Speaker of the House

John Boehner

Bucshon's Labor Day Tribute & Pledge to America’s Workers

2014/08/30

“My dad spent 35 years as a UMWA coal miner in my hometown of Kincaid, Illinois.  He was proud of the work he did every day and rightly so,” Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN) says in this week’s Republican address, which serves as a tribute to America’s workers and a pledge to keep doing all we can to bring jobs home and build a stronger economy. 

You can also watch & comment on Facebookread the transcriptlisten to the audio, and check out these highlights: 

The Hill: “GOP slams White House, Senate Dems on jobs” “Republicans used their Labor Day weekend address to blast the Obama administration and the Democratic-controlled Senate for dragging their feet on more than 40 jobs bills passed in the House. … Bucshon, a cardiothoracic surgeon, said that as a physician he took an oath to ‘do no harm,’ however, the administration’s policies ‘continue to harm our nation’s economy and families struggling to make ends meet, Republicans are offering solutions America’s workers can count on.’ … Bucshon cited his own childhood, boasting that his father spent 35 years working as a coal miner in his hometown in Illinois.”

Newsmax: “Rep. Larry Bucshon: Dems Must 'Put Aside Politics,' Fix Economy” “Obama administration economic policies ‘make no sense’ for the jobless and millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet, Indiana Republican Rep. Larry Bucshon said Saturday in a Labor Day tribute to U.S. workers. There are solutions, he said – including an array of House-passed measures to kickstart the economy.  But to make them a reality, President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats will have to ‘put aside politics, and do what Americans do every day, and that’s get to work,’ Bucshon said.” 

ABC News Radio: “GOP Weekly Address: Rep. Larry Bucshon on Bringing Jobs Back to the US” “With Labor Day on Monday, Bucshon spoke of how ‘Americas workers make our country go.’  He noted, however, that many of those workers are ‘hurting.’  Bucshon mentioned 40 ‘good jobs bills awaiting action,’ blame for which he pointed at the Democrat-held Senate.  Bucshon argues for lowering energy costs, fixing the tax code and restoring opportunities for all Americans.”

Evansville Courier & Press: “Bucshon Gives Weekly Address for GOP”  “House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) selected Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN) to deliver the Weekly Republican Address for August 30.  Rep. Bucshon marked the upcoming Labor Day Holiday with a tribute to America’s workers and an update on his efforts to address the challenges they're facing.  ‘Our solutions will address the sluggish job market and grow our economy over the long run,’ Bucshon said."

Associated Press: “In the Republican address, Rep. Larry Bucshon of Indiana says Republicans are focused on creating jobs, lowering costs and restoring opportunity.”

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Weekly Republican Address: Solutions to Bring Jobs Home For America's Workers

2014/08/29

WASHINGTON, DC – In this week’s Republican address, Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN) honors Labor Day with a tribute to America’s workers and an update on our efforts to address the challenges they're facing.  "Our solutions will address the sluggish job market and grow our economy over the long run," he says, noting that "more than 40 good jobs bills awaiting action in the Democratic-run United States Senate."

The full audio of the address is available here, and the video can be viewed starting tomorrow at 6:00 am ET on Speaker.gov and GOP.gov.

Remarks of Representative Larry Bucshon of Indiana Weekly Republican Address August 30, 2014

Hello, I’m Dr. Larry Bucshon, proudly serving Indiana’s Eighth Congressional District.

I’m honored to be speaking with you from the Heartland of America on this weekend when we tip our hat to the working man and woman. 

America’s workers make our country go, so our goal should be to make our economy work for them. 

But traveling around Indiana this week, going from job fairs to listening sessions to small businesses, it was easy to see how our workers are still hurting.

We’re seeing some jobs come back, but too many of our fellow Americans are stuck in part-time work or have stopped looking altogether.  And between wages staying flat – and costs on everything from food to health care going up – families are being squeezed at every turn.

 Here in Indiana, and in many states throughout the union, we rely on coal to power our homes and provide good-paying middle class jobs – like the one my family relied on when I was a kid.

 My dad spent 35 years as a UMWA coal miner in my hometown of Kincaid, Illinois. He was proud of the work he did everyday and rightly so.  The coal mine helped put food on our table and helped me pursue an education and realize the American Dream.

Unfortunately, the current administration is waging a war on this reliable, affordable source of energy and the countless jobs it supports.  This is one example of many where the policies coming from Washington, D.C. just don’t make sense. 

As a physician, I took an oath to “do no harm.”  While this Administration’s policies continue to harm our nation’s economy and families struggling to make ends meet, Republicans are offering solutions America’s workers can count on. Our solutions will address the sluggish job market and grow our economy over the long run. 

First, we need to get people back into steady, good-paying jobs.  One thing we’ve already done is fix our job training system to make it easier for workers to find the skills they need to get ahead – this was a bipartisan, common-sense compromise with our colleagues in the Senate.  We’ve also offered proposals to jumpstart small business investment and rein in the red tape factory that makes it harder for employers to hire and expand. 

All told, we have more than 40 good jobs bills awaiting action in the Democratic-run United States Senate.  

Lowering costs is another area that demands action.  Several of the bipartisan jobs bills we’re asking Senate Democrats to act on would help make energy less expensive for families and small businesses, like the manufacturers that help support the Hoosier economy.  And we need to implement real health care reform that lets patients choose the plans they want at a price they can afford.

And third, we need to restore real opportunities for all Americans.  That’s why we’ve sent the Senate solutions to make education more affordable and accessible for middle-class families.  And we’re ready to fix our tax code to make it simpler and fairer for everyone.

These three things – getting people back to work, lowering costs at home, and restoring opportunity – will continue to be our focus in the weeks ahead. 

We call them ‘American Solutions’ because they put the American people first.  Which is exactly what we’re asking of President Obama and Senate Democrats as we celebrate our nation’s workforce: put aside politics, and do what Americans do every day, and that’s get to work. 

Thanks for listening. God bless you and God bless the United States of America.

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The Departed Get a Pass from the President

2014/08/29

His own party controls the Senate, but that hasn’t stopped President Obama from complaining about Congress. He recently resorted to repeating lines from the movie The Departed, in which Mark Wahlberg’s character says, “I’m the guy who does his job. You must be the other guy.”

The president’s shtick, untethered from actual facts, was awarded three Pinocchios by The Washington Post’s fact-checker, which noted that House Republicans have passed dozens of jobs bills that Senate Democrats have blocked. In fact, the unprecedented obstruction orchestrated by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has been widely reported.

When the humanitarian crisis on our southern border demanded congressional action, a similar situation occurred. House Republicans passed a bill to give the Obama administration additional resources and the ability to speed up the process of safely returning unaccompanied children to their home countries. Senate Democrats didn’t bother; they left town for a month without passing anything.

So President Obama’s choice of words yesterday was a bit odd. Asked about the border crisis, he said:

“[Getting] more resources down at the border …. would have been helped along if Congress had voted for the supplemental that I asked for. They did not. That means that we've got to make some administrative choices and executive choices about, for example, getting more immigration judges down there.”

Let’s be clear: House Republicans passed a responsible bill; Senate Democrats did nothing. President Obama is the guy giving a pass to Senate Democrats who departed Washington without doing their job.

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Rep. Larry Bucshon to Deliver Weekly Republican Address on Labor Day Weekend

2014/08/29

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has selected Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN) to deliver the Weekly Republican Address for Saturday, August 30.  In the address, Rep. Bucshon will mark the upcoming Labor Day Holiday, celebrating the nation’s workforce and highlighting Republicans’ solutions to help create jobs and build a stronger economy.

“As the son of a coal miner and a nurse, I was able to pursue an education and realize the American dream,” Rep. Bucshon said. “House Republicans have put forth common-sense solutions that ensure every American has the same opportunity. I’m honored to deliver our message about the importance of these solutions this weekend as we celebrate our fellow Americans who work hard every single day.”

America’s workers are the best in the world, and we’re focused on doing all we can to bring jobs home for them,” Speaker Boehner said.  “The House has passed more than 40 jobs bills to help get people back to work, lower costs at home, and restore opportunity, and Larry Bucshon has been a vital part of that effort.  I’m glad he’s delivering our message to America’s workers on Labor Day weekend.”

About Rep. Larry Bucshon.  Rep. Larry Bucshon represents Indiana’s Eighth Congressional District, and was born and raised in Kincaid, Illinois.  Larry’s father was an underground coal miner and his mother was a nurse.  A graduate of the University of Illinois College of Medicine, Larry practiced cardiothoracic surgery for over 15 years, performing hundreds of heart surgeries.  He served as President of Ohio Valley HeartCare and Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Medical Director of the open heart recovery intensive care unit at St. Mary’s Hospital in Evansville, Indiana.  Larry served as an officer in the Navy Reserve for nearly a decade and practiced at the Milwaukee VA Hospital during his surgical residency training.  Today he serves as Chairman of the Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Technology and as a member of the Education & the Workforce and Transportation & Infrastructure committees.  He and his wife Kathryn reside in Warrick County, Indiana and have four children.  Learn more at bucshon.house.gov.

About the Weekly Republican Address.  The text and audio of the Weekly Republican Address will be released Friday afternoon and embargoed until Saturday, August 30 at 6:00 a.m. ET, when it will be available on Speaker.gov and GOP.gov to view and download. 

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A Press Conference Heard Round the World

2014/08/29

Many, if not most, people assumed it, but it was still alarming to hear the President of the United States actually say it.

We don't have a strategy yet,” President Obama conceded yesterday, referring to his approach – or lack of one, rather – to confronting and defeating the terrorist threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

As CNN’s Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr remarked, “[It’s] worth remembering that ISIS fighters, ISIS leadership will hear this statement that the U.S. right now has no strategy to deal with them.” And let’s not forget about the hundreds of American troops on the ground in Iraq. What should they think?

For nearly a year, Speaker Boehner has urged President Obama to “get engaged” and “lay out a plan for how we can reverse the momentum and spread of terrorism in Iraq,” Syria and the rest of the Middle East. But after all this time, President Obama has still got nothing.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has certainly taken note. Earlier this month, President Obama told The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman that Putin “‘could invade’ Ukraine at any time, and, if he does, ‘trying to find our way back to a cooperative functioning relationship with Russia during the remainder of my term will be much more difficult.’”

Columnist Charles Krauthammer was taken aback by the president’s statement then: “A Russian invasion would be a singular violation of the post–Cold War order, a humiliating demonstration of American helplessness and a shock to the Baltic republics, Poland, and other vulnerable U.S. allies. And Obama is concerned about his post-invasion relations with Putin?”

Yesterday, with the predicted invasion in full swing for the entire world to see, President Obama refused to call it what it is when asked point-blank. Russian military convoys in Ukraine, he said, are merely a “continuation of what's been taking place for months,” and “not really a shift.” Instead, he alleged, “the fact that Russia has taken these actions in violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Ukrainians has resulted … in a weakening of Russia[.]” This from the man who claimed he had al Qaeda on the run and the terrorists on their heels.

Are we really to believe that Russia is weaker now that it’s gobbling up a sovereign country? “That may not be apparent immediately,” President Obama admitted, no doubt to Putin’s amusement.

To counter Russian aggression, President Obama says he is attempting to “mobilize the international community to apply pressure on Russia.” But Putin is also applying pressure – by mobilizing tanks.

Today’s Washington Post editorial alludes to President Obama’s anemic response thus far and urges him to show he’s serious about holding America’s number one geopolitical foe accountable:

“What is evident is that Mr. Putin cares little for diplomatic ‘off-ramps,’ as the West calls the various face-saving solutions it has dangled since Mr. Putin first began his squeeze on Crimea, and to which Mr. Obama alluded yet again Thursday. … [G]iven the global repercussions of this struggle, the United States and its allies cannot afford to let Mr. Putin break the rules. It is time to hit Russia with the full brunt of financial sanctions, to supply Ukraine with the arms and intelligence it needs to defend its territorial integrity (which Russia itself once pledged to respect), to halt all military sales to Russia by Western nations — and to bolster the neglected North Atlantic Treaty Organization.”

For now, red lines go wholly unenforced and the Islamic State goes largely unchecked.

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#StuckInTheSenate: Solutions to Make Education More Affordable & Accessible

2014/08/29

This is the fifth post in our series exploring the jobs bills Senate Democrats are blocking.  Catch up on previous posts about protecting full-time jobs, veterans’ hiring, time flexibility, and the Keystone XL pipeline. You can also just watch this Vine

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Problem: With school back in session, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and his team have been highlighting the challenges students face gaining access to a quality, affordable education.  Did you know that, this past year, nearly a million kids wanted to attend a school of their choice but couldn’t?  Or that, in addition to the skyrocketing cost of college, the price tag for early childhood education has jumped by more than $1,000 over the last decade? 

Our Solutions: Last month, the House passed three bipartisan bills to address the cost of college: H.R. 3136, H.R. 4983, and H.R. 4984.  Also in that stack of jobs bills we’ve sent the Senate is H.R. 3393, a bill that would make it easier for families to utilize tax credits to make college more affordable.  And in May, the House passed – on an overwhelming bipartisan basis – H.R. 10, legislation to strengthen and expand access to the successful Charter School Program.  All of these bills harken back to something Speaker Boehner said at a charter school rally in the spring: “If we’re going to have a strong economy for our future, we’ve got to make sure that we find a way to educate more of America’s kids.” Senate Inaction: It is unclear” whether Senate Democrats will join our bipartisan majority for charter schools.  They have also failed to act on any legislation to make college more affordable.  And remember, all Senate Democrats have planned for September is “a slew of do-over votes” – no action on new ideas. Consequences: The less access young people have to a quality, affordable education, the harder it will be for them to get a good start in the real world.  One expert said, “We risk really having this lost generation of workers.  And what that means in terms of the economy's ability to innovate and compete, when you've kind of wasted the talents of some substantial portion of a generation, is really, it's alarming.”

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CBO Gives Debt-Denying Democrats a Dose of Reality

2014/08/28

When President Obama was sworn into office in January 2009, the national debt stood at $10.6 trillion, and Democrats controlled the Senate and the House. Free to do whatever they wanted, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) passed ObamaCare into law, as well as a massive “stimulus” package with nearly $1 trillion in new spending. The president happily signed them both. Debt exploded – and the public took notice. In 2010 and 2012, Americans elected a Republican majority in the House.

Campaigning for president in 2008, Barack Obama had pretended to care about government spending increasing the debt. “[T]o take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt …. That's irresponsible,” he said. “It's unpatriotic.” Chastened after the 2010 election, he returned to feigning concern about America’s finances. “If we keep on spending more than we take in, it’s going to cause serious damage to our economy,” he told a crowd in April 2011. He also said that “all this rising debt will cost us jobs and damage our economy.” All true, but his actions didn’t match his rhetoric. Each of the budgets he proposed would have increased spending to new heights and never balanced – ever. Not in 10 years, not in 20 years. Never.

Today, the national debt stands at $17.7 trillion, an increase of $7.1 trillion in the five and a half years of the Obama presidency. Over the past three years, House Republicans have worked to save taxpayer dollars and prevent the debt from growing even more, banning earmarks, winning enactment of significant spending cuts, and consistently offering budgets that address the true drivers of our country’s debt and preserve programs like Medicare and Medicaid for future retirees.

It’s a start, and it certainly wasn’t easy. Democrats like Harry Reid fought against it every step of the way.  Leader Pelosi once claimed – with a straight face – that “there's no more cuts to make.” By 2013, President Obama was telling anyone who’d listen that America doesn’t have a spending problem. These days, Democrats are all denial, all the time.

Yesterday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) provided a healthy dose of reality. Despite the fact that the federal government will collect a record amount of money from taxpayers this year, the CBO estimates the budget deficit will still top $500 billion. That’s a bigger shortfall than any of President George W. Bush’s deficits.

The CBO also warns that the national debt will continue to grow, “eventually increasing the risk of a fiscal crisis.” The other bad news is that our economy will grow by just 1.5 percent this year.

As USA Today recently editorialized, “the long-term budget outlook remains very scary.” It’s clear that there’s more work to do when it comes to reigning in spending and balancing the budget. There’s simply no denying it.

Perhaps this is why a strong majority – 83 percent – of registered voters believe the President and Congress should spend more time addressing the national debt, according to a recent survey by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. A Rasmussen poll found that 57 percent of likely voters “think thoughtful spending cuts should be considered in every federal program.”

House Republicans have made the American people’s priorities our priorities, so we’re going to continue to stand up for smarter, sustainable government. Earlier this year, we passed three pro-growth budget reform bills and a balanced budget that would stop spending money our country doesn’t have, root out waste, and begin to pay down our debt. Of course, Senate Democrats blocked these bills, and the White House denounced them as extreme – an ironic criticism coming from those who believe we can just keep running up our national credit card bill.

President Obama used to have a different word for that.

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#StuckInTheSenate: The Keystone Pipeline & Thousands of Jobs That Come With It

2014/08/28

NOTE: This is the fourth installment of our #StuckInTheSenate series highlighting House-passed solutions that would help lower costs, boost the economy, and create jobs if Senate Democrats would simply bring them to a vote.  Visit the Speaker’s blog for a look at the posts we’ve done on the Save American Workers Act, the Hire More Heroes Act, and the Working Families Flexibility Act.  

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Problem: The Keystone pipeline would create tens of thousands of jobs, pump nearly a million barrels of oil a day to U.S. refineries, and is backed by a vast majority of the American people – but President Obama isn’t listening to them.  Kowtowing to his most extreme – and well-heeled – political allies, President Obama has blocked the pipeline for nearly six years.  Even the State Department has conceded that the pipeline will have no significant environmental impact, but that didn’t stop the president from embarrassing himself with another delay back in April.  The president’s action garnered a heated rebuke from one labor leader who called the move “gutless” and “a low blow to the working men and women of this country.”  With a final decision delayed – once again – until after the election, House Republicans are taking action.  

Our Solution: On May 22, 2013, the House passed the Northern Route Approval Act (H.R. 3), legislation introduced by Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) that would green light the Keystone pipeline and eliminate the legal and regulatory barriers that could delay its construction for years.  As Speaker Boehner has said:

“Middle-class families and small businesses continue to struggle in this economy, and the president’s refusal to back this job-creating project is hurting our economy.  If President Obama wants to make this a ‘year of action’ he will stand up to the extreme Left in his own party, stand with the overwhelming majority of American people, and approve this critical project.”

Senate Inaction: H.R. 3 passed the House with the backing of 19 Democrats and has bipartisan support in the Democratic-led Senate.  Yet while several Democrats have joined Republicans in calling for a vote on the pipeline, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) bucked members of his own party last month by blocking a vote on the project, proving once again that even bipartisan bills don’t stand a chance in the do-nothing Senate.

Consequences: Gas prices have nearly doubled on the president’s watch and millions of Americans are still asking the question, “where are the jobs?”  Approving the Keystone pipeline would provide an immediate answer to tens of thousands of those families.  Instead, the president’s needless delays are forcing Canada to look to China for new energy markets, shipping what should be American jobs and energy security overseas.  The consequences of Democrats’ inaction were recently summed up in stark and sobering terms by Circle, Montana resident and local VFW commander Denny Hogan: “If there is no pipeline, there is no future.  End of conversation.”

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Speaker Boehner on CBO’s Forecast of Slow Growth

2014/08/27

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today again called on Senate Democrats to act on House-passed jobs bills in response to a Congressional Budget Office report showing that our economy will grow by just 1.5 percent this year, less than last year’s anemic 1.9 percent: “This CBO report says that our economy will actually grow less this year than it did in 2013.  The continued lack of strong, sustained growth is felt across our country, particularly by the millions of Americans stuck in part-time work.  While the House has passed more than 40 jobs bills to reinvigorate our economy, Senate Democrats have done nothing.  The president and his party are instead talking about ideas that would just send more jobs overseas.  Americans deserve better, and the House will continue to focus on solutions that help get people back to work, lower costs at home, and restore opportunity for all.  In the meantime, I again call on Senate Democrats to stop standing in the way of growth and work with us to get our economy moving again.”

NOTE: This week on Speaker.gov, we are highlighting the consequences of Senate Democrats’ inaction on House-passed jobs bills:

·         #StuckInTheSenate: Providing More Flexibility to Working Families

·         #StuckInTheSenate: A Bill to Boost Veterans’ Hiring

·         #StuckInTheSenate: A Jobs Bill to Boost Wages, Protect Full-Time Work

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The Emmy for Best Cover-Up Goes to...

2014/08/27

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If the Emmy Awards considered such things, President Obama’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS) would have easily taken the award for best cover-up. Every time IRS officials’ alibis and excuses collapse like a House of Cards, they concoct new ones, only to change their stories again a few weeks later. The wrongdoing uncovered, the House of Lies, the arrogance run amok – it all constitutes an epic Scandal in need of a True Detective.

The Obama administration’s Big Bang Theory of numerous hard drives conveniently Breaking Bad simply strains credulity. In the wake of officials’ refusals to tell the truth about their targeting of conservatives, the House of Representatives passed a resolution in May calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special counsel to investigate. Nearly four months later, he’s done absolutely nothing to ensure that justice is done.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration’s version of events continues to evolve:

Attorneys for the Justice Department surprised Judicial Watch, a right-leaning watchdog group, on Friday by saying that they have copies of every electronic message ever sent from Lerner, a former top IRS official who is a key figure in a targeting scandal involving conservative groups that sought tax-exempt status.

The IRS told Congress that thousands of Lerner’s emails sent prior to 2011 were hopelessly lost thanks to a hard drive crash that left the data unrecoverable. A back-up system, they said, had also been erased. Officials told Congress about a half dozen IRS officials in addition to Lerner, some affiliated with the targeting, had also lost emails due to computer crashes.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said Justice Department lawyers informed him that the federal government keeps a back-up copy of every email and record in the event of a government-wide catastrophe.

The back-up system includes the IRS emails, too. …

Judicial Watch is now seeking the release of the emails, which Justice Department lawyers say would be hard to find because of the significant size of the backup system.

And you thought Saul Goodman was shrewd.

So which is it? Do Lois Lerner’s emails still exist or not? It’s seems the government is working overtime to run out the clock and hide the truth:

In two elusive and nebulous sworn declarations [to federal Judge Emmet Sullivan], we can glean that Ms. Lerner had two Blackberries. One was issued to her on November 12, 2009. According to a sworn declaration, this is the Blackberry that contained all the emails (both sent and received) that would have been in her “Outlook” and drafts that never were sent from her Blackberry during the relevant time.

With incredible disregard for the law and the Congressional inquiry, the IRS admits that this Blackberry “was removed or wiped clean of any sensitive or proprietary information and removed as scrap for disposal in June 2012.” This is a year after her hard drive “crash” and months after the Congressional inquiry began.

This should be a serious investigation, but in a Shameless move, President Obama and Attorney General Holder are treating it like nothing more than a Game of Thrones – a damning indication that there’s a lot more than “a smidgeon of corruption” at play.

 

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#StuckInTheSenate: Providing More Flexibility to Support Working Families

2014/08/27

NOTE: This is the third in a series of posts highlighting the commonsense, House-passed jobs measures stalled in the Democratic-led Senate.  The first post on the Save American Workers Act is available here and the second post on the Hire More Heroes Act is available here.  Subsequent posts will be available on the Speaker’s blog

Problem: For nearly 30 years, government employees have had the option of receiving either extra pay or extra time off – known as “comp time” – for the overtime hours they’ve worked.  Thanks to an outdated federal law prohibiting comp time for private-sector workers, millions of families are being denied the same flexibility.  “Overtime rules hurt women by reducing flexibility with their employer,” economist Diana Furchtgott-Roth writes in Real Clear Markets, “many women with children, particularly young mothers who cannot afford childcare, would prefer to have flexibility in their schedule rather than extra overtime pay.” 

Our Solution: On May 8, 2013, the House passed the Working Families Flexibility Act (H.R. 1406), legislation introduced by Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) that removes the legal barrier preventing private-sector employers from offering comp time, while maintaining the same protections to ensure workers continue receiving overtime pay if they choose to do so.  Speaker Boehner highlighted the benefits of the bill in a video last year:

“For decades, government employees who work overtime have been able to choose between getting paid in cash or taking time off later.  Republicans want to make sure that ALL workers have that choice. … If you work a few extra hours one day and prefer to take time off on another, you can.  That’s the time you can spend helping out your parents, taking the kids to a ballgame, or whatever you see fit.  Or if you want, you can just take the cash.  Either way, YOU get to make the choice. Not your boss. And not Washington.” (Watch the full video here.) 

Senate Inaction:  “An animated President Obama cast the need for flexible workplace policies” back in June, The Washington Post reported at that time, but none of that ‘animation’ has translated into action.  Despite his rhetoric, President Obama has threatened to veto H.R. 1406 and his party’s leaders in the Senate refuse to bring it to a vote. 

Consequences: Labor force participation remains near 30-year lows in the Obama economy and misguided policies, like prohibiting comp time for hourly wage earners, only discourage more Americans from looking for work.  Republicans have pressed Senate Democrats to take action on behalf of the hardworking families they represent (see: here and here), and will continue to do so in the weeks and months ahead.

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“Struggling,” “Disengaged,” “Tentative”: Obama Admin Taking Heat for Lacking Iraq Strategy

2014/08/26

The Obama administration is drawing another round of criticism for its failure to articulate a strategy for countering the spread of terrorism in Iraq and across the region – a strategy Speaker Boehner has been calling for since January.  Here are just a few examples:

  • “The World Senses that This President Is Too Disengaged” “The apparent struggle to neatly encapsulate the President’s strategy is not lost on his critics.  ‘I do think the administration is showing some signs of a little bit of fatigue,’ Brookings Institution analyst Michael O’Hanlon said in a recent interview with CNN.  ‘It’s time for a little more ambition frankly because the world senses that this President is too disengaged,’ O’Hanlon added.” (CNN)
  • “The Obama Administration Has Yet to Articulate a Clear Course of Action” “Yet for all the vivid rhetoric in recent days, the Obama administration has yet to articulate a clear course of action to dismantle the radical group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, and is struggling to lay out a precise vision to respond to the new threats in chaotic areas of Iraq and Syria where ISIL has thrived in recent months.  The lack of clarity in the U.S. approach to the region has underscored claims by critics — including voices generally friendly to the White House — questioning whether Obama’s foreign policy message is coherent enough to win support across the globe.” (Politico)
  • “Further Indictment of this Administration’s Tentative Approach to a Violent & Dangerous World” “Nearly six years into the presidency of Barack Obama, it remains impossible to concisely explain the administration’s foreign policy. … Our previous experience in Iraq taught us that any commitment of U.S. forces must be matched by a decisive, defined plan for what we hope to achieve and how we intend to achieve it. However, President Obama’s inability to provide such a framework is deeply troubling, and serves as a further indictment of this administration’s tentative approach to a violent and dangerous world. … We cannot simply abdicate our responsibility for the future of Iraq with so dangerous a movement on the march.  Yet, in spite of that evidence, the president persists in trying to thread the needle on foreign policy.” (Daily Press)
  • “Obama Should Clearly Explain to the Public the Threat ISIS Poses & What Needs to Be Done” “More dangerous than al-Qaida.  If that is really true about the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – and Pentagon leaders say it is – then President Barack Obama and his national security team must put together a far more comprehensive strategy to defeat it. And Obama should clearly explain to the public the threat ISIS poses and what needs to be done. … As commander in chief, it’s Obama’s job to convince the public.” (Sacramento Bee)

The Obama administration grossly underestimated the threat posed by terrorists in Iraq and now it is more concerned with defending its foreign policy (or lack thereof) than defining it.  With our national security and that of our allies at stake, President Obama owes the American people a clear and comprehensive plan to reverse the spread of terrorism and ensure our long-term interests in the region.  As Speaker Boehner has made clear, “the president needs a long-term strategy – one that defines success as completing our mission, not keeping political promises.”

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#StuckInTheSenate: A Bill to Boost Veterans’ Hiring

2014/08/26

This post is the second in a series that provides a deeper look into the more than 40 jobs bills Senate Democrats are blocking.  Read the first post, on the Save American Workers Act, here.

Problem: In addition to the problems plaguing the VA, another persistent challenge our veterans face is finding a job in this tough economy.   President Obama addresses the American Legion today at a time when the unemployment rate among post-9/11 veterans has jumped to 9.2 percent, three percentage points higher than the national rate.  That’s unacceptable as is, but with more servicemembers coming home from Afghanistan, “joblessness among this group is set to worsen.” 

Our Solution: On March 11, 2014, the House passed the Hire More Heroes Act (H.R. 3474), a bill that makes it easier to hire veterans by exempting those who already have health insurance from being counted as full-time employees under the president’s health care law.  If employers can hire veterans without worrying about triggering ObamaCare penalties, this will free them up to, in effect, hire more heroes.  It’s a straightforward fix, and after the bill passed the House by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 406-1, Rep. Davis said:

“We know offering health care is costly for small businesses and the employer mandate in Obamacare has forced many to delay hiring, cut hours and in some cases reduce their payroll at a time when our economy is struggling to recover. So, it only makes sense to exempt veterans receiving health care through the VA from Obamacare’s employer mandate since they are clearly covered elsewhere and do not need employer-provided insurance.” (Full release here.)

Senate Inaction: Instead of following the House in acting quickly, Senate Democrats attached unrelated legislation to the Hire More Heroes Act and now it is stuck in that chamber.  There is no indication of when the Senate will act.

Consequences: Senate Democrats’ failure to act has needlessly delayed a solution that would help boost the hiring of veterans and encourage small businesses to expand without being penalized.  Republicans have highlighted this bill in our weekly address, and we’ll continue to press Washington Democrats to do the right thing for our veterans.

To learn more about this bill, read the full text, and see how your representative voted, visit speaker.gov/jobs

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The Monkey in the Room

2014/08/26

As shown in the pictures below, the monkey is the second most photographed subject in H-232, aside from Speaker Boehner himself.  It all started in the fall of 2011, when Speaker Boehner joked in an interview that some days he felt like a windup toy because his jam-packed scheduled kept him so busy.  So, as a light-hearted token of appreciation (and a less-than-subtle reminder to not use that metaphor again), Speaker Boehner’s staff brought the monkey to the U.S. Capitol.

The Speaker got the joke, and as seen in the video above, the monkey has been eavesdropping and photobombing from the comfort and convenience of his home on the Speaker’s coffee table ever since.

Throwback to Speaker Boehner’s 62nd birthday, when the monkey first moved in:

The monkey can be spotted in at least 29 photos found on Speaker Boehner’s Flickr page.  A few of our favorites are shown here:

NOTE: Check out the full photo album of Monkey Sightings HERE.

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The People Behind "The People’s Tree"

2014/08/25

These may be the dog days of summer, but somewhere along the Paul Bunyan Trail in Minnesota, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

The North Star State’s Chippewa National Forest will provide the 65-foot tree that will stand on the West Front Lawn of the U.S. Capitol during the Christmas season.  The annual tree lighting, held in early December, is the product of much planning and hard work on the part of many across the country.  Let’s meet the people behind "The People’s Tree":

The Architect of the Capitol

The tradition of the Capitol Christmas Tree dates back half a century, to when House Speaker John W. McCormack asked for a live Christmas tree to be placed on the Capitol lawn.  After the tree fell victim to the elements, the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) took the reins.  Since 1970, the architect has asked the U.S. Forest Service to provide a tree from different national forests across America.  This is the second year the Chippewa National Forest has had the honor, the last time being 1992. 

The U.S. Forest Service 

The men and women of the Forest Service plan to select a 65-70 foot spruce or balsam fir.  In addition, they will pick several smaller trees that will be placed throughout the inside of the Capitol. 

The Transporters and Installers

Transporting the tree to the Capitol is a tradition in and of itself.  This year, the tree's journey will begin October 29 with the official cutting, then make its first stop at Bemidji State University where the tree will be wrapped and receive its final preparations for the journey to Washington D.C.  Once the tree has made countless stops at schools, hospitals, state capitols, city halls, military bases, and more, AOC staff will secure the tree to the ground and the decorating will begin. 

Minnesotans

The Forest Service is recruiting artists and volunteers from around the state to contribute the more than 10,000 handmade ornaments that will adorn the tree.  “We have already received commitments from groups around the state to participate, tallying up to 8,000 ornaments promised already,” said Ornament Chair Lynn Dee Stangel in a release.  Ornament contests are also sprouting up at county fairs across Minnesota.

The Tree Lighter

Once the tree is trimmed, members of the Capitol community and the public gather in the shadow of the Capitol Dome to light the lights.  Perhaps the most important guest will be the young Minnesotan who joins Speaker Boehner to flip the switch for all to see.  Here's Johnny of Sonora, California, lighting the tree in 2011, and Giovanni, of Colville, Washington, doing the honors  in 2013.

You

You’re invited to attend the tree-lighting ceremony and visit the tree, which will be lit nightly from dusk until 11 p.m. throughout the holiday season.  For now, stay tuned to Speaker.gov for updates.

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#StuckInTheSenate: A Jobs Bill to Boost Wages, Protect Full-Time Work

2014/08/25

This post kicks off a series that aims to give you a deeper look into the jobs bills Senate Democrats are blocking.  We often talk about these more than 40 bills in the aggregate, but behind each one is a story of people hurt by inaction. Problem: Right now, there are 7.5 million workers stuck in part-time jobs.  It’s a big reason why economists say “the job market is weaker than you think.”  Ask employers what’s causing this – and the Federal Reserve did – and one common answer is the president’s health care law.  Not only does ObamaCare raise the costs of doing business in general, it specifically raises the cost of hiring by redefining full-time employment as 30 hours per week.  Everywhere from schools to sheriff’s officeseven Wrigley Field – workers have had their hours cut because of these rules.  

Our Solution: On April 3, 2014, the House passed the Save American Workers Act (H.R. 2575), a bill introduced by Rep. Todd Young (R-IN) to restore the traditional 40-hour definition of full-time employment, thereby removing this barrier to more hours and better pay.  After the measure passed with the support of 18 House Democrats, Speaker Boehner said:

“The House took an important step to help increase wages and protect middle-class families today, but as I’ve said many times, Republicans will continue working to scrap this law and pave the way for patient-centered solutions focused on lowering health care costs and protecting jobs.” (Full release here.)

Senate Inaction: The Senate has failed to act on the bill, which the president has threatened to veto.  Some Democrats in the Senate suggested “that they are open to discussing ways to tweak the health-care law’s work rules,” but nothing has come of that.  Even more disappointing, all Senate Democrats have planned for September is “a slew of do-over votes on … campaign priorities.” 

Consequences: Senate Democrats’ failure to solve a problem of their own making – one they admit exists – hurts middle-class workers and hamstrings the small businesses at the heart of our economy.  Republicans, meanwhile, are doing all we can to turn things around and help people get ahead.  And we’re going to keep the pressure on Senate Democrats, and the president, to do the right thing.  To learn more, visit speaker.gov/jobs.

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Boehner: GAO Confirms Obama Administration Ignored the Law on 'Taliban Five'

2014/08/22

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement after the Government Accountability Office (GAO) confirmed that the Obama administration broke the law when it released five Taliban terrorists without notifying Congress:

“Yesterday, the nonpartisan, independent Government Accountability Office confirmed what everyone capable of reading the English language already knew: the White House ignored the law when it released five dangerous Taliban prisoners without proper Congressional notification. 

“At a time when we are grappling with the evil terror of the self-proclaimed ‘Islamic State’ in Syrian and Iraq – a group whose leader was once an American detainee, before being released – it is difficult to imagine a more potentially serious lapse in judgment by the Obama administration.

“Further, it is yet another reminder of this White House’s stubborn and dangerous practice of simply ignoring laws it finds inconvenient.  As news reports continue to suggest that the president is contemplating re-writing the law again, he should take into account the fact that this nonpartisan, independent agency has confirmed he exceeded his authority. 

“Every time the president unilaterally re-writes the law and ignores the Constitution, he does damage to the institutions of our democratic government, and undermines further the bonds of trust between that government and the American people.

NOTE: Speaker Boehner's first statement on the prisoner exchange is here.

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#FastAndFurious: One Step Closer to the Truth

2014/08/21

We’re one step closer to the truth about Fast and Furious, the botched gun-smuggling operation that resulted in the death of border agent Brian Terry.

A federal judge – one appointed by President Obama – has ordered the Department of Justice to turn over a list of Fast and Furious documents it has been withholding.

Here’s more from Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee:

“This Administration has been so intent on hiding the contents of these documents that it allowed Attorney General Holder to be held in contempt instead of just turning them over to Congress.  … The privilege log will bring us closer to finding out why the Justice Department hid behind false denials in the wake of reckless conduct that contributed to the violent deaths of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and countless Mexican citizens.”

The White House owes Brian Terry’s family and the American people the truth.  Help spread the word by sharing this graphic on Facebook and Twitter

(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.

Of course, Fast and Furious is but one example of this administration’s pattern of hiding the truth and stonewalling the American people.  Even The New York Times editorial board says it’s “perfectly true” that “the administration has done much of its business in the dark, away from the public eye.”  As Speaker Boehner has pledged, “we will not stop until we get the full truth on behalf of the people we serve,” so be sure to follow him on Facebook to stay up to date on this, the IRS, Benghazi, and all our efforts to hold the White House accountable.  

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Seeing Right Through 'The Most Transparent Administration in History'

2014/08/19

(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.

Under Speaker Boehner, the House has become more open and transparent. From banning earmarks to making the legislative process more accessible on livestream, to establishing one website where you can see how all of your tax dollars are being spent, to increasing the fair consideration of legislation, the House has made “big strides” in #OpenGov that has drawn bipartisan praise. It’s open government you can see, literally.

In contrast, while President Obama has repeatedly claimed that his is the “most transparent administration in history,” the evidence supporting his assertion is pretty flimsy, and a recent spate of news stories demonstrates that everyone can see right through the president’s dubious boast:

  • Government watchdogs complain of closed doors set up by White House: “Inspectors general, as they're called, are supposed to uncover government fraud. But they say all too often, they're getting stonewalled instead. The IGs want better access to information from the Obama administration—and they're winning support from members of Congress. Forty-seven IGs signed a letter this month highlighting problems with access to federal records — problems they say slow their investigations and threaten their independence.” (NPR)
  • Obama admin thwarting release of public data under FOIA, lawsuit charges: “The civic watchdog group Cause of Action on Monday sued the Obama administration, claiming that presidential attorneys have interfered improperly in the release of public documents under the landmark FOIA law in an effort to curb the release of derogatory information about the White House. The lawsuit … names 12 federal agencies that the group says slowed the release of documents so officials could consult with White House attorneys under a review process established in spring 2009. FOIA analysts say this practice never occurred in prior administrations.” (The Washington Times)
  • Administration won’t reveal records on health website security: "[T]he Obama administration has concluded it will not publicly disclose federal records that could shed light on the security of the government's health care website because doing so could 'potentially' allow hackers to break in. … The AP is asking the government to reconsider. Obama instructed federal agencies in 2009 to not keep information confidential 'merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears.' Yet the government, in its denial of the AP request, speculates that disclosing the records could possibly, but not assuredly or even probably, give hackers the keys they need to intrude." (Associated Press)
  • The Vice President stonewalled Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to hide travel costs: “[Ronald] Kessler, a former Wall Street Journal and Washington Post investigative reporter, filed a FOIA request in April 2013 with the Air Force for the details and costs of [Vice President Joe] Biden’s personal trips. … According to Kessler, Biden’s then-deputy counsel Jessica Hertz took over the FOIA case from the Air Force and ordered it not to release the 95 pages of documents it had compiled in response to Kessler’s request.” (Washington Free Beacon)
  • Behind closed doors, President Obama crafts executive actions: “[T]he process of drafting what will likely be the only significant immigration changes of his presidency … has been conducted almost entirely behind closed doors, where lobbyists and interest groups invited to the White House are making their case out of public view. … It also has opened the president, already facing charges of executive overreach, to criticism that he is presiding over opaque policy-making, with the potential to reward political backers at the expense of other interests[.]” (The New York Times)
  • ObamaCare's memory hole? 'Please delete this email': “[Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn] Tavenner's email asking the subordinate to delete an email was turned over to the House Energy and Commerce Committee last week, just a day after her staff told the committee that some copies of her email communications might have been lost. ‘Please delete this email,’ Tavenner wrote to then-CMS spokeswoman Julie Bataille on Oct. 5, 2013.” (CNBC)
  • White House reverses lobbyist ban: "The reversal comes amid ongoing debate over the effectiveness of Obama’s efforts to end K Street’s influence on policymaking. A POLITICO count published Tuesday shows that despite restrictions on lobbyists serving in government about 70 corporate, for-hire or association lobbyists have all joined the Obama administration." (Politico)
  • New York Times’ Risen calls Obama administration “the greatest enemy of press freedom” in a generation: “[New York Times reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner Jim] Risen said that the Administration has actively sought to ‘narrow the field of national security reporting’ and ‘create a path for accepted reporting’ while threatening to punish those who do not yield.” (Jonathan Turley)
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A Number That Explains Our Focus on Jobs & Families

2014/08/19

“New parents beware,” USA TODAY warns in the wake of a new government report showing that a middle-class family can expect to spend about $245,340 to raise a child born in 2013.   (And that’s before college.)

This, of course, is the kind of stuff that keeps many parents up at night.  And the trouble is, that number will only become more daunting if things stay the way they are. 

Under the president’s policies, everything from gas to groceries is getting more expensive.  The health care law is making matters worse, raising costs when it was supposed to lower them.  Meanwhile, incomes are down and many are stuck in part-time work

And yet, what is the president’s main proposal for the economy?  A ploy that would send more jobs overseas.  And how many good House-passed jobs bills are Senate Democrats blocking?  More than 40 .   

While Democrats have lost their way, we’re focused on solutions that will help hardworking families by:

  1. Helping people get back to work.  From jumpstarting small businesses to pushing energy projects forward, our plan would help Americans secure good-paying jobs and bring home better pay.
  2. Lowering costs at home.  Implementing a real ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy, providing more flexibility, and streamlining the child and education tax credits are just some of the ways our plan would help ease the strain middle-class families are facing.
  3. Restoring opportunity for all.  Whether it’s expanding choice in education, tackling our spending problem, or fixing our tax code, there’s no shortage of things we can do to build a stronger economy and a better future.

The middle class in America is being squeezed,” Speaker Boehner said in a recent interview, and we have the chance to do something about it.  Our message to the president is simple: let’s focus on solutions that will help hardworking families have more opportunities and more peace of mind.

To learn more, visit speaker.gov/jobs.

 

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25th Anniversary of the Pan-European Picnic

2014/08/19

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement marking the 25th anniversary of the Pan-European Picnic in Sopron, Hungary that precipitated the fall of the Berlin Wall:

“On this day 25 years ago, another dent in the Iron Curtain was made when roughly 600 East Germans fled to the West.  Their means of escape was – of all things – a ‘friendship picnic’ in a Hungarian village hundreds of miles from Berlin.  Organized by opposition leaders as a way for Hungarians and Austrians to break bread for a few hours, the picnic became a breakthrough when East German families approached the gate and the guards stepped aside.  The border was resealed, but the damage was done, and less than three months later, the Berlin Wall came down.

“‘We didn’t feel like we were making history,’ one of the organizers said, but that they were.  The picnic is an example of the risks taken and the sacrifices made so that one day the Berlin Wall would fall.  It’s also just a great story.  On behalf of the U.S. House of Representatives, I send best wishes to all those in Hungary and Europe celebrating this special anniversary.”

NOTE: This is the latest in a series of statements by Speaker Boehner marking the events of 1989 that led to the collapse of communism.  On June 4, he marked Freedom Day in Poland.  In March, the House voted to honor Václav Havel, the first president of the Czech Republic, with a bust in the U.S. Capitol’s Freedom Foyer. 

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President Obama’s Strategy in Iraq “Lacking,” “Still a Work in Progress”

2014/08/18

The president and his advisors met today to discuss Iraq but there’s no evidence the administration plans to outline anytime soon a comprehensive strategy to reverse the spread of terrorism in the region.  Make no mistake, the Islamic terrorists that now control large swaths of Iraq and Syria pose a significant threat to the United States, as the Wall Street Journal details:

“The gains made in recent months by the group calling itself the Islamic State have bolstered its long-term ambitions to attack the West, including the U.S., and the group has become such a potent force that traditional counterterrorism tactics aren't sufficient to eliminate it, U.S. intelligence officials said Thursday. … ‘It has pitched itself as the true successor to Osama bin Laden,’ the former al Qaeda leader, a U.S. intelligence official said. ‘The full implication of that is that it intends to focus on the West.’”

So what’s the strategy to confront this threat?  The current mission is “lacking in clear strategic objectives,” says the Washington Post editorial board:

“The U.S. mission nevertheless remains both open-ended and lacking in clear strategic objectives. Mr. Obama said air strikes would continue to defend Irbil and Baghdad, where U.S. personnel are stationed; he also said additional operations not involving combat troops could be undertaken to protect vulnerable populations. But he gave no indication of a broader campaign to reduce the reach of the Islamic State … The limits Mr. Obama has placed on U.S. action make little sense in the context of this extremist entity and the interconnected conflicts across the region.”

“Has the president charted clear goals in Iraq, and a clear path to reach them?” asked reporter Doyle McManus in a analysis piece this weekend. “Not entirely … The strategy is still a work in progress.”  Quite an understatement.

Speaker Boehner has said many times that the United States cannot allow terrorists to gain a safe haven in Iraq where they can plan and launch attacks on Americans and our allies.  He has also made it clear that “the president needs a long-term strategy – one that defines success as completing our mission, not keeping political promises.”

The American people deserve to hear from their president a clear strategy for how the U.S. plans to reverse the momentum and the spread of terrorism, and protect our national security interests, and that of our allies.

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Speaker's Report: Keeping Up the Pressure for Action on Jobs

2014/08/17

The powers-that-be in Washington aren’t listening and that needs to change.

Republicans have passed solutions to help create jobs, lower costs, and restore opportunity.  But President Obama and Senate Democrats won’t act, won’t do their part, won’t do much of anything.

We “aren’t going to slow down,” Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) says in this week’s Republican address. “We’re going to keep passing common-sense solutions to help American families, and we’re going to keep the pressure on Senate Democrats to do their job.”

Watch our weekly address now, and share it on Facebook and Twitter to help keep up the pressure for action on jobs. 

JOBS

ACCOUNTABILITY

  • “President Obama faces a choice: he can work with Congress to deal with the tough issues, or he can go it alone and cement a legacy of increased polarization, partisanship and lawlessness.” Read Speaker Boehner’s latest op-ed.
  • The House will always back Israel’s right to defend itself, and we’ve kept that commitment by securing emergency funding for Iron Dome.
  • We’ve won much-needed reforms to help veterans unable to get timely care, but will the president follow through with a long-term plan for fixing the VA? 
  • We continue to ask: what is President Obama’s strategy for Iraq?

GOOD OF THE ORDER

  • This is open government you can see – literally.
  • If you’re near the Dayton, Ohio area this summer, Speaker Boehner has some great recommendations for you.
  •  #TBT to a 1986 summer parade with the best two daughters a dad could hope for.
  • Are you following us on Flipboard? It’s a great way to stay up-to-date with all the latest news, videos, and photos from the people’s House. 
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Senate Democrats Blocking Progress on House Republicans’ Jobs Bills

2014/08/16

In this week’s Republican address, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia talks about Republicans’ focus on jobs and the American people’s priorities, and the need for Senate Democrats to get to work. Take a look.

Lawmaker: GOP bills 'collecting dust' in Senate. … Republicans in their weekly address pointed the finger at the Democratic-led Senate for inaction on bills passed in the House on everything from jobs to education. … Collins said of the bills that have been signed into law, more than 75 percent of them have originated in the House, and that Senate Democrats have not acted on more than 340 of them passed by the House. … Collins said Americans that he spoke to in Blue Ridge, Georgia, are frustrated with the ‘status quo.’  … ‘I know how they feel, because my Republican colleagues in the House and I have made the American people’s priorities our priorities,’ he said. Collins also blasted Democrats for leaving for August recess without passing an immigration bill, as House members did before they left. … ‘That’s just irresponsible – there’s no other word for it,’ he added.” (The Hill, 8/16/14)

Collins delivers weekly GOP address, says Senate needs to act on jobs bills. … [T]he Congressman from Gainesville, who represents the state's Ninth District, called on the Senate to act on dozens of jobs-related bills passed by the House, many of those a bi-partisan effort, according to Collins.” (AccessNorthGa.com, 8/16/14)

‘Do-nothing Senate’ is problem in Washington, Collins says. … According to Collins, more than 300 bills, including seven appropriations bills, that have made it through the House are still awaiting action in the Senate.” (Athens Banner-Herald, 8/15/14)

Rep. Doug Collins: Americans Want Senate Democrats To ‘Do Their Job.’ … The Democrat-controlled Senate needs to get busy and do its job, Georgia Rep. Doug Collins said in Saturday's GOP address,  pointing out that his constituents and Americans in general think there's ‘not enough action on real solutions.’ … [W]hile Senate Democrats are not acting, Republicans have led efforts for job training legislation, given ‘veterans stuck in an outdated federal bureaucracy timely access to the care they need,’ and prevented major highway projects from being stopped.” (Newsmax, 8/16/14)

GOP Weekly Address: Rep. Doug Collins Urges Democrats in Senate to Act. … Collins says in his statement that Democratic inaction in the Senate is the cause of much of the Washington gridlock in terms of jobs efforts. ‘Our bills are piling up on Harry Reid's desk, collecting dust,’ he says. Despite the gridlock, Collins says Republicans ‘aren't going to slow down’ and will ‘keep passing common-sense solutions to help American families.’” (ABC News Radio, 8/16/14)

“In the weekly Republican address, Georgia Rep. Doug Collins calls on Senate Democrats to pass bills approved by the GOP-led House. He says the Senate has failed to take action on more than 340 House-passed bills, including some with bipartisan support.” (Associated Press, 8/16/14)

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Weekly Republican Address: Democrats’ Do-Nothing Senate Should Act on House-Passed Jobs Bills

2014/08/15

WASHINGTON, DC – Delivering the Weekly Republican Address, Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) talks about Republicans’ focus on jobs and the American people’s priorities, and the need for Senate Democrats to get to work. Collins represents Georgia’s Ninth District.

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

Remarks of Representative Doug Collins of Georgia Weekly Republican Address Brenau University, Gainesville, GA August 16, 2014

Earlier this week, I visited with folks in Blue Ridge, a small community of less than fifteen hundred between the Chattahoochee National Forest, the Cohutta Wilderness Area, and a big, beautiful lake where families often go to camp, kayak, or just catch a few trout.

At the local high school, we had a good, honest conversation about growing the economy, creating more jobs, and expanding opportunities for all Americans. 

I listened as workers and parents who are living paycheck to paycheck shared their concerns about the future of their families and also of our country.

Like most Americans, my constituents are frustrated with the status quo.

They wish Washington would stop meddling in things that aren’t broken, and start fixing the things that are.

They think there’s too much talk, and not enough action on real solutions.

Those I talked to want to know, why can’t our leaders just do their jobs?

I know how they feel, because my Republican colleagues in the House and I have made the American people’s priorities our priorities.

We’ve passed bill after bill to help our struggling economy, save taxpayer dollars, lower the cost of gas and groceries, and help every child get a good education.

But Democrats in the Senate have essentially decided to do nothing.

Our bills are piling up on Harry Reid’s desk, collecting dust.

Even when it comes to a crisis like the one on our southern border, House Republicans passed a common-sense solution, and Senate Democrats left town without doing the hard work to pass their own.

That’s just irresponsible – there’s no other word for it.

In recent weeks, Republicans have led efforts to enact job training legislation that helps people get back to work. 

We’ve given veterans stuck in an outdated federal bureaucracy timely access to the care they need. 

And we’ve prevented major highway projects from being shut down.

But there is much more work to be done.

President Obama enjoys complaining about Congress, but the fact is, his own party controls the Senate, and they need to get to work.

Of the bills that have been signed into law, more than 75 percent of them have originated in the House.

What’s more, right now, Senate Democrats have failed to take action on more than 340 bills passed by the House.

Many of them have bipartisan support, including most of the 43 jobs bills that are stuck in this do-nothing Senate.

So if they’re truly interested in making progress, the president and his party have a lot of catching up to do.

Republicans aren’t going to slow down; we’re going to keep passing common-sense solutions to help American families, and we’re going to keep the pressure on Senate Democrats to do their job.

Thank you so much for listening.

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Rep. Doug Collins to Deliver the Weekly Republican Address

2014/08/15

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has selected Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) to deliver the Weekly Republican Address on Saturday, August 16.  Collins represents Georgia’s Ninth District, and his address will focus on Senate Democrats’ inaction on more than 40 jobs bills passed by the House.

“In town hall meetings, in my office, at restaurants and grocery stores – everywhere I go – Georgians, like all Americans, are asking, ‘Where are the jobs?’ They’re frustrated with the status quo, and I am too,” Rep. Collins said. “While our out-of-touch president is bragging about the economy, Senate Democrats are refusing to act on dozens of House-passed jobs bills that would help struggling families and small businesses. Hundreds of good bills passed by the House are stuck in the Senate, and that must change. Whether the president and his party decides to get to work or not, Republicans are going to continue to champion the American people’s priorities.”

The Weekly Republican Address will be available starting tomorrow, Saturday, August 16, 2014, at 6:00 am ET on Speaker.gov and GOP.gov

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Boehner Statement on Events in Ferguson, Missouri

2014/08/14

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement on events in Ferguson, Missouri:

“In the wake of this terrible tragedy, my thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Michael Brown.  I strongly support a full and thorough investigation of the events surrounding his death, and subsequent actions, including the detention of journalists covering this heartbreaking situation.”

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8 Shark GIFs That Perfectly Explain Why Senate Dems Can’t Ignore House Republicans’ Jobs Bills

2014/08/14

There are a a lot of fish in the ocean, just like there are a lot of House-passed bills stuck in the United States Senate (347 to be exact). But some fish – such as sharks – you just can’t ignore…kind of like the 40+ House-passed jobs bills that are piling up on Senator Reid’s desk.  In honor of Shark Week, here are eight reasons why Senate Democrats simply cannot ignore the work of the People’s House.   1. Introductions are key.

Which is why we recently relaunched speaker.gov/jobs, to make it nice and easy for Senate Democrats to see exactly where they should get to work.  

2. Our jobs bills would make such a big impact, it’s startling.   3. In fact, these jobs bills would help zap away a sluggish economy.  4. They are right in front of Senator Reid's face.

Hard to ignore that.

5. They’re also right behind him.  6. Heck, they’re all around him.  (Did we mention there are more than 40?!) 7. They just keep coming.   House Republicans continue to work to advance good, common-sense policies that will help get America working again. 8. And they’re not going away. Some of these bills passed the House with bipartisan support more than 500 days ago, but because they are good, common-sense ideas, they will stand the test of time.  OK, so maybe a few of these GIFs are pretty absurd, but then again, so is the fact that Senate Democrats are sitting on more than 40 House-passed jobs bills.  Isn’t it about time that these bills – and the millions of middle-class Americans that would benefit from them – receive an up or down vote in the Senate?

 

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3 Times the Obama Administration Got Iraq Completely Wrong

2014/08/13

In July 2007, Barack Obama was running for president after holding the title of U.S. Senator for only two-and-a-half years. His lack of experience, however, was rivaled by his lack of modesty.

“One thing I'm very confident about is my judgment in foreign policy,” he told a gathering of elites in Manhattan, touting his “set of experiences that come from a life of living overseas, having family overseas, being able to see the world through the eyes of people outside our borders.” Six months earlier he had bragged on ABC’s “Good Morning America” about how, in college, he “majored in international relations.”

More than seven years later and five-and-a-half into his presidency, with Russia’s Putin poised to invade Ukraine, it seems President Obama’s super advanced foreign policy judgment is a couple Crimeas short of a Kremlin.

And then there’s Iraq, a country that turned into one big terrorist tent revival while the Obama administration told everyone it had al Qaeda “on the run.”  Caught totally off guard, the president has no comprehensive strategy to reverse the resurgence, and his nebulous guiding principles are painfully evident. “I’ve been trying to figure out this man’s [foreign policy] doctrine now for six years,” NBC’s Chuck Todd said on Sunday. “He doesn’t have one.” Andrea Mitchell followed: “To permit ISIS to do what it’s done [in Iraq]. … And to say that he didn’t have intelligence. … The fact is there was intelligence. … The White House wasn't listening.”

Never one to accept responsibility, President Obama has been in full blame-spreading mode. ISIS’s “advance … has been more rapid than the intelligence estimates, and I think the expectations of policy makers both in and outside of Iraq," he said.

National Journal’s Ron Fournier rejected this buck passing. “This is a president who underestimated [ISIS] …. He underestimated what was going to happen after Libya …. He underestimated Putin; he underestimated several other areas. He’s been … the underestimator in chief. … We can’t afford [for] the president to underestimate this threat. … I wish I was more confident that the president really understood the threat to our homeland[.]”

The Obama administration’s detachment, aloofness, and lousy judgment has been a team effort. Here are three times they got Iraq completely wrong:

#1: Vice President Joe Biden predicted Iraq “could be one of the greatest achievements of this administration.”

  • Appearing on CNN in February 2010, Biden said, “You’re going to see 90,000 American troops come marching home by the end of the summer. You’re going to see a stable government in Iraq that is actually moving toward a representative government.”

#2: Homeland Security Advisor John Brennan dismissed the possibility of a “violent Islamic caliphate.”

  • On June 29, 2011, Brennan said, “[A]l Qaeda’s grandiose vision of global domination through a violent Islamic caliphate …. is absurd, and we are not going to organize our counterterrorism policies against a feckless delusion that is never going to happen.”
  • As The Weekly Standard noted, “Three years later to the day, on June 29, 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) [also known as ISIS] announced that it now ruled large swaths of Iraq and Syria as a caliphate.”

#3: President Obama flippantly described ISIS as a “jayvee team” that was not a serious threat.

  • In The New Yorker in January, the president said, “The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.”

Turns out terrorists got game. Speaker Boehner sounded the alarm in January and urged the president to “get engaged.” But as Andrea Mitchell said, the White House wasn’t listening – to anyone. Here’s what the outgoing head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, had to say this month about his warnings regarding the growing terrorist threat, which the White House ignored:

We said many times, “Hey, we need to get this intelligence in front of the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, the National Security adviser! The White House needs to see this intelligence picture we have!

We saw all this connective tissue developing between these [proliferating] terrorist groups.  So when asked if the terrorists were on the run, we couldn’t respond with any answer but ‘no.’ When asked if the terrorists were defeated, we had to say ‘no.’ Anyone who answers ‘yes’ to either of those questions either doesn’t know what they are talking about, they are misinformed, or they are flat out lying.

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A Hypocritical Ploy That Will Send More Jobs Overseas

2014/08/13

The Obama administration’s politically-driven ploy to prevent more so-called ‘tax inversions’ is being skewered by news reports and editorials across the country that are calling out the president not only for his hypocrisy on the issue, but also for the disastrous consequences his plan would have for jobs and the economy.  Here’s a look:

  • “So Much for Convictions” “Putting a wet finger to populism’s wind five years ago…the Obama administration endorsed the practice. Five years later, that newly wetted and wind-swept finger has picked up on populism’s latest pap — ‘Punish these tax evaders!’  So much for convictions.” (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
  • “Drive More Money & Jobs From the U.S” “This is another example of President Barack Obama’s lack of understanding and experience when it comes to economic policy. … The result of keeping U.S. corporate taxes high and simply banning tax inversions would be to harm the competitiveness of U.S. companies and drive more money and jobs from the U.S.  That’s not economic patriotism, that’s economic cluelessness.” (The Columbus Dispatch)
  • “He Hasn’t Talked About the People Behind The Deals -- Some of Whom Are His Biggest Donors” “President Barack Obama has been bashing companies that pursue offshore mergers to reduce taxes. He hasn’t talked about the people behind the deals -- some of whom are his biggest donors. … Obama said the deals are a ‘threat’ to the U.S. and approvingly quoted others who called the companies involved ‘corporate deserters,’ using the kind of language one doesn’t usually employ to describe supporters.” (Bloomberg)
  • “President Barack Obama says U.S. corporations that adopt foreign addresses to avoid taxes are unpatriotic. His own administration helped one $20 billion American company do just that.” (Bloomberg)
  • “Stunningly Destabilizing & Likely Unconstitutional Move” “As is often the case on economic matters, the White House seems to think that it can defy the laws of gravity. By proposing to make inversions harder to execute – and actually backdating the laws to effectively unwind mergers that have already occurred, a stunningly destabilizing and likely unconstitutional move – the administration imagines it can arrest the forces of competition. Think again.” (Orange County Register)
  • “Demonizing American Employers…Will Only Serve to Drive Them Away” “Demonizing American employers who, um, follow the law only will serve to drive them away. The same criticism applies to the supposed quick fixes being pushed by the president and his fellow Dems. … The real problem isn’t inversions. It’s an uncompetitive U.S. tax code that makes inversions so attractive.  The real solution: Tax reform.” (Chicago Tribune)
  • “Could Make Investment in This Country Less Attractive” “The administration can’t simply rewrite the tax code to serve its policy goals. … For that matter, while an administrative fix may slow corporate flight, it also could make investment in this country less attractive.” (Denver Post)
  • “Only Worsens the Competitive Disadvantage These Companies Face” “Pleas to patriotism might resonate politically, but the White House proposal…only worsens the competitive disadvantage these companies face in world-wide markets.” (The Arizona Republic)
  • “Make U.S. Firms More Vulnerable to Foreign Takeovers” “Mr. Lew doesn't know much about economics or he'd realize that his rush to block these inversions will have the perverse effect of driving even more deals in the coming months. If CEOs think Congress will close the inversion possibility, and that tax reform is dead until Mr. Obama leaves office, more of them will decide to move while they still can.  As for ‘economic patriotism,’ Mr. Lew also doesn't understand that foreclosing inversions would only make U.S. firms more vulnerable to foreign takeovers.” (Wall Street Journal)
  • “Draws Attention Away From What Is Really Wrong: America’s Outdated & Punitive Corporate Tax Code” “That’s a darling election-season sound bite to excite anti-corporate liberals and cajole Democratic lawmakers into pushing for a ban on corporate tax inversions. Unfortunately, it draws attention away from what is really wrong: America’s outdated and punitive corporate tax code.” (The Augusta Chronicle)

This may be a problem of the president’s own making, but the solution is not.  To bring down the U.S. corporate tax rate – which, at 35 percent, is the highest in the industrialized world – the president and members of his party must work across the aisle to fix the broken tax code, clear out the mess of loopholes and deductions, and lower tax rates for American job creators.  “If we can reform our tax code, changing it from one that drives American jobs out of the country to one that supports sustained economic growth and brings jobs home,” Speaker Boehner writes in Politico, “it will go a long way toward resetting the economic foundation of our nation.”

Creating a simpler, flatter, fairer tax code is one of the many solutions Republicans have laid out to help boost economic growth and expand opportunity for all Americans.  Read more at GOP.gov/solutions.

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President’s “Bullish” Talk on the Economy Is, Well, Bull

2014/08/12

“President Obama is making a forceful case that the economy has turned around since he first got to the White House,” Politico reports today, proving once again how out of touch the president is with middle-class families who are struggling in his economy.  Here’s a little dose of reality you won’t hear in the president’s stump speech, and the reason more Americans are saying all this “bullish” talk is, well, bull: 

  • A 23 Percent Increase in the Number of Long-Term Unemployed: The number of long-term unemployed Americans – those who have been out of work for 27 weeks or more – has climbed from 2.6 million when the president took office to 3.2 million last month, a 23 percent increase. 
  • 46.5 Million Americans Living in Poverty: The number of Americans living at or below the poverty line went up by 6.7 million between 2008 and 2012, according to the most recent Census Bureau data.  There is now a total of 46.5 million Americans living in poverty.
  • A Quarter of U.S. Households “Just Getting By”: According to a recent Federal Reserve survey, “a quarter of U.S. households say they’re ‘just getting by’ financially,” AP reported last week.  “Millions are working part time even though they want full-time jobs. It’s taking longer to find work. People are still struggling with mortgage debt. Most people don’t feel free to spend as much as they once did.”
  • More Than $7 Trillion Added to the National Debt: The Obama administration reached another dubious debt milestone last week, adding more than $7 trillion in red ink since taking office, which amounts to more than $61,000 per American household.
  • Higher Costs on Nearly Everything:  Americans are paying more for the things they need, a recent Gallup survey found, “further constraining family budgets…still reeling from a stagnant economy.”  Spending on gas and groceries tops the list of added expenses, driven up by energy costs that have nearly doubled on the president’s watch.  
  • 66 Percent Increase in Involuntary Part-Time Workers: There are currently “7.5 million Americans struggling to find full-time work who settle for part-time jobs, amid an atmosphere of stress, depression and low finances,” McClatchy reported last week.  That’s “more than double what it was” in December 2007. 
  • More Than a $2,000 Drop in Household Income: A nonpartisan analysis shows that median household income has fallen by $2,067 under President Obama, dropping from $55,958 in January 2009 to $53,891 in June 2014.  
  • Labor Force Participation Hovering Near 30-Year Lows: According to the most recent Department of Labor unemployment report, “the share of the population participating in the labor force is still at lows not seen since the 1970s, at 62.9 percent,” Business Week reports.

The president can parse and cherry pick the data all he wants, but the millions of Americans who can’t find a good-paying job and are barely making ends meet know better.  That’s why Republicans have consistently made the people’s priorities our priorities, offering real solutions to help create an economic foundation that enables more Americans to provide for their families and build towards a better future.  If the president really wants something to boast about, he should call on his party’s leaders in the Senate to act on the dozens of House-passed jobs bills they are blocking so he can sign them into law and show Americans he’s listening.   As Speaker Boehner said recently, “We’re doing our part, but we need the president and his party to do theirs.” 

Learn more: GOP.gov/solutions

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Open Government You Can See – Literally

2014/08/12

Since Republicans retook the majority in 2011, the House of Representatives is more open and transparent than ever before.  It’s been noted that the House leadership operation is “relentlessly digital,” from social media, to legislative data, and perhaps most especially, online video.  

By the (YouTube) numbers:

  • 99.2 percent of House Republicans and committees maintain dedicated YouTube channels, where you can watch their official activities, such as floor speeches, media interviews, or even selfie music videos.
  • Across the entire lifetime of all channels, House Republicans have 72,500 subscribers, with more than 70.7 million video views.
  • In the last 20 months, there have been more than 78.2 million minutes watched. (That’s more than 148 years!)
  • The average view duration during that time is approximately 4 minutes.
  • In just the last 10 months, House Republicans have published more than 8,500 unique videos.  

Of course, YouTube is just one of the many video tools House Republicans are using to make Washington work for Americans. Here’s a look at some of the other groundbreaking video milestones accomplished by the Republican Majority: 

  • In 2011, Speaker Boehner paved the way to allow House lawmakers access to low-cost online video conferencing tools like Skype and ooVoo.
  • That same year, the Office of the Clerk unveiled its live stream of the House floor for mobile devices.
  • In 2012, The House Administration Committee and Library of Congress teamed up to offer a one-stop site for live video of House Committee Hearings. 
  • Last year, the Office of the Clerk released a new way to search video archives from the House floor. 
  • Every week the House is in session, you can catch Speaker Boehner’s press conferences live at Speaker.gov/live.  

NOTE: You can also find lots of short-form videos from Speaker Boehner on InstagramVine, and Facebook.  And you can click here to subscribe to Speaker Boehner's YouTube channel.

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What is President Obama’s Iraq Strategy?

2014/08/11

As we’ve pointed out here before, the crisis in Iraq caught the Obama administration completely off guard. With the Middle East in chaos, the president’s campaign line about terrorists being “on the run” seems like wishful thinking at best. Indeed, he’s now admitted terrorists are “gaining strength.” Nowhere is this more evident than in Iraq, where the Obama administration’s lack of engagement over the last few years created an opening for Islamic radicals to take control of large swaths of the country. In the face of this and his other foreign policy disasters, President Obama has only offered more talk – and no comprehensive strategy.

Editorial boards are taking notice, and his style of leadership is becoming a late night punchline. Here’s what The Washington Post had to say over the weekend:

[T]he steps the president authorized on Thursday amount to more of his administration’s half-measures, narrowly tailored to this week’s emergency and unconnected to any coherent strategy to address the conflagration spreading across the Middle East. …

Mr. Obama lacks a plausible plan for addressing the larger threat posed by the Islamic State. …

[B]y the White House’s own account, the measures ordered by Mr. Obama are not intended to defeat the Islamic State or even to stop its bloody advances in most of the region. …

It’s past time for Mr. Obama to set aside a policy that is both minimalist and unrealistic. … The primary aim should not be to minimize U.S. involvement — as Mr. Obama would have it — but to defeat the forces that are destroying the region.

These sentiments echo comments Speaker Boehner made in January, when he said that the Obama administration “has chosen to spend much of its time and energy trying to explain why having terrorists holding key terrain in the Middle East is not the President’s problem,” and urged him to “get engaged.”

Since then, including in June, the Speaker has called for President Obama “to lay out a plan for how we can reverse the momentum and spread of terrorism in Iraq and a region that is critical to U.S. national interests.”

Action in the form of airstrikes and humanitarian assistance will help the Iraqi religious minorities currently besieged by ISIS, but the best way to ensure innocent men, women, and children do not suffer similarly in the future is to put in place an overall strategy for reversing the spread of terrorism in the region so we can help our allies and protect our vital national security interests.

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10 Reasons ObamaCare Is “More Unpopular Than Ever”

2014/08/11

ObamaCare is “more unpopular than ever,” according to a recent survey.  From higher premiums to fewer full-time jobs, here are 10 recent headlines that explain why more Americans are giving the president’s health care law a thumbs down:

  • “Part-Time Workers Find Full-Time Jobs Elusive” “Hiring part-time instead full-time employees is one way that some businesses are getting around the costs of a mandate in the health care law ...” (McClatchy)
  • “State’s Federal Exchange Health Plan Premiums To Rise In 2015” “Premiums for health plans available through the federal exchange under the Affordable Care Act will rise by an average of 13.2 percent in Florida next year, state insurance officials said Monday.” (Florida Today)
  • “If You Like Your ObamaCare Plan, It’ll Cost You” “People who decide to stick with the coverage they’ve already gotten through Obamacare, rather than switching plans, are at risk for some of the biggest premium spikes anywhere in the system.  And some people won’t even know their costs went up until they get a bill from the IRS.” (National Journal)
  • “Small Firms Hit by Big Changes in Health Coverage” “But at least some of the business owners who were excluded from group plans as a result of the health law are struggling with higher premiums, less robust benefits or uncertainty within a new, unfamiliar network, says Scott Lyon, vice president of the Small Business Association of Michigan.” (Wall Street Journal)
  • “Here Come Higher Premiums: Tennessee’s Insurance Providers Request Rate Increases” “BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is seeking approval for an average rate increase of 19 percent starting Jan. 1…Other insurance companies offering coverage are also requesting rate increases for the upcoming year, including a 7.5 percent requested increase from Cigna and a 14.4 percent increase from Humana.” (Nashville Business Journal)
  • “ObamaCare Forcing South Carolina Businesses to Hire Part-Time Over Full-Time Workers” “‘I would say 90 percent of our employers, businesses today, are hiring part-time as opposed to full-time, because of the Affordable Health Care Act,’ said IHT Staffing’s Billie Baggett of Myrtle Beach, S.C. ‘It’s not something a corporation wants to do.’” (Free Beacon)
  • “New York State Exposed: Health Insurance Rate Hike” “Michelle Vergilia couldn’t believe it when she opened the letter. Her health insurance premium is going up 22 percent. … ‘I was led to believe the price would be one thing for a service. That is one thing and not even six months down the road, it is changed.’” (News10)
  • “Muncie Schools to Limit Part-Time Hours” “Like other employers around the country since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Muncie Community Schools will now limit its part-time staffers to working no more than 29 hours a week.” (The Star Press)
  • “Varying Health Premium Subsidies Worry Consumers” “As consumers wait for a resolution, some have decided to go without health insurance because of the uncertainty while others who went ahead with policies purchased through the exchanges worry they are going to owe the government money next tax season.” (Associated Press)
  • “Limitations of New Health Plans Rankle Some Enrollees” “Both women unwittingly bought policies with limited networks of doctors and hospitals that provide little or no payment for care outside those networks. … The policies’ limitations have come as a surprise to some enrollees used to broader job-based coverage or to plans they held before the law took effect.” (Kaiser Health News)

This latest round of bad news comes on top of the numerous premium hikes that have already been announced nationwide, adding more stress for middle-class families who are already paying more for nearly everything

“The American people recognize that ObamaCare is hurting our economy and making it harder for small businesses to hire,” Speaker Boehner said last month.  “That’s why Republicans remain committed to repealing the law and replacing it with solutions that will lower health care costs and protect American jobs.”

Learn more about the Republican jobs plan, and the solutions we’ve put forth to help boost economic growth and expand opportunities for all Americans at gop.gov/solutions.

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Boehner Op-Ed on Immigration & Tax Reform: “Do Your Job, Mr. President”

2014/08/08

(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.

“President Obama faces a choice: He can work with Congress to deal with the tough issues, or he can go it alone and cement a legacy of increased polarization, partisanship and lawlessness. There is no doubt that immigration reform and tax reform will be hard, but there is also no doubt that acting the right way will boost our economy, create jobs and – perhaps - begin to rebuild the tattered bonds of trust between the American people and their government.”

Politico August 8, 2014

“For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong.” H.L. Mencken’s famous saying sums up exactly the choice that President Obama now faces on immigration and tax reform. On both issues, he should resist the siren song of political expediency and stand up to his political base to do the right thing – even though it will be harder.

The American people’s top priority is getting our economy moving again, and helping the private sector create more jobs. In the House, their top priority is our top priority – which is why we have sent more than 40 jobs bills to the U.S. Senate. By dealing responsibly with both the border crisis and tax reform, the president can join us in listening to the people and acting on their priorities.

We face a terrible humanitarian crisis on our southern border. It was fueled, in part, by a law passed in 2008 that gives more legal protections to migrants from Central America than to those from Mexico or Canada. It was also fueled, in part, by President Obama’s decision to unilaterally rewrite the law and refuse to enforce immigration laws for some individuals. Now, consistent news leaks from the White House suggest the president is poised to repeat that mistake – and make it far worse – by rewriting the law again and dramatically expanding his unilateral action.

That would be a grievous mistake. Immigration is a tough issue, and the situation at the border has made it even more fraught and complex. We need to fix our broken immigration system, but it must be done by Congress, and it must be done in a common-sense, step-by-step fashion so that the American people have a say in what we are doing. We can only succeed if the people understand and support these reforms.

Our tax code, like our immigration system, is badly broken. Because we have the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world, American companies have an incentive to relocate their headquarters overseas to lower their tax bill. That costs American jobs.

In 2011, President Obama came close to agreeing to the real solution: broad-based tax reform to weed out wasteful deductions, lower the tax rate, and create more American jobs. The White House backed off then, but House Republicans have continued to work toward those goals. Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp released a discussion draft, which would lower the tax rate for individuals and corporations to a top rate of 25 percent and would modernize the taxation of U.S. companies doing business abroad - like all of our economic competitors. We are continuing to listen to House members – and our constituents – about ways to improve it. If we can reform our tax code, changing it from one that drives American jobs out of the country to one that supports sustained economic growth and brings jobs home, it will go a long way toward resetting the economic foundation of our nation.

Now, President Obama is hinting that he may act unilaterally in an attempt to supposedly reduce or prevent these so-called “tax inversions.” Such a move sounds politically appealing, but anything truly effective would exceed his executive authority. The president cannot simply re-write the tax code himself.

The right choice is harder. President Obama must get his allies on Capitol Hill to do their job. Senate Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden, pay lip service to tax reform, but they have utterly failed to act. The president, the leader of his party, must actually lead it.

President Obama faces a choice: He can work with Congress to deal with the tough issues, or he can go it alone and cement a legacy of increased polarization, partisanship and lawlessness. There is no doubt that immigration reform and tax reform will be hard, but there is also no doubt that acting the right way will boost our economy, create jobs and – perhaps - begin to rebuild the tattered bonds of trust between the American people and their government.

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Speaker Boehner on U.S. Airstrikes in Iraq

2014/08/08

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement on U.S. operations in Iraq: “The president’s authorization of airstrikes is appropriate, but like many Americans, I am dismayed by the ongoing absence of a strategy for countering the grave threat ISIS poses to the region.  Vital national interests are at stake, yet the White House has remained disengaged despite warnings from Iraqi leaders, Congress, and even members of its own administration.  Such parochial thinking only emboldens the enemy and squanders the sacrifices Americans have made.  The president needs a long-term strategy – one that defines success as completing our mission, not keeping political promises – and he needs to build the public and congressional support to sustain it.  If the president is willing to put forward such a strategy, I am ready to listen and work with him.  For now, I wish Godspeed to all our men and women participating in these operations.”

Godspeed to all our men & women participating in operations in #Iraq right now. http://t.co/TqhL3TLFI6

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) August 8, 2014
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Will President Obama Follow Through on His Promises to Veterans?

2014/08/07

As July came to a close, the House passed the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, & Transparency Act (H.R. 3230), a bipartisan, bicameral agreement to begin addressing the problems at the Veterans Administration (VA). Speaker Boehner signed the bill two days later, and President Obama signed it into law today.

Reforms in the new law include allowing veterans to seek private care if they live more than 40 miles from the nearest VA facility or are unable to get an appointment at a VA facility within 30 days, and making it easier to fire or demote senior VA managers who are not doing their jobs.

It’s a good step forward, but veterans groups, newspaper editorial boards, and even some Democrats all agree: funding is not the issue at the VA. In order to bring real accountability to the troubled agency, root out deadly mismanagement, and give veterans the care they deserve, President Obama must step up and articulate a vision for sweeping reform. No amount of taxpayer dollars is a substitute for leadership.

After President Obama’s remarks today, CNN’s senior investigative reporter Drew Griffin described the work that is still left up to the Obama administration to complete:

GRIFFIN: The problems are much, much bigger than funding. In fact, I would argue that funding is not the problem at the VA. As the president said, he's increased the budget during his administration by leaps and bounds. This is basically emergency funding which says to the VA, ‘you have no more excuses for any veteran waiting for any care anywhere.’ But the follow-up has to be the accountability and ridding that VA bureaucracy of the managers who have placed it in this emergency situation. You know, we just found out this morning – to show you how widespread this is, Ashleigh – that the Office of Inspector General at the VA is now at 92 different VA facilities looking into these allegations of wait list manipulation. That's supervisors and bureaucrats basically lying about wait times. That's what needs to be fixed. …

We have tons of questions. Ashleigh, we, like Congress, have been asking this government agency, this taxpayer-funded agency, for numbers, for reports, for the numbers of people who have died, for its investigative stuff, for the better part of a year, and we have been getting stonewalled. We have gone through the White House trying to get them to nudge the VA to give us some answers. It has been a very big problem getting either one of those places, the White House or the VA bureaucracy, to answer our questions. … We hope the VA will now be transparent and give us actually honest answers instead of this stuff that we get, which, I'm just going to tell you what it is: we have been lied to. Congress has been lied to about how big this problem is. I hope that this is the beginning of the end of that, and I hope this is the beginning of a new VA where the bureaucracy will respond to the veterans and there’ll be no more of this gamesmanship and number manipulation and wait times that have led to deaths and serious harm to this nation’s veterans.

Congress did its job and passed much-needed reforms, but as the president himself said today, “Implementing this law will take time. It’s going to require focus on the part of all of us.” He’s right. But the question remains: will President Obama follow through on his promises?

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Introducing The New Speaker.gov/JOBS

2014/08/06

It began as a question: are we keeping track of all the jobs bills the House has passed? 

Soon, the question became a list, and then as the bills piled up, the list became a to-do list for Senate Democrats.

Today the to-do list is a website –  Speaker.gov/JOBS – which we’ve re-launched with a clean and clutter-free look to better serve Americans asking ‘where are the jobs?’  

When you go to Speaker.gov/JOBS, you can:

  • Read a brief description and the full text of each of the more than 40 jobs bills stuck in the Senate;
  • Find out how your representative voted on each bill;
  •  See how long each bill has been stalled in the Senate; 
  • Get an in-depth look at how our solutions will help hardworking people; and
  • Watch a message from Speaker Boehner in which he talks about our plan for growth and opportunity. 

For all that, while we like Speaker.gov/JOBS, we want to see this list get shorter.   Unfortunately, it’s now been nearly a week since Senate Democrats left Washington without acting on these jobs bills.  Meanwhile, the president is in “credit-taking mode” for an economy that is leaving many families and workers behind.  They just don’t get it. 

Now more than ever, Americans need real solutions – and as you can see on Speaker.gov/JOBS – that continues to be our focus.

As always, we welcome your feedback, and a great way to stay in touch is by signing up for email alerts.

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President’s War on Coal Slashes Jobs, Sparks Union Backlash

2014/08/06

Our jobs are at risk,” West Virginia coal miner Jaston Pethtel warned last week, as the Obama administration’s proposed rules on coal-fired electricity – which amount to a national energy tax - drew a fresh round of protests from labor unions.  Indeed, just one day after the protest, one West Virginia coal company announced more than a thousand workers will be out of the job this fall, citing excessive new regulations in part for the layoffs.  As The Hill reports:

“West Virginia coal company, Alpha Natural Resources, told 1,100 workers to prepare for layoffs because 11 mines across the state are ‘subject to being idled.’ … ‘EPA regulations are at least partly responsible for more than 360 coal-fired electric generating units in the U.S. closing or switching to natural gas. Nearly one of every five existing coal-fired power plants is closing or converting to other fuel sources, and Central Appalachian coal has been the biggest loser from EPA's actions,’ Alpha Natural Resources said in a statement.”

Sadly, that’s just the beginning.  According to analysis by the United Mine Workers of America, the Obama administration’s rules could cost an estimated 75,000 coal-related jobs over the next six years and, “by 2035, those job losses will more than double to 152,000…a 50 percent cut in these well-paying, highly skilled jobs.”

Senate Democrats have left town with a lot of unfinished business, including numerous House-passed energy and jobs bills that would protect jobs and prevent electricity rate hikes - which could go as high as 10.3 percent - on families and small businesses.  In that stack of bills are several proposals specifically aimed at protecting coal-fired electricity generation and the thousands of jobs that depend on it, including:

  • The Electricity Security & Affordability Act (H.R. 3826), sponsored by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), which would prevent the administration’s new rules from taking effect unless the House and Senate approve them by law.
  • The Preventing Government Waste & Protecting Coal Mining Jobs in America Act (H.R. 2824), sponsored by Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), which would stop the Obama administration from re-writing the 2008 Stream Buffer Zone Rule, a proposal that would put an estimated 7,000 jobs at risk. 
  • The Energy Consumers Relief Act (H.R. 1582), sponsored by Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), which would  require the administration to provide a full accounting of the impact any major new regulation (costing more than $1 billion) will have on jobs and energy prices, and prevent rules that will have a significant, harmful impact on the economy from being finalized. 

“The president has no more elections to win, yet he allows the narrow interests of his most extreme political allies to dictate an agenda that puts jobs and opportunity out of reach for middle-class families,” Speaker Boehner wrote in an op-ed in USA Today.  The president promised Americans an all-of-the-above energy strategy, and he ought to keep his word by abandoning his war on coal, calling on Senate Democrats to move the dozens of jobs bills they’re blocking, and working with Republicans to advance solutions to help expand jobs and opportunity for all Americans.

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Boehner Statement on Incident in Afghanistan

2014/08/05

WASHINGTON, DC - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement today following news reports of a violent attack on American forces serving in Afghanistan:

“Anyone who has said ‘Godspeed’ to a family member or friend deploying in harm’s way knows the quiet fear of watching on the sidelines while our deployed military and civilian personnel complete their work in service to our nation.  There have been far too many knocks on the door over the last thirteen years, and while we wait to learn more details of the deadly incident at Marshal Fahim National Defense University in Kabul, let us not forget that for at least one family, their lives have been changed forever. Others are learning loved ones have been wounded.  Our respect and prayers are with those families today. 

“What happened today is not only a personal tragedy, but a setback that demands leaders in Washington and Kabul take time to assess the state of our shared campaign and the necessary steps forward.  The Taliban’s recent campaign of high-profile attacks is calculated to accompany a global PR strategy highlighting the fact that U.S. and coalition forces will soon be leaving Afghanistan and abandoning its weak and ineffective government. The Taliban wants everyone to know it will soon dominate all aspects of life in Afghanistan once again. 

“I have told the President privately and publicly that my biggest concern is that America will end its mission in Afghanistan just short of the goal line.  After my visit there in May, I warned that if we did not demonstrate a determination to finish the job, we would be looking at a reversal of progress similar to what we have seen in Iraq.  The national security interests of our country are too high, and too much sacrifice has been made to watch that happen.  So let me reiterate: if the President decides to re-think his strategy, including withdrawals, deadlines, and policy restraints, particularly on certain associated terrorist networks, he will have my support.

“I also encourage Dr. Ashraf Ghani and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah to rise above the pressures on each of them and to continue to demonstrate the statesmanship that pulled Afghanistan back from the brink one month ago.  The Afghan people need their leaders more than ever, and the international community needs confidence that the leaders of Afghanistan understand the stakes. 

“The prayers and respect of the U.S.House of Representatives are with the families of our fallen and wounded personnel and with Embassy Kabul and ISAF.” 

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A Do-Something House: July in Photos

2014/08/04

While some media pundits would like you to believe otherwise, the Republican-led House of Representatives has been busy all year long, focused on policies that will help create jobs for American workers and their families.  While more than 350 House-passed bills continue to stack up on Senator Reid’s desk, that has not deterred the House from its work on behalf of the American people.  In July alone, Speaker Boehner sent more than half a dozen bills to the President’s desk for passage into law, and he also took time to honor some of America’s finest.  In fact, we have the photos to prove it.

1.  Bipartisan Action

This is what working together looks like.  Leaders of both parties in the House came together to sign H.R. 803, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which will help America’s workers get the skills they need to take on good-paying jobs.

2.  Accountability at the VA

“Making sure veterans have timely access to care is one of the first things we must do to address the crisis at the VA,” said Speaker Boehner before signing H.R. 3230, the Veteran’s Access to Care through Choice Accountability, & Transportation Act.

3.  America’s Finest

Speaking of men and women in uniform, Speaker Boehner invited Lt. Col. O’Brien and his family up to the balcony of the U.S. Capitol following O’Brien’s recent promotion ceremony.

4. 100,000 Lives Saved

Not all heroes wear uniforms.  Such was the case with Raoul Wallenberg, whose courageous acts saved the lives of nearly 100,000 Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust.  Here, Speaker Boehner presented the Congressional Gold Medal to Ms. Nina Lagergren, Wallenberg’s half-sister. 

5.  In Defense of the Capitol

Speaker Boehner also took a personal moment to pause and honor the memory of Officer Jacob Chestnut and Detective John Gibson, who lost their lives against an armed gunman in defense of the U.S. Capitol 16 years ago.  

6.  Passing the Pen

Following the signing of H.R. 697, the Three Kids Mine Remediate and Reclamation Act, Speaker Boehner passed his pen to Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV), the sponsor of the legislation.

7.  Visiting with the Speaker

The Speaker has lots of important meetings every month, some with members of Congress, some with foreign dignitaries, and some…well, some of them are just more adorable than others.  Rep. Devin Nunes' (R-CA) three daughters fit squarely into that latter category.

BONUS: It was President George W. Bush’s birthday last month, so we posted this throwback from his days in the Oval Office.

P.S. Did we mention that the House sent lots of bills to the president’s desk last month?  Ok, good.  Just double checking

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Border Crisis Only Latest Example of Dems’ Inaction

2014/08/04

On Friday, the House continued the people’s work and voted to address the humanitarian crisis at our southern border.  Senate Democrats, on the other hand, left town without taking action – on this, on the more than 40 jobs bills we’ve passed, and much more.   While the president and his party continue to put politics before the challenges Americans are facing, Republicans are focused on American solutions for growth and opportunity.

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House passes border bill, Senate doesn't.” (Christian Science Monitor)

“House Republicans, determined to pass a border crisis packageworked through the night…” (POLITICO)

JOBS: House passes workforce training bill, sends it to president” (The Press-Enterprise) “Senate relents, passes House version of highway bill” (Associated Press)

“House passes bipartisan VA health care overhaul” (Associated Press)

“House Clears Three Bipartisan Higher Education Bills” (Education Week)

House passes seventh 2015 appropriations bill with steep IRS cuts” (The Hill)

The House has “made big strides when it comes to using technology…often moving in bipartisan fashion in the name of institutional change and greater transparency.” (POLITICO)

 

The Senate went home after it failed to vote on a bill providing $2.7 billion of the $3.7 billion requested...” (Syracuse Post-Standard editorial “The Senate then promptly went on vacation, leaving its business unfinished…” (Christian Science Monitor)

“Several Democrats expressed frustration that the president and administration officials weren’t more involved in legislative fights.” (CBS News)

Senate business has ground to a near crawl this year…” (Associated Press)

“…the majority leader is now facing growing pressure from fellow Democrats agitating over the lack of votes on amendments, a central aspect of legislating in the Senate.” (POLITICO)

“…the Senate has yet to pass any appropriations bills for fiscal 2015…” (The Hill)

“Reid is warning of a whirlwind September schedule that will feature a slew of do-over votes on Democratic campaign priorities.” (Roll Call)

 

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House Approves Border Crisis Bill; President Should Urge Senate Dems to Act

2014/08/02

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WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after the House passed H.R. 5230, legislation to address the humanitarian crisis at our southern border: “The House has just passed a responsible bill to address the humanitarian crisis at our southern border.  It will help secure our border and ensure the safe and swift return of these children to their home countries.  If President Obama needs these resources, he will urge Senate Democrats to put politics aside, come back to work, and approve our bill.  There are also steps the president can take to address this crisis within the law, and without further legislative action.  Every day the president and his party fail to act is another day this crisis continues.”

NOTE: On Wednesday, the House voted to authorize litigation concerning instances where the president changes the laws of our nation unilaterally.

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House Backs Funding For Israel’s Iron Dome Missile Defense System

2014/08/01

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. House of Representatives today joined the United States Senate in passing emergency funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.  House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement:

“The House will always support Israel’s right to defend itself, and today we’ve kept that commitment by backing emergency funding for Iron Dome.  This will help protect Israeli citizens from rocket attacks by Hamas, which still has thousands of rockets in its arsenal.  By coming together in bipartisan fashion, the United States Congress is sending a clear message: Israel is our friend, and Israel’s enemies are our enemies.” 

 

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With Speaker’s Signature, House Sends Two More Bills to the President’s Desk

2014/08/01

Earlier today in his ceremonial office, Speaker Boehner signed two more important pieces of legislation. With House Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL) looking on, he signed H.R. 3230, the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, & Transparency Act, which begins to address the problems at the VA by making sure veterans have timely access to care and making it easier to fire or demote senior managers who aren’t doing their jobs. 

House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) & House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) were on hand for the signing of H.R. 5021, a bill that is good for workers and taxpayers and will prevent highway projects from shutting down.

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Speaker Boehner on the July 2014 Unemployment Report

2014/08/01

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement on the Department of Labor’s unemployment report for July 2014:

“When I look at this report, I think one thing: we can do better.  For example, we still have millions of Americans trapped in part-time jobs, which shows just how weak this recovery has been and how much room there is for improvement.  So while some in Washington may latch on to these numbers as a cause for complacency, what they really are is a call to action.  That’s why the House has passed more than 40 good jobs bills since the start of this Congress as part of our plan for economic growth and greater opportunity for all.  Those bills are piled up in the United States Senate, waiting on Democrats to act and waiting on the president to lead.  We’re doing our part, but we need the president and his party to do theirs.  In the weeks ahead, Republicans will continue to focus on American solutions to help get people back to work, lower costs at home, and restore opportunity for all.”

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Statement by House GOP Leaders on Border Bill

2014/07/31

WASHINGTON, DC – House Republican leaders John Boehner (R-OH), Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Steve Scalise (R-LA), and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) today issued the following statement regarding H.R. 5230, the border supplemental legislation:

“This situation shows the intense concern within our conference – and among the American people – about the need to ensure the security of our borders and the president’s refusal to faithfully execute our laws.  There are numerous steps the president can and should be taking right now, without the need for congressional action, to secure our borders and ensure these children are returned swiftly and safely to their countries.  For the past month, the House has been engaged in intensive efforts to pass legislation that would compel the president to do his job and ensure it can be done as quickly and compassionately as possible.  Through an inclusive process, a border bill was built by listening to members and the American people that has the support not just of a majority of the majority in the House, but most of the House Republican Conference.  We will continue to work on solutions to the border crisis and other challenges facing our country.”

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Our Solutions: Lowering Costs, Expanding Opportunity, & Helping More Americans Find Work

2014/07/31

WASHINGTON, DC – House Republicans are focused on Americans’ top priorities, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said today, pointing to the more than 40 House-passed jobs bills that are stuck in the Democratic-controlled Senate.  Boehner faulted the president and Senate Democrats for failing to act, and pledged that Republicans will continue advancing solutions to boost economic growth and jobs.  Following are Boehner’s remarks:

“Republicans continue to work tirelessly to deliver solutions for the American people.  We’ve spent 18 months focusing on the people’s priorities – jobs, opportunity, national security, and a more accountable government.

“There are 40 bills gathering dust in the United States Senate, waiting on Democrats to act, all of which would help create more jobs in our country.  Middle-class families and small businesses are struggling in this economy.  But the president and his party have chosen to ignore the American peoples’ concerns.

“Over the month of August, we’ll continue to make the American people’s priorities our priority – and that means talking about our plan for jobs and the economy.  And in September, the House will focus on American solutions to help get people back to work, lower costs at home, and restore opportunity for all Americans.”

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Boehner: More Unilateral Actions Will Cement Legacy of Lawlessness

2014/07/31

WASHINGTON, DC – At his weekly press briefing today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) blasted President Obama for not only failing to address the border crisis for which he is responsible, but for threatening more unilateral actions that will make matters worse.  Following are Boehner’s remarks:

“Republicans are committed to addressing the humanitarian crisis on the border in a responsible way.

“The first bill on the floor helps secure our border and speeds the return of unaccompanied children back to their home countries.

The president and the White House have abandoned all pretense of governing.  They once called… changing the 2008 law a ‘bipartisan priority.’  Now they oppose it and call it ‘partisan.’

Instead of addressing the crisis at hand, Senate Democrats are talking up some nutso scheme to jam through the Senate immigration bill, even though they know it will never happen.  And I’ll say it one more time:  the House will not take up the Senate immigration reform bill or accept it back from the Senate in any fashion, including in this border bill.  Nor will we accept any attempt to add other immigration reform issues, or anything like it, including the DREAM Act, to the House’s border bill. 

“Any attempt to exploit this crisis – and these kids - by adding such measures is going to run into a brick wall here in the People’s House.

The crisis on the border is one of the president’s own making.  But he still hasn’t learned his lesson.  Now he’s threatened to re-write the law and take more unilateral action on immigration in the coming months.

“Let me just be clear: such action would create an even greater incentive for more illegal crossings and make the crisis at our border even worse.  That would be a grave mistake. 

The second bill we’ll vote on today will make clear the House’s position: no more unilateral action by the president.

“We’re a nation of laws.  The president takes an oath of office in which he gives his word that he will faithfully execute those laws.  And if the president takes these actions, he’ll be sealing the deal on his legacy of lawlessness.  He’ll be violating the solemn oath he made to the American people on the day of his inauguration.  And he’ll be sacrificing the integrity of our laws on the altar of political opportunism.  And I can guarantee you, the American people will hold him accountable.

“So let’s be honest, the actions he’s threatening to take are not about policy; they’re about politics.  The president’s support is slipping, and he and his party are desperate to motivate their base as we move toward the November elections. 

“We have many challenges facing our country, and those challenges need to be addressed through strong leadership.  Every time the president rewrites a law unilaterally and declines to enforce the laws of our nation as they’re written, it conveys not strength, but weakness.  And it makes it harder to build the trust with the American people to get things done that really do need to get done.”

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Myths/Facts: House Republican Border Crisis Supplemental Legislation

2014/07/31

Myth: The bill would abolish voluntary return for unaccompanied minors.

Fact: The bill would make all unaccompanied minors eligible for voluntary return immediately, speeding the return of many unaccompanied minors to their home countries. Current law only allows UACs from contiguous countries to be eligible for voluntary return.

Myth: This bill will result in more people getting asylum.

Fact: This bill will reduce the number of migrant children granted asylum. Under the House Republican bill, unaccompanied children from countries other than Mexico would be treated the same as unaccompanied children from Mexico and made eligible for immediate return to their home countries, reducing the number of those who may claim asylum. This prioritization is expected to further reduce the number of applications for asylum given the fact that 95 percent of unaccompanied children who applied for asylum in FY 2014 did so after being in the U.S. for more than 100 days. Through the 3rd quarter of fiscal year 2014, only two percent of UACs have claimed asylum and only a portion of those claims were approved. 

Myth: The bill appears to put the majority of unaccompanied minors in the new court proceedings, where they are permitted to withdraw their application for admission at any time.

Fact: This is false.  The bill would only put unaccompanied minors who do not consent to voluntary return into court proceedings, and these court proceedings would be expedited to hasten the return of these children to their home countries.

Myth: The bill creates a new seven-day court proceeding for all unaccompanied minors in which an immigration judge determines whether a UAC has a claim for immigration relief.

Fact: The court removal proceedings are not seven-days long, but must occur within seven days. At this expedited removal proceeding, the child will be required to prove to the judge that they are eligible for relief from removal under current law and standards. If not, they will be ordered removed and detained until they are sent back home. This new expedited procedure allows the unaccompanied child no opportunity to appeal or delay proceedings

Myth: Unaccompanied children are screened for credible fear by the Border Patrol

Fact: Under both current law and the bill, border patrol agents cannot make a credible fear determination, they can merely refer an unaccompanied child for a credible fear interview. Even then, a credible fear screening is only the first step in the asylum process.

Myth: The majority of these UACs will claim a fear of persecution or state their intent to apply for asylum.

Fact: Through the 3rd quarter of FY 2014, only two percent of UACs have claimed asylum and only a portion of those claims were approved.  Under current law, the first step in the asylum process is the credible fear interview at USCIS. If UACs succeed at this interview, they must be detained pending a final adjudication of the asylum claim. If they fail to prove their full claim, they will be ordered removed from the country.

Myth: The House bill states that the DHS Secretary “shall permit” UACs who have received Notices to Appear (issued since Jan. 1, 2013) to appear before an immigration judge in the new proceeding created by the bill, move to have the Notice to Appear “replaced,” and apply for admission to the U.S.

Fact: The bill does not allow for the re-opening of orders of removal. The bill would merely allow children who have received Notices to Appear, but not had a court date, to come into court, submit to government detention and either be voluntarily removed or immediately placed in a non-appealable removal hearing.

Myth: The House bill does not use the word “detention” but rather “custody.” This is an important distinction because “custody” can be satisfied by transferring a UAC to HHS, which places the UAC in a non-secure setting.

Fact: There is no evidence that children are absconding from or escaping from HHS facilities. HHS does maintain secure facilities for children who are a danger or flight risk. If a child does escape and abscond from their court proceedings, they will be ordered removed in absentia and become an immigration fugitive. Keeping all children in secure detention facilities is dangerous, excessive and unnecessary.

Myth: The changes to the 2008 law in this bill would achieve the reverse of the bill’s intention- that this bill would result in all unaccompanied child minors, from all countries, going through a longer process - the same process given to minors who have been victims of trafficking, has a credible fear of persecution, or is unable to make a decision about withdrawing their application

Fact:  This is false. Other similar bills that amend the 2008 included drafting errors which created this unintentional consequence. The terminology in the bill requires that unaccompanied children meet certain requirements to be eligible for removal, including the fact that they were not a victim of sex trafficking.  Some bills had drafted their text to say “does not meet” which would have created a double negative and in fact had the result of excluding all unaccompanied children from voluntary removal. This bill does not result in treating Mexican children like non-contiguous countries and uses the proper phrasing to ensure that all UACs are treated the same, thus speeding the return of these children to their home countries. 

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Leaders Announce Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony Honoring Fallen Heroes of 9/11

2014/07/31

WASHINGTON, DC – Leaders of the U.S. House and Senate today announced that they will present a Congressional Gold Medal in honor of the Fallen Heroes of 9/11 at a Capitol ceremony in September.

The Gold Medal is the highest civilian award the United States Congress can bestow.  Enacted on December 23, 2011, the Fallen Heroes of 9/11 Act directs that three medals be struck in honor of the men and women who perished as a result of the September 11th attacks, with one to be provided to the Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania, one to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York, and one to the Pentagon Memorial at the Pentagon.

The ceremony will take place on Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 11:00 am ET in Emancipation Hall of the United States Capitol Visitor Center.  Additional details will be announced at a later date. 

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Speaker Boehner Welcomes Indiana Governor Mike Pence Back to the Capitol

2014/07/30

Speaker Boehner sat down with his friend and former colleague, Indiana Governor Mike Pence.  Governor Pence served as Chairman of the Republican Conference in the 111th Congress.  

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Speaker Boehner Urges House to Defend the Constitution

2014/07/30

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today made the following floor remarks in support of H. Res. 676, a resolution which authorizes the House to enter into litigation in opposition to President Obama’s attempts to make his own laws, actions that challenge the constitutional separation of powers: 

“Let me thank my colleague for yielding, and I also want thank the whole House for its work to address the people’s concerns about jobs and our economy.  All told, we have sent the Senate now more than 40 jobs bills, almost all of them in a bipartisan way.  From the first day of this Congress, I’ve said our focus would be on jobs, and it has been.

“But also on that first day, you may recall that I addressed the House about the importance of our oath of office.  I noted that it’s the same oath we all take, it makes no mention of party, makes no mention of faction, or agenda.  The oath only refers to the Constitution – and our obligation to defend it.  I said that with moments like this in mind…I said that knowing there would be times when we would have to do things we didn’t come here to do, we didn’t plan to do, things that require us to consider interests greater than our own interests.

“I have to think this is why, on several occasions, members of the minority party have taken a similar step.  In 2011, some of them filed litigation against the vice president.  They took similar steps in 2006, 2002, 2001, and so forth.

“Because this isn’t about Republicans and Democrats.  It is about defending the Constitution that we swore an oath to uphold, and acting decisively when it may be compromised.

“No member of this body needs to be reminded of what the Constitution states about the president’s obligation to faithfully execute the laws of our nation.  No member needs to be reminded of the bonds of trust that have been frayed, of the damage that’s already been done to our economy and to our people.  Are you willing to let any president choose what laws to execute and what laws to change?  Are you willing to let anyone tear apart what our Founders have built?

“Think not only about the specifics of the oath you took, but think about how you took it: as one body, standing together.  That is all I am asking you to do today: to act as one institution, to defend the Constitution on behalf of the people we serve.”

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CBO: House’s Border Bill Will ‘Reduce Number of Children’ Who Stay After Illegally Crossing Border

2014/07/30

Today, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its assessment of H.R. 5230, House Republicans’ bill to address the humanitarian crisis at our southern border. A central component of the legislation is an update to a 2008 anti-trafficking law, which will speed up the process of returning migrant children to their home countries. Under current law, unaccompanied children from countries other than Mexico or Canada who cross our border illegally are ineligible for immediate removal. Obama administration officials supported fixing this law before they were against it.

Here are two key facts about the House Republican bill:

It will increase the number of migrant children immediately returned to their home countries. “CBO considers it likely that enacting Division B [of H.R. 5230] would reduce the number of children present in the United States receiving means‐tested federal benefits, thereby reducing direct spending for such benefits,” the report states. 

It will reduce the number of migrant children granted asylum. Critics have claimed otherwise, but this is incorrect. To start, “Unaccompanied Alien Children (UACs),” a technical terms used by the federal government, accounted for less than two percent (718) of all new asylum applications received (44,446) in FY 2013. Moreover, every year since FY 2012, only about two percent of all UACs apprehended by Border Patrol have applied for asylum. This rate remained fairly steady in the first three quarters of FY 2014, when 1,532 applied. Some critics have pointed to a House Judiciary Committee press release stating that “65% of unaccompanied alien minors’ asylum applications have been immediately approved by asylum officers in Fiscal Year 2014.” However, this 65 percent must be applied to the two percent of UACs who actually applied for asylum, making the number of those receiving asylum in the first three quarters of FY 2014 when the surge of illegal immigration was at its height a relatively small one – especially considering the Obama administration’s estimate that as many as 90,000 UACs could be apprehended by Border Patrol by the end of this fiscal year (September 30).

Under the House Republican bill, UACs from countries other than Mexico would be treated the same as UACs from Mexico and made eligible for immediate return to their home countries, reducing the number of those who may claim asylum. For those that stay in federal custody to await an expedited immigration court hearing, the bill would require their hearing to occur within a week, and it would prioritize removal of UACs who most recently arrived in the U.S., a policy of “last in, first out.” This prioritization is expected to further reduce the number of applications for asylum given the fact that 95 percent of UACs who applied for asylum in FY 2014 did so after being in the U.S. for more than 100 days.

Finally, House Republicans’ bill would ensure that noncitizens convicted of a drug-related felony are not eligible for asylum. It should also be noted that in order to receive asylum, applicants must have a specific, personal fear of persecution due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Violence and instability in an applicant’s home country, while unfortunate, are not sufficient factors.

For more key facts about the House Republican bill, click here.

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VA Access & Accountability Bill One Step Closer to the President’s Desk

2014/07/30

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WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement after the House passed the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, & Transparency Act (H.R. 3230), a bipartisan, bicameral agreement to begin addressing the problems at the Veterans Administration:

“Allowing the lives of our nation’s veterans to slip through the cracks of a broken bureaucracy is not just unacceptable, it’s immoral.  Making sure veterans have timely access to care is one of the first things we must do to address the crisis at the VA.  We also need real accountability, and making it easier to fire or demote the senior managers who are not doing their jobs is a positive step forward.  But, this agreement is just the beginning.  Much more work needs to be done to fix the widespread problems at the VA, and it’s going to require the president to outline a long-term plan for systemic VA reform. 

“This is another example of what we can accomplish when we put aside politics for the common good, and I’m especially grateful to Chairman Jeff Miller and the members of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee for their leadership.” 

NOTE: The Senate is expected to take up H.R. 3230 later this week, sending the agreement to the White House for the president’s signature.

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Focusing on Jobs & Solutions to Empower All Americans

2014/07/30

Continuing our focus on jobs, House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) today led a press conference outside the Capitol to highlight Republicans’ solutions to empower Americans at work and at home.  POLITICO has more:

“House Republicans promoted their plan for empowering working women and families on Wednesday, emphasizing tax credits, workplace flexibility and job training. … The GOP legislators took turns speaking on legislation passed and pending while stressing their personal stories as women in the workplace, the children of aging parents, or fathers of daughters.”

Watch the full press conference here, and check out quotes from all the participants:

Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA): “Our workforce has changed. Our laws should change with them.  House Republicans have been working for a long time to advance these solutions.

Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC): Families across the country are looking to us in Congress for solutions, and we’re providing them.  The House has passed numerous bills … many of which are job creation bills that will turn this economy around…”

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV): “Many of our families are caring for their elderly parents, and it really is causing a squeeze, not only on time, but certainly on affordability issues. … What my bill does is try to get a little more money in the pocket with the dependent care tax credit.”

Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL): We’re putting forth solutions for America’s families because in this Obama Economy, we are seeing costs rise, and when families hurt, opportunities suffer for all Americans.”

Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS): “I’m proud to stand with individuals here in Washington who are working on solutions … that get people back to work, that put more money in people’s pockets, and give us more freedom.”

Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI): “I’m proud to stand with my Republican colleagues that are working for solutions … to give flexibility so that work and vocations and challenges that come in life and family decisions can be met.”

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO):I’m proud of the work that the Congress has done on a bipartisan basis to help women in the military, as well as military families.”

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC):The main focus should be on solutions. … What we’re looking for is for the Senate to look for other great bills that we have over there and pass them in a bipartisan fashion so we can present more solutions to the American people.”

Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL): “I would ask the Senate to look at the Working Families Flexibility Act, and this is a simple way we can provide relief to working moms and dads in this tough economy.” 

For more, check out a guest post from Rep. Ellmers on our solutions to help women & families

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Key Facts on House Border Bill

2014/07/30

House Republicans have made it clear to the president that he will not get the blank check he is seeking to address the humanitarian crisis – the crisis of his own making - at the southern border.  The House will instead take up border legislation this week that includes critical policy reforms and targeted funding aligned with the recommendations of the House’s border security working group, led by Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX). 

Here are key facts about the bill, courtesy of the House Appropriations Committee:

  • Makes changes to a 2008 law to expedite the return of unaccompanied minors to their home countries by treating Central American children the same as those from Mexico.  President Obama and members of his administration have repeatedly called for such a change, characterizing it as a “bipartisan priority.”
  • Prohibits the Interior and Agriculture secretaries from limiting the activities of Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents on federal public lands within 100 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border.
  • Provides funding for National Guard troops at the southern border which, as Speaker Boehner noted in a letter to the president last month, are “uniquely qualified to respond to such humanitarian crises” and will “relieve the border patrol to focus on their primary duty of securing our border.”
  • Pares down the president’s $3.7 billion request to $659 million, which is fully offset by cuts and recessions to existing funds, and specifically targets all funding toward addressing the most immediate needs at the border.  
  • Provides additional resources for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and CBP operations aimed at securing the border, increasing detention space, and expediting the processing and deportation of unaccompanied children and families.  
  • Increases the number of temporary immigration judges to enhance the capacity of the immigration court system, allowing the courts to process more cases and reduce the lengthy wait periods between detention and removal.
  • Prioritizes repatriation assistance to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador from within existing foreign aid funding to facilitate the return and reintegration of children in their home countries.
  • Expresses the Sense of the Congress that unauthorized migrants should not be housed on military installations unless certain conditions are met. 

Just as important as what’s in the bill is what won’t be.  There is nothing in this bill that would constitute any form of “amnesty” whatsoever – its goals are to secure our border, address the humanitarian crisis, and expedite the return of more migrants to their home countries.  And, as Speaker Boehner made abundantly clear to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) yesterday, “the House of Representatives will not take up the Senate immigration reform bill or accept it back from the Senate in any fashion. … Such measures have no place in the effort to solve this crisis, and any attempt to exploit this crisis by adding such measures will run into a brick wall in the People’s House.”

Learn more about the bill from the House Appropriations Committee here.

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In God We Trust

2014/07/30

On July 30, 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the law that made “In God We Trust” the official motto of the United States of America.  It also mandated that the phrase be printed on all U.S. currency, including paper.  And in November 2011, the House passed H. Con. Res 13, a bipartisan bill that reaffirmed “In God We Trust” as our nation’s official motto.

This spring, Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) presented Speaker Boehner with a plaque (pictured above) to hang in his office in the Capitol.  It’s a proud reminder of this important phrase that originated more than 150 years ago.  Originally approved by Congress in 1864, the phrase comes from the Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.”

On this important anniversary, the Speaker said:

“I’m proud to commemorate and reaffirm the appropriateness of our national motto and I’m proud to have this plaque hanging in my office.  ‘In God We Trust’ speaks to all of our citizens, and it’s not just a source of pride for us, it is a beacon of hope for the world.”

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Obama Abandons Border Crisis Solution, Republicans Step Up

2014/07/29

President Obama’s border crisis flip-flop is now official: the White House says it supports Senate Democrats’ multi-billion dollar spending proposal that does not change the 2008 anti-trafficking law, which means they’re out-of-step with most of the country. A strong majority of Americans think the 2008 anti-trafficking law should be updated to speed up the process of returning unaccompanied minors to their home countries. President Obama and many other Democrats were for changing the 2008 law before they were against it for political reasons.

It’s another classic example of President Obama saying he’d do one thing and then doing the exact opposite. No wonder nearly six in 10 Americans believe he is incapable of managing the government effectively.

Democrats’ reversal was so chaotic and abrupt that White House senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer was still telling reporters on Friday – four days ago – that the president continues to support changing the 2008 law.

Even more embarrassing, when the White House revealed its new position in a press release yesterday, it attacked House Republicans’ plan to change the 2008 law as “partisan.” If White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest wrote that line, someone should remind him of what he said at the podium just three weeks ago, when he described the same idea as a “priority of this administration, and if you listen to the public comments of Democrats and Republican, it sounds like it’s a bipartisan priority.”

Here’s the bottom line: the president and Senate Democrats want a blank check and billions of taxpayer dollars to spend, with no accountability and no end to the border crisis. But they aren’t going to get it. House Republicans plan to vote this week on legislation that will specifically and responsibly target resources to deploy the National Guard, help Border Patrol officials do their job, change the 2008 law, and speed up the process of returning these children to their home countries. You can read House Republicans’ bill here.

Earlier today, Speaker Boehner made it crystal clear to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) that “the House of Representatives will not take up the Senate immigration reform bill or accept it back from the Senate in any fashion. Nor will we accept any attempt to add any other comprehensive immigration reform bill or anything like it, including the DREAM Act, to the House’s targeted legislation, which is meant to fix the actual problems causing the border crisis. Such measures have no place in the effort to solve this crisis, and any attempt to exploit this crisis by adding such measures will run into a brick wall in the People’s House.”

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On the House Floor: Improving VA Access & Accountability

2014/07/29

This week, the House will vote on the Veterans’ Access to Care Through Choice, Accountability, & Transparency Act, a bipartisan, bicameral agreement that begins to address the problems at the Veterans Administration.  Here’s a look at what’s in the bill, and how it will help ensure our nation’s heroes receive the care they need and the benefits they have earned:

  • ACCESS:  Following a CNN report that 40 veterans died awaiting care at a Phoenix VA facility, stories of secret waiting lists across the country emerged, exposing a widespread problem that is putting veterans’ lives at risk.  The legislation allows veterans to seek private care if they live more than 40 miles from the nearest VA facility, or are unable to get an appointment at a VA facility within 30 days.  It also extends two pilot programs to help veterans receive care closer to their homes, and to improve rehabilitation services for those who have suffered a traumatic brain injury. 
  • ACCOUNTABILITY: In May, House Republicans passed the VA Management Accountability Act (H.R. 4031), legislation backed by numerous veterans groups that makes it easier to fire or demote senior VA managers who are not doing their jobs.  The bill includes reforms similar to H.R. 4031 to help bring real accountability to the VA, and to prevent senior managers from receiving bonuses during their removal process. 
  • INDEPENDENT REVIEW:  Whether it’s the secret waiting lists, the backlog, or the preventable deaths, it is imperative to get to the bottom of the problems at the VARepublicans have called on President Obama to outline a vision for systemic VA reform, but he has yet to do so.  The bill ensures that there will be an independent review of VA medical care, and it establishes a congressional commission to evaluate access to care.  These measures will help identify long-term reforms necessary to improve the quality and accessibility of care for our veterans.

“The veterans of this country deserve the best quality health care that they can get in a timely fashion, and that has not been the case as of late,” Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL) said at a press conference announcing the bipartisan agreement yesterday.  This bill provides the first step toward ensuring more access and accountability, with less net spending than both the House and Senate-passed bills. 

But, as Speaker Boehner made clear today, “there’s an awful lot more work that needs to be done.”  The president owes veterans a long-term plan to resolve the problems at the VA and make certain that they never happen again, and House Republicans will continue pressing him to offer one.

Read more about the Veterans Access, Choice & Accountability Act here.

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Boehner to Reid: House Will Reject Any Attempt to Add Immigration Reform to Border Bill

2014/07/29

The House will not take up the Senate immigration reform bill or accept it back from the Senate in any fashion http://t.co/MNM2Qb6Vrl

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) July 29, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said he would attempt to add comprehensive immigration reform to any House-passed bill to address the current border crisis:

“Senator Reid, embarrassed that he cannot strong-arm the Senate into passing the blank check President Obama demanded, is making a deceitful and cynical attempt to derail the House’s common-sense solution.  So let me be as clear as I can be with Senator Reid: the House of Representatives will not take up the Senate immigration reform bill or accept it back from the Senate in any fashion.  Nor will we accept any attempt to add any other comprehensive immigration reform bill or anything like it, including the DREAM Act, to the House’s targeted legislation, which is meant to fix the actual problems causing the border crisis.  Such measures have no place in the effort to solve this crisis, and any attempt to exploit this crisis by adding such measures will run into a brick wall in the People’s House.

“While the White House has abandoned all pretense of governing and the Senate is doing almost nothing to address our struggling economy, Republicans remain committed to addressing the American people’s priorities, and that includes passing a responsible bill this week to help secure our border and return these children safely to their home countries.” 

NOTE: Republican Senators have also ruled out any attempt to use the current crisis to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

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Five Points on the House’s Litigation Against the Executive Branch

2014/07/29

This week, the House will take up H. Res. 676, which authorizes the House to enter into litigation in opposition to President Obama’s attempts to make his own laws, actions that challenge the constitutional separation of powers.  Specifically, the resolution would authorize the filing of a lawsuit pertaining to how, on two separate occasions, the president made changes to his health care law without authorization by Congress. 

You can read the resolution on docs.house.gov, and as you do, here are five points to review:

1. This isn’t about Republicans vs. Democrats; it’s about the Constitution.  From Speaker Boehner’s op-ed for USA TODAY:

“Congress makes the laws; the president executes them. That is the system the Founders gave us. This is not about executive orders. Every president issues executive orders. Most of them, though, do so within the law.  This is also not about me vs. President Obama. This is about future Congresses and future presidents. There is a conflict between the executive branch and the legislative branch of our government. It is the judiciary branch's role to help resolve it.  I believe this path is the right one to defend our institution and preserve the Constitution, while continuing to focus on the American people's top priority — helping our private sector create more American jobs.” Read the full piece here.

2. This litigation does not detract from – and in fact, supports – the House’s focus on jobs and the economy.  This is one of several key points we addressed earlier this month:

“America is a nation of laws, and the American economy relies on understanding our laws and regulations that apply to them.  Uncertainty about how laws as written will be implemented creates a drag on our economy, our jobs, and our businesses.  The President must be held accountable to faithful execution of those laws for the health of our economy.”  Read more of our key points here.

3. This litigation has the backing of highly-respected legal experts.  Jonathan Turley, Professor of Public Interest Law at The George Washington University Law School, was among those who testified before the Rules Committee on this issue:

Some of the changes ordered by President Obama did, in my view, cross the constitutional line in violation of the Separation of Powers. … We remain a nation of laws and we have a court system designed to resolve such controversies. That is precisely where this authorization would take us and it is where these questions should be answered.”  Read more from his testimony and that of other experts here.

4. Democrats were for suing the president before they were against it.  Here’s what Kim Strassel of The Wall Street Journal wrote after a Rules Committee hearing on the issue:

“…there was so much that escaped Democrats' minds at that hearing.  Not one of those present, for instance, recalled that only two years ago, four of their House colleagues filed suit against Vice President Joe Biden (in his capacity as head of the Senate) challenging as unconstitutional the filibuster. Or that Democratic legislators also filed lawsuits claiming standing in 2011, and in 2007, and in 2006, and in 2002 and in 2001 and . . . Of the 41 filed by plaintiffs with unified political affiliation, nearly 70% were brought by Democrats. At least 20 of those came since 2000.”  Read the full piece here.

5. Courts continue to rule against the president’s aggressive overreach.  This has happened at least three times since Speaker Boehner first issued a memo indicating his intent to take this step.  Here’s what Boehner said on those occasions:

  • June 26, 2014, re: ‘recess appointments’: “This ruling is a victory for the Constitution, and against President Obama’s aggressive overreach, which challenges our ability to effectively represent the people.” Full statement here.
  • June 30, 2014, re: the HHS mandate in the health care law: “Today’s decision is a victory for religious freedom and another defeat for an administration that has repeatedly crossed constitutional lines in pursuit of its Big Government objectives.” Full statement here.
  • July 22, 2014, re: the legality of health care subsidies: “The president has demonstrated he believes he has the power to make his own laws.  That’s not the way our system of government was designed to work.” Full statement here.
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Boehner: “Where is the President” on Jobs?

2014/07/29

WASHINGTON, DC – At a press conference with Republican leaders today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) contrasted House Republicans’ continuing focus on Americans’ top priorities - jobs and the economy - with the president and Senate Democrats’ refusal to act.  Following are Boehner’s remarks:

“You know, over the last 18 months Republicans in the House have been focused on the American people’s priorities.  Whether it’s growing our economy, creating more jobs, holding our government accountable. 

“Last week the president signed … the SKILLS Act, signed it into law – a step in the right direction.  This week we’ve got an agreement on first steps toward dealing with the problems at the Veterans Administration.  But there’s an awful lot more work that needs to be done. 

“Over 40 jobs bills sitting on the desk of the Senate Majority Leader.  And Senate Democrats refuse to stay focused on what the American people want to stay focused on, and that’s more jobs and better pay. 

“You know, the American people aren’t just asking the question, ‘where are the jobs?,’ they’re also asking, ‘where is the president?’”

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Speaker Boehner: The House Will Always Stand With Israel

2014/07/28

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today made the following remarks at the National Leadership Assembly for Israel:

“In times like this, people try to isolate Israel -- but we are here to stand with Israel.  Not just as a broker or observer — but as a strong partner and a trusted ally.

“What does that mean?  Well, it doesn’t mean using vague, on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand statements.  No, it means backing up our words, and showing our solidarity with our friend. 

“That is why the House will always support Israel’s right to defend itself.  We will not equate professional militaries with terrorist organizations that use human shields and seek to maximize civilian casualties.  And we insist that the demilitarization of Gaza be not just a House goal but a shared, uncompromising U.S. and international objective.  We take this stand because we know that without demilitarization, the pattern of escalation, conflict, targeting of innocent civilians, and humanitarian suffering will continue.

“To achieve these objectives, the House will continue to back funding for Iron Dome to ensure Israel’s ability to protect its own people.  And we will continue to push the administration to address the root cause of the conflict in the Middle East.

“Because, make no mistake, what we are seeing in Gaza is a direct result of Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism in the region.  All we have to do is look at the ferocity of the fight and the sophistication of the weapons.  This is part of Iran’s long history of providing rockets and rocket parts to Gaza-based terrorist organizations, another cycle that must come to an end.

“America must send this clear, public, and united message: Israel is our friend, and Israel’s enemies are our enemies.  And as long as I am Speaker of the House, I give you my word this will be our cause.   Thank you very much.”

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Boehner Op-Ed: We’re Defending the Constitution

2014/07/28

USA TODAY July 28, 2014

President Obama has overstepped his constitutional authority — and it is the responsibility of the House of Representatives to defend the Constitution. At the same time, we remain focused on the American people's top priority: jobs and the economy.

I believe the president's actions in a number of areas — including job-destroying energy regulations, releasing the "Taliban 5" from Guantanamo without notice and waiving the work requirements in welfare — exceed his constitutional authority.

On the advice of legal experts, the House action will focus on his decision to extend — twice — the deadline to institute the employer mandate in his health care law. We believe this targeted lawsuit offers the best chance of success.

Given the groundbreaking nature of this legal action, we want to assert our clearest constitutional position. The fact we agree with a change that should have been made in law makes this case clearer to the court.

I oppose the employer mandate in the president's health care law. The House of Representatives has voted to delay or eliminate it (and we will do so again if we prevail in court). But it is the letter of the law that was passed by Congress and signed by President Obama. He simply cannot unilaterally rewrite it.

We will debate and pass the resolution authorizing the lawsuit openly, transparently and in regular order. At the same time, we will also continue to add to the list of more than 50 House-passed jobs bills currently awaiting action in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Congress makes the laws; the president executes them. That is the system the Founders gave us. This is not about executive orders. Every president issues executive orders. Most of them, though, do so within the law.

This is also not about me vs. President Obama. This is about future Congresses and future presidents. There is a conflict between the executive branch and the legislative branch of our government. It is the judiciary branch's role to help resolve it.

I believe this path is the right one to defend our institution and preserve the Constitution, while continuing to focus on the American people's top priority — helping our private sector create more American jobs.

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14 of Our Recent Greatest Hits on Jobs

2014/07/25

On Tuesday, the Library of Congress announced that its Gershwin Prize for Popular Song will go to Long Island’s own Billy Joel.  In honor of him and his music, here’s what we’ve been talking about lately on jobs:

  • The American people have been asking ‘where are the jobs’ “For the Longest Time,” as we find ourselves in the middle of the worst ‘recovery’ for jobs ever.
  • Yet the president just has to be a “Big Shot,” bragging about his policies when Americans are having a tough time.
  • No, “We Didn’t Start the Fire” of uncertainty that has small businesses in Southwest Ohio and nationwide struggling under ObamaCare.
  • And a student coming out of college trying to find a job has every right to be an “Angry Young Man” about this economy.
  • On top of all this, the president’s “Shameless” push for ‘economic patriotism’ would just make things worse, with even more jobs “Movin’ Out” of the country.
  • For our part, Republicans are “Keeping the Faith” with hardworking taxpayers, passing more good jobs bills and putting “Pressure” on Senate Democrats  to act.
  • "Don't Ask Me Why" they haven’t acted on these 10 bills that have broad bipartisan support, but hey, “The Night Is Still Young.”
  • (To be fair, they did admit “You May Be Right” about the need to “bring jobs home.”)
  • We’re also focused on openness and transparency to provide greater scrutiny of jobs and spending bills, because it’s always been “A Matter of Trust.”
  •  And getting a good-paying job can be “All About Soul,” and all about skills, which is an area where we made real progress this week for America’s workers.  
  • “This Is The Time” to act on more solutions that will get government out of the way so our economy can grow. 
  • So “Say Goodbye to Hollywood,” Mr. President, and work with us to help grow the middle class and expand opportunity for everyone, from the “Piano Man” to the “Uptown Girl.”
  • And P.S., “Vienna” may wait for you, Mr. Vice President, but it’s got nothing on Cincinnati, a city of good jobs and great chili. 

For more, check out our most recent jobs roundups:

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With Democrats in Disarray, Americans Agree: Fix 2008 Law

2014/07/25

As the humanitarian crisis on our southern border continues, surveys show a growing majority of the American people support updating a 2008 anti-trafficking law so that we can speed up the process of returning unaccompanied minors to their home countries.

According to a new CNN/ORC International poll, 62 percent support this solution – quite a consensus. But Democratic leaders like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) disagree. Incredibly, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) still claims that “the border is secure.”

Thankfully, there’s at least one member of their party who recognizes the central issue and hasn’t changed his mind yet, per Politico:

Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, appeared to lean against the Democratic supplemental package that did not include revisions to a 2008 anti-trafficking law that has come under heightened scrutiny during the current border crisis.

“You know, you’ve got to look at the 2008 law,” Manchin said Thursday, adding that he hasn’t made a final decision on whether to back or reject the funding measure. “You can’t leave the impression to people in these countries that they can just send them and … everything is fine. You just can’t do that.”

Precisely. That’s why Republicans support updating the 2008 law and addressing the real issues at the border, without giving the Obama administration the blank check it’s demanding after it flip-flopped in spectacular fashion.

Democrats are notably in disarray. Speaker Boehner sent a letter to President Obama days ago, asking him to publicly and definitively clarify his position. There’s been no official response, but late yesterday a “senior White House official” told reporters the president will “continue to support tweaks to the 2008 law.”

If that’s the case, why won’t he step up, do his job, show some leadership, and be straightforward with the American people?

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When Opportunism Is Disguised as ‘Patriotism’

2014/07/25

Have you heard the president’s spiel about ‘economic patriotism’?  The whole thing really is a case study in how the wheels are coming off this presidency.  Think about it...

The president rails against a problem of his own making, in this case corporate ‘inversions’ that would be a lot less likely if he had brought both parties together to fix our outdated tax code. 

Then he comes out with a plan that would actually make the problem worse.  As the Ways & Means Committee notes:

“In a typical inversion, an American company becomes a foreign company only on paper to pay lower taxes, but the headquarters and employees remain in the United States.  The President’s plan creates a perverse incentive to not just move on paper, but to actually move the headquarters and jobs overseas.  That’s because the legislation does not allow the company to get the tax benefit if it is managed and controlled in the US. That’s a lose-lose proposition for American workers.”

Exactly.  At a time when our economy is sputtering, the president’s plan  would just send more jobs overseas.  That doesn’t sound very patriotic, now does it?

How about we instead just do what needs to be done, and we fix our tax code from top to bottom?  How about we clear out the clutter of tax loopholes and lower rates for everyone?  Then we can really keep jobs and resources here.  Republicans remain ready to do this as part of our focus on jobs

But it isn’t really about solving the problem, is it?

After all, the president huffs and puffs about wanting Congress to act NOW, but one top Senate Democrat “readily admits that lawmakers are not likely to act anytime soon.  Some Senate Democrats won’t even back the plan.  So what could this be about?  Could it be the president attempting to stave off political trouble instead of addressing the people’s priorities?

That’s funny, since the very notion of patriotism is about putting country above party and bringing people together for the greater good.    

Instead of dividing people for political advantage, the president can endorse our push for comprehensive tax reform or convince Senate Democrats to act.  Let’s solve the real problem here.  Otherwise, every pink slip from companies moving overseas may as well be signed, ‘President Barack H. Obama.’

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A Fairer, Simpler Tax Code to Support Hardworking Families

2014/07/25

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement applauding House passage of the Student & Family Tax Simplification Act (H.R. 3393) and the Child Tax Credit Improvement Act (H.R. 4935):

“Making the tax code simpler and fairer is good for jobs and economic growth, and for American families barely treading water in the Obama economy.  The child tax credit legislation we passed today supports working families by eliminating the marriage penalty and better aligning the credit with the higher costs parents face.  We’ve also passed a bill this week that will make it easier for students and their families to utilize the tax credits available to them to make college more affordable.   Both of these common sense, bipartisan bills reflect our continuing focus on making Americans’ priorities our priorities and deserve an immediate vote in the Senate.”

NOTE: House Republicans have previously passed four bills to extend and make permanent certain tax provisions aimed at boosting economic growth and helping the private-sector create jobs.  Learn more at speaker.gov/jobs.

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Working to Prevent Human Trafficking & Support Its Victims

2014/07/25

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement applauding House passage this week of eight bills to help prevent human trafficking and support its victims: 

“An estimated 300,000 children are at risk of being trafficked every year.  As the father of two wonderful daughters, the stories of suffering and pain that follow from these heinous crimes weigh heavily on me, as they do all Americans, and compel us to action.  Providing law enforcement and human services personnel the tools, resources, and training they need to prevent trafficking and to better support its victims is critical.  We’ve now passed more than a dozen bills to do so, and will continue doing everything we can to prevent one more victim from being robbed of his or her most basic human rights.”

NOTE: This is the second series of bills passed by the House to fight human trafficking.  Information on the prior series of five bills is available here.

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Boehner Statement After Meeting with Presidents of Guatemala & Honduras

2014/07/24

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after meeting with President Otto Perez Molina of Guatemala and President Juan Orlando Hernández of Honduras to discuss the humanitarian crisis at our southern border:

“We had a constructive meeting with President Molina and President Hernandez, whose visit to Washington is further evidence of how seriously they are taking this situation.  I impressed upon them how important it is we all work together to end this crisis and reunite these children with their families in their home countries.  We continue to discuss our options with our colleagues, and remain firm in our commitment to find common ground and provide humanitarian relief.”

Participants in today’s meeting at the United States Capitol also included the following House leaders:

  • Majority Leader-elect Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)
  • Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)
  • Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY)
  • Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA)
  • Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX)
  • Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
  • Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), chair of House Republicans’ Border Security Working Group
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The House Remembers Officer Chestnut & Detective Gibson

2014/07/24

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. House of Representatives today held a moment of silence to honor the memory of two of the United States Capitol Police’s finest, Officer Jacob J. Chestnut and Detective John M. Gibson, who were killed in the line of duty on this day in 1998.  House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement:

Today we remember Officer Jacob J. Chestnut and Detective John M. Gibson.   Sixteen years later, their loss is still deeply felt, particularly by their fellow officers, to whom we owe everything.  Their memory, however, remains a source of inspiration to us and to all Americans.  Our thoughts today are with their families, as we pray God will continue to grant them the same strength and courage that earned these men our eternal respect.”

NOTE: This morning, Speaker Boehner paused to honor Officer Chestnut and Detective Gibson at the Memorial Door, where they defended the Capitol against an armed gunman. 

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A Good-Faith Offer to Resolve the VA Conference

2014/07/24

America’s veterans deserve answers and accountability from the Obama administration, and Republicans are working to provide solutions.  While this president has steadfastly refused to offer a long-term plan to address the VA’s systemic problems, the House passed bipartisan VA reform and accountability legislation to help in the short term, and we’re ready to complete work on an agreement the president can sign. 

Republicans have made a number of good-faith offers over the last couple weeks, only to be rejected by Senate Democrats who are demanding more money and less accountability.  Today, they even refused to attend a public House-Senate conference committee meeting on VA reform, preferring instead to talk behind closed doors. 

Despite Senate Democrats’ boycott, Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL) outlined the GOP’s latest good-faith offer today:

“In the wake of the biggest scandal in the history of the Department of Veterans Affairs, I am committed to working in a bipartisan manner with the Senate to send the president a VA reform package that will increase accountability at the department and provide veterans facing unacceptable waits for VA medical care the option to receive private-sector treatment. But arriving at a compromise will be impossible if Senate Democrats refuse to even participate in Veterans’ Affairs Conference Committee meetings and negotiations as they did today.

“The crisis at VA is not a partisan problem, and I will do everything I can to prevent this from devolving into an exercise in the sort of bickering and name calling for which Washington has become infamous.

“Today, we presented a good-faith offer to our counterparts in the Senate. It’s essentially the Senate-passed VA reform bill with authorization for more medical facility leases and a more responsible funding stream that provides both an immediate $10 billion for VA and critical oversight of the department’s future funding needs. I am prepared keep negotiating for as long as it takes to reach a deal, and I hope Senate Democrats will work with me to address VA’s delays in care and accountability crises. In the meantime, America’s veterans and American taxpayers will be waiting.”

To read more about the GOP’s offer to resolve this matter, click here.

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Another Good Bill to Help Students In This Tough Economy

2014/07/24

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today touted House passage of H.R. 4984, the Empowering Students through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act, authored by Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Richard Hudson (R-NC):

“Our students deserve the best start, and the more we can do to provide them with the information they need to plan for the cost of higher education, the more security and opportunities they’ll have.  That’s why we’re sending to the Senate a bill that boosts financial literacy with counseling that is more thorough and more consistent.  By helping students make wise financial decisions, we’re not only helping them get ahead – we’re also securing a better future for our country.  Families and students can visit speaker.gov/jobs to learn more about what we’re working on to grow the middle class and expand opportunity for all.”  

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Democrats Flip-Flop on Fixing Border Crisis

2014/07/24

At first, President Obama and Democrats in Congress signaled they were open to working with Republicans seeking to address the humanitarian crisis at our southern border. They said they supported changing a 2008 law so that the process of returning children safely to their home countries could be accelerated. But the president and his team have apparently flip-flopped. Now they want billions in new spending, with no commitment to solving the problem.

Here’s what the Obama administration was saying just a few days ago, when they were for fixing the problem before they were against it:

President Obama

  • June 27: “The problem is that under current law, once those kids come across the border, there's a system in which we're supposed to process them, take care of them, until we can send them back.”
  • June 30: “[W]e are eager to work with the Congress to … provid[e] the [Department of Homeland Security] Secretary additional authority to exercise discretion in processing the return and removal of unaccompanied minor children from non-contiguous countries like Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.”
  • July 9: “[P]art of what we're looking [for] in the supplemental [bill] is some flexibility in terms of being able to preserve the due process rights of individuals who come in.”

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest

  • July 2: “[T]he President would like … for the Secretary of Homeland Security to have the discretion to act quickly to repatriate them.”
  • July 3: “[W]e have a good sense of what kinds of authorities that we would seek[.] … There are some challenges that are posed by the current law, this 2008 law[.] … What that greater authority would do is it would ensure that as these cases are being processed … they can be resolved more promptly … [and] the Secretary can exercise the discretion to promptly repatriate that person.
  • July 7: “Giving the Secretary of Homeland Security additional authority …. [is a] priority of this administration, and if you listen to the public comments of Democrats and Republican, it sounds like it’s a bipartisan priority. … What we are seeking is greater authority … that would allow the administration to act more quickly in some cases to return children from the country where they originated.”

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson

  • July 6: “The law requires that, when DHS identifies somebody as a child, as an unaccompanied child, we turn them over to The Department of Health and Human Services. … [Deportation] proceeding[s] can take some time. And so we're looking at options, added flexibility, to deal with the children in particular.”
  • July 10: “In terms of the change in law … we’re asking … for the ability to treat unaccompanied kids from the Central American countries in the same way we would someone from a contiguous country.”

The fact that the president and his party have backpedalled and changed their position – including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) – raises new questions about whether they are willing to solve the problem. As Speaker Boehner said, “I don’t believe the American people will support sending more money to the border unless both parties work together to address these policies and actually solve this problem.”

Here’s what several surveys show:

  • “[T]he percentage of Americans citing immigration as the top problem has surged to 17% this month, up from 5% in June, and the highest seen since 2006.” (Gallup)
  • More than half of adults “(53%) think that the legal process for dealing with Central American children who cross the border illegally should be accelerated[.]” (Pew Research Center)
  • “59% of Likely U.S. Voters believe the primary focus of any new immigration legislation passed by Congress should be to send the young illegal immigrants back home as quickly as possible.” (Rasmussen)

From jobs and the economy to the border crisis, House Republicans have made the American people’s priorities our priorities. While blocking any real solution, Democrats want a blank check so they can spend billions more.

The sad truth is that their flip-flop is all about appeasing their extreme political base at the expense of American taxpayers and the border patrol officials who are just trying to do their job.

Yesterday, Speaker Boehner sent a letter to President Obama, asking him to show “strong, public support” for improving the 2008 law. “Working together, we can help provide crucial humanitarian relief, and work to secure our nation’s borders.” All it takes is leadership.

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Boehner: “No Blank Check for the President and His Allies”

2014/07/24

WASHINGTON, DC – At his weekly press briefing today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) reiterated that the president will not get the blank check he is seeking to address the crisis at the southern border.  Following are excerpts of Boehner’s remarks: 

“I want to thank Kay Granger and Hal Rogers for putting together some thoughtful recommendations on how to address the humanitarian crisis at the border.  We’re continuing to discuss these issues with our members and looking at those recommendations. 

“But the process has been hampered by the contradictory messages being sent by the White House about the president’s willingness to solve the problem. 

You know, the administration started earlier this month by signaling some openness to changes in the 2008 law to accelerate the process of returning these children to their home countries.  The president called for this change, the Secretary of Homeland Security called for this change, and other administration officials have called for this change.  Now, the president and his team have apparently flip-flopped.  Now they want billions in new spending, with no commitment to actually solving the problem.

We see a similar situation with the scandal at the VA.  Bipartisan, bicameral negotiations were making good progress until the White House began demanding more money, with no accountability and no strings attached. 

“I want to be clear: there’s going to be no blank check for the president and his allies.  Some in Washington may view every new crisis as an opportunity to demand more taxpayer dollars, but the American people don’t see it that way.  They want solutions.

“And I’m still hopeful that common ground can be found.  But common ground must start by listening to the American people.  And if forced between the priorities of the Democrat-controlled Washington and the priorities of the American people, my colleagues and I will stand with the American people every time.” 

NOTE: In a letter to the White House yesterday, Speaker Boehner urged President Obama to publicly reiterate his support for changes to the 2008 law, writing that “it is difficult to see how we can make progress on this issue without strong, public support from the White House for much-needed reforms - including changes to the 2008 law.”  Read the full letter here.

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The Worst Recovery in the President’s Lifetime

2014/07/24

WASHINGTON, DC – Middle-class families are struggling through the worst economic recovery in decades, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said today, noting that, five years into the so-called ‘recovery,’ Americans continue facing higher costs, lower wages, and weaker job prospects.  Following are excerpts of Boehner’s remarks:

“You know, Americans are still asking ‘where are the jobs?’  And as the so-called Obama ‘recovery’ turns five this week, I think it’s worth assessing where we are.

“Simply put, the president’s recovery is the worst economic recovery in the president’s own lifetime. 

“A record number of people are unemployed or have left the workforce.  More have left the workforce than have found new jobs.  Incomes for American families have declined under this president, while the cost of everything from gas to groceries has gone up.

“We can do better.  Republicans are listening to the American people, and we’re focused on jobs.  This week we’re sending more jobs bills to the Democrat-controlled Senate.  I think it’s time for the president to break the Senate gridlock, so we can deliver more solutions to middle-class American families.”

 

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Boehner’s Cincinnati To-Do List for the Vice President

2014/07/24

With the Vice President in Cincinnati today to talk about unemployment, Speaker Boehner took the opportunity to offer up a quick list of things to do in the Queen City.  This is from the Speaker’s OH-08 blog:

In this video message, Congressman John Boehner welcomes Vice President Biden to Cincinnati, reminding the vice president that Washington could learn a lot from the Republican economic solutions that are working in Ohio.

Boehner also asks the vice president to call on his party to work with House Republicans on dozens of House-passed jobs bills that would do things like expand energy production and rein in government red tape.

The video transcript is as follows:

Let me take this opportunity to welcome the Vice President to Cincinnati. 

A quick to-do list for him:

#1: Talk to some of our employers and local leaders about the turnaround we’re seeing in Ohio.  Our state is a model for what we can accomplish when we lower taxes, balance the budget, and fix our education system. We should be doing this in Washington, DC, too.  We should be getting our government out of the way. 

That’s why #2 is: call on his party to work with us to address unemployment and make a real difference for working families.  Let’s work together on expanding energy production, reining in red tape, and lowering health care costs.

And #3: Be smart, Mr. Vice President, and make a stop for some of our famous chili.

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"SHAMEFUL": Speaker Boehner on Senate Democrats' Refusal to Show Up for Public VA Talks

2014/07/24

WASHINGTON, DC -- House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement after Senate Democrats refused to attend a public House-Senate conference committee meeting on VA reform:

“In the wake of the shocking scandal at the Veterans Administration, the House passed a bipartisan VA reform and accountability bill, and we’re ready to complete work on an agreement the president can sign.  Unfortunately, Senate Democrats refused to even show up and discuss bipartisan solutions, preferring instead to talk behind closed doors.  That is shameful.  If President Obama cares about America’s veterans, he needs to pick up his phone out in California and tell Senate Democrats to get to work.”

Seats reserved for Senate Democrats remain empty at today's public conference meeting on #VAaccountabilitypic.twitter.com/1KMFOCPHX3

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) July 24, 2014
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What A Story: Abigail Rose Beutler & Dr. Jessica Bienstock

2014/07/23

Abigail Rose Beutler is a baby who was not supposed to live.  No other child with Potter’s Syndrome had.  But Dr. Jessica Bienstock at Johns Hopkins Hospital was willing to try an unconventional procedure, and Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) and her husband, Daniel, now have a happy, healthy one-year old. 

So it was a special moment earlier today when Abigail & Dr. Bienstock were reunited – in the House chamber of all places.  Speaker Boehner paused House business to welcome them:    

“Let me take this opportunity to recognize a special guest who is in our nation’s capital today.

“Dr. Jessica Bienstock is the Residency Program Director for the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

“In her career, she has delivered nearly 1,000 babies.  One of them is well-known to us, and she is Abigail Rose Beutler, who of course is the daughter of our friend…

“We’re all familiar with Abigail’s story, and the odds that she overcame.

“If she is a happy, healthy miracle, Dr. Bienstock is the miracle worker who helped give the gift of hope and life to this family.

“I think our House owes a debt of gratitude to her and to all of our doctors, nurses and medical professionals.”

Read more about Abigail’s story here

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Helping More Americans Get the Education They Need to Compete for Jobs

2014/07/23

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement today commending House passage of H.R. 4983 and H.R. 3136, the first in a series of bills the House is acting on this week to make post-secondary education more accessible and affordable:

“It’s hard enough for anyone to get ahead in this economy, but for those without a post-secondary education, the odds of making it are even tougher.  That’s why we’re working to help more Americans get the tools they need to plan for their future and make college more affordable.  Granting schools the flexibility to innovate and implement competency-based programs, which will allow students to save time and money, is an important step in that direction.  Both of these bills passed with overwhelming, bipartisan support and provide another opportunity for Senate Democrats to work with us to help more Americans who are still asking the question, ‘where are the jobs?’  President Obama should call on his party’s leaders in the Senate to act on these common-sense proposals, and the dozens of other House-passed jobs bills they are blocking.”

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All The President’s Missing Hard Drives

2014/07/23

Have you seen these hard drives? http://t.co/alXdkWdDP6 pic.twitter.com/n9HBpg0Isq

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) July 23, 2014

Why is it that whenever there are questions surrounding the Obama administration’s actions, emails and hard drives go missing and computers miraculously crash?

It’s not just one careless agency. It’s not just a couple isolated incidents:

  • A Federal Election Commission (FEC) attorney who engaged in partisan political activities while on the job admitted to violating the Hatch Act and agreed to resign. But when “the FEC's Office of Inspector General began the process of filing criminal charges … it found that the agency had destroyed her computer's hard drive before it could be seized.” (Daily Mail)
  • Environmenal Protection Agency (EPA) "Administrator Gina McCarthy confirmed to the House Oversight Committee … that her staff is unable to provide lawmakers all of the documents they have requested … because of a 2010 computer crash.” (The Hill)
  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) claims to have lost emails belonging to former official Lois Lerner after her hard drive crashed, as well as “six other IRS employees whose hard drives had also crashed. One of those six employees was particularly important: Nikole Flax, who had worked as chief of staff to the former head of the IRS. Flax was known to be involved in discussions about the tea party targeting.” (CNN)
  • IRS Deputy Associate Chief Counsel Thomas Kane testified last week that “less than 20” additional IRS officials “have had computer problems over the course of the period covered by the investigations and the chairman’s subpoena.” (Committee on Oversight and Government Reform)

As the investigation into the IRS’s targeting of conservatives continues, more inconsistencies are being discovered. This is hardly surprising, given that the agency and its defenders haven’t always told the truth or been eager to apologize.

Democrats like to pretend this is a “phony scandal,” but the Obama administration’s convenient data losses have even drawn questions from objective observers like the International Association of Information Technology Asset Managers. Check out all six of their questions about the IRS’s missing emails here.

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Boehner Letter: Does The White House Still Support Changing The 2008 Law?

2014/07/23

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) sent a letter to President Obama today asking him to publicly reiterate his support for much-needed changes to the 2008 law that created disparate treatment for migrants from nations other than Mexico and Canada. 

Read the entire letter here, and below:

Mr. President,

House Republicans have been clear that we want to work with you to help the victims of the terrible humanitarian crisis at our southern border – particularly the children, who have been cruelly duped into making a perilous journey. 

Our Appropriations Committee is continuing to review your supplemental request.  But, as I have said many times, the American people will not support providing additional money unless you work with both parties to address the causes of this tragedy. 

Earlier today, our Border Security working group – led by Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas) – briefed our Conference on recommended policy changes to address this crisis. One of their key recommendations is changing the 2008 law which created the disparate treatment for migrants from nations other than Mexico and made it more difficult to resolve this crisis.

In your letter to Congress on June 30, 2014, you said you supported “providing the DHS Secretary additional authority to exercise discretion in processing the return and removal of unaccompanied minor children from non-contiguous countries like Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.”  On July 9, at an event in Texas, you said: “Last week, I sent a letter to Congress asking them to … give us flexibility to move migrants through the system faster.” 

After these public statements, and similar comments from other administration officials, we were surprised that you did not include these changes in your formal supplemental request.  Worse, in recent days, senior congressional leaders in your own political party have backpedalled and voiced unswerving opposition to any changes at all. 

Frankly, it is difficult to see how we can make progress on this issue without strong, public support from the White House for much-needed reforms, including changes to the 2008 law. 

I hope you will take the earliest possible opportunity to voice your continued support for common-sense efforts to stem the flow of children to our border.  Working together, we can help provide crucial humanitarian relief, and work to secure our nation’s borders. 

Thank you,

John A. Boehner

Speaker of the House

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“Big Strides”: House’s #OpenGov Reforms Draw Bipartisan Praise

2014/07/23

The House is becoming more open and transparent thanks in part to “an official House leadership operation that’s relentlessly digital,” POLITICO reports today.

The story – in addition to looking at the great work being done by the House Republican Conference under Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) – delves into how the House is leading the way on open government.  There’s even praise from an unlikely source.  Check it out:

“Both the House GOP and Democrats have actually made big strides when it comes to using technology on the official front, often moving in bipartisan fashion in the name of institutional change and greater transparency. …

“Working together, for example, the House in 2012-13 adopted new transparency standards that allowed for the bulk data release of the U.S. Code, as well as legislation and floor summaries — a critical change that has helped fuel the Sunlight Foundation’s OpenCongress.org and other third-party sites that can turn the information into a more user-friendly experience.  Members can also now bring their tablets, smartphones and other electronic devices onto the floor.  And they can use their official funds to buy ads on Facebook and Twitter so long as they are designed to increase their followers, something that’s still prohibited in the Senate.

The GOP leadership team deserves credit ‘for engaging in a variety of positive developments with regard to new media usage in the House,’ said Faiz Shakir, digital director for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who previously held the same job for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).  ‘I think in general some of these developments have even outpaced where the Senate has been able to go,’ Shakir said.

These innovations go well with the reforms Speaker Boehner has made to open up the legislative process, with the minority being able to offer more amendments and more debate occurring under open rules.

All of this adds up to more scrutiny, which means more accountability and more of a say for the people we serve.  We have more strides to make, of course, and we’ll be keeping at it.     

To learn more, visit speaker.gov/open.

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President Must Press Senate Democrats to Act on Jobs Bills

2014/07/23

WASHINGTON, DC – At a press conference with Republican leaders today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) kept the pressure on President Obama to do his part to break the logjam in the Democratic-controlled Senate, where dozens of House-passed jobs bills are collecting dust.  Following are excerpts of Boehner’s remarks:  

“House Republicans have made the American people’s priorities our priorities.

“Yesterday, the president signed into law the SKILLS Act that would make job training, retraining programs more accessible to more Americans.  This week we’ll work on two pieces of the Higher Education Act which will help Americans get … more access to higher education. 

“But the president needs to work with us and, if he really wants to help, he’ll pick up the phone and call Senate Democrats who have over 40 jobs bills sitting in the United States Senate as passed by the House. … As a matter of fact, there are 321 House-passed bills that are sitting in the United States Senate.  It’s time for Senate Democrats to act.”

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Dems Using Our Lines; Maybe They’ll Embrace Our Ideas Too

2014/07/23

Would you look at that?  Senate Democrats have a new rallying cry: “Bring Jobs Home.”  We like it. 

We liked it two years ago when Speaker Boehner called on those same Senate Democrats to pass a bill to “Help Bring Jobs Home.”

We liked it in November 2012 when Speaker Boehner said at a press conference, “we can bring jobs home and make our economy stronger.”

We liked it in February 2013 when Speaker Boehner wrote about how we can “act on solutions that bring jobs home and get our economy moving again.”

We liked it in June 2013 when the Speaker gave a whole speech about the need for “more incentives to bring jobs home and keep ideas and resources here.”

We liked it in March 2014 when the Speaker said on the House floor, “developing our own resources doesn’t just bring jobs home; it strengthens America abroad. “

And we liked it so much that we made it the title of our weekly address in May and last Saturday too.  

Yes, we’ve been trying to bring jobs home for quite a while now.  How’s it going?  Well, it could be going a whole lot better if Senate Democrats would quit blocking our jobs bills.

That’s the thing: we’re fine with Democrats using our lines, but we’d much rather see them embrace our ideas.

If they really want to bring jobs home, they’ll help us expand American energy production, eliminate barriers to trade, strengthen our education system, and rein in the red tape factory, among other things. 

Surely this would be a better use of time than searching for a message to freshen up a stale agenda that – speaking of taglines – has many still asking, ‘where are the jobs?

To learn more, visit speaker.gov/jobs

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There She Is, Miss America

2014/07/23

Nina Davuluri, Miss America 2014, stopped by the Speaker’s office yesterday.  Along with her other duties as Miss America, Nina is working to raise awareness about the importance of education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).  A few months ago, Speaker Boehner announced the 8th District winners for the first-annual Congressional STEM Competition.  

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Top 10 Bipartisan Jobs Bills Blocked by Senate Democrats

2014/07/22

Under the control of Senate Democrats, “The Senate went three months this spring without voting on a single legislative amendment, the nitty-gritty kind of work usually at the heart of congressional lawmaking,” The Washington Post reports. “So few bills have been approved this year, and so little else has gotten done, that many senators say they are spending most of their time on insignificant and unrewarding work.”

Check out the stats. Even Democrats have complained about the Senate’s obstruction, and one actually said he was “furious.” When President Obama tried to blame Republicans, his rhetoric didn’t match reality and fact-checkers called him out for it, noting the dozens of jobs bills listed on speaker.gov/jobs that Senate  Democrats are currently blocking.

Here are just 10 of them, ranked in order of bipartisan support:

  • The Hire More Heroes Act (H.R. 3474) passed the House on March 11, 2014, with support from 183 Democrats. The Senate has done nothing.
  • The Success and Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Act (H.R. 10) passed the House on May 9, 2014, with support from 158 Democrats. The Senate has done nothing.
  • The Innovation Act (H.R. 3309) passed the House on December 5, 2013, with support from 130 Democrats. The Senate has done nothing.
  • The Cybersecurity Information Sharing and Protection Act (H.R. 624) passed the House on April 18, 2013, with support from 92 Democrats. The Senate has done nothing.
  • The American Research and Competitiveness Act (H.R. 4438) passed the House on May 9, 2014, with support from 62 Democrats. The Senate has done nothing.
  • The America's Small Business Tax Relief Act (H.R. 4457) passed the House on June 12, 2014, with support from 53 Democrats. The Senate has done nothing.
  • The Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act (H.R. 6) passed the House on June 25, 2014, with support from 46 Democrats. The Senate has done nothing.
  • The S Corporation Permanent Tax Relief Act (H.R. 4453) passed the House on June 12, 2014, with support from 42 Democrats. The Senate has done nothing.
  • The Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act (H.R. 2218) passed the House on July 25, 2013, with support from 39 Democrats. The Senate has done nothing.
  • The Small Business Capital Access and Job Preservation Act (H.R. 1105) passed the House on December 4, 2013, with support from 36 Democrats. The Senate has done nothing.

“These are just a few of the examples of what Republicans are working on to foster more economic growth and more job creation in our country,” Speaker Boehner said last week. “For the nearly four years of our majority, Republicans have stayed focused on the economy and on jobs. We’ve listened to the American people. Their priorities are our priorities.”

Instead of focusing on things like restricting religious freedom, the Democrats who run the Senate should follow the House’s lead and pass these jobs bills.

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Bipartisan Jobs Bill Becomes Law; More Work to Do

2014/07/22

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement after President Obama signed H.R. 803, bipartisan workforce development reform based on the House’s SKILLS Act, authored by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC):

“The signing of this bill is good news for people trying to find a job.  Eliminating programs that aren’t working and providing flexibility to the states will make it easier for more Americans to develop the right skills in today’s job market.  This is just getting government out of the way so our workers can get ahead.

“What these reforms also show is what we can achieve when we listen to the people and make their priorities ours.  The president says he’s willing to work with us, and by passing dozens of jobs bills, we’ve provided no shortage of opportunities for him to do just that.  If he’s serious, he’ll help us break the logjam in his party’s Senate and make more progress for Americans still asking ‘where are the jobs?’”

 

 

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Another Court Rules Against President Obama's Unilateral Actions

2014/07/22

WASHINGTON, DC - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit announced its decision in Halbig v. Burwell, which centered on the legality of subsidies offered under the Affordable Care Act:

“For the second time in a month, the courts have ruled against the president’s unilateral actions regarding ObamaCare.  The president has demonstrated he believes he has the power to make his own laws.  That’s not the way our system of government was designed to work.  That’s why the House will act next week to authorize a lawsuit to uphold the rule of law and protect our Constitution.  This isn't about Republicans versus Democrats; it’s about the Constitution versus unconstitutional and unilateral actions by the Executive Branch, and protecting our democracy. 

“Today’s ruling is also further proof that President Obama’s health care law is completely unworkable.  It cannot be fixed.  The American people recognize that ObamaCare is hurting our economy and making it harder for small businesses to hire, and that’s why Republicans remain committed to repealing the law and replacing it with solutions that will lower health care costs and protect American jobs.”

NOTE: Information about the House's lawsuit to protect the Constitution can be found here.

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This Week: Jobs Bills to Improve Education Access & Affordability

2014/07/22

For young Americans facing a tight job market, the cost of forgoing a post-secondary education has never been higher, according to a Pew Research Center survey.  “On virtually every measure of economic well-being and career attainment—from personal earnings to job satisfaction to the share employed full time—young college graduates are outperforming their peers with less education.”   But the growing price tag of a college education – up 27 percent for public four-year institutions and 29 for public two-year institutions over the past five years – is putting a degree too far out of reach for many middle-class families. 

Americans’ priorities are our priorities, and making post-secondary education more accessible and affordable is one of the most important things we can do to support hardworking families and fuel economic growth.  Here’s a look at the solutions we’ll be advancing this week to help address the cost of education and provide students with the foundation they need to compete in today’s job market:

Today, President Obama will sign bipartisan, bicameral legislation to improve and streamline job training programs, connecting more Americans with the skills they need to fill the 4.6 million jobs that are available today.  It’s an important step toward helping more families get back on their feet, and an example of what we can accomplish when Senate Democrats work across the aisle, and across the Capitol, to get something done.  The bills we’ll pass this week represent another area of common ground, and Senate Democrats ought to take them up and pass them as well, along with the many other bipartisan, House-passed jobs bills awaiting action.

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Speaker Boehner Congratulates “Piano Man” Billy Joel on Library of Congress Gershwin Prize Honor

2014/07/22

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement following the announcement by Librarian of Congress James Billington that singer/songwriter/composer Billy Joel will be the next recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song:

"Awarded by our government’s oldest cultural institution, the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song honors artists whose work has left a lasting impact on audiences and inspired new generations of performers.  I’m very pleased this year's prize will go to Mr. William Martin Joel.

"A self-described 'Cold War kid' who came to be the legendary ‘Piano Man,’ Billy Joel’s songbook reads like a map of the human heart and the American experience.  His is the work of a storyteller who grew up on rock and roll and the Beatles, and got his start working at piano bars to help his mother out.  He took his influences and experiences on post-World War II Long Island, and along with Phil Ramone and a band of brilliant musicians, created some of the most enduring hits of the late 20th century.  Who can forget him electrifying the crowds in Moscow and Leningrad in 1987, bridging the gap between the American and Russian peoples in his signature way.  The man makes great music, and we are grateful for his contributions. 

“One of the world’s most beloved singer-songwriters, Billy’s songs are an essential part of American pop music, making him a fine choice for the Gershwin Prize.  On behalf of the House, I congratulate him on this well-earned honor.”

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Boehner Statement on Humanitarian Crisis at the Southern Border

2014/07/21

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement on the national security and humanitarian crisis at the southern border:

“Republicans have made clear that we support efforts to take care of these children, return them safely to families in their home countries, and secure the border.  As promised, our border working group, led by Rep. Kay Granger, has conducted an extensive review of the crisis, and will present recommendations to our conference this week.  In addition, Chairman Rogers and the House Appropriations Committee have reviewed the administration’s supplemental request and will be presenting the results of that review.  We look forward to reviewing the recommendations of our members, and charting a path forward.

“In order to resolve this crisis in a timely manner, however, the White House must engage both parties on constructive solutions.  After first supporting common-sense changes to the 2008 law that is making it more difficult to resolve this crisis, the White House backpedalled and failed to include those changes in its formal request to Congress.  Meanwhile, many Democrats in Congress have reversed themselves and now say no changes to the 2008 law are acceptable.  As I said last week, I don’t believe the American people will support sending more money to the border unless both parties work together to address these policies and actually solve this problem.  The lack of leadership from this White House, and President Obama’s refusal to stand up to critics in his own political party, are jeopardizing our ability to find common ground and help the kids who are caught in the middle of this crisis.”

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45th Anniversary of the First Moon Landing

2014/07/20

Today marks the 45th anniversary of the first moon landing by Apollo 11.  That mission was a great feat for humanity, and in November 2011, Speaker Boehner and leaders of the House and Senate held a Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony to honor the astronauts who paved the way for a ‘new frontier.’  Three of those honored were the Apollo 11 astronauts: Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin.  At the ceremony, the Speaker reflected on a comment from Michael Collins, in which Collins spoke of their accomplishment as having done their job, though they did not see themselves as heroes.  Speaker Boehner said:

“When Americans take on our work with humility and dedication, there is truly nothing we can’t accomplish. We can do anything if we humble ourselves… if we have the right stuff.  Gentlemen, heroes or not, yours were heroic acts.”

Read more from the Speaker’s speech here

Shortly after the lunar module, named the Eagle, had landed, President Nixon called to congratulate the astronauts.  It was Armstrong’s response that encapsulated what this achievement meant and how much it still means to humanity:

“It’s a great honor and privilege for us to be here representing not only the United States but men of peace of all nations, men with interests and a curiosity and men with a vision for the future.”

In August 2012, when Armstrong passed away, Speaker Boehner said:

“A true hero has returned to the Heavens to which he once flew.  Neil Armstrong blazed trails not just for America, but for all of mankind.  He inspired generations of boys and girls worldwide not just through his monumental feat, but with the humility and grace with which he carried himself to the end.  Ohio has lost one of her proudest sons.  Humanity has gained a legend.”

We honor this legend and his comrades today.  

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Speaker’s Report: Focusing on Jobs, Defending the Constitution, and Taking a Moment

2014/07/19

JOBS ACCOUNTABILITY A MOMENT  

Finally, on Thursday, Speaker Boehner issued this brief statement following the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17:

“Many innocents were killed today.  It is horrifying, and we await the facts.  Right now, we should all take a moment to reflect, count our blessings, and convey our prayers to the loved ones of the victims.”

 

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Challenging President Obama to Break the Gridlock

2014/07/19

Here’s this week’s Republican address, in which Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) challenges President Obama to help break the gridlock that has left dozens of jobs bills stalled in his party’s Senate. Take a look

GOP: Democrats ‘hold our economy hostage’ by blocking jobs bills.  … Expanding domestic energy production is the ‘best way’ to invigorate the American economy, incoming House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., said Saturday in the weekly Republican address, but the ‘Democrats running Washington don't seem to get it.’  … Every time Democrats ‘say no’ to projects like Keystone, Scalise said Saturday, ‘they hold our economy hostage, and with it, our chance to make sure our kids will have that same shot at the American Dream.’  But despite the gridlock in some areas, the president said in his own address on Saturday, Congress has taken some "good steps" on job training and infrastructure improvements in recent days.” (CBS News, 7/19/14)

Scalise delivers weekly Republican speech promoting more energy production.  … Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, used his own life story to make the case that opportunity in the private sector, rather than big government, is the answer for America's economic problems. … It followed Scalise's favorite themes -- that the private sector, and specifically the energy industry, can boost opportunities for Americans -- if government gets out of the way.” (The Times-Picayune, 7/19/14)

Rep. Scalise: Obama Must Push Dems to Pass Jobs Bills.  … The president says he can make things happen with a pen and a phone, but he should ‘put down the pen he uses to rewrite laws’ and ‘pick up the phone’ to call on Democrats to pass jobs bills, Louisiana Republican Rep. Steve Scalise said Saturday. … Scalise touted his upbringing that taught him to ‘work hard, play by the rules and never give up.’ (Newsmax, 7/19/14)

GOP slams ‘pen and phone’ strategy.  Scalise, the former leader of the conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC), called on Obama to pressure the Democratically led Senate to adopt more bills that have been passed by the House.  … ‘Every time they say no — every time they pick their interests over yours — they hold our economy hostage, and with it, our chance to make sure our kids will have the same shot at the American dream,’ Scalise said in the GOP's regular weekly address.” (The Hill, 7/19/14)

Obama Must ‘Put Down The Pen’ and ‘Pick Up The Phone’ … In this week's Republican Address, Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana, discussed the importance of bipartisan jobs bills, blaming Congressional Democrats for blocking ‘bill after bill.’” (ABC News Radio, 7/19/14)

“But Rep. Steve Scalise, Louisiana Republican and incoming House majority whip, told Mr. Obama to ‘put down your pen and phone’ used for executive actions and to urge Senate Democrats to stop blocking the GOP's measures to help the economy. He said Mr. Obama and congressional Democrats

should support efforts such as building the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which has been stalled by the administration.  ‘Democrats running Washington don't seem to get it,’ Mr. Scalise said in the Republicans' weekly address. ‘They block bill after bill that would expand energy production, would lower gas prices, and create jobs. There are nearly 300 House-passed bills collecting dust in the Senate today – more than 40 of them specifically focused on creating jobs.’” (The Washington Times, 7/19/14)

“In the Republican address, Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana says Obama should encourage Senate Democrats to pass House-approved bills to put Americans back to work.” (Associated Press, 7/19/14) 

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Weekly Republican Address: Hard Work & Working Together to Bring Jobs Home

2014/07/18

WASHINGTON, DC – Delivering the Weekly Republican Address, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) talks about Republicans’ focus on jobs, the importance of hard work, and standing ready to work with the president to break the gridlock that has left dozens of House-passed jobs bills stalled in the Democratic-run Senate.  Scalise, who represents Louisiana’s First District, is the incoming House Majority Whip.

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

Remarks of Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana Weekly Republican Address The Old Hall of the House of Representatives July 19, 2014

Good morning, I’m Steve Scalise, representative of Louisiana’s First Congressional District and incoming House Majority Whip.

I’m speaking to you from the Old House Chamber, the same room where Abraham Lincoln once served as a member of Congress. 

I’m just steps from where House Republicans are working to build a stronger economy and a better future.

This is certainly a long way from Jefferson, Louisiana -- a town on the banks of the Mississippi where my wife Jennifer and I are raising our two young children. 

I’d like to talk to you today about something near and dear to me, and that’s hard work.

Only in America, can a boy born in a single-room cabin in rural Kentucky work hard and become the 16th President of the United States.

And only in America, can the great-grandson of an Italian immigrant who came to the United States as an indentured servant, work hard and be elected by his colleagues to serve as the Majority Whip of the House of Representatives.

Because of my great-grandparents’ sacrifices, I was born into a middle-class family in New Orleans. 

Growing up, I was taught the value of hard work.

I worked at Home Depot to pay my way through LSU, where I became the first in my family to graduate college. 

From an early age, I was taught that this is just what you do – work hard, play by the rules and never give up. 

It’s what’s made America the greatest country on Earth.

That’s a lesson Democrats in Washington don’t seem to understand. 

They think every problem can be solved by raising taxes and borrowing money we don’t have to grow an already bloated federal government.

And where has this gotten us? 

On the president’s watch, the number of Americans age 16 and over who are not working has jumped to a record 92 million.

That’s about 10 million more Americans not working than when President Obama took the oath of office.

Hard-working taxpayers know we can do better. 

Because when Americans work hard, there’s nothing we can’t accomplish. 

Here’s an example.

If you look at the regions in the country with the lowest unemployment rates, many have energy-based economies. 

I’m proud to represent one of them -- the Houma-Thibodaux area, which boasts a 3.7 percent unemployment rate.

In Southeast Louisiana, someone can graduate high-school and get an entry-level job making over $60,000 a year producing American energy. 

American energy brings billions into our economy, increases our nation’s energy security, and helps lower gas prices at the pump. 

The American people know energy is the best way to jumpstart our economy.  

But Democrats running Washington don’t seem to get it.

They block bill after bill that would expand energy production, would lower gas prices, and create jobs.

As a matter of fact, there are nearly 300 House-passed bills collecting dust in the Senate today – more than 40 of them specifically focused on creating jobs.

These include popular bipartisan projects like the Keystone XL pipeline – something the president’s own administration says will create 40,000 jobs.

Washington Democrats have said no to legislation to rein in the size of government, no to fix our broken tax code, and no to lower health care costs…

Every time they say no – every time they pick their interests over yours – they hold our economy hostage, and with it, our chance to make sure our kids will have that same shot at the American Dream.

The president likes to say he can makes things happen with a pen and a phone.

Well, what will it be, Mr. President?

Will you put down the pen and stop trying to rewrite laws you don’t like, and instead pick up the phone and call on Senate Democrats to get to work passing those good bipartisan jobs bills?

Will you help us make real progress, or will you sit by and encourage more gridlock and more politics as usual?

It’s your call.

We stand ready to work with you to solve our nation’s problems.

In the meantime, we’ll be here in the House continuing to work hard for the American people.

Thank you for listening.

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Rep. Steve Scalise to Deliver the Weekly Republican Address

2014/07/18

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has selected Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) to deliver the Weekly Republican Address on Saturday, July 19.  Scalise, who represents Louisiana’s First District, is the incoming House Majority Whip.  His address will focus on jobs and the economy.

“The strength of Republicans is that we’re the party of big ideas,” Rep. Scalise said. “Our nation is facing some big challenges, and House Republicans are working hard to deliver solutions that will create jobs and get our economy back on track so we can preserve the American Dream for our children and grandchildren.”

The Weekly Republican Address will be available starting tomorrow, Saturday, July 19, 2014, at 6:00 am ET on Speaker.gov and GOP.gov

 

 

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10 Things About Jobs We Didn’t Get To Cover This Week

2014/07/18

Our focus on jobs continued this week as the House acted to prevent highway projects from shutting down and ban Internet taxes forever.

The Speaker also signed another bipartisan jobs bill, this one to help clean up an abandoned mine and create thousands of jobs in Nevada.

Actually, the House covered so much ground on jobs this week that there are some things we didn’t get to talk about.  Here are some of them:

  • On Monday, the House approved the STEM Education Act of 2014, which strengthens ongoing science, technology, engineering, and math education efforts.  “A healthy and viable STEM workforce, literate in all STEM subjects including computer science, is critical to American industries,” Science, Space, and Technology Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) said. 
  • On Tuesday, Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Upton (R-MI) unveiled the details of his Architecture of Abundance energy policy vision, which is all about bringing jobs home and growing our economy.  
  •  On Wednesday, the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee passed three bills to boost certainty for workers and businesses, including the Coal Jobs Protection Act, which its author, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), calls “a critical step in fighting back against this administration’s anti-coal policies and holding the EPA accountable.”
  • Also on Wednesday, the Budget Committee held a hearing to discuss the CBO’s long-term budget outlook.  “Our national debt is already bigger than our economy—and yet it’s going to get bigger,” Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) said.  “We need to expand opportunity for everyone in this country, and we can start by getting the budget under control.”
  • On Thursday, the leaders of the Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Democratic leaders in the Senate calling for passage of bipartisan patent litigation reform.  “These important actions,” they wrote, “will help fuel the engine of American innovation and creativity, creating new jobs and growing our economy.”
  • Meanwhile, the Ways & Means Committee continues to list the reasons for passing our jobs bills: Reason #15: Democrats’ Stimulus Didn’t Reduce Unemployment Like They Promised; Reason #14: The U.S. Economy Shrank in the First Quarter of 2014; Reason #13: Worst “Recovery” Ever for GDP Growth.
  • The great state of Ohio added 12,700 jobs last month.  As the Speaker has said, Ohio is a model for how low taxes, balanced budgets and education reform can help expand opportunity and promote growth.
  • The House Republican Conference re-introduced Schoolhouse Rock star Bill earlier this week, and apparently you can find him – where else? – sitting on Sen. Harry Reid’s desk.
  • Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) laid out why the EPA’s overreach needs to be stopped.  “Higher costs, more confusion and economic stagnation are all on the way unless the EPA is stopped,” he wrote.  “It’s time to close the flood gates on this administration.”
  • And next week, the House will take up three bipartisan education bills to support innovation, strengthen the transparency of college data, and enhance financial aid counseling.

As always, learn more at speaker.gov/jobs.

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What The VA Really Needs

2014/07/18

At the core of the Veterans Affairs (VA) scandal is a lack of accountability for managers and employees, a fact made even more clear every time a new report of mismanagement and abuse surfaces.

In May, the department’s Inspector General confirmed the systemic problems that Republicans had warned about. That same month, the House passed the VA Management Accountability Act, but Senate Democrats blocked the bill. When President Obama accepted the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, House Republican leaders sent the president a letter reiterating that one change at the top would not stop the misconduct happening nationwide.

After a forced audit, the VA admitted more than 57,000 veterans are still waiting for their first doctor appointment. Others already died. Secret waiting lists hid these facts, ensuring veterans’ medical needs were buried safely out of sight, so that “Every senior VA executive was rated ‘fully successful’ or better over four years.” Whistleblowers who tried to speak out and stop the abuse have been harassed, intimidated, and fired. The cover-ups allowed nearly 300 top managers to collect “merit bonuses totaling more than $2.7 million last year,” and 21 top VA executives to collect “the maximum merit bonuses of $12,579 in 2013.” Additionally, the VA knowingly continues to overpay staff, costing many more millions of dollars.

While no care has proved deadly for veterans, so has the VA’s poor care. According to a new report, there were “more than 500 incidents last year where patients were gravely injured or died as a result of the care they received.”

Under this growing cloud of deception and incompetence, acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson testified before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee yesterday, saying the department needs $17,600,000,000 in new money – that’s $17.6 billion more from taxpayers – in order to do the right thing for veterans.

But Veterans groups, newspaper editorial boards, and even some Democrats all agree: funding is not the issue.

Just look at how the VA’s budget has increased during the Obama administration. As the president talked and talked and talked about fixing the VA, the department received the equivalent of a $17.6 billion increase nearly four times. Now it says it needs more.

Speaker Boehner has consistently said that President Obama must “give our veterans the world class health care system they deserve by articulating a vision for sweeping reform.” That’s the type of change that will bring accountability to the system and ensure veterans receive the care they’ve earned.

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The Speaker acts as leader of the House and combines several roles: the institutional role of presiding officer and administrative head of the House, the partisan role of leader of the majority party in the House, and the representative role of an elected Member of the House. By statute, the Speaker is also second in line, behind the Vice President, to succeed to the presidency.

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.