (H.R. 240)

5. A series of bipartisan bills to help protect vulnerable children and combat the horrific crime of sex trafficking.  (H.R. 159, H.R. 181, H.R. 246, H.R. 285, H.R. 350, H.R. 357, H.R. 398, H.R. 460, H.R. 468, H.R. 469, H.R. 514, H.R. 515)

 

BREAKING: Americans spoke out. Now, #middleclass families won't have college savings taxed. Let’s keep up the fight. http://t.co/6NfhCtsvDj

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) January 27, 2015

Meanwhile, whether it’s a budget that never balances or a 'middle-class economics’ plan that doesn’t help the middle class, the president’s approach is out of touch and out of style.  To build an opportunity economy from the ground up, the House has already passed jobs bills that would:

6. Make it easier for small businesses to hire more of our veterans. (H.R. 22)

7. Restore the 40-hour workweek so we can get people working full-time again.  (H.R. 30)

8. Extend and make permanent the tax relief that small businesses count on, which would help create nearly 200,000 jobs. (H.R. 636)

9. Expedite the approval of liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, which would help create roughly 45,000 jobs. (H.R. 351)

10. Make the feds account for the effect their regulations will have on small businesses, because it shouldn’t be easier to start a business in Belarus. (H.R. 527)

11. Give employers more of a say before new regulations go into effect. (H.R. 50)

12. Repeal ObamaCare so we can replace it with patient-centered reforms that lower costs and protect jobs. (H.R. 596)

13. Flip the script on Washington bureaucrats so they have to regulate with maximum transparency and the lowest possible cost. (H.R. 185)

14. Eliminate bureaucratic delays so we can construct more pipelines and expand America’s energy infrastructure. (H.R. 161)

 

Every child in America deserves access to a decent education & #SchoolChoice is an answer to help make that happen.

A photo posted by Speaker John Boehner (@speakerboehner) on

Jan 31, 2015 at 6:19am PST

In addition to that, the House has voted to:

15. Make it easier to fight hunger and give back to the community. (H.R. 644)

16. Recognize the will of the people and ban taxpayer funding of abortion. (H.R. 7)

17. Award a Congressional Gold Medal to the Foot Soldiers who participated in Bloody Sunday, Turnaround Tuesday, or the final Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March in 1965. (H.R. 431)

We’re just getting started.  Next week, the House will take up bills to help every student get a good education and expand college savings.  And with House committees having already held more than 75 hearings, more solutions to help middle-class families and advance the people’s priorities are on the way.  (Hopefully more GIFs are too.  We’ll see.)

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Will President Obama Deny Science on Keystone?

2015/02/20

On January 21, 2009, The New York Times celebrated what it perceived as “an end to eight years of stark tension between science and government” and the start of a new era in which government officials no longer “insisted on tight control over even routine functions of key agencies.”

The paper’s inspiration was President Obama’s Inaugural Address, delivered the day before. America’s new chief executive proclaimed:

“For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of our economy calls for action, bold and swift. And we will act, not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We'll restore science to its rightful place, and …. harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.”

If only all of this had actually happened in the six years since then. The Democrats’ economic “stimulus” package was an expensive flop. Solyndra was a politically-driven investment that predictably failed. Oil and gas energy production has fallen dramatically on federal lands. And if President Obama vetoes a bipartisan bill to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, he’ll once again be putting politics before American jobs and settled science:

  • According to data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the “annual increase [in carbon emissions] from Keystone would amount to less than three-tenths of one percent of our total annual CO2-e emissions — [or] 0.286546 percent, if you want to get precise. … [C]onsider that more than 10 times that much CO2-e gets released into the atmosphere each year from methane produced by cows.” (The Washington Post, 5/5/14)
  • “After two thorough environmental analyses, State Department experts determined that the pipeline’s impact probably would be minimal, even on climate change-inducing carbon dioxide emissions.” (The Washington Post, 4/23/14)
  • “Marcia McNutt, a scientist who headed the U.S. Geological Survey under President Obama until early 2013, announced Thursday that she now supports approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. McNutt is now the top editor at Science magazine. In an editorial published there Thursday, McNutt describes how she has come to back the project that she previously opposed, and does not believe it would worsen greenhouse-gas emissions.” (National Journal, 2/20/14)
  • A study commissioned by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and conducted by the National Academy of Sciences found that the type of crude oil the Keystone pipeline would carry is no more corrosive than others and would not increase the chance of leaks.

As the Canadian Ambassador wrote yesterday, the Obama administration should “choose hard hats over Hollywood, the intelligent, energy-efficient, safer infrastructure of a pipeline over rail, and Canada, an ally, over Venezuela.”

By approving Keystone, President Obama can reduce the tension his party has created between science and government, and relinquish his tight control over routine agency functions.

If he does not, The Washington Post can simply reprint its conclusion from last year:

“The administration’s latest decision is not responsible; it is embarrassing. The United States continues to insult its Canadian allies by holding up what should have been a routine permitting decision amid a funhouse-mirror environmental debate that got way out of hand. The president should end this national psychodrama now, bow to reason, approve the pipeline and go do something more productive for the climate.”

READ MORE:

Three Years, 30+ Surveys, One Message for the President: Approve the Keystone PipelineWill the President Say No to All the Democrats Who Back Keystone?Will President Obama Say No to Small Businesses on Keystone?Will President Obama Snub Labor Unions on Keystone?

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Three Years, 30+ Surveys, One Message for the President: Approve the Keystone Pipeline

2015/02/19

The president has a big decision to make on the Keystone pipeline, but it shouldn’t be a difficult one.  In addition to the tens of thousands of jobs the project would create, survey after survey shows that a majority of Americans overwhelmingly, and consistently, support building the pipeline.  Here are more than 30 surveys conducted over the past three years that back that up: 

  • January 15, 2015: “The 1,179-mile Canada-to-Texas pipeline is backed by 57% of the 1,011 Americans surveyed on Dec. 18-21.” (CNN/ORC)
  • January 14, 2015: “Sixty percent of Americans support building the Keystone XL Pipeline, while just 28 percent oppose. … Eight in 10 Americans think the pipeline is likely to create a significant number of jobs, including 45 percent who think this is very likely.” (CBS News)
  • January 14, 2015: “A 65-percent majority says Obama should sign the Keystone legislation, according to the poll.  That includes 82 percent of Republicans, 60 percent of independents and 52 percent of Democrats.” (Fox News)
  • December 20, 2014: “A World-Herald Poll this week found that 55 percent of Nebraskans support building the pipeline…” (Omaha World-Herald)
  • November 19, 2014: “A 56 percent majority of Americans support building the pipeline to transport oil from Canada through the United States to oil refineries in Texas.” (HuffPost/YouGov)
  • November 17, 2014: “By 60%-25%, those surveyed say Congress and Obama should approve construction of the Keystone pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada's oil sands region through the Midwest to refineries in Texas.” (USA TODAY)
  • November 12, 2014: “A majority of Americans (59%) favor building the Keystone XL pipeline…” (Pew Research Center)
  • November 11, 2014: “A majority of voters – including a plurality of Democrats – think the U.S. government should approve the pipeline….with nearly three times as many Americans supporting a congressional effort to approve Keystone than those who oppose.” (Morning Consult)
  • June 26, 2014: “Among ‘hard-pressed skeptics,’ ‘next generation left’ and ‘faith and family left,’ support for Keystone is two-to-one. So even as a group like the ‘next generation left’ group supports alternate energy over fossil fuels 83-11, it still backs Keystone 62-28.’” (Pew Research Center via Washington Post)
  • May 6, 2014: “Seven in 10 approve the proposal to build the Keystone XL pipeline. The proposal garners majority support across party lines, with 64 percent of Democrats, 60 percent of Independents, and 86 percent of Republicans supporting the pipeline proposal.” (Morning Consult)
  • April 24, 2014: “American voters of all political affiliations overwhelming support building the Keystone XL pipeline, according to new polling conducted for API by Harris Poll…78 percent of registered voters agree that KXL is in the U.S. national interest.” (API/Harris Poll)
  • April 23, 2014: “Support for building the Keystone XL pipeline is now at its highest level ever. … Sixty-two percent (62%) believe it will be good for the U.S. economy if the pipeline is built.” (Rasmussen Reports)
  • March 19, 2014: “As the Obama administration deliberates over whether to allow the Keystone XL pipeline to be built, the proposed pipeline continues to draw broad support from the public. Currently, 61% favor building the pipeline while 27% are opposed.” (Pew Research Center)
  • March 7, 2014: “Americans support the idea of constructing the Keystone XL oil pipeline between Canada and the United States by a nearly 3 to 1 margin, with 65 percent saying it should be approved and 22 percent opposed, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.” (Washington Post/ABC News)
  • December 12, 2013: “A Bloomberg National Poll shows support for the $5.4 billion link between Alberta’s oil sands and U.S. Gulf Coast refineries remains strong, with 56 percent of respondents viewing it as a chance to reduce dependence on oil imports from less reliable trading partners.” (Bloomberg)
  • October 1, 2013: “Fifty-seven percent (57%) of Likely Voters nationwide favor building the Keystone XL pipeline…” (Rasmussen Reports)
  • September 26, 2013: “Most Americans (65%) continue to favor building the Keystone XL pipeline…” (Pew Research Center)
  • July 16, 2013: “The latest United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll finds that more than two-thirds of respondents, 67 percent, support building the pipeline to carry Canadian oil to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast; that includes 56 percent of Democrats.” (United Technologies/National Journal)
  • June 4, 2013: “About 8 in 10 Independents and Democrats agree that the pipeline is in our national interest while close to 70 percent of voters from both groups believe it would strengthen America’s national security and benefit our military.” (API/Harris Interactive)
  • April 2013: “Among those Americans who have heard of the Keystone pipeline, about two in three support the project (63%, 28% strongly)…” (Yale Project on Climate Change Communication & the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication)
  • April 2, 2013: “Two-thirds of Americans (66%) favor building the pipeline, which would transport oil from Canada’s oil sands region through the Midwest to refineries in Texas. … Support for the pipeline spans most demographic and partisan groups.” (Pew Research Center)
  • March 28, 2013: “A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 58% of Likely U.S. Voters favor building the pipeline, while 26% are opposed.” (Rasmussen Reports)
  • March 4, 2013: “By a wide 70-23 percent margin, voters support building the pipeline that would transport oil from Canada to refineries in the United States.” (Fox News)
  • February 13, 2013: “Sixty-nine percent of American voters favor building the Keystone XL pipeline, while 83 percent believe the pipeline would strengthen the nation’s energy security and 92 percent agree jobs are important when considering the project, according to a new Harris Interactive poll released today. Strong majorities of voters in both political parties and among independents support building the pipeline, the poll found.” (API/Harris Interactive)
  • November 22, 2012: “Seventy-two percent believe ‘the U.S. should approve the Keystone XL pipeline project as soon as possible,’ including a strong majority of Democratic Party supporters.” (Anderson Insight/CAPP)
  • July 1, 2012: “The American public is firmly behind the keystone pipeline, seeing plenty of upside in potential jobs and limited environmental downside. Nearly six in 10 saying the U.S. government should approve the project. The wide acceptance of the pipeline is rooted in the fact that 83 percent believe it will create a significant number of jobs.” (Washington Post)
  • March 22, 2012: “A solid majority of Americans think the U.S. government should approve of building the Keystone XL pipeline, while 29% think it should not. … Americans who say they are very closely following news about the Keystone XL pipeline overwhelmingly think the government should approve the building of it, 78% to 22%.” (Gallup)
  • February 23, 2012: “About two-thirds (66%) think the government should approve the building of the pipeline…” (Pew Research Center)
  • February 23, 2012: “Voters support 64 - 23 percent the proposed Keystone Pipeline.” (Quinnipiac)
  • February 10, 2012: “By a 67-25 percent margin, voters support building the Keystone XL pipeline. That includes: 87 percent of Republicans, 69 percent of independents and 50 percent of Democrats say build it.” (Fox News)
  • January 30, 2012: “Sixty-four percent of respondents favored its construction, while only 22 percent opposed it.” (United Technologies/National Journal)
  • November 23, 2011: “Sixty percent (60%) of Likely U.S. Voters at least somewhat favor building the pipeline…” (Rasmussen Reports)

Labor unions, small businesses, Democrats and popular opinion all come down in favor of the Keystone pipeline, but the question remains: Will the president substitute his agenda for the will of the American people and veto thousands of Keystone jobs?

READ MORE:

Will the President Say No to All the Democrats Who Back Keystone?Will President Obama Say No to Small Businesses on Keystone?Will President Obama Snub Labor Unions on Keystone?

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College Kids

2015/02/19

Speaker Boehner had two very different types of meetings with students from Southwest Ohio colleges last week.

On Thursday, Boehner sat down with Miami University students participating in the ‘Inside Washington’ program.  The program gives students a unique look into the inner workings of Washington D.C. via a six-week internship interacting politics, government and the media.  The students and the Speaker discussed a wide range of topics including jobs and the economy.  Boehner’s district is home to Miami’s main campus in Oxford, and two regional campuses in Hamilton and Middletown.

Then on Friday morning, Boehner chatted with the Xavier Women’s Basketball team in National Statuary Hall.  Boehner wished the team luck in their game later that evening against Georgetown University.  The Muskies went on to win their match-up against the Hoyas 63-50.  Perhaps Speaker Boehner, a proud Xavier alum, is good luck … Xavier basketball teams are now 2-0 when it comes to winning after meeting with the Speaker.  The men’s team stopped by earlier this month.

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A Gold Medal for Selma Marchers

2015/02/19

Last week, the House unanimously voted to pass H.R. 431, which awards the Congressional Gold Medal to all those who participated in Bloody Sunday, Turnaround Tuesday, or the final Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March in 1965.  Speaker Boehner said:

“It was a proud moment to see the whole House join together to approve awarding this highest honor to the brave men and women who marched for equality in 1965, including our colleague John Lewis.  The marches marked a pivotal moment in our nation’s history, and I look forward to the Senate passing this legislation so we can bestow our highest honor on these great American ‘foot soldiers.’  

Coming in the middle of Black History Month, approval of this new Gold Medal helps to honor all those men and women who blazed the trail for equality:

  • In 2012, Congress held a ceremony to recognize the contributions of enslaved African Americans to the construction of the United States Capitol.  A commemorative marker was unveiled in Emancipation Hall of the Capitol Visitor Center. 
  • In 2013, Congress welcomed statues of Rosa Parks and Frederick Douglass, and observed the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.  In addition, the Congressional Gold Medal was given posthumously to the four young victims of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham.  
  • In 2014, the Congressional Gold Medal was presented in honor of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta Scott King, and the leaders who helped pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Then and now, we honor the lives and contributions of African Americans who served a cause greater than themselves and made ours a better country.  

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Will the President Say No to All the Democrats Who Back Keystone?

2015/02/18

It isn’t every day that the American people are imploring the president to listen to his own party, but when it comes to the bipartisan Keystone pipeline and the 42,000 jobs (at least) it would support, it’s just that kind of day.

You see, the president’s threat to veto legislation approving the pipeline isn’t just a knock against the labor unions and small businesses that back the project, it’s a knock against members of his own party who support the pipeline and are calling on him to do the same.

The bill approving the Keystone pipeline, S. 1, passed with the support of nine Democrats in the Senate and 29 in the House.  “It’s a shame, It’s just really, truly a shame,” one Senate Democrat remarked when asked about the president’s opposition to the pipeline. “The bottom line is with nine bipartisan Democrats and Republicans working together, all we’re asking for is – look at the bill, look at the jobs it creates, look at the security it gives our nation.”

That message is being echoed by governors across the country. “This does need to go forward, and it makes sense for our country,” says Democratic Governors Association Chair Steve Bullock (D-MT).  And in a letter to the State Department last year, Missouri Democratic Governor Jay Nixon wrote, “the approval and construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline will strengthen our economy, create jobs and promote North American energy independence.”  In a separate letter to the White House, 24 Republican governors also urged the president to reconsider his veto threat, including Gov. Mary Fallin (R-MO) who made clear in this week’s Republican address that the Keystone pipeline isn’t about Democrats and Republicans, “It’s about jobs.  It’s about energy.  It’s about infrastructure.  It’s about hope.”

Support for the Keystone pipeline isn’t just strong amongst elected Democrats, but also amongst those who put the president in office.  “The project has long held overwhelming public support, including from a plurality of Democrats,” National Journal reports, citing a March 2014 Pew survey that “found that a 49-percent plurality of Democratic voters support the Keystone pipeline, including 40 percent of self-described liberals.” 

The president has exhausted all of his “shifting rationales” for blocking the Keystone pipeline – legal, scientific, and otherwise.  Will he listen to the members of his own party – and the vast majority of Americans – and approve the project, or continue letting a narrow group of fringe extremists dictate his agenda? 

READ MORE:

Will President Obama Say No to Small Businesses on Keystone?Will President Obama Snub Labor Unions on Keystone?

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Ukrainian Lawmakers Visit The Capitol

2015/02/18

Earlier this month, Speaker Boehner greeted a delegation of Christian members of the Ukrainian Parliament.  In December, shortly after the House passed additional aid for the Ukrainian people, Boehner said:

“For those who do not have to fight to gain or fight to keep freedom, the situation in Ukraine is viewed as an academic exercise.  For those Americans, at home and abroad, who fight every day to preserve our freedom, and for our friends and allies in central and eastern Europe, and in the Baltics and the southern Caucasus, who are grappling with physical invasion, economic coercion, and interference in domestic political affairs, this is an existential fight.  There is no greater force on Earth than the power of people banding together to demand liberty, economic opportunity and human dignity.  God be with all Ukrainians seeking freedom and peace.”

Ukraine’s parliament is the Verkhovna Rada, which means ‘Supreme Council of Ukraine.’  Its 450 members serve five-year terms.

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Will President Obama Say No to Small Businesses on Keystone?

2015/02/17

Steele City, Nebraska – population: 61, give or take – has one business, the Salty Dog Saloon, and one big thing going for it: part of the Keystone pipeline.  “During new pipeline construction, floods of workers descend on the town, almost doubling its size,” the Daily Nebraskan reports:

‘Oh yeah, we get really busy,’ said Karen Harbey, a bartender at The Salty Dog Saloon.  ‘Instead of one person (in the kitchen) and one person (behind the bar), we’ll have at least two (in the kitchen) and two or three (behind the bar).’

“But it’s not just The Salty Dog Saloon that sees a spike in business.  Pipeline workers often haul in RVs and set up at the camp site just behind the bar, where they pay a fee to live until their work in Steele City is complete. Those who don’t bring RVs often take up residence in motels in the surrounding towns of Fairbury and Beatrice.”

Yesterday we asked whether the president will snub millions of America’s workers and the unions that represent them by vetoing Keystone.  Today, we’re asking the same, for the nation’s small businesses.  Because when the president’s own State Department says the project would support at least 42,000 jobs, keep in mind that these jobs will go everywhere from the energy and construction industries to the smallest businesses in the smallest towns.

Fortune.com recently reported on “why small business loves the Keystone pipeline”: “The project, which would be a potential goldmine for contractors and suppliers, has the strong support of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, a trade group that represents small businesses. … Kate Bonner, the senior manager for the NFIB’s legislative affairs … also emphasized that job creation could be a boon for business along the pipeline’s route, including those in supporting industries in the area such as restaurants and retail.

Other small business groups have encouraged the president to change his mind,” The Washington Post notes: “Many have pointed to the job creation potential of the project, which some estimate would provide work for upwards of 40,000 people.  That would be split almost evenly between jobs stemming directly from the project and others indirectly tied to the build-out of the pipeline (think restaurants that sell lunch to Keystone workers, health care companies providing coverage to those workers, and so on).”

For its part, the House Small Business Committee has released testimonials from small business owners backing the project and held a number of hearings to illustrate the need for Keystone. “Small businesses like mine and my colleagues’ in the chemical distribution industry would be directly and beneficially affected by its construction, leading to reduced costs for both ourselves and, ultimately, our customers,” Mat Brainerd, president of Brainerd Chemical Co. in Tulsa, OK, said during one such hearing.

And the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has detailed the stories of small businesses that count on pipeline construction: “In the Southeast Texas town of Kountze, Jeremy Kunk’s Ready Ice Company sold approximately 30,000 pounds of ice per week to pipeline construction sites in its area.  The ice improved safety by keeping workers cool and hydrated.  Kunk expects that the economic boost supplied by pipeline projects will be long-lasting.”

As Speaker Boehner often says, we build pipelines all across our country every day.  And when we do, that means creating more jobs, more growth, and more opportunity from the ground up.   So it’s pretty simple: will President Obama side with left-fringe anarchists and say no to our small businesses?  We’ll soon find out. 

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Speaker Boehner on Federal Judge's Ruling to Block President's Unilateral Immigration Actions

2015/02/17

WASHINGTON, DC -- House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement after United States District Judge Andrew S. Hanen issued a preliminary injunction blocking President Obama's unilateral actions on immigration: 

The president said 22 times he did not have the authority to take the very action on immigration he eventually did, so it is no surprise that at least one court has agreed. We will continue to follow the case as it moves through the legal process. Hopefully, Senate Democrats who claim to oppose this executive overreach will now let the Senate begin debate on a bill to fund the Homeland Security department.

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Will President Obama Snub Labor Unions on Keystone?

2015/02/16

On Friday, nearly six and a half years after the application to build the Keystone XL pipeline was filed with the State Department, Speaker Boehner signed the bipartisan legislation, and the bill’s next stop will be the president’s desk.  President Obama has vowed to veto it for no good reason.

This legislation never should have been necessary, but over the years, the Obama administration has used every trick in the book to delay and deny what should have been a routine energy infrastructure improvement project. It’s such a no-brainer that support for it “is almost universal,” according to The Washington Post. Pew Research also found that more Democrats supported it than not, with opposition concentrated amongst post-graduates, “liberals and those with high family incomes.” These are the people who would deny construction laborers and blue-collar workers the opportunities and paychecks brought by Keystone – all because of an ideological fixation unsupported by science.

Given the benefits for American workers, it’s unsurprising that labor unions have strongly supported building the pipeline:

The Laborers’ International Union of North America:

“For the record, our union was among those that twice supported the Obama-Biden ticket …. But that does not negate our right and obligation to speak out when, because of politics, the administration fails to stand up for working people and the men and women we represent. … Enter Tom Steyer, the billion-dollar man. … The hedge-fund manager and Wall Street tycoon seems to have gained the ears of White House officials and numerous Democrats across the country. … Steyer has amplified the rhetoric of the environmental fringe aimed at tearing down the value of Americans who build things with their hands. The rhetoric has seeped into the White House discourse, with the president himself scoffing at the ‘temporary’ jobs that pipeline construction creates. It’s not completely surprising that a hedge-fund manager would fail to understand the kitchen-table economics of a pipeline or its value to working people. Or that construction work is, by nature, temporary and that millions of construction workers lead middle-class lives, own homes and put their children through college by moving from one union construction job to the next. … Although political decisions may not be easy, we believe the United States can still do great things, including construct great projects that advance our country’s place in the world. … A little courage from the administration would go a long way.”

The AFL-CIO Building & Construction Trades Department:

“[We] emphatically support the construction of Keystone. … We are adamant in our belief that the economic, energy security and national security benefits associated with the construction of this pipeline are too important to allow it to be delayed any longer. … [F]ar too many of our members have lost homes and are struggling to put food on the table. The Keystone XL project will create tens of thousands of good paying jobs here in the United States and Canada. For many members of our unions, Keystone XL is not just a pipeline; it is, in the most literal sense, a life line.”

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters:

“The Teamers Union believes that the Keystone XL pipeline will contribute to enhanced energy security, economic prosperity and, of critical importance, the creation of good paying jobs. … If the pipeline is not built, important socioeconomic benefits will not be realized – the positive impacts of local, state and federal revenue, spending by construction workers, and spending on construction goods and services. Building Keystone XL Pipeline will enhance U.S. energy and economic security. It is time to move forward without further delay.”

The International Union of Operating Engineers:

“The United States cannot afford further delay and uncertainty on the Keystone XL pipeline. It’s time to unlock the jobs this massive private investment will create and put Operating Engineers to work.”

North America's Building Trades Unions:

“President Obama must now make a decision. He can either sign the bill into law and reaffirm his commitment to supporting American infrastructure and American jobs, or he can veto it and be remembered in the minds of many as a president who placed politics ahead of the economic concerns of hard-working Americans.”

The United Association of Plumbers and Pipe Fitters:

“[K]eystone XL would generate a tremendous number of U.S. jobs. ... We’ve seen working families lose their livelihoods, their homes, their children’s college savings, and, in some cases, their dreams of building a better life for their families. These are not just jobs we’re talking about, but American families.”

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers:

“[T]he benefits from the Keystone XL Pipeline will not be localized.  From pipe manufactured in Arkansas, pump motors assembled in Ohio and transformers built in Pennsylvania, to the men and women who will actually work on the pipeline itself, workers from all over the United States would benefit from the project.”

Will President Obama side with anti-energy, left-fringe extremists and say no to labor unions? American workers will know very soon.

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Speaker Boehner’s Interview on Fox News Sunday

2015/02/15

Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com

Speaker Boehner sat down with Fox News Sunday this morning to talk about Republicans' focus on jobs and the people's priorities, the House's plan to keep the Department of Homeland Security funded, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s address to Congress, and more.   Watch the full interview on Fox News, and below, check out excerpts that may interest you: 

A good start on jobs and the people's priorities: “Just yesterday, [the president] signed the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention Act, that would help get more services to our veterans that we're losing at a rate of 22 a day. The Keystone pipeline's been done.  ... The House has passed several dozen bills already. We're off to the fastest start of a Congress in the 25 years that I've been here.  … But we're off to a good start.  We've passed the 40-hour workweek requirement in ObamaCare so that people aren't getting their hours cut.  We passed the Hire More [Heroes] Act out of the House, to make it easier for small businesses to hire veterans. How about making it easier to export liquid natural gas overseas to our allies that are begging for it?”

The House has acted to fund the Department of Homeland Security: “The Constitution makes it pretty clear that the House has to do its work and the Senate has to do theirs.  The House has acted to fund the department, and to stop the president's overreach when it comes to immigration and his executive orders. Remember, Chris, the president said 22 times that he did not have the authority to do what he eventually did, and the Congress just can't sit by and let the president defy the Constitution and defy his own oath of office.  So the House acted. Now it's time for the Senate to act.”

Senate Democrats will bear responsibility if Homeland Security funding lapses: “The Senate Democrats are blocking the ability to even debate the bill.  Senator McConnell has offered them the opportunity to offer amendments.  It's their turn.  That's the way the system works.  That's the way the Constitution spells it out.  And so the House has done its job. … But Senate Democrats are the ones standing in the way, they're the ones jeopardizing funding.  Why don't they get on the bill and offer an amendment, offer their ideas, let's see what the Senate can do.”

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to Congress: “The fact is that we had every right to do what we did.  I wanted the prime minister to come here.  There's a serious threat facing the world, and radical Islamic terrorists are not going to go away.  The president devoted but a few words to it in his State of the Union address.  And then when it comes to the threat of Iran having a nuclear weapon, these are important messages that the Congress needs to hear and the American people need to hear.  And I believe that Prime Minister Netanyahu is the perfect person to deliver the message of how serious this threat is."

A robust strategy and authorization to defeat ISIL: “We need a robust strategy to take on ISIL.  No one has seen one from this White House yet.   In addition to a robust strategy, I think we need to have a robust authorization.  And I don't believe that what the president sent here gives him the flexibility or the authority to take on this enemy and to win.  And so I look at the submission by the president of the beginning of the process.  We're going to have exhaustive hearings in the Foreign Affairs Committee, the Intelligence Committee, the Armed Services Committee. And we're going to have bipartisan discussions about how we strengthen this authorization.”

The pursuit of the facts about Benghazi: “The idea here is to give the American people the facts about what happened.  Why wasn't the security for our embassy in Libya, the extra security, given to the Ambassador after repeated requests the night of the event.  Why didn't we attempt to rescue the people that were there?  Why were the people there told not to get involved?  And then, as importantly, when did the president know this, and why for some two weeks, did he describe it differently than what it really was?  There are a lot of unanswered questions, and as Trey Gowdy, the chairman of the Benghazi committee has been told by me, I don't need a big show here.  What we need are facts. The American people deserve the truth about what happened, and that's all what we're interested in.”

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From Oklahoma, The Case For Keystone Pipeline Jobs

2015/02/14

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Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin used this week’s Republican address to urge President Obama to stop blocking middle-class jobs and sign bipartisan legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.  To help make the case, she tells the story of how the southern portion of the pipeline has already brought jobs, growth, and opportunities to her state. “Out here, that’s what Keystone is about,” Fallin says. “Not politics, not Republicans and Democrats. It’s about jobs. It’s about energy. It’s about infrastructure. And it’s about hope.”

Watch the address here and below, check out news coverage that may interest you:

Associated Press: “Oklahoma governor calls for pipeline approval in GOP response to president's radio address”“Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has called on President Barack Obama to approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline that would carry oil from Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast.  Fallin, a Republican, issued the call Saturday in the Republican response to the president's weekly radio address.”

Tulsa World: “Gov. Mary Fallin pushes Keystone XL in weekly nationwide GOP address” “Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin touted the benefits of the Keystone XL pipeline in the weekly Republican address early Saturday.  ‘Like most Americans,’ Fallin said after introducing herself, ‘I’m urging President Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.’ … ‘I’m appealing to (Obama) to do the right thing, sign this bill, (and) let us finally build this pipeline,’ said Fallin. ‘Let us get our people working.  Thank you for listening, and, of course, happy Valentine’s Day.’”

The Hill: “GOP governor urges Obama to 'do the right thing' on Keystone” “Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) is calling on President Obama to ‘do the right thing’ and approve the Keystone XL pipeline in the GOP’s weekly address.  ‘Keystone has now been through more than six years of scrutiny—far more than any project of its kind—and it’s passed every test and cleared every hurdle,’ she said. … She portrayed the project as a boon for Oklahoma, saying the state will generate more than $15 million each year in tax revenues, the vast majority of which will go to public schools. She added that the pipeline’s construction has ‘helped fuel our state’s economic comeback’ and led to a 44 percent jump in pipeline transportation and construction jobs.”

Newsmax: “Oklahoma Governor Urges Obama to OK Keystone XL Pipeline”“The proposed Keystone XL pipeline isn't about politics, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said Saturday, it's about much-needed jobs and growth. … The project will support at least 42,000 jobs in the United States, according to the State Department, Fallin pointed out, and will allow the ‘safest, most cost-effective way to transport these resources’ while allowing the nation to ‘continue building our energy future and reducing our dependence on foreign oil.’”

ABC News Radio: “Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin Calls for Obama to Approve Keystone XL” “Gov. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma gave this week’s GOP address, calling on President Obama to abandon his promise to veto any legislation approving the Keystone XL pipeline.  Fallin notes the 42,000 jobs the project would create, as well as the benefit that the approved pipeline in her home state of Oklahoma has had for the economy. The pipeline, she says, is not about statistics or politics. ‘It’s about jobs.  It’s about energy.  It’s about infrastructure.  It’s about hope,’ Fallin said. ‘That’s why I’m appealing to [Obama] to do the right thing, sign the bill, let us finally build this pipeline.’”

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Weekly Republican Address: The President Must Approve Keystone Pipeline Jobs

2015/02/13

WASHINGTON, DC – In this week’s Republican address, Gov. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma urges President Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.  To make the case, Fallin touts the jobs, growth, and opportunities that the southern portion of the pipeline has brought to Oklahoma.  “Out here, that’s what Keystone is about,” Fallin says. “Not politics, not Republicans and Democrats.  It’s about jobs.  It’s about energy.  It’s about infrastructure.  And it’s about hope.  President Obama was once about that too.  That’s why I’m appealing to him to do the right thing, sign this bill, and let us finally build this pipeline.”

Fallin was one of 24 governors who signed a letter to President Obama this week requesting that he reconsider his decision to veto the Keystone XL pipeline.  That legislation, S. 1, has been approved by the House and Senate, and was signed by Speaker Boehner earlier today.

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

Remarks of Governor Mary Fallin of Oklahoma Weekly Republican Address Oklahoma City, OK February 14, 2015

Good morning, I’m Mary Fallin, governor of the great state of Oklahoma.  And today, like most Americans, I’m urging President Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. 

With this project, we have the opportunity to support at least 42,000 jobs in our country, and that’s according to the president’s own State Department.  Not only that, we can secure the safest, most cost-effective way to transport these resources.  And we can continue building our energy future and reducing our dependence on foreign oil.  

Keystone has now been through more than six years of scrutiny – far more than any project of its kind – and it’s passed every test and cleared every hurdle.  But still, the president just drags his feet.

The good news now is, members of both parties in Congress have come together to pass a bill giving Keystone the green light.  

Today I’d like to share with you a story to help illustrate why President Obama should sign it.     

You see, here in Oklahoma, we have the part of this pipeline that’s already been approved.  It’s the Gulf Coast portion that runs from Cushing, Oklahoma south into Texas. 

This one portion of the pipeline is on track to generate over $15 million annually in tax revenue for Oklahoma.  That's a big boost for our state, with 85 percent of that money going to our public schools.  If the whole project is approved, the volume of oil flowing through Oklahoma would increase by 75 percent.  That’s a steady, reliable source of revenue coming in for the foreseeable future.  

The construction of this pipeline has helped fuel our state’s economic comeback.  The project had two main construction bases – one in Prague and one in Atoka.  These are small towns, populations of no more than a few thousand people or so.  Having about 1,000 workers based out of these camps was a great source of economic development for those communities.   And at its peak, about 4,000 workers were part of the construction of the Gulf Coast pipeline.  That’s some 12 million man-hours of labor. 

And even now, after construction, the pipeline continues to bring jobs and opportunities into Oklahoma.   Statewide, since 2010, Oklahoma has seen a 44 percent jump in pipeline transportation and construction jobs.

Remember, this is all from ONE part of ONE pipeline in ONE state.  Just think of what we could achieve if this whole project were allowed to go forward.

Now I know these are a lot of numbers – especially for a Saturday morning – but behind each one is a story of its own: a worker who now has a job, who now has insurance, who can put food on the table, who can plan and hope for the future.

Out here, that’s what Keystone is about.  Not politics, not Republicans and Democrats.  It’s about jobs.  It’s about energy.  It’s about infrastructure.  It’s about hope.

President Obama was once about that too. 

That’s why I’m appealing to him to do the right thing, sign this bill, let us finally build this pipeline.  Let us get our people working.

Thank you for listening, and of course, Happy Valentine’s Day. 

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SUNDAY: Speaker Boehner to Appear on FOX News Sunday

2015/02/13

For this weekend’s Fox News Sunday, Speaker Boehner sat down with host Chris Wallace to discuss Republicans’ focus on jobs and the people’s priorities, the House’s plan to fund the Department of Homeland Security, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s upcoming address to Congress, and more.

Fox News Sunday airs at 9 AM ET in Washington, DC, and 10 AM ET in Cincinnati, OH.  Check local listings for times in your area.

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Gov. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma to Deliver the Weekly Republican Address

2015/02/13

WASHINGTON, DC – Gov. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma will deliver the Weekly Republican Address on Saturday, February 14, 2015.  Gov. Fallin will discuss the Keystone XL pipeline, and its potential to help create good-paying jobs and bolster our nation’s energy security. 

“In my state of Oklahoma, the southern leg of the Keystone Pipeline has already been built and it’s been a great help to our economy,” Governor Fallin said. “It’s generating more than $15 million in tax revenue a year that we can use to support local schools and other priorities.  During its construction, the project was helping to employ 4,000 people.  Keystone has been a safe, environmentally sound way to support our energy industry and ensure Oklahoma continues to grow as a center of regional and national energy production and commerce.  For Oklahomans, it’s almost mind-boggling that the rest of this pipeline hasn’t been approved.”

Gov. Fallin is one of 24 governors who signed a letter to President Obama this week requesting that he reconsider his decision to veto the Keystone XL pipeline.  That legislation, S. 1, has been approved by the House and Senate, and was signed by Speaker Boehner earlier today.

Learn more about Gov. Fallin, now in her second term as Governor of Oklahoma, by visiting her official website or by following her on Facebook and Twitter.

The Weekly Republican Address will be available nationwide starting Saturday, February 14, 2015, at 6:00 am ET on Speaker.gov and GOP.gov.

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PHOTOS: Keystone Bill Signing

2015/02/13

It’s official.  The Keystone XL project, which has been in waiting for more than six years now, has been passed by the House, passed by the Senate, and now, signed by Speaker Boehner.  Only one more signature remains before this bill becomes law and begins supporting an estimated 42,000 American jobs

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House-Passed Bill Paves the Way for 200,000 New American Jobs

2015/02/13

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement today praising House passage of the America’s Small Business Tax Relief Act (H.R. 636), legislation introduced by Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH) to expand and make permanent tax provisions that allow small businesses to immediately deduct the cost of purchasing new equipment.  The bill also includes provisions introduced by Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) that make it easier for small businesses to access capital. 

“Having run a small business, I know how difficult it can be to grow and plan for the future when you can’t even predict your next tax bill.  That’s why we’re taking steps to bring more certainty to the tax code and expand policies that make it easier for small business owners to access capital, reinvest, and do what we need them to do: help our economy grow and put more Americans back to work.  This common-sense bill has the potential to create up to 200,000 new jobs and it passed the House with bipartisan support.  The president ought to seriously consider that before he carries out his threat to veto the measure.”

NOTE: Analysis by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) projects “nearly 200,000 more jobs and billions in higher economic productivity if Congress and the President agree to permanently increase the amount that businesses can deduct for capital investments, also known as small business expensing.”

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Speaker Boehner Signs Bipartisan Keystone Jobs Bill

2015/02/13

WASHINGTON, DC – Joined by House and Senate leaders today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) signed S. 1, bipartisan legislation approving the Keystone XL pipeline. 

Prior to signing the bill, Speaker Boehner made the following comments:

“It’s pretty simple: the Keystone XL pipeline is a good idea for our economy and it’s a good idea for our country.  Members of both parties know it.  They’ve put politics aside to come together and pass this very important bill.  The president’s own State Department says this project will create up to 42,000 direct jobs.  Many labor unions know it.  They say Keystone isn’t just a pipeline, it’s a lifeline for our construction workers.  And the overwhelming majority of American people know it as well. So to the president, let me just say this: do the right thing, sign this bill, and help us create more jobs in America, and create a healthier economy.”

Sean McGarvey, president of North America’s Building Trades Unions, took part in today's ceremony, and made the following comments:

“On behalf of the 3 million people that represent in North America’s Building Trades, we want to thank you for your tenacity in not giving up on this middle-class jobs-producing, private-sector funded project. We’re excited to be at this point, we’re excited with this ceremony today, and we urge the president of the United States to put our men and women back to work across the length of this pipeline as soon as possible.  We urge the president to sign the bill.”

Additional participants in today’s ceremony included Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Rep. Kristi Noem (R-ND), and Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND).

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Photos: Mr. Arizona

2015/02/12

Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader McConnell, and Congressional leaders came together yesterday to dedicate a statue of the late Barry M. Goldwater of Arizona as the newest addition to the National Statuary Hall Collection.  In his remarks, Speaker Boehner reminded those gathered in the U.S. Capitol — including many members of Senator Goldwater’s own family — that Mr. Arizona did not “set out to inspire anyone.  He didn’t even set out to run for office.”  But he did run, and he did inspire a cause which, with time, would take shape as the modern conservative movement.  

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Making It Easier for Americans to Help Those in Need

2015/02/12

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement today applauding House passage of the Fighting Hunger Incentive Act (H.R. 644), introduced by Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY):

“Giving back to our communities and stepping in when we see someone in need is a fundamental part of who we are as Americans.   So we’ve made giving back a little easier today by extending tax provisions to help local businesses line the shelves of pantries and food banks, and encourage the many types of charitable donations and land conservation efforts.  Even in tough times, the generosity of the American spirit has prevailed.  I hope the same sense of duty will prevail upon the president, and he will rethink his threat to veto this bipartisan measure.”

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Speaker Boehner Praises Signing of Clay Hunt SAV Act

2015/02/12

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after President Obama signed into law H.R. 203, Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act.

“This law will honor our veterans and the sacrifices they make for this country.  Keeping his memory alive, Clay’s parents, Susan and Richard, fought for a law to help veterans who face the same obstacles that he did.  This is an important step, one of many we can take, to prevent veterans’ suicides and help our men and women in uniform heal the invisible wounds of war.”

NOTE:  On Tuesday, Speaker Boehner was joined by Clay’s parents and House and Senate leaders to sign the bill and formally send it to the president for his signature. 

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Boehner on AUMF: Give Our Commanders Flexibility to Defeat ISIL

2015/02/12

If we’re going to defeat our enemy and win this fight, we need a strong, robust strategy,” Speaker Boehner said today, commenting on President Obama’s request for an authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) against the Islamic State (ISIL). 

Here are excerpts from his comments to reporters:

“For the past year, I’ve been urging President Obama to outline a strategy to defeat and destroy our terrorist enemies.  And to its credit, the White House did the right thing and submitted language yesterday authorizing the use of military force against ISIL.  That said, I do have concerns about the president’s submission.  I want to give our military commanders the flexibility and the authority they need to defeat our enemies.  The White House readily admits that the authorization they’re saying is more restrictive than what they already have in place.  If we’re going to defeat our enemy and win this fight we need a strong, robust strategy and a strong, robust authorization.  And that’s exactly what Republicans will make the case for as we move through rigorous hearings and oversight on this issue.”

“As you’ve heard me say from this podium for the last several years, the president needs to have an overarching strategy to deal with this growing terrorist threat.  He has yet to do that.  He continues to look at this as a counterterrorism effort when in fact there’s a war underway, and we’re in the midst of it.  The president has tied his own hands and wants to tie his hands even further with the authorization that he sent up here.  I think it’s time for the White House to develop and outline for the American people how we’re going to address this worldwide terrorist threat, and to make sure that the president has the authorization to deal with it.” 

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Republicans Agree: Senate Dems Should Stop Blocking Debate on Plan to Fund DHS

2015/02/12

At his weekly press conference today, Speaker Boehner challenged Senate Democrats to stop blocking debate on the House’s plan to fund the Department of Homeland Security.  Here’s what he said:

“When it comes to funding the Department of Homeland Security, there is no dispute amongst Republicans.  House Republicans and Senate Republicans all agree, and frankly, Senate Democrats should stop blocking debate on the House-passed bill.

“That’s the thing: Senate Democrats don’t like our plan, but thanks to Sen. McConnell, they can now offer amendments in the Senate – something they weren’t able to do in the last Congress.  But for Senate Democrats to simply block debate on a bill that funds many of their own priorities is as senseless and undemocratic as it is.  If funding for Homeland Security lapses, Washington Democrats are going to bear the responsibility.

“Earlier this week, President Obama criticized the inappropriate use of the filibuster.  Well, I don’t think we need any more lectures, what we need him to do is pick up the phone and call on his own party to move ahead.”

Yesterday, Speaker Boehner issued a similar challenge to Senate Democrats.  Watch the video on Facebook.

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House Presses Ahead on Jobs Bills to Help Middle-Class Families

2015/02/12

WASHINGTON, DC – House Republicans are pressing ahead on Americans’ top priorities this week, moving three bipartisan jobs bills - including legislation to approve the Keystone pipeline - and setting the stage for more action to help middle-class families save for college.  Boehner discussed these measures at his press briefing earlier today:

“Republicans continue to focus on creating jobs and improving our economy – the priorities of the American people. 

“Today, the Ways & Means Committee will consider Congresswoman Jenkins’ bill to strengthen college savings accounts.  The president tried to tax these accounts, but we’re working to expand them, which means more savings and less debt for our students.  And I think you can expect this bipartisan bill on the floor very soon.

“Yesterday, the House acted in a bipartisan way to approve the Keystone pipeline.  This will create tens of thousands of jobs, or at least 42,000 according to the president’s own State Department.  More than 20 of our nation’s governors this morning sent a letter to the White House asking the president to consider signing this important bill.  There is no good reason – none whatsoever – for the president to veto this jobs bill.”

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Republican Governors Urge President Obama to Back Keystone

2015/02/12

This morning, 24 Republican governors sent a letter to President Obama requesting that he reconsider his decision to veto the Keystone XL pipeline. 

From their press release

Governors Doug Ducey of Arizona, Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, Nathan Deal of Georgia, Butch Otter of Idaho, Mike Pence of Indiana, Terry Branstad of Iowa, Sam Brownback of Kansas, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Paul LePage of Maine, Phil Bryant of Mississippi, Pete Ricketts of Nebraska, Brian Sandoval of Nevada, Chris Christie of New Jersey, Susana Martinez of New Mexico, Pat McCrory of North Carolina, Jack Dalrymple of North Dakota, John Kasich of Ohio, Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota, Greg Abbott of Texas, Gary Herbert of Utah, Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Matt Mead of Wyoming. 

“As governors, our foremost priority is to grow and strengthen our state economies,” said Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts. “We can achieve that in the states and throughout the country by building the Keystone XL pipeline. The President has the power to create good-paying jobs and bolster our nation’s energy security right now with a simple stroke of a pen. For those reasons and many others, we strongly support that this project must move forward.”

Read the full text of the governors' letter: 

February 12, 2015

The Honorable Barack Obama President of the United States The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We would ask that you reconsider your decision to veto the Keystone XL pipeline in light of the significant economic and energy security benefits this project would provide for those states along the route of the pipeline, and for the entire nation. 

According to the State Department’s own analysis, the Keystone XL pipeline will create an estimated 42,000 American jobs.  Given the number of jobs at stake, it is no surprise that the project has garnered the support of many of our nation’s largest labor unions, including the AFL-CIO Building & Construction Trades Department, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and the Laborers’ International Union of North America.  But the real economic impact extends far beyond numbers on a page.  As one labor union representative put it, “this project is not just a pipeline; it is, in fact, a lifeline.”

The pipeline would not only constitute a boon for our economy, but also for our energy security.  Many of our states are at the forefront of America’s energy boom, producing more alternative energy, oil and natural gas than ever before.  Yet even as we make strides toward improved energy security, we continue to rely on hostile energy sources to meet our needs, and we remain vulnerable to global disruptions that can send prices skyrocketing for hardworking families.  The Keystone XL pipeline would pump approximately 830,000 barrels of oil a day to U.S refineries, expanding access to a more stable and affordable energy supply from one of our closest friends and allies.     

While the benefits of the pipeline are clear, for today and the future, we appreciate that your administration required the opportunity to do its due diligence and ensure the project is in the national interest.  The initial application for the Keystone pipeline permit was filed on September 19, 2008.  In the intervening six years, the project has undergone extensive review, resulting in two separate State Department analyses that found the project will not have any significant environmental impact.  The judicial proceedings you cited in your decision to delay approval of the pipeline in April of last year have now been resolved. 

With one stroke of a pen, you have the power to give thousands of Americans the shot at a good-paying job that will help them provide for their families and get ahead in a tight economy.  Approval would also demonstrate a sincere interest from your Administration in building bipartisan support for a truly all-of-the-above energy policy, and strengthen our economic relationship with Canada. Alternatively, you also have the power to veto the jobs, economic growth, and increased energy security the Keystone XL pipeline represents. We hope you will take into account the will of the vast majority of Americans who support this project, including our constituents, and sign legislation approving the pipeline when it reaches your desk.

Sincerely,

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Governors in the Speaker's Office

2015/02/12

From the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to governors' offices in 31 states across the country, Republicans are leading the way for a stronger economy at all levels of government, and when the opportunities arise, they are doing it together.  That is why yesterday, Governor Bill Haslam of Tennessee and Governor Gary Herbert of Utah stopped into the U.S. Capitol for a meeting with Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader McConnell to discuss ways in which the federal government can empower states and their citizens.  

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Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony for Jack Nicklaus Announced

2015/02/12

WASHINGTON, DC – On Tuesday, March 24, leaders of the U.S. House and Senate will present a Congressional Gold Medal to Jack Nicklaus in recognition of his many contributions to the game of golf and his service to the community and the nation. 

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will take part in the bipartisan, bicameral ceremony, as will members of the Ohio congressional delegation.

The Gold Medal is the highest civilian award the United States Congress can bestow.  It was awarded to Mr. Nicklaus pursuant to H.R. 2203, which was sponsored by Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH) and signed into law by President Obama on December 16, 2014.  The Medal has previously been awarded to such great athletes as Roberto Clemente, Joe Louis, Byron Nelson, Jesse Owens, Arnold Palmer, and Jackie Robinson.

For more information on how a Congressional Gold Medal is struck, watch this behind-the-scenes video featuring Matthew Wasniewski, Historian of the U.S. House, and Richard Peterson, Deputy Director of the U.S. Mint. 

Additional details regarding logistics and media credentialing for the ceremony will be released at a later date. 

 

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New Congress Keeps Promise to Approve Keystone Pipeline Jobs

2015/02/11

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after the House passed S. 1, legislation approving the Keystone XL pipeline:

“When the American people elected Republican majorities in the House and the Senate, Leader McConnell and I promised we would honor their trust and faith by acting swiftly to advance their top priorities, including the Keystone pipeline.  For at least 42,000 Americans, according to the administration’s own estimates, this project would mean the shot at a good-paying job and the ability to provide for their families.  For all of us, it would mean stronger economic growth and a more stable and affordable energy supply to help protect against huge price spikes. With hardworking, middle-class families still struggling to get by, that should give the president plenty of cause to reconsider his veto threat and sign this bill into law.”

NOTE: In a joint op-ed published in November of last year, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Speaker Boehner listed the Keystone pipeline, and the thousands of jobs that come with it, as one of the top priorities for the new American Congress.

Breaking news: the House just passed #KeystoneXL jobs bill. Promise kept. http://t.co/mOf7ERAn9y pic.twitter.com/qi5jA8jTmF

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) February 11, 2015
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Statue of Arizona’s Barry M. Goldwater Dedicated at the U.S. Capitol

2015/02/11

WASHINGTON, DC – Leaders of the U.S. House and Senate today unveiled a statue of the late Barry M. Goldwater of Arizona today at a dedication ceremony in National Statuary Hall.  Following are House Speaker John Boehner’s remarks prior to the unveiling, as prepared for delivery:

“In this Capitol where hundreds serve, and another hundred or so are immortalized, you can sometimes find yourself asking what it takes to stand apart. 

“Whatever it is, Barry Goldwater had it.  People didn't just find truth in what he was saying – they found a cause.  And if there were a Mount Rushmore for the modern conservative moment, he would surely be on it. 

“The man remains an inspiration, and yet he didn’t set out to inspire anyone.  He didn't even set out to run for office.  He had to be talked into it, and even then, he assured his brother, ‘it ain't for life.’

“But there's a story I've heard that may capture what Goldwater was after.  It was first told by the late Stephen Shadegg, who ran Goldwater's campaigns and helped with his books.  Stephen's son, John, our former colleague, is with us today. 

“The story goes that during the 1958 campaign, they were driving through some remote town on their way to a meeting with hundreds of people.  Goldwater decides unannounced to turn off the main road and pulls up to a small house.  He goes in and sits down with a constituent.  Now all these people are waiting, and no matter how furrowed Shadegg's brow gets, Goldwater is just asking this woman every question under the sun. 

“Well as it turns out, the woman was dying, and Goldwater said, ‘I could not be in this town without letting her know that I hadn't forgotten.’

“That's who Barry Goldwater was – as a person and a leader.  When others zigged, he zagged – and kept right on going.  The beaten path and the same old BS: none of that was for him.  But first principles and serving your neighbor one day, one deed, at a time?  That’s where he started and ended.

“We can wonder how Goldwater did it all, but there’s no need to wonder about this statue.  It is an assurance that if you just do what you believe is right – if you put your faith in the people – you will always stand tall.  So it is now my happy privilege to formally accept this statue and unveil it here on behalf of the American people.”

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Photos: A Mother’s Determination

2015/02/11

Susan Selke is one determined mother.  When her son, Clay, suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, she and her husband, Richard, sought to honor their son’s memory by fighting for a law that would help veterans get access to the resources and mental care they need.  That bill – the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act – passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate, and yesterday, Speaker Boehner added his signature to the legislation before sending it to the president’s desk.

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“Yes, Let’s Build The Keystone Pipeline!”

2015/02/11

House Republican leaders held a media availability today to discuss their focus on bolstering local economies – not Washington’s economy – to make people’s lives better.  For his part, Speaker Boehner highlighted the House’s vote later today to approve the Keystone XL pipeline:

“This week, the House will continue to focus on the people’s priorities, passing another three bills that increase the number of jobs available in America.  We’ll advance tax relief for small business that’ll help create some 200,000 new jobs.  We’re also going to continue to keep our promise to the people by finishing our work to approve the Keystone pipeline.

“You’ve all heard me say this before: we build pipelines all around America every single day.  Keystone has been reviewed and approved numerous times.  Even the president’s own State Department will say that it creates at least 42,000 new jobs.  But instead of listening to the people, the president is standing with a bunch of left-fringe extremists and anarchists.  The president needs to listen to the American people and say ‘yes, let’s build the Keystone pipeline!’”

 

 

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Speaker Boehner on the President’s Request for an Authorization for the Use of Military Force

2015/02/11

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s formal request for a new authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) against ISIL:

“ISIL is at war with our country and our allies.  If we are going to defeat this enemy, we need a comprehensive military strategy and a robust authorization, not one that limits our options.  Any authorization for the use of military force must give our military commanders the flexibility and authorities they need to succeed and protect our people.  While I believe an AUMF against ISIL is important, I have concerns that the president’s request does not meet this standard.  Now we will begin hearings and rigorous oversight so lawmakers and the public can provide their input.  Ultimately, our objective is to show the world that the United States is resolute in our commitment to destroy ISIL.”

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Speaker Boehner Signs the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act

2015/02/11

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today signed H.R. 203, the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, at an enrollment ceremony including grassroots advocates and lawmakers from both parties.  This bipartisan legislation, which will expand access to critical mental health care and resources for our veterans, now heads to President Obama’s desk for his signature.  Prior to signing the bill, Boehner made the following remarks: 

“Nearly four years ago, we lost a young man by the name of Clay Hunt.  He was someone who followed his heart, served his country, and sought to help others.  Keeping his memory alive, Clay’s parents, Susan and Richard, fought for a law to help veterans who face the same obstacles that he did.  In doing so, they’ve brought to light a tragic epidemic, and reminded us of some solemn obligations.  So in a few minutes, we’ll sign H.R. 203, the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act.”

NOTE: Taking part in today’s ceremony were Clay Hunt’s parents, Susan and Richard Selke, as well as members of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA).  Also in attendance were House and Senate leaders, including:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and Senate president pro tempore Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL) Rep. Dan Benishek (R-MI) Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN) 

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Strengthening Our Economy & Our Communities, Creating Up to 200K New Jobs

2015/02/10

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) is out with a new survey today showing that “regulation interference and taxes trump the list of concerns” for America’s small businesses.  House Republicans have already passed a series of bills to rein in red tape, and are taking action this week to bring more certainty to the tax code and make it easier for small businesses to grow.  Here’s an overview:

  • America’s Small Business Tax Relief Act: Sponsored by Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH), H.R. 636 expands and makes permanent a section of the tax code that allows small business owners to deduct expenses for new equipment in the year it is purchased, rather than requiring them to take those deductions bit by bit over time, making it easier for them to invest and expand their businesses.  According to the NFIB, “200,000 jobs would be created and economic output would increase by as much as $18.6 billion if Congress were to permanently increase the amount of capital investments businesses can immediately deduct from their taxable income,” The Hill reports. The bill also contains provisions introduced by Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) that would make it easier for small businesses to access capital without a tax penalty. A bill similar to H.R. 636 passed the House with the support of 53 Democrats in the last Congress, and a bill containing the provisions offered by Rep. Reichert passed with the support of 42 Democrats
  • Fighting Hunger Incentive Act: Sponsored by Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY), H.R. 644 permanently extends a tax incentive for businesses to donate excess inventory to local food banks and pantries.  Republican leaders visited DC Central Kitchen today to demonstrate how the bill will help these organizations better serve those in need. The bill also includes several other provisions to boost charitable donations, including:  Rep. Aaron Schock’s (R-IL) measure to keep certain charitable contributions from IRAs tax free; Rep. Mike Kelly’s (R-PA) measure to extend tax incentives for farmers and ranchers who preserve land for conservation; and Rep. Erik Paulsen’s (R-MN) measure to simplify the excise tax on private foundation income. Similar legislation also passed with the support of 56 Democrats in the previous Congress, despite the president’s threat to veto the measure.  

Fixing the tax code and making it more pro-growth and pro-family is one of Speaker Boehner’s five points for resetting our economic foundation, and these bills are a good start.  It’s up to the president, however, to lead a real effort to enact broad tax reform that provides more certainty for families and small businesses, and makes America more competitive.

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

2015/02/10

Gave this gavel to @AnderCrenshaw for his leadership sponsoring & passing the #ABLEact in Dec. http://t.co/dmlgsfCOT3 pic.twitter.com/h39IAXnEbx

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) February 10, 2015

Later today, Reps. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) will take part in an event at the White House to celebrate the ABLE Act, which will allow millions of Americans with disabilities to start savings accounts of their own. The law’s original champion and author, Crenshaw says he’s proud to have turned this kitchen-table idea – the biggest step forward in years for people with disabilities – into the law of the land.  Here’s how he described the journey in a recent Weekly Republican Address:

“I first filed this legislation in 2006.  That was eight long years ago, but because of the hard work, dedication, and teamwork of an awful lot of people, we were able to bring that legislation to the floor and pass it with an overwhelming majority.”

The Christian Science Monitor took its own look back and found that “the ABLE Act succeeded because of humility, hard work, and an honest desire to find a solution”:

That process began with Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R) of Florida. … He told colleagues that a $2,000 limit in existing law amounted to ‘forced impoverishment’ for people with disabilities.  ‘You’re forced to live in impoverishment or forfeit government help,’ he argued.

Representative [Cathy] McMorris Rodgers’s story was a powerful one, putting a close, personal face on the issue for many legislators.  ‘Here you are, a new parent who is ready to give your all to this child, yet I was being told: Don’t put any assets in his name because it may disqualify him from important services he may need later in his life,’ she says. ‘I cringed. That’s the wrong message to be sending parents.’

In his last months … [Chairman Dave] Camp took up the ABLE Act. It was supporters’ first real opening.  … ‘People are talking about how this Congress is so unproductive and polarized, yet we were able to get this amazing thing through,’ says [Rick] Hodges, the parent activist who started the ball rolling.”

Already, the ABLE Act is being touted around the country as the states prepare to implement it:

  • Winston Salem Journal: “Editorial: ABLE Act will help disabled children.  … The ABLE Act enables families with disabled children to save for their child’s long-term disability expenses through a tax-exempt investment plan… About 5.8 million Americans are projected to be eligible for the benefits.”
  • The Boston Globe: “A disabilities act, long in planning, is finally law.  Until now, people with disabilities couldn’t do what the rest of us can — set aside money, safe from the IRS, for certain purposes. Before this law, money saved outside a trust account disqualified those with disabilities from Medicaid-based benefits and Social Security. … This was a rare case, said Crenshaw, of ‘Democrats and Republicans, the House and Senate, all coming together.’”
  • Stamford Advocate: “Enabling a new savings option.  As the case with college 529 plans that are often cited as a model for ABLE, the new savings accounts would carry tax-favored status.  ‘Based on the literature and recommendations of the ABLE Act, it will make a profound difference for the autism community,’ Dr. Roslyn Burton-Robertson, executive director of Easter Seals Coastal Fairfield County's Stamford office, said in an email.”

The ABLE Act is good law, but our work doesn’t end here: Republicans are currently working on legislation to protect and expand 529 savings plans for middle-class families.

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Boehner: Our Efforts to Defeat ISIL Must Be Redoubled

2015/02/10

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement in response to the death of Kayla Mueller, an American aid worker:

“The tragic death of Kayla Mueller underscores the brutal nature of the enemy we face in ISIL, a group of terrorist thugs that has brought medieval savagery to the 21st century.  This brave and caring woman – who lived a life dedicated to helping those most in need - and her family are in my thoughts and prayers.  Our efforts to defeat this terrorist enemy must be redoubled, for the sake of all of their victims.”

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Helping Heal the Invisible Wounds of War

2015/02/10

Today, Speaker Boehner will sign H.R. 203, the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act (Clay Hunt SAV Act).  The Speaker will be joined by Clay Hunt’s parents, Susan and Richard Selke, and other House and Senate leaders on veterans’ issues.  It will then be sent to the president’s desk for his signature.

Clay Hunt was a Marine veteran who served in Iraq, where he was awarded a Purple Heart, and later on redeployed to Afghanistan.  After returning home, he dedicated his life to helping others put their lives back together – volunteering in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake and working with fellow veterans dealing with the psychological and physical wounds of war.  Like many veterans, Clay struggled with the invisible wounds of war, and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.  And despite working to address his PTSD and depression head on, he was faced with inadequate resources and care.  At age 28, Clay took his own life.

Tragically, Clay’s story is all too common.  Veterans’ suicides are occurring at a rate of 22 per day.  As Clay’s mother, Susan Selke said, “Not one more veteran should have to go through what Clay went through.”

Susan is right.  Our veterans have selflessly served this country and they deserve a 21st century health care system.  Here is how the bill named in Clay’s honor will help prevent veterans’ suicides:

  • Increase access to mental health care by, among other things, creating a peer support and community outreach pilot program to assist transitioning service members as well as a one-stop, interactive website of available resources.
  • Better meet the demand for mental health care by starting a pilot program to repay the loan debt of students in psychiatry so it is easier to recruit them to work at the VA.
  • Boost the accountability of mental health care by requiring an annual evaluation of DoD and VA suicide-prevention practices and programs.

These critical reforms have garnered the support of several veterans advocacy organizations, including the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans for America (IAVA) and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), as well editorial boards across the country:

Rome News Tribune: “No matter how brave they are on the battlefield, some of our men and women who serve in uniform there cannot win their ‘war’ when they return home. At least, not without a lot of help. And this bill will help them find more of that help they so badly need — and deserve.”

The Iowa Gazette:  “That penstroke will bring some much-needed assistance to quell a quiet crisis — record numbers of suicides and suicide attempts among our nation’s veterans.”

New York Times:  “The legislation addresses an urgent problem, as the V.A. works to make improvements after last year’s scandal. An estimated 22 veterans kill themselves each day on average, according to the latest government data.”

Albany Herald: “One area where our returning men and women in the armed forces have needed more attention is mental health. The memories of what they have seen and experienced in America’s long wars have been hard for many to deal with as they attempt to transition to civilian life….The Clay Hunt Act is a big step…”

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“Saving a Savings Plan”: Americans Continue Speaking Out in Support of 529s

2015/02/10

It’s now been two weeks since President Obama announced he would scrap a proposed tax on 529 college savings plans – he still supports the tax, but it became a distraction – but parents, editorial boards, and lawmakers aren’t letting up:

  • It’s worth saving. The 529 plans in Georgia and South Carolina, like those offered in most other states, give parents the opportunity to sock away as little as $25 a month into an account whose earnings can grow tax-free. For parents who can save just a little money at a time, there are few better ways to invest in their children’s education.” (Augusta Chronicle, 2/9/15)
  • Saving a savings plan. Ironically, the president’s aborted plan was proposed as part of what he proclaimed was his new focus on ‘middle class economics.’  Yet 70 percent of the households that own 529 plans have annual incomes of less than $150,000, and nearly 10 percent of these plans are owned by families with incomes below $50,000 a year, reports the nonprofit College Savings Foundation. Picking on middle class families that are striving to aid their children and dutifully saving for the future, helping boost the economy with investment capital, hardly seems a way to lift their fortunes.” (Providence Journal, 2/9/15)
  • Parents on 529 college savings plans: 'It will help and I'm happy we did it'. ‘We started 529 plans for our two boys when my oldest was two years old and have contributed monthly since then. In my opinion, it is a great way to change behavior and save money for an expense that has increased dramatically over the years.’” (Todd in Lilburn, GA – to The Guardian, 2/5/15)
  • [W]ith hardworking families struggling, abandoning his proposal is not enough.  First, the president should put his full weight behind our plan to expand and strengthen 529 accounts.  We can remove common paperwork problems, empower students to use the money to pay for computers, and make it easier for families to send their kids to the college of their choice.” (Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), 2/4/15)

The White House has not yet indicated whether it will now join Republicans in working to strengthen 529 accounts to help make it easier for students to attend the college of their choice.

Incredibly, the administration still insists taxing college savings is good policy – it sees 529s as loopholes to close to get more revenue (a.k.a. “savings” in liberal-speak) for the government.  It only backed away after the public uproar became an inconvenience.

At a community college in Indianapolis on Friday, President Obama did his best to downplay the whole debacle. “It wasn't worth it for us to eliminate it," the president said. "The savings weren't that great. So we actually, based on response, changed our mind…”

Thankfully for middle-class families, President Obama just wasn’t up for the fight.  

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House Benghazi Select Committee Continues Aggressive Oversight Work

2015/02/09

(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/all.js#xfbml=1"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));Post by Speaker John Boehner.

Before the end of April, the House Select Committee on Benghazi established by Speaker Boehner is planning to interview 20 current and former Obama administration officials, Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) has announced

Those slated to be questioned include “former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and former CIA director David Petraeus, as well as White House chief of staff Denis McDonough and national security adviser Susan Rice,” the Associated Press reported:

The list also includes former White House press secretary Jay Carney; Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and former national security adviser Thomas Donilon.

Gowdy has previously said he will ask former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to testify at a public hearing before the 12-member committee. He said Friday that appearance should occur "as soon as possible." …

Gowdy also said he wants to interview Cheryl Mills, a longtime Clinton aide who was her chief of staff when the attacks occurred at the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi.

Gowdy said last week he was frustrated at the slow pace of the investigation and was going to "ratchet it up."

Democrats on the committee and President Obama’s State Department have intentionally hampered the committee’s investigation, with the administration so far failing to turn over all of Clinton’s documents, including notes and emails. Chairman Gowdy has said he will only interview her after receiving them.

Ahmed Abu Khatallah was arrested in Libya in June 2014 and charged with leading the September 11, 2012, attack on the American consulate in Benghazi. He pled not guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in October, and appeared in court for another hearing last month. His next hearing is scheduled for April 14. No one else has been arrested or prosecuted for the murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.

As Speaker Boehner said nearly a year ago, the Select Committee’s investigation “is about one issue, and one issue only, and that is getting the truth for the American people and the truth about what happened in Benghazi for the four families who lost their loved ones there. … Why does the administration refuse to turn over the documents? Why do they refuse to tell the American people the truth about what happened?”

As long as those questions remain unanswered, the House’s investigation will continue.

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About Those Talking Points From Tehran

2015/02/09

Iran’s supreme leader said yesterday he and President Obama “are of the same opinion” that “no deal is better than a bad deal.”

But does President Obama really believe that?

With just weeks remaining until a key negotiating deadline, it’s becoming more and more clear that the concessions President Obama is offering to Iran – and the concessions he may yet offer to reach a final nuclear deal – would undermine American security and the security of our allies. 

Here at home there is growing bipartisan alarm as the White House pushes forward, seemingly desperate for a deal. On Friday the Washington Post editorial board expressed “major concerns” that “the administration now appears ready to accept an infrastructure of thousands of Iranian centrifuges” and willing “to concede Iran a place in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and beyond over the objections of key allies.”

Indeed, in November the Weekly Standard reported that the administration had already “[given] up on its demands that Iran enrich no uranium at all” and “abandoned its demands that Iran must dismantle its centrifuges.” And Friday, just hours after the Washington Post landed on doorsteps, the administration signaled its latest giveaway in a 2015 National Security Strategy report that completely ignores Iran’s appalling human rights record, its support for terror and the threat it poses to others in the Middle East. 

This new policy not only breaks with President Obama’s own 2010 National Security Strategy, which stated:

The United States has important interests in the greater Middle East. They include… the transformation of Iranian policy away from its pursuit of nuclear weapons, support for terrorism, and threats against its neighbors;

It’s also a significant reversal in long-standing policy held by previous administrations of both parties:

The Iranian regime sponsors terrorism; threatens Israel; seeks to thwart Middle East peace; disrupts democracy in Iraq; and denies the aspirations of its people for freedom. The nuclear issue and our other concerns can ultimately be resolved only if the Iranian regime makes the strategic decision to change these policies… -- President G.W. Bush, 2006

Our policy toward Iran is aimed at changing the behavior of the Iranian government in several key areas, including Iran's efforts to obtain weapons of mass destruction and missiles, its support for terrorism and groups that oppose the peace process, its attempts to undermine friendly governments in the region and its dismal human rights record. -- President Clinton, 1994

We remain open to an improved relationship with Iran. However, meaningful improvement can only occur after Iran makes clear it is lending no support to hostage-taking or other forms of terrorism. -- President H.W. Bush, 1990

President Obama wants a deal with Iran, but America can’t afford to ignore reality. Iran is a global menace. It sponsors terror, undermines its neighbors, still holds American hostages and is closer than ever to break-out nuclear capability.

The administration needs to stop the concessions and stand strong for the American people, our allies, and all in the Middle East who want peace.

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Speaker Boehner Mourns the Passing of Rep. Alan Nunnelee

2015/02/06

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement mourning the passing of Rep. Alan Nunnelee of Mississippi:

“Alan Nunnelee served this House with grace and distinction.  He was the rare calming presence in the cauldron of politics.  He never let cancer get the best of him.  We know this because, at the end of his life, all Alan asked of us was whether he made a difference.  Indeed he did, very much so.  But there is more to it than that.  Because when you think about all the good Alan did and all the lives he touched, it is plain that he will continue to make a difference.  So we mourn now, for we will miss Alan, but we also celebrate the gift of his life and service, and all he meant to us as a friend and colleague.  Let us pray that God holds Alan’s family close and gives them comfort in these difficult hours.”

NOTE: Speaker Boehner has ordered that flags over the Capitol be flown at half-staff in memory of Rep. Nunnelee.

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A Lot Has Changed…

2015/02/06

From the gadgets we use in our homes to the music we enjoy on our phones, a lot has changed in the last six years.  Unfortunately, President Obama’s ideas have not.  His recent budget proposal is chock-full of the same top-down, tax-and-spend tactics that he’s been pushing for the last six years.  You would think that the $7.5 trillion increase in the national debt that’s occurred on his watch would be enough to retire some of those outdated policies.  

In fact, here is a list of 11 things that are #NewerThanObamasIdeas.

1. iPad  |  invented in 2010

2. Instagram  |  founded in 2010

 

3.  Taylor Swift's four most recent albums  |  released in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014

4.  Frozen  |  released in 2013

5. Bo Obama  |  moved into the White House in 2009

6. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge  |  2014

7. Angry Birds   released in 2009

8.  Giant animatronic lion   2015

9.  The royal wedding  |  2011

10.  Selfie stick  |  listed in Time magazine's 25 best inventions of 2014

11.  LOST's conclusion  |  2010 (yes, we were disappointed too)

All of these are #NewerThanObamasIdeas for fixing our economy and improving opportunity for the middle class.  The simple truth is this:  the federal budget shouldn’t be cobwebbed by the policies of the past.  It should be focused on the future — a future where our kids and grandkids can grow up free from the fear of never-ending debt and a bloated Washington bureaucracy.  

And at the very least, budgets should balance.  

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Speaker Boehner on the January 2015 Unemployment Report

2015/02/06

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

“It’s always good news that more Americans are finding work.  That said, we know millions are still struggling and searching for a good job.  That’s why the House has already passed common-sense jobs bills to restore the 40-hour workweek, approve the Keystone XL pipeline, and rein in the overregulation that shackles small businesses.   If the president is serious about helping the middle class, he’ll reconsider his threat to veto these bills and work with us to get these things done.  Because Republicans are committed to growing America’s economy, not Washington’s bureaucracy, and this will continue to be our focus in the weeks to come.” 

 

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President’s ‘Middle-Class Economics’ a Bust for Working Families

2015/02/05

“Over the last six years, we’ve seen that middle-class economic works.” – President Obama

That was the message on page one of the tax and spend budget President Obama submitted to Congress this week – a bold assertion that, once again, doesn’t line up with the facts.  We’re not sure where the president ‘sees’ his policies working, but he’s clearly not looking at any of these headlines that show how middle-class families are being left behind in the Obama economy:

  • “The Big Lie: 5.6% Unemployment” “Right now, as many as 30 million Americans are either out of work or severely underemployed. Trust me, the vast majority of them aren't throwing parties to toast ‘falling’ unemployment.” (Gallup)
  • “Obama’s Plan Doesn’t Actually Help the Average Middle-Class Taxpayer” “U.S. households with average incomes -- the 20 percent taking in between $49,086 and $84,055, to be exact -- would on average see an increase of $7 in their tax bill under President Obama’s proposals, according to an analysis published this week by the Tax Policy Center.” (The Washington Post)
  • “Obama Says Wages Are Growing. They’re Not” “Wages basically didn’t grow at all in 2014, according to the Labor Department. … From the big picture perspective, median annual household income in 2013 is essentially the same as it was way back in 1995.” (CNN Money)
  • “Middle Class Decline Looms Over Final Years of Obama Presidency” “But for the middle class the scars of the recession still run deep. Federal Reserve survey data show families in the middle fifth of the income scale now earn less and their net worth is lower than when Obama took office.” (Reuters)
  • “Dilemma Over Deductibles: Costs Crippling Middle Class” “Coverage long considered the gold standard of health insurance now often requires workers to pay so much out-of-pocket that many feel they must skip doctor visits, put off medical procedures, avoid filling prescriptions and ration pills...” (USA Today)
  • “Wealth Gap between America’s Rich & Middle-Class Families Widest on Record” “The typical affluent family in America now has nearly seven times the wealth of a middle-income family, the biggest wealth gap in three decades, according to a new analysis by Pew Research Center. … New York University economics professor Edward Wolff recently showed in a paper that there has been almost no change in median wealth from 2010 to 2013—that, basically, the middle-class has been left out.” (Wall Street Journal)

“Our challenge – our opportunity – is to pass common-sense solutions that will help expand opportunities for middle-class families and small businesses,” says Speaker Boehner.  To that end, House Republicans passed three more jobs bills this week to protect small businesses and families hurt by the president’s health care law, and to ease red tape – all part of Speaker Boehner’s long-term, five-point vision for resetting our economic foundation.  Read about all of these bills below, and follow @SpeakerBoehner on Twitter for more updates on the steps we’re taking to help hardworking families get ahead.

READ MORE: 

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On Immigration, Dems Protect President Instead of Standing With The People

2015/02/05

At his weekly press briefing earlier, Speaker Boehner addressed Senate Democrats’ filibuster of the House’s plan to fund the Department of Homeland Security and stop the president’s unilateral actions on immigration.  Here’s what he said:

"The American people want to fund the Homeland Security agency, but they also want to stop the president's unilateral actions with regard to immigration.  And that is exactly what the House‑passed bill would do.  Several times this week, Senate Democrats, including senators who claim that they opposed the president's executive actions, have voted to block debate on this bill.  I think it's real simple:  Republicans are standing with the people while Democrats are protecting the president, and I don't think the American people are going to forget these votes."

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Because It Shouldn’t Be Easier to Start a Business In Belarus

2015/02/05

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement applauding House passage of H.R. 527, the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act:

“Today, it is easier to start a business in Belarus – and 44 other countries – than it is in the United States.  That is unacceptable, but also not surprising when you look at our coercive, combative, and expensive regulatory system.  The common-sense bill Steve Chabot has introduced, and the House has just passed, would make the federal government account for the effect its regulations will have on small businesses and consider less costly alternatives.  Federal bureaucrats work for the people, and should be giving small business owners a fair shake instead of looking for loopholes to foil them.  This is the third jobs bill the House has passed this week, and I hope the Senate will give it a vote soon.”

NOTE: The United States ranks 46th on the World Bank’s list of countries where it is easiest to start a business.

 

 

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Boehner Presses White House on Jobs & Keystone Pipeline

2015/02/05

WASHINGTON, DC – At his weekly press briefing today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) took the Obama administration to task for stonewalling on questions surrounding its review of the Keystone XL pipeline.  Boehner reiterated his call for President Obama to sign legislation approving the job-creating project when it reaches his desk, and discussed steps the House is taking to help create jobs and boost wages for middle-class families.  Following are Boehner’s remarks:

“Our focus continues to be on the people’s priorities, which means more jobs and higher wages.  Our economy has certainly shown some signs of progress, but most families aren’t seeing this improvement in their day-to-day lives.  That’s why we’ve already passed bills to: build the Keystone pipeline, which would create, according to the State Department, up to 42,000 jobs; expand natural gas exports, which would create 45,000 new jobs; help small businesses hire more veterans; and restore the 40-hour workweek to help get people working full-time again.

“And while Republicans continue to focus squarely on jobs and the economy, the Democrats are dragging their feet. 

“When Secretary Kerry was sworn in, he guaranteed – and he used that word, ‘guaranteed’ – a fair, transparent and accountable review of the Keystone pipeline.  But now, the State Department is stonewalling and refusing to answer basic questions about its review.  I am calling on Secretary Kerry to address this issue, and immediately deliver the transparency and accountability that he promised the American people.

“The Keystone pipeline is going to mean tens of thousands of American jobs, and we’ll soon put this bipartisan bill approving this project on the president’s desk.  He should reconsider his veto, and sign this jobs bill.”

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Pope Francis to Address a Joint Meeting of Congress

2015/02/05

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WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today made the following announcement:

“It is my great privilege to announce that His Holiness Pope Francis will visit the United States Capitol on Thursday, September 24, 2015.  On that day, he will become the first leader of the Holy See to address a joint meeting of Congress.  It will be a historic visit, and we are truly grateful that Pope Francis has accepted our invitation.

“In a time of global upheaval, the Holy Father’s message of compassion and human dignity has moved people of all faiths and backgrounds.  His teachings, prayers, and very example bring us back to the blessings of simple things and our obligations to one another.  We look forward to warmly welcoming Pope Francis to our Capitol and hearing his address on behalf of the American people.” 

NOTE: Details regarding media credentialing and logistics for the joint meeting will be released at a later date. 

UPDATE: Read the Vatican's official acceptance of the invitation for His Holiness Pope Francis to address Congress.

BREAKING → Pope Francis will visit @USCapitol on 9/24 & become first @Pontifex to address a joint meeting of Congress.

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) February 5, 2015

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A Day In The Sun For The 'Devil's Brigade'

2015/02/05

This week, House and Senate leaders honored the First Service Special Force with the Congressional Gold Medal.  It was a remarkable event to honor these heroes and remember their extraordinary gallantry during World War II.  You can check out photos from the ceremony here.

The Force’s story was also shared with millions across the United States and Canada:

  • ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir showed images of the First Special Service Force, “the heroes honored this evening” with the highest civilian honor by Congress.  Muir closed the segment by saying, “we honor them here tonight.”
  • Canadian veteran of the Force, Jack Callowhill, was interviewed on the CTV Network for Canada AM talking about the Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony, his time serving in the Force, and the strong bonds of their unit.
  • On NBC’s Nightly News with Brian Williams, the ‘Devil’s Brigade’ was highlighted as “a first-rate American-Canadian joint Special Forces commando unit.”
  • On Tuesday, CNN’s Jake Tapper closed out his show by reporting on Congress’s special honor for the ‘Devil’s Brigade,’ recognizing this elite team that “would paint their faces with boot polish and sneak up on enemies in the dark of night.”

The members of the FSSF were ordinary men who became elite combat soldiers, specializing in unconventional but effective tactics targeting military and industrial installations.  With just 1,800 in their unit, they accounted for 12,000 enemy casualties and 7,000 captured POWs.  They won five U.S. campaign stars and eight Canadian battle honors without failing a single mission.

At this week’s ceremony, American veteran Eugene Gutierrez, Jr. remarked that “the most versatile and effective World War II fighting unit from the USA and Canada” was the First Special Service Force.  Upon receiving the Congressional Gold Medal, Canadian veteran Charles W. Mann expressed his respect for today’s military and his fellow veterans, and that he was “most honored and humbled” to be receiving the nation’s highest award for distinguished service.

To watch the entire Gold Medal ceremony from Tuesday, please click here.

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President Obama on Budgeting: Then vs. Now

2015/02/04

This week, President Obama dropped a bomb of a budget proposal, one that calls for more taxes, more spending and more government bureaucracy. It never balances – ever – and would lead to an explosion of America’s national debt to record levels.

The president brags that the deficit has been significantly reduced. But does he deserve any credit? At virtually every turn, he aggressively fought against Republicans’ efforts to cut spending. And let’s not forget: last year’s deficit may have been the smallest under Obama, but it’s still larger than any deficit during the previous administration.

So there’s a lot of work left to do, even if President Obama is content to ignore America’s long-term spending problem. It hasn’t always been this way, however. He used to at least pay lip service:

Then: “This year, the Federal Government will spend $220 billion on interest. That is more money to pay interest on our national debt than we’ll spend on Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. That is more money to pay interest on our debt this year than we will spend on education, homeland security, transportation, and veterans benefits combined. … And the cost of our debt is one of the fastest growing expenses in the Federal budget. This rising debt is a hidden domestic enemy, robbing our cities and States of critical investments in infrastructure … robbing our families and our children of critical investments …. Every dollar we pay in interest is a dollar that is not going to investment in America’s priorities. Instead, interest payments are a significant tax on all Americans—a debt tax that Washington doesn’t want to talk about. If Washington were serious about honest tax relief in this country, we would see an effort to reduce our national debt by returning to responsible fiscal policies.” (Senator Obama, 3/16/06)

  • Now: In the budget President Obama just proposed, it would cost $1.1 trillion to service the national debt in his second term (five times more than the amount he cited in 2006), and $5.6 trillion over the next 10 years – way more than the federal government currently spends on everything in just one year.

Then: “The more we depend on foreign nations to lend us money, the more our economic security is tied to the whims of foreign leaders whose interests might not be aligned with ours. Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally.” (Senator Obama, 3/16/06)

  • Now:  Despite the fact that the national debt has more than doubled since that day, from $8.27 trillion to $18.08 trillion, President Obama said this month that he is “very confident that America is stronger, more prosperous, safer, and more influential today than it was when I took office.” (2/1/15)

Then: “The real problem with our long-term deficit actually has to do with our entitlement obligations …. [W]hat we have done is kick this can down the road. We’re now at the end of the road, and we’re not in a position to kick it any further.” (President-elect Obama, 1/15/09)

  • Now: Social Security, an entitlement program, is still scheduled to go bankrupt around 2030. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is still scheduled to go bankrupt next year, in 2016. In the budget President Obama just proposed, there is no plan to save these programs. In fact, he has never proposed a plan do so.

Then: “[I]f you look at the numbers, then Medicare in particular will run out of money and we will not be able to sustain that program no matter how much taxes go up. I mean, it’s not an option for us to just sit by and do nothing.  … [W]e have an obligation to make sure that we make those changes that are required to make it sustainable over the long term.” (President Obama, 7/11/11)

  • Now: Medicare is still scheduled to go bankrupt around 2030. In the budget President Obama just proposed, there is no plan to save it. In fact, he has never proposed a plan do so.

Then: “[T]o take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt [by $4 trillion] …. That's irresponsible. It's unpatriotic.” (Senator Obama, 7/3/08)

  • Now: The national debt stood at $10.6 trillion when President Obama took office and has increased by more than $7.4 trillion to date. In the budget he just proposed, the national debt would continue to rise to more than $20 trillion when he leaves office, and more than $26 trillion by 2025.

Then: “Democrats and Republicans must come together and restore the fiscal responsibility that served us so well in the 1990s. We have to live within our means. We have to reduce our deficit, and we have to get back on a path that will allow us to pay down our debt. … Ultimately, all this rising debt will cost us jobs and damage our economy. It will prevent us from making the investments we need to win the future. We won’t be able to afford good schools, new research, or the repair of roads – all the things that create new jobs and businesses here in America.  Businesses will be less likely to invest and open shop in a country that seems unwilling or unable to balance its books. And if our creditors start worrying that we may be unable to pay back our debts, that could drive up interest rates for everybody who borrows money – making it harder for businesses to expand and hire, or families to take out a mortgage.” (President Obama, 4/13/11)

  • Now: President Obama’s budget proposal never balances – ever. None of his six annual budget proposals have. House Republicans and President Clinton balanced the budget in the 1990s – something President Obama refuses to do.

Then: “If we keep on spending more than we take in, it’s going to cause serious damage to our economy,” (President Obama, 4/19/11)

  • Now: President Obama’s proposed budget would raise taxes by $2.1 trillion but increase spending by $2.4 trillion (65 percent), including by seven percent next year alone. Cumulative deficits would total $5.7 trillion over 10 years. In other words, his budget spends more than it takes in.

In response, Speaker Boehner said:

“While the president budget’s is about the past, our budget will be about the future. We will address our government’s spending problem and protect our national security. Our budget will balance, and it will help promote job creation and higher wages, not more government bureaucracy.”  

The president provided a good laugh yesterday → his budget. https://t.co/Faiz1iHGH5

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) February 3, 2015
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Making Bureaucrats Account for the Costs of New Rules on Small Businesses

2015/02/04

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement today commending House passage of the Unfunded Mandates Information & Transparency Act (H.R. 50), legislation introduced by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), to increase transparency on the costs of unfunded federal mandates and to ensure that those affected have the opportunity to provide input on the new rules. 

“Having run a small business, I know firsthand how all the rules and mandates coming out of Washington make it harder to balance the books, make payroll, and plan for the future.  The bureaucrats who write these rules should understand that too, and they should provide an honest accounting of what the mandates they hand down will mean for jobs and the economy.  This common-sense jobs bill boosts transparency and accountability, and gives private-sector employers the opportunity to weigh in on new mandates.  It has now passed the House three times with bipartisan support, and the president ought to reconsider his veto threat and work with us to help put more Americans back to work.”

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PHOTOS: The Devil’s Brigade

2015/02/04

In the year and a half that the First Special Service Force was in combat during World War II, they never once lost a mission.  They were a small, dedicated unit that helped save the free world, and yesterday, leaders of the U.S. House and Senate came together to present the Devil’s Brigade with a Congressional Gold Medal in honor of their extraordinary gallantry. 

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House Set to Move Two More Jobs Bills to Ease Red Tape

2015/02/04

This week, the House will continue focusing on Americans’ top priorities – jobs and the economy – by taking up two more jobs bills aimed at reducing red tape on small businesses and holding bureaucrats accountable for the costly mandates they hand down from Washington.  Here’s a look:

  • The Unfunded Mandates Information & Transparency Act (H.R. 50) increases transparency and accountability by requiring federal agencies to disclose the full economic costs of federal mandates on states, local governments, and small businesses.  The bill also requires the federal government to consult with private-sector employers that will be impacted by the new rules.  “While Congress cannot create prosperity, we can work to ensure entrepreneurs and employers aren’t crushed under costly regulations,” says Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), the bill’s sponsor.  “Americans are better served when regulators are required to measure and consider the costs of rules they create.”
  • The Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act (H.R. 527) “is about making the federal government stop and think about its impact on the millions of American families who operate or work for our small businesses,” says Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH), who introduced the bill.  Small businesses are responsible for the vast majority of new jobs created in this country, and H.R. 527 will make it easier for them to expand and hire by closing loopholes used by federal agencies to skirt compliance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act.  In doing so, the bill not only forces agencies to account for the impact of regulations on small business, but also to consider alternatives. 

With 8.7 million Americans out of work, and middle-class families feeling the squeeze of stagnant wages that haven’t kept pace with rising costs, the president and Democrats have no excuse for standing in the way of these common-sense jobs measures that:

  • Are Backed by Small Business Advocates. The National Federation of Independent Business – the nation’s largest small business advocacy group – has voiced its support for both bills (here and here), along with the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (here and here), and the Chamber of Commerce (here and here).
  • Have Bipartisan Support.  The Unfunded Mandates Information & Transparency Act passed the House in two previous Congresses, with bipartisan support both times (here and here).  The Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act was also passed on a bipartisan basis in February of last year.
  • Address a Major Issue Holding Back Small Business Growth.  According to the NFIB’s most recent Small Business Economic Trends report, 22 percent of small business owners cite government red tape as the single most important problem they face, second only to taxes (23 percent).  A separate report by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) found that “small manufacturers, or those with fewer than 50 employees, incur regulatory costs of $34,671 per employee per year. This is more than three times the cost borne by the average U.S. company.”  As CNBC reports, “The regulatory maze, as far as the government saying you can't work or do this or that without an extensive permit or license means they can’t expand’ [The Manhattan Institute’s Jared] Meyer said. ‘That’s where you are seeing hiring falling out. It’s a side effect of the state.’”

Fixing our regulatory system is one of Speaker Boehner’s five points for resetting our economic foundation.  The House has already passed the Regulatory Accountability Act (H.R. 185), which would force bureaucrats to regulate with maximum transparency and the least possible cost, and will continue advancing solutions to help small businesses do what they do best: grow, innovate, and create jobs.

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Stories From Ohio Continue to Show Need For ObamaCare Repeal

2015/02/03

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after the House passed H.R. 596, which would fully repeal ObamaCare:  

“I recently received a note from Annemarie, a small business owner in West Chester, Ohio, whose premiums have gone up by 26 percent in the last year under ObamaCare.  ‘I have always been very responsible with my money,’ she says, but ‘I do not have the money to afford’ this. Before the State of the Union, I met with Jamey, a nurse practitioner in Piqua, Ohio, whose premiums are going up by 35 percent.  ‘As things stand right now,’ she says, ‘I don’t know how we are going to remain financially solvent.’

“Sadly – and unacceptably –  stories from hardworking Ohioans like Annemarie and Jamey are too common.   The American people oppose ObamaCare because it is hurting jobs, hurting family budgets, and hurting small businesses.  We are listening, and we are committed to repealing ObamaCare so we can replace it with patient-centered reforms that lower costs and protect jobs.”

NOTE: Speaker Boehner and Republican members of the Ohio congressional delegation have released a series of stories from constituents hurting under ObamaCare.

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A Good Education – No Matter Where You’re From

2015/02/03

We’re committed to helping every student get a good education no matter where they’re from – plain and simple.  That’s how we extend the promise of the American Dream and build a better-paid, more competitive workforce. 

So today Education & the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) have introduced the Student Success Act, which will reform the nation’s K-12 education system by:

  • Balancing local flexibility with high expectations for student achievements. 
  • Revamping evaluations so districts can identify, recruit, and keep the best teachers.
  • Empowering parents with the information they need to hold local schools accountable, as well as providing parents and students additional educational options to escape low-performing schools and instructional supports to excel in school.
  • Putting states and school districts in charge of how money is spent in their schools.  

In addition, after stopping the president’s scheme to tax college savings, we’ve put forward a proposal to expand 529 plans for hardworking families.

Indeed, while we’re working to improve K-12 education from the ground up, President Obama continues to stick with the same failed top-down approach.

In fact, the president’s budget zeroes out funding for new DC Opportunity Scholarships, leaving only enough resources for students currently in the program.  This is the only initiative in America where the federal government allows parents to choose the schools that best meet their kids’ needs.  It has been a great success, with high graduation rates and approval ratings.  This landmark program deserves a bright future, not an uncertain one. 

With graduates ill-equipped for today’s job market and less than half of our students proficient in reading and math, the status quo clearly isn’t getting it done. 

From backing school choice to improving K-12 from the ground up, our goal is clear: to help every student get a good education no matter where they’re from.  Learn more at speaker.gov/education.

 

 

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A Gold Medal for the First Special Service Force

2015/02/03

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WASHINGTON, DC – Leaders of the U.S. House and Senate today presented a Congressional Gold Medal to members of the First Special Service Force in honor of their extraordinary gallantry during World War II.  House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) made the following remarks prior to the presentation of the medal:

“Listening to these stories, one thing that strikes you is that this all happened so fast.  The barracks at Fort Harrison were essentially built overnight.  Trainees fell off as quickly as they came, all at the mercy of Muscle Mountain.  Some 200 weddings took place, and then just like that, they were off.

“All told, the Force was in combat for less than a year and a half before being disbanded.  Even Eisenhower himself couldn’t explain to you how they did what they did.

“But widen the lens, and you’ll see there’s even more to marvel over.  Consider how growing up, all these men really knew was depression and then war.  So when they came home, and there was a future to look forward to, they made sure to pass on the glory, but not the stories or the struggle.  These were remarkable acts of humility, but to them, it’s just what you did to protect the ones you love. 

“For a time, that was that.  But now, thanks to all those brides and their children, we know who was who and what was what.  

“We’re here because, from all the darkness, has come this outpouring of grace.  From a small unit has come a grateful generation – a force in its own right.  And from a brief window in history has come a lasting commitment to do one thing this Force could not…

“For these men saved the free world, and now we are free to savor their triumph and share their story for years to come.  In that spirit, the United States Mint – at the direction of the Congress and the President of the United States – has struck a Gold Medal in honor of the First Special Service Force.  And we present it here, on this day and in our Capitol, on behalf of a grateful nation.”

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Boehner Commends Senate Passage of Bill to Prevent Veteran Suicides

2015/02/03

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after the Senate passed H.R. 203, the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act (Clay Hunt SAV Act):

Our veterans risk their lives defending the values this country stands for.  When they return, it is often the unseen scars of war that are the hardest to deal with and take the longest to heal.  Tragically, veteran suicides are occurring at a rate of 22 per day

The bill passed by the Senate today was named in honor of Marine veteran Clay Hunt.  Like many of our veterans, Clay suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and despite working to address PTSD head on, was faced with inadequate resources and care.  Our heroes deserve far better when they return home.  The Clay Hunt SAV Act will increase access to crucial mental health care and resources for our veterans to help them overcome the psychological struggles of war.  I commend Clay’s parents and the Veterans’ Affairs Committee for their hard work in moving this bill forward, and we look forward to sending it to the president’s desk for his signature.”

NOTE: The House unanimously passed the Clay Hunt SAV Act on January 12, 2015.  In December 2014, Speaker Boehner met with Clay Hunt’s parents, thanking them for their hard work on this important legislation.  

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Who benefits from President Obama’s ‘middle-class economics’?

2015/02/03

Chances are, not you.

As a report from the Brookings Institution and Urban Institute’s joint Tax Policy Center shows, even liberals in Washington, DC, don’t believe President Obama’s tax policies actually benefit the middle class:

  • “While Obama defends his budget as an exercise in ‘middle-class economics,’ a preliminary analysis by the… Tax Policy Center found otherwise.” NPR reports.
  • “President Barack Obama calls his tax and spending plan ‘middle-class economics,’ but most middle-income families would see little change in their tax bills.”  (Associated Press)
  • “In fact, households in the middle 60% … would see a 0% to 0.1% increase in their after-tax income, on average,” TIME notes.
  • “‘Many people in the middle class will get no benefit from the president's proposal,’ said Roberton Williams, a fellow at the Tax Policy Center.” (CNNMoney)
  • Obama’s plan doesn’t actually help the average middle-class taxpayer.” (The Washington Post)

While President Obama’s budget is about more spending, more tax hikes, and more of the failed policies of the past, Republicans are looking to the future. Our balanced budget plan will support greater economic growth, job creation, and expand opportunity so that every American has the opportunity to achieve the American Dream.   

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Boehner Urges Senate to Reject President's Overreach on Immigration

2015/02/03

WASHINGTON, DC – At his weekly press conference with Republican leaders today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) discussed today’s procedural vote in the Senate on legislation stopping the president’s unilateral action on immigration.  Boehner noted that the House has already passed the bill, and said the fight now “must be won in the United States Senate.”  Boehner also highlighted three bills on the House floor this week that continue Republicans’ focus on helping families and small businesses.  Following are Boehner’s remarks:  

“This week, the House will take up three more jobs bills to help our economy.  At the same time, the president provided the American people a good laugh yesterday – he sent up his budget.  More taxes, more spending, bigger government here in Washington – the same old policies that have failed for the last six years.  It’s not what the American people want. 

“Tonight, the Senate’s going to vote on our plan to fund the Department of Homeland Security and block the president’s unilateral actions on immigration.  There’s a whole host of Democrats who issued press releases criticizing the president’s executive overreach – McCaskill, Donnelly, others.  Was it all talk?

“We won this fight in the House, now the fight must be won in the United States Senate.  It’s time for Senator Cruz, Senator Sessions, Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats to stand with the American people and to block the president’s actions.”

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The Devil’s Brigade

2015/02/02

They were just ordinary men from the United States and Canada – lumberjacks, miners, hunters – whose skills evolved to become one of the deadliest commando units trained in unconventional tactics, hand-to-hand combat, and mountain warfare during World War II.  They came to form the First Special Service Force (FSSF) – an elite Special Forces unit of 1,800 men specializing in combat under hazardous conditions. 

Their skills and fearlessness enabled them to overcome enemy positions that no other allied units had yet been able to secure.  After landing in Italy in the winter of 1943, the FSSF was tasked with a seemingly impossible mission to take two mountain peaks in the dead of night that served as an anchor of the enemy defense line.  The attack was a success, and despite suffering a number of causalities and injuries, the FSSF was able to overtake the German line.  

The FSSF went on to launch aggressive raids on the beachhead at Anzio.  It was here that the FSSF became better known as the “Devil’s Brigade” – a nickname stemming from the commandos smearing boot polish on their faces and attacking the enemy at night. 

Their boldness was revered by allies and foes alike and was best represented by the cards the FSSF left after every successful raid depicting their unit patch and the phrase “Das dicke ende kommt noch,” or “The worst is yet to come.”  One German officer wrote of the Devil’s Brigade’s valor, “We never know where they're going to hit or strike next.”

The Devil’s Brigade was one of the first allied units to liberate Rome and went on to assist in the liberation of France.  The unit never failed a mission, captured thousands of prisoners, and won five United States campaign stars and eight Canadian battle honors.  As one Devil’s Brigade veteran described his service, “We went through a hell of a lot.”

The service and dedication of the men in the FSSF created the foundation for the modern-day Special Forces units in the U.S. and Canada.   Honoring their commitment to the cause of freedom, and their invaluable contribution to the United States and Canada, the First Special Service Force will receive a Congressional Gold Medal.  The ceremony will take place Tuesday, February 3rd at 3:00 p.m. in Emancipation Hall and will be live-streamed at www.speaker.gov/live.  

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Speaker Boehner Statement on President Obama’s Budget

2015/02/02

Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement on President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Proposal:

“Today President Obama laid out a plan for more taxes, more spending, and more of the Washington gridlock that has failed middle-class families. It may be Groundhog Day, but the American people can’t afford a repeat of the same old top-down policies of the past.  

“Like the president’s previous budgets, this plan never balances – ever. It contains no solutions to address the drivers of our debt, and no plan to fix our entire tax code to help foster growth and create jobs. Worse yet, President Obama would impose new taxes and more spending without a responsible plan to honestly address the big challenges facing our country.

“While the president budget’s is about the past, our budget will be about the future. We will address our government’s spending problem and protect our national security. Our budget will balance, and it will help promote job creation and higher wages, not more government bureaucracy.”   

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Weekly Address: A Plan for Middle-Class Jobs & Savings

2015/02/01

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With the new Congress advancing real solutions to help middle-class families, Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) uses the Weekly Republican Address to urge President Obama to back her plan to protect college savings and reconsider his threat to veto common-sense jobs bills, including the Keystone XL pipeline.    Watch the address here and below, check out news coverage that may interest you:

CBS News: “GOP: Expand 529 tax-deductible college savings accounts” “Just days after bipartisan opposition forced President Obama to drop a proposal to hike taxes on 529 college savings accounts, Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kansas, called on Congress to expand those accounts in the weekly Republican address Saturday.”

Topeka Capital Journal:Jenkins touches on pipeline, 529s in GOP address” “U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins of Kansas said in a Republican address Saturday that President Barack Obama ought to reconsider possible veto of a Keystone XL pipeline bill and work to upgrade college savings opportunities.  Jenkins, who serves Topeka and the 2nd District in Congress, said in the ‘Weekly Republican Address’ continued development of the pipeline stretching from Canada into the United States would create 42,000 jobs.”

Newsmax: “Rep. Lynn Jenkins Calls on Obama to Protect College Savings Accounts” “Rep. Lynn Jenkins, in Saturday's GOP address, called on the president to protect college savings accounts, not go through with a now-abandoned plan to raise taxes on them. … Jenkins also called on Obama to reconsider his threats to veto the House's common-sense jobs bills.  ‘We’ve voted to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which would create 42,000 American jobs,’ she said.”

Associated Press: “Republicans insisted they are the champions of the middle class.  ‘Expanding opportunity, protecting middle-class savings, holding government accountable: These are your priorities, which means they are Republicans’ priorities,’ said Kansas Rep. Lynn Jenkins said in the GOP response to the president’s radio address.”

Washington Times: “Meanwhile, Republicans are countering Mr. Obama’s message of so-called ‘middle-class economics’ by pushing their own measures aimed at helping working families. House GOP leaders have proposed a plan to expand the 529 college savings accounts, which allow families to save for college and withdraw the money tax-free. … Ms. Jenkins also urged the president to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline.  A measure approving the project cleared the Senate this week but Mr. Obama has vowed to veto it.”

ABC News Radio: “In this week's Republican Address, Rep. Lynn Jenkins of Kansas spoke about ways to lower costs and expand opportunity for middle-class families, including planning to protect college savings. … Jenkins also spoke of President Obama’s threat to veto the bill that approved the construction the Keystone XL pipeline, which was approved by the Senate on Thursday.”

The Hill: “Jenkins also pushed the president to ‘reconsider threats to veto our common-sense jobs bills,’ like the Keystone XL pipeline authorization. The Senate passed that bill this week, sending it to the president’s desk to set up a probable veto.”

Washington Examiner: "Lynn Jenkins calls for expansion of college savings plans"

Breitbart: “Jenkins Touts Expanding 529s In GOP Weekly Address”

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PHOTOS from January: Just Getting Started

2015/01/31

The beginning of a new Congress always brings with it some big moments, like the swearing-in of new members and the time-honored tradition of the State of the Union.  It also sparks a renewed determination to focus on the people’s priorities, which is why the House of Representatives has already passed 27 different pieces of common-sense legislation in 13 legislative days.  There is a lot more work to be done in the days ahead, but the pace is set, and the new Republican Congress is just getting started.

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Thanks for coming #InsideSOTU with us!

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Jan 20, 2015 at 7:48pm PST

 

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Every child in America deserves access to a decent education & #SchoolChoice is an answer to help make that happen.

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Jan 31, 2015 at 6:19am PST

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Weekly Republican Address: Solutions to Protect College Savings & Expand Opportunity

2015/01/30

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WASHINGTON, DC – In this week’s Republican address, Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) highlights Republicans’ focus on lowering costs and expanding opportunity for middle-class families.  Specifically, she calls on President Obama back her plan to protect college savings and reconsider this threat to veto common-sense jobs bills. 

Key quote:  “In the new Congress, Republicans are working to lower costs for middle-class families and empower folks with bottom up solutions that help prepare you for the future.”

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

Remarks of House Republican Conference Vice Chair Lynn Jenkins of Kansas Weekly Republican Address House Agriculture Committee Hearing Room January 31, 2015

Good morning.  I’m Lynn Jenkins, Congresswoman from the Second District of Kansas and Vice-Chair of the House Republican Conference.

This is the time of year when high school seniors are putting the final touches on their college applications.  That means it’s also the time when families are preparing to start paying for that education – whether it’s a 4-year college, community college, or a technical school.

As a parent with two children in college, I know this can be one of the most rewarding, and at the same time challenging, aspects of being a parent – particularly at a time when costs are going up while wages stay about the same.  All told, Americans now owe more than $1 trillion in student loan debt.

And so in the new Congress, Republicans are working to lower costs for middle-class families and empower folks with bottom-up solutions that help prepare you for the future.

That’s why, this week, I introduced a bipartisan plan to expand popular 529 college savings accounts.

As you know, these 529 plans were created to help middle-class families save and plan for college.  Many parents open them not long after their children are born.  And ever since Congress allowed folks to withdraw from these accounts tax-free for college expenses, 1 million account holders have turned into 12 million.

Unfortunately, instead of expanding 529s, the president recently proposed raising taxes on college savings.  If implemented his scheme would have turned back the clock on middle-class families, and taken money from your savings to pay for more government.  This would have discouraged families from using 529s, meaning less savings, more debt, and more government dependence.

It was a terribly misguided idea, but it took a public outcry for the president to realize it.  Just days after proposing this tax on 529s, he agreed to drop it from his budget.

But with hardworking families struggling, abandoning his proposal is not enough.

First, the president should put his full weight behind our plan to expand and strengthen 529 accounts.  We can remove common paperwork problems, empower students to use the money to pay for computers, and make it easier for families to send their kids to the college of their choice.  Because we should be rewarding people who work hard and play by the rules – not punishing them.

Second, the president should reconsider his threats to veto our common-sense jobs bills.  We’ve voted to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which would create 42,000 American jobs.  We’re ready to restore the 40-hour workweek so we can get people working full-time again. And we think bureaucrats should have to regulate with more transparency and less cost.  That’s just common sense.

Expanding opportunity, protecting middle-class savings, holding government accountable: these are your priorities, which means they are Republicans’ priorities.

As we saw this week, when the people speak out, government has to listen.  Now we need President Obama to keep listening.  It’s the best thing he can do for our families and our future.

Thank you for listening, and enjoy the Super Bowl.

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The Civil Right of the 21st Century

2015/01/30

For more than 30 years, Speaker Boehner has been working to ensure that every child in America has access to a decent education.  In fact, on Wednesday, before hundreds of elementary and middle school students at a National School Choice Week rally, he proclaimed that

“Education ought to be the civil right of the 21st century."

As the second oldest of 12 children — all of whom attended Catholic schools because of their parents’ sacrifice —  school choice is personal for Speaker Boehner.

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The simple fact is school choice is not just an alternative.  It is an answer to improving our children’s education.  But educational opportunity shouldn’t end with a high school diploma.  That’s why Speaker Boehner, the former chair of the Education & the Workforce Committee, called on the president this week to drop his tax assault on middle class families saving for college, and instead expand tax benefits for the more than 12 million Americans with 529 savings plans.  

"Education is the great equalizer in America,” says Speaker Boehner.  And these common-sense ideas are just some of the practical components of the Speaker's Five Points roadmap for resetting America’s economic foundation.

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Rep. Lynn Jenkins to Deliver the Weekly Republican Address

2015/01/30

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has selected Republican Conference Vice Chair Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) to deliver the Weekly Republican Address on Saturday, January 31.  Jenkins will discuss common-sense solutions to lower costs and expand opportunity for middle-class families, including a plan she introduced this week to protect college savings.

"As a former State Treasurer and a mother of two college kids, I know how critical saving for higher education can be, and how important 529s have become for middle-class families,” Rep. Jenkins said. “If the president is serious about helping middle-class families afford higher education then he should work with Congress and publicly support my bipartisan legislation to empower hardworking families by expanding and strengthening 529 college savings plans, and keeping them tax-free.  America’s new Congress is committed to making your priorities our priorities.”

Learn more about Rep. Jenkins, now in her fourth term representing the Second District of Kansas, by visiting her official website or by following her on Facebook and Twitter

The Weekly Republican Address will be available nationwide starting Saturday, January 31, 2015, at 6:00 am ET on Speaker.gov and GOP.gov.

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Four Facts to Remember About the President’s Sequester

2015/01/29

Tonight President Obama will announce that his budget will break his sequester’s caps with tax hikes and new spending.  It’s just the administration’s latest attempt to move the goal posts on the automatic cuts the president proposed in 2011, and avoid dealing with our government’s spending problem in a serious way.  Here are a few key points to remember:

  1. The sequester was President Obama’s idea.

    As has been well-documented by Bob Woodward’s book The Price of Politics, the White House first proposed the ‘sequester’ – a plan they devised because the president didn’t want to deal with another debt limit debate before his re-election campaign in 2012.

  2. Replacing the sequester with tax hikes is not the deal President Obama made. 

    “In fact, the final deal reached between Vice President Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in 2011 included an agreement that there would be no tax increases in the sequester in exchange for what the president was insisting on: an agreement that the nation’s debt ceiling would be increased for 18 months, so Obama would not have to go through another such negotiation in 2012, when he was running for reelection. So when the president asks that a substitute for the sequester include not just spending cuts but also new revenue, he is moving the goal posts.” (Bob Woodward, Washington Post)

  3. Republicans have twice passed legislation to replace the president’s sequester with common-sense cuts and reforms.  The Democrat-controlled Senate never responded with a plan of its own, and the president chose not to work with Republicans at the time.

    The House passed the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act (HR. 5652) in May 2012. The bill replaces the president’s sequester with common-sense reforms that would reduce spending, and preserve and strengthen our safety net for future generations.

    The House also passed the Spending Reduction Act (H.R. 6684) in December 2012. Just like H.R. 5652, this bill doesn’t raise taxes on families – it has common-sense reforms that stop waste, fraud, and abuse in government programs, eliminate slush funds, and more.

  4. Democrats often howled in protest when Republicans proposed to spend less than the caps.

    “Democrats have maintained that Republicans are reneging on the budget agreement by announcing that they will cut total spending on the bills to fund government agencies by $19 billion. ‘Until the House of Representatives indicates that it will abide by last summer’s agreement, the president will not be able to sign any appropriations bills,’ [Acting White House Budget Office Director Jeffrey Zients said.] (Bloomberg)

    "’The Budget Control Act was a compromise that forced both Democrats and Republicans to accept things they didn't like - this is the very nature of compromise,’ said Representative Chris Van Hollen, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee who helped negotiate the budget deal last summer. ‘If House Republicans turn around and violate our agreement, it makes the process much more difficult,’ he said.”(Huffington Post)

    "I'm really disappointed that they're considering a budget - violating the budget agreement that is now the law of this country.” [Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said.] (Reuters)

Republicans believe there are smarter ways to cut spending than the sequester and have passed legislation to replace it multiple times, only to see the president continue to demand tax hikes. Until he gets serious about solving our long-term spending problem it’s hard to take him seriously.

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Speaker Boehner Applauds Senate Passage of the Keystone Energy Jobs Bill

2015/01/29

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement applauding Senate passage of the bipartisan Keystone energy jobs bill:

“I'd like to congratulate Leader McConnell for passing this bill in an open, inclusive and bipartisan way.  After dropping his scheme to tax middle-class college savings, we hope President Obama will now drop his threat to veto this common-sense bill that would strengthen our energy security and create thousands and thousands of new, good-paying American jobs.”

NOTE: President Obama’s own State Department has estimated that building the Keystone XL pipeline would create at least 42,000 jobs.  Speaker Boehner discussed a number of common-sense jobs bills Republicans have passed early this Congress - including the Keystone pipeline - during his interview yesterday on Fox News’ Special Report.  

 

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A Plan to Protect & Expand College Savings

2015/01/29

While the White House still thinks taxing college savings is a good idea, Republicans are committed to expanding 529 plans and rewarding responsibility.

As The Wall Street Journal notes, “attention now shifts to legislation aiming to enhance the plans,” including the bipartisan proposal recently introduced by Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS).  Her plan will:

  • Modernize 529 plans by adding computers to the list of qualified expenses.
  • Allow funds to be re-deposited without taxes or penalties if a student withdraws early for medical reasons and obtains a refund from the school. 
  • Removes unnecessary paperwork burdens that date back to before withdrawals from 529 plans became tax-free.

These reforms – which the House will vote on next month – mean more incentives and peace of mind for middle-class families who work hard and play by the rules.  Learn more about the aptly-numbered H.R. 529 here.

“The idea we ought to tax college savings plans was bizarre, and I’m glad the president changed his mind,” Speaker Boehner said last night on Fox News’ Special Report.  “Frankly, he ought to come out and support the bill that was introduced yesterday that would expand college savings accounts for middle-class families.

At a time when Americans owe more than $1 trillion in student loan debt, President Obama and his party are obsessed with finding ways to raise taxes on hardworking Americans.  That top-down approach hasn’t worked, and won’t work.  Only Republicans are offering common-sense solutions to lower costs and boost wages for middle-class families.  

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Background on Invitation to Prime Minister Netanyahu

2015/01/29

Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepted Speaker Boehner’s invitation to address a joint meeting of Congress.  In the days since, there have been questions regarding the nature and origin of the Speaker’s invitation.

A handful of media reports have claimed that the Israelis “orchestrated” the invitation.  This is flat-out wrong.  As Speaker Boehner has said, the Congress is a separate and co-equal branch of government.  It was the Speaker’s right to invite the Prime Minister of Israel, and he did so for one reason and one reason only: so the Prime Minister could speak about one of the most important issues facing the Middle East and the world – the stakes regarding Iran. 

In the interests of transparency, here is relevant background information that the Office of the Speaker has provided to the media:

  • The process of inviting the Prime Minister was a coordinated effort between Speaker Boehner’s office and Senate Majority Leader McConnell’s  office.  Discussions began on the staff level late last year.
  • On January 8, Speaker Boehner called Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer to gauge the Prime Minister’s interest in an invitation – and we were informed that the Prime Minister was open in principle to an invitation.   The Speaker made it clear that it was his prerogative to inform the White House.  We then went about identifying potential dates for an address. 
  • On the afternoon of January 20, the day of the State of the Union, we informed Ambassador Dermer of our intent to issue the invitation and our intent to notify the administration of the invitation.  He accepted and acknowledged our intent to do so.
  • On the morning of January 21, after notifying the administration, the Speaker issued the invitation to the Prime Minister and announced it to the public.  “In this time of challenge,” Boehner said, “I am asking the Prime Minister to address Congress on the grave threats radical Islam and Iran pose to our security and way of life.”
  • The Prime Minister graciously accepted the invitation and asked to speak on March 3, when he will already be in Washington for the AIPAC conference.

The Speaker and his team enjoy a strong working relationship with the Prime Minister, Ambassador, and their team, and we will continue to work together in the interests of peace and security. 

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Boehner’s Interview on Fox News’ Special Report

2015/01/29

“The focus needs to be on the economy and jobs,” Speaker Boehner said tonight during an interview with Fox News’ Special Report that covered a number of topics, including common-sense jobs bills, the president’s unilateral action on immigration, and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s address to Congress. Watch the full interview on Fox News, and below, check out excerpts that may interest you:

Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com Jobs and the people’s priorities: “House Republicans have committed that the American people’s priorities are going to be our priorities.  While the economy seems to be going a little bit better, the average American family isn’t seeing much improvement in their daily lives.  Their prices are going up, and yet their salaries aren’t going up, and they’re being squeezed.  The focus needs to be on the economy and jobs.”

Jobs bills: “That’s why we’ve passed the Keystone pipeline bill that would create 42,000 new jobs. That’s why we passed the LNG … exporting bill, would create 45,000 jobs over the coming years.  That’s why we passed the Hire More Heroes Act to make sure more of our veterans get a chance at a good job.  And we’ve changed the 40-hour workweek in ObamaCare that’s been causing employers to cut employees’ hours.  All of these would help create more jobs, a better economy, and higher wages for the American people.” A plan to protect college savings: “The idea that we ought to tax college savings plans was bizarre, and I’m glad the president changed his mind.  Frankly, he ought to come out and support the bill that was introduced yesterday that would expand college savings accounts for middle-class families.” The president’s unilateral action on immigration:  “I said in December we were going to do everything to try to stop it.  That’s why when we passed the DHS appropriations bill a couple of weeks ago, we took the president’s ability to do what he did away from him.  That bill’s awaiting action over in the United States Senate.  …  The president said 22 times that he did not have the authority to do what he did.  I read all 22 of those statements on the House floor during this debate – 22 times over six years he said he didn’t have the authority to do it, yet he decided to do it anyway. … This isn’t about immigration. This is the president violating the Constitution, violating his oath of office, and frankly, not upholding the rule of law.” ObamaCare is hurting our economy: “We have 47 new members of Congress on the Republican side who have never had the chance to cast their vote to repeal ObamaCare.  ObamaCare is hurting our economy, it’s hurting the job prospects for millions of Americans, and it’s hurting our whole health care delivery system, while at the same time driving up costs for the average American.  It’s not good for our economy, and it’s not good for our country.” Opportunities for bipartisan progress: “I think getting trade promotion authority for the president that he’s asked for is certainly likely.  An authorization for the use of military force when it comes to dealing with ISIS and other terrorist threats around the world.  I think a long-term infrastructure bill is certainly possible.  And I think the issue of cybersecurity is another place where we can in fact work with the president.” Prime Minister Netanyahu’s address to Congress: “I believe that the Prime Minister of Israel has a strong voice.  He believes that the threat of the Iranians having a nuclear weapon is a very serious threat.  The Israeli prime minister can also talk with some expertise about the growing threat of radical Islam.  We’ve got a serious problem in the world, and the president just wants to act like it’s going to just disappear."

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Speaker Boehner Meets with Colombian Minister of Defense

2015/01/28

This afternoon, Speaker Boehner met with the Minister of Defense of Colombia, Juan Carlos Pinzon, in the U.S. Capitol.  They discussed a number of issues of mutual concern, including economic growth and national security.

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“Sure.” WH Says Tax Hike on Middle-Class College Savings Is Good Policy

2015/01/28

You can’t make this up. The White House believes “middle-class economics” means squeezing the very families it says it’s trying to help.  

Q: You call it a distraction, do you still think this is a good policy? There was so much backlash, particularly from middle-class Americans who said we really value these plans. So do you still behind that as a good policy?

WH: Sure. 

Republicans are listening to the American people, and will continue to push for better solutions to increase access to quality, affordable education.  Just this week, House Republican Conference Vice Chair Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) introduced bipartisan legislation to preserve and modernize the current tax-free treatment of 529s.  

In a statement yesterday evening, Speaker Boehner urged President Obama to support this common-sense legislation to “help give our children the best opportunities to succeed.” 

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TONIGHT: Speaker Boehner to Appear on Fox News’ Special Report

2015/01/28

Speaker Boehner sat down with Fox News’ Bret Baier earlier to discuss a number of priorities, including  creating jobs, approving the Keystone XL pipeline, and protecting the college savings of hardworking Americans.  The interview airs tonight at 6:00 p.m. ET. 

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Five Policies that Undercut the White House’s Pledge to “Put the Middle Class First”

2015/01/28

Appearing on Fox News Sunday this weekend, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough claimed that the president, in his recent State of the Union Address, offered “a plan to say, ‘Hey, let’s put the middle class first in this country.’”  But that so-called plan is entirely at odds with the president’s policies which, as Speaker Boehner pointed out in a 60 Minutes interview, are making things worse for middle-class families: driving down wages, threatening jobs, and putting the American Dream further out of reach.  Here are just a few examples:

  • Thwarting Efforts to Improve Education & Expand School Choice:  Delivering the Keynote address at a rally in support of National School Choice Week this morning, Speaker Boehner underscored the importance of ensuring that every child has access to quality schools that best fit their needs “because education is the great equalizer in America.”   The president and his administration have taken a much different tack, threatening to veto the Student Success Act (H.R. 5), legislation passed in the previous Congress to restore local control, support effective teachers, and empower parents.  The president also failed to call on Senate Democrats to pass bipartisan, House passed legislation (H.R. 10) expanding access to quality charter schools, preventing that measure from being enacted last year. 
  • Standing by a Health Care Law that Is Raising Costs & Hurting Wages:  A new Gallup survey finds that “healthcare costs and lack of money or low wages rank as the most important financial problems facing American families.”  The president’s health care law is at the center of both issues, driving up health premiums and cutting back hours, especially for part-time, low-income workers.  The House has passed legislation to protect American workers by restoring the traditional 40-hour work week, but the president has threatened to veto the measure.
  • Pressing for a Minimum Wage Hike That Puts Up to a Million Jobs at Risk:  In his State of the Union Address, President Obama renewed his call for a minimum wage hike that the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says would cost the economy up to 1,000,000 jobs, with a median estimate of 500,000 jobs lost. “It’s a bad idea,” Speaker Boehner said on 60 Minutes, “I’ve had every kind of rotten job you can imagine growing up and getting myself through school. And I wouldn’t have had a chance at half those jobs if the federal government had kept imposing higher minimum wage. You take the bottom rungs off the economic ladder.”
  • Blocking Energy Production to Drive Up Gas Prices:  After years of struggling with sky-high gas prices, middle-class families are seeing some relief at the pump, but that is no thanks to the administration’s policies.  The president has plainly stated his preference for higher gas prices, and done all he can to drive them up by blocking energy production on federal land and, most recently, renewing his ban on energy development – and the thousands of jobs it would create - in some of our most resource-rich offshore areas.  Republicans, on the other hand, have passed bill after bill after bill (and then some) to open new areas to energy production and cut back red tape to lower costs and enhance our energy security.
  • Refusing to Work with Congress on Americans’ Top Priorities: Jobs & the Economy: President Obama “set a record for most veto threats” in his State of the Union last week, adding to what the New York Times recently described as “a stark dissonance…between President Obama’s rhetoric of consensus and compromise and his confrontational actions.”   The president has already refused to work with Republicans on several measures that would help create jobs and increase wages for middle-class families.  He has threatened to veto a bill approving the Keystone pipeline and the 42,000 jobs that come with it, and has not offered his support for a House-passed bill that would end the de facto ban on liquefied natural gas [LNG] exports, helping to create an additional 45,000 jobs.  However, as Speaker Boehner has made clear, “veto threats and fantasyland proposals from the White House will not distract the people’s House from the people’s priorities.” 

“These just aren’t the wrong policies, they’re the wrong priorities,” Speaker Boehner said last week, “growing Washington’s bureaucracy here instead of helping to grow our economy and…helping to grow opportunities for middle-class families.”  House Republicans will continue following through on our commitment to advance solutions to help middle-class families, passing another energy and jobs bill this week.  If the president is serious about ‘putting the middle class first,’ he should reconsider his opposition to these measures and work with Republicans to get them signed into law.

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Natural Gas Exports to Advance Our Interests

2015/01/28

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement applauding House passage of the LNG Permitting Certainty & Transparency Act (H.R. 351), bipartisan legislation introduced by Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) that would expedite the approval of liquefied natural gas [LNG] exports:

“America’s vast energy resources are a critical tool in our arsenal that we can, and must, use to advance our economic and national security interests.  Exporting more of our natural gas would create an estimated 45,000 jobs in America, while reducing Europe’s dependence on Vladimir Putin’s hostile regime. In the face of Russia’s continued aggression, there is no excuse for the administration to continue its de facto ban on natural gas exports, and the president ought to get behind this bill to help our economy and support the cause of freedom across the globe.” 

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“You Can Change The Face Of Education”

2015/01/28

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) spoke this morning at a rally on Capitol Hill for National School Choice Week.  A former chairman of the House Education & the Workforce Committee, Boehner has been an advocate for school choice and the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program throughout his time in Congress.  Following are Boehner’s remarks, as prepared for delivery:

“Good morning, everyone.  Welcome to the nation's capital.  I hope the teachers don’t mind, but I have some homework for you all – it’s the good kind, I think.

“My story is pretty simple: I’m a regular guy with a big job.  I’ve got 11 brothers and sisters, grew up working at my dad’s bar.  And my parents sent all 12 of us to Catholic schools – I don’t know how they managed it, but I owe everything to that opportunity.

“When I got here in 1991, I wanted to help make sure every student had the same chance that I did.  Because education is the great equalizer in America – it can lift up kids who would slip through the cracks.

“But let me tell you, this has been a long struggle.  We haven’t always had reasons to hold rallies.  You see, the education establishment decided a long time ago that the answer to every problem was more money and more government control.  And no matter how much money they poured into that hole, things just got worse.

“So a few of us got together – including Anthony Williams, our mayor here in DC at the time.  We said ‘let’s try something different,’ and we were shouted down.  We said ‘let’s have parents make these decisions’ – we may as well have been talking about life on Mars.  That’s how alien the idea of school choice was – and still is – to the people in power.

“This struggle won’t be won by my generation, but it will be won by yours.  Through the Opportunity Scholarship Program, you’ve shown that students thrive when parents are empowered to pick the best schools.  You’ve shown how great charter schools are – and how we need more of them.   Because of you, we know that school choice can make anything possible.

“That knowledge is worth more than any power Washington has – and this is where your assignment comes in.  If you share YOUR story, you can change hearts and minds.   And if you can change hearts and minds, you can change the laws.  And if you can change the laws, you can change the face of education in this country.

“Education ought to be the civil right of the 21st century – and you have the power to make it happen.  Believe it.  I have faith in you, and frankly, I’m counting on all of you.   So good luck, God bless all of you, and God bless the United States of America.”

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WH Calls Tax Hike on College Savings A “Distraction”

2015/01/28

It’s official. Confronted with “widespread criticism” and “angry reprisals from parents, and from lawmakers of both parties” the administration relented and said it would scrap President Obama’s plan to tax 529 college savings plans that middle-class families use to send their kids to college. 

“It’s not often you see a proposal talked about in the State of the Union Address abandoned a week later, but that’s what has happened” reports Atlanta Journal Constitution

Did the President suddenly realize it’s a bad idea to raise taxes on middle-class families already struggling to get ahead? Did he listen to the families and the local financial planners and officials who oversee these savings accounts?

Of course not.  That’s because the White House didn’t want to drop the tax hike at all.  It had simply become an inconvenience.

A White House official called the proposed change a ‘distraction’ and said there are plenty of other ways to raise revenue as part of their budget. (CNBC)

Ultimately, regardless of the White House’s reasoning, we’re glad the President is withdrawing the 529 tax. It’s the right thing to do. But we’re also left to wonder what’s coming next. 

Because the truth is – as the Wall Street Journal notes today – that Democrats are going to have to try and propose new tax hikes on middle-class families. Their big spending agenda depends on it. So, what’s it going to be?

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No Tax Hikes on College Savings

2015/01/27

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement in response to reports that President Obama will withdraw his proposed tax on 529 college savings plans.  

“I’m glad President Obama has decided to listen to the American people and withdraw his tax hike on college savings.  This tax would have hurt middle-class families already struggling to get ahead.  I urge President Obama to support Rep. Lynn Jenkins’ bipartisan bill to expand, not tax 529 college savings plans.  This is also an opportunity for the president to  reconsider his threats to veto common-sense jobs bills, like the Keystone XL pipeline and restoring the 40-hour workweek.  Together, by listening to the people, we can get our economy moving, create jobs, and help give our children the best opportunities to succeed.”

BREAKING: Americans spoke out. Now, #middleclass families won't have college savings taxed. Let’s keep up the fight. http://t.co/6NfhCtsvDj

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) January 27, 2015

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Sex Trafficking is a Horrific Crime, Must Be Ended

2015/01/27

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) made the following statement after the House passed a series of bipartisan bills to combat the growing crime of sex trafficking:

"Sex trafficking is a horrific crime committed by cowardly monsters.  Its victims are among the most vulnerable in this country - children who have run away from home, are part of the child welfare system, or have been victims of abuse or assault growing up.  We must do everything we can to protect our innocent youth, ensure victims of these crimes have the support they need to rebuild their lives, and boost law enforcement resources to target criminals in the sex trafficking trade.  The House has advanced a number of common-sense, bipartisan bills to stop these horrific crimes, and I hope President Obama and the Senate will join us.”

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Contact Information

H-232 The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-0600
Fax 202-225-5117
www.speaker.gov

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.

The Speaker presides over the House, administering the oath of office to Members, calling the House to order, and preserving order and decorum within the Chamber and in the galleries. Additionally, he appoints the chairmen to preside over the Committee of the Whole, appoints special or select committees, appoints conference committees, has the power of recognition of Members to speak, and makes many important rulings and decisions in the House. The Speaker may vote, but usually does not, except in the case of a tie. The Speaker and the Majority Leader determine the legislative agenda for the House, and often confer with the President and the Senate.