Speaker of the House

John Boehner

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

2015/07/27

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learn more at: toddyoung.house.gov/reins

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

2015/07/27

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

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

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

This report confirms three things:

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

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

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

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

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

READ MORE:

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

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Another Day. Another Common-Sense Law.

2015/07/27

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

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

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

Similar Stories: 

1. Not Pictured: The Ice-Bucket Challenge

2. More Good News: The Veterans ID Card Act

3. This Doesn't Happen Anywhere Else in Government (Video)

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

2015/07/25

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But hindsight has not favored Clinton.

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

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“A Crucifix and a Photo of the Pope”

2015/07/24

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

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

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

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

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Boehner Statement on Secretary Clinton’s Emails Including Classified Information

2015/07/24

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2015/07/24

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

2015/07/23

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

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

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

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A Good News, Bad News Kind of Thing

2015/07/23

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

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

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

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

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Boehner on Next Week’s House Benghazi Hearing

2015/07/23

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

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

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

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Boehner on Iran: “Will America Be Safer?”

2015/07/23

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

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

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

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

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

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

2015/07/23

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

Click here to expand and read the letter.

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Something Positive For All Americans

2015/07/23

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

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

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

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

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

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

2015/07/22

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

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

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

2015/07/22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But here’s a key question: how much money does it take to make bad VA employees care about their patients? How much money does it take for them to be honest in their work? Apparently a lot – the VA has doled out millions of dollars in bonuses, but its employees are still engaged in wrongdoing. Of course, there’s virtually no accountability in the Obama administration: only two VA officials have been fired for their misdeeds.

As for funding, the VA’s budget has increased from $45 billion in 2000 to more than $153 billion today – an increase of 240 percent. From 2000 to 2013, medical care spending at the VA rose 193 percent while the number of VA patients increased only 68 percent. In less than five years, the VA spent half a billion dollars to upgrade conference rooms, buy draperies, and purchase new office furniture, and a Denver hospital construction project is more than $1 billion over budget and years behind schedule. Veterans groups, newspaper editorial boards, and even some Democrats all agree: funding is not the issue.

Those are the facts, but the president has never let them get in his way when it comes to shifting blame or covering up scandals. And last night, he also proselytized his faith in more funding as part of an absurd attempt to rewrite the indisputable history of the IRS scandal:

“I’ll give you an example: when there was that problem with the IRS. … [People said,] ‘Look, you have this back office, and they’re going after the tea party.’ Well, it turned out, no, Congress had passed a crummy law that didn’t give people guidance in terms of what it was they were trying to do. … But the truth of the matter is, is that there was not some big conspiracy there. They were trying to sort out these conflicting demands: you don’t want all this money pouring through not-for-profits, but you also want to make sure that everyone is being treated fairly. Now, the real scandal around the IRS right now is, is that it has been so poorly funded that … they cannot go after these folks who are deliberately avoiding tax payments.”

Here’s the truth:

  • The targeting was not directed by a “back office” in Cincinnati.

Lois Lerner was the Director of Exempt Organizations at the IRS in Washington, D.C. As The Wall Street Journal noted, “In a February 2011 email, Ms. Lerner advised her staff—including then Exempt Organizations Technical Manager Michael Seto and then Rulings and Agreements director Holly Paz—that a Tea Party matter is ‘very dangerous,’ and is something ‘Counsel and [Lerner adviser] Judy Kindell need to be in on.’ Ms. Lerner adds, ‘Cincy should probably NOT have these cases.’”

  • The targeting was not an innocent mistake due to a lack of “guidance.”

The Wall Street Journal has also debunked this “fairy tale,” writing: “The current rules governing 501(c)(4)s have existed, unchanged, since 1959. Prior to 2010 the IRS processed and approved tax-exempt applications in fewer than three months with no apparent befuddlement. The IRS hyper-scrutiny of conservative groups only began in 2010 amid the Obama Administration's larger political attack on political donors like the Koch brothers, and emails show that IRS officials were acutely aware of this political environment. … [A]pplications were routed through the offices of Mrs. Lerner and Obama-appointed IRS chief counsel William Wilkins, and long approval delays ensued.”

  • The targeting was a “big conspiracy.”

Merriam-Webster’s definition of a conspiracy is “the act of secretly planning to do something that is harmful or illegal,” which accurately describes IRS officials’ behavior. Senate Democrats urged the IRS to target conservative groups. Former IRS official Lois Lerner is a registered Democrat who referred to Republicans as “crazies” and “a—holes” in official emails, and she half-joked about going to work for President Obama’s political organization, Organizing For Action (OFA). Additionally, “a June 14, 2012 email from Treasury career attorney Ruth Madrigal to key IRS officials in the tax-exempt department, including former director Lois Lerner …. cites a blog post about the political activity of tax-exempt 501(c)(4) groups and reads: ‘Don't know who in your organizations [sic] is keeping tabs on c4s, but since we mentioned potentially addressing them (off-plan) in 2013, I've got my radar up and this seemed interesting,’” The Wall Street Journal explained. “The IRS typically puts out a public schedule of coming regulations, and [former Ways and Means Chairman Dave] Camp noted that in this case ‘off-plan’ appears to mean ‘hidden from the public.’” Lerner eventually invoked her Fifth Amendment right to not incriminate herself, and the investigation continues into whether she purposely destroyed her hard drive and any damning evidence.

  • The targeting did not involve liberal and conservative groups “being treated fairly.”

With the political allegiances of those involved in the scandal pretty obvious, it’s not a surprise that liberal groups were left alone. As PolitiFact concluded, “Yes, some progressive groups did have their tax-exempt status applications flagged as the IRS reviewed whether nonprofit groups were engaging in political activities. But it wasn’t to the same degree as tea party and other conservative groups, nor did it result in the same actions. The list targeting tea party groups resulted in delayed processing that in some cases lasted almost three years and inquiries into their donors. Further, the inspector general found tea party groups were systematically singled out as part of an office-wide effort, while progressive groups were not.”

  • The targeting was not due to a lack of resources.

Initially, Democrats attempted to justify the targeting by claiming that applications for (c)(4) status had increased dramatically, and that IRS staff was forced to create a system to deal with the influx. But the data show applications actually declined, as The Atlantic and The Chronicle of Philanthropy both pointed out.

  • The IRS has failed to prioritize customer service.

The IRS’s budget has been reduced significantly, and rightly so given its corrupt and possibly criminal behavior. But instead of managing resources appropriately, “it has prioritized worker bonuses, union activity and the implementation of President Obama’s health care law over assisting taxpayers during tax season.” Furthermore, as the Ways and Means Committee noted, “At the end of fiscal year 2014, the IRS estimated total tax delinquency was 3.12 percent for federal employees, representing over $3.5 billion owed in taxes.”

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Iran Needs to #FreeJason and all its Hostages Now

2015/07/22

One year ago today Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian was thrown in an Iranian prison.  While Jason remains in jail, his friends and family are determined as ever to bring him home.  This morning they announced plans to take their fight to free Jason to the United Nations’ Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.      

“For the past year, Jason has endured extensive physical mistreatment and psychological abuse, and we are deeply concerned for his welfare,” The Post’s publisher, Frederick J. Ryan Jr., said. “Jason is being deprived of his basic human rights, and we are asking the U.N. Working Group to render an opinion to Iran and the international community that Jason’s detention is unlawful and that he should be released immediately.”

The Obama administration repeatedly refused calls to secure the release of Jason and fellow Americans Saeed Abedini, Amir Hekmati, and Robert Levinson as part of a deal with Iran.  The White House stuck to that position – even as the Iranians demanded, and received, concessions lifting the arms and missile embargoes on Iran, and amnesty for terrorists.  

At a podium Friday that said “we will trample upon America,” Iran’s Supreme Leader proclaimed the regime’s policy toward the “arrogant” United States government “won’t change at all.”   

Sadly, that didn’t stop the Obama administration from ignoring the concerns of the American people and rushing a vote at the U.N. less than 24 hours after submitting the deal documents to Congress.  This is not lost on Jason’s brother, Ali.    

"This agreement was approved by the UN Security Council with little opportunity for review less than a week after it was announced, yet Jason remains in prison after 365 days held on clearly manufactured charges by parts of the Iranian government that are uninfluenced by Iran's president and hold the rule of law in contempt.”

Jason Rezaian, Saeed Abedini, Amir Hekmati, and Robert Levinson have suffered for entirely too long.  America and the world need to demand Iran release its hostages now.       

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Boehner on Iran Deal, House Focus on the People’s Priorities

2015/07/22

WASHINGTON, DC – At a press conference this morning, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) discussed the latest House action to address the people’s priorities, and reiterated his pledge to fight a bad deal with Iran that puts our national security, and that of our allies, at risk.  Following are Boehner’s remarks: 

Here in the House, the people’s priorities continue to be our priorities.  We’ve enacted the first real entitlement reform in nearly two decades; we’ve passed initiatives to fight human trafficking; improve veterans’ care; and most recently to promote free trade and American jobs. 

“This week, we’ll act to stop EPA regulations that’ll be killing thousands of jobs here in America.  And soon we’ll complete a national defense authorization bill so that our troops get the pay raise that they deserve. 

“And while the president’s Iran deal may have been applauded at the United Nations, I think he faces serious skepticism here at home.  Let me just assure you that Members of Congress will ask much tougher questions this afternoon when we meet with the president’s team.  Because a bad deal threatens the security of the American people – and we’re going to do everything possible to stop it.”

 

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How Does The VA Secretary Explain All This?

2015/07/22

This morning, VA Secretary Robert McDonald is testifying before the House Veterans Affairs Committee about the ongoing problems that are keeping our veterans from getting the care they need when they need it.  If President Obama’s rhetoric yesterday is any indication, we’ll hear more of the same instead of a commitment to real change.

But wasn’t Secretary McDonald brought in to address these very problems?  How does he defend – or even explain – all this?

  1. Waiting lists are even longer now than they were during last year’s waiting list scandal.  Last year, Congress approved $16 billion in emergency funding to improve care, but the number of veterans waiting one month or more for care has actually jumped by 50 percent.   This may have something to do with the fact that much of the money for a private care program has gone unspent because of “resistance to change among employees.”
  2. Only two lower level employees were successfully fired for the wait time manipulation at the heart of last year’s VA scandal.  Last year, Congress gave the VA Secretary new authority to fire senior officials, but the agency has only been able to fire TWO employees for actions at the heart of a scandal that affected some 110,000 veterans.  “What the hell happened to the rest of them,” Speaker Boehner asked earlier this spring.
  3. While our veterans suffer, VA bureaucrats are keeping their jobs and their bonuses.   In Montgomery, which has some of the worst waiting times in the country, bonuses went up last year.  In Memphis, where they had to shut down some services for “lack of funds,” bonuses went up last year.  And in Maywood, Illinois – under FBI investigation for fraud – bonuses hit a three-year high last year.  “If only VA bureaucrats did as good a job taking care of our veterans as they do themselves,” Speaker Boehner said in May.
  4. Many veterans have already died while waiting for care, but the VA can’t tell you exactly how many.  The VA’s records show that about one out of every three veterans waiting for care has already died.  That’s about 238,000 veterans.  The problem, as the Associated Press notes, is that the agency can’t even figure out the exact number.
  5. Meanwhile, deceased patients were still being taken care of for years by the VA.  According to an internal VA report, the records of one out of every 10 veterans were still listed as active after they died.  That means they were still getting checks, regular appointments, and in one case, “a miscommunication allowed 76 prescriptions to be filled at one pharmacy for controlled substances.”  
  6. The VA can’t account for how the cost of a single construction project ballooned by $1.1 billion.  It took only about two years for the cost of a VA hospital in Denver to go from $604 million to $1.73 billion, but when asked to explain what happened, the VA’s deputy secretary said, “you’re not going to find a dollar-by-dollar account.”  This is the same deputy secretary whose recent message to Congress was “get your checkbooks out.”  Note that $1.1 billion represents the entire construction cost of the 85,000-seat stadium Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones built in Arlington, Texas.
  7. The VA has been spending $6 billion a year illegally and has no intention to change its practices.  “Doors are swung wide open for fraud, waste and abuse,” the VA’s internal watchdog wrote in a report that details how agency officials skirt federal spending standards.  For example, supervisors take cards traditionally reserved for minor purchases and use them to pay for major expenses like prosthetics.  The VA also pays for health care expenses without contracts and says it would be “too costly and cumbersome” to change this practice.
  8. The president has left the VA without a permanent inspector general for more than 18 months.  At a time when the VA needs the most possible oversight, the president has failed to nominate a permanent independent watchdog for the agency.   The administration won’t even offer a “public timeline” for when one will be nominated.

As you can see, this isn’t just about problems that persist – it’s about a culture that can’t define and won’t commit to solving the problems at all.  That’s why, next week, the House will take up legislation that gives the VA Secretary the authority to fire any employee for misconduct.  Only the president can truly change the culture at the VA, and we’ll continue to hold him and his administration accountable until our veterans see the progress they are demanding. 

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Not Pictured: The Ice-Bucket Challenge

2015/07/21

Remember the Ice-Bucket Challenge?  More importantly, do you remember what it was for?  In short, it was designed to raise awareness for ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that can rob individuals of – among other things – their voice and their hope.  Today, Speaker Boehner signed a bill that will help restore both of those things for patients afflicted by ALS, all without spilling a single drop of water.

The Steve Gleason Act (S. 984) overturns an Obama Administration regulation that makes it harder for ALS patients to access speech-generating devices.  The bill, which was passed with bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate, now heads to the president’s desk where it is expected to become law.

But the good news does not end there.  The House recently passed the breakthrough 21st-Century Cures Act (H.R. 6), which will accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery of cures – not just treatment – for deadly diseases like ALS. 

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Remember the Ice-Bucket Challenge? Just sent a bill to the president’s desk that will significantly help Americans afflicted by ALS…all without spilling a single drop of water.

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday, July 22, 2015
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What The President Got Wrong About The VA (And One Thing He Got Right)

2015/07/21

It’s not news that President Obama has failed to fix the VA as promised.  Been there, posted about that.  But, from his VFW speech today, it’s clear President Obama has no intention of truly fixing the VA at all.  He could have offered a real, long-term plan to fix the VA’s fundamental problems.  Instead, he trotted out the same hollow platitudes our veterans have heard before:

CLAIM: “We've made real progress.”TRUTH: Waiting lists are longer.  The VA can’t count how many people died while waiting for health care. Just two lower-level employees have been fired for wait-time manipulation.  Only in Washington would this be called “real progress.”

CLAIM: “When problems arise, we work to fix them.”TRUTH: At the VA, it has become standard practice to avoid fixing – or even explaining – problems. When it was discovered that the VA was paying for billions in health care without contracts, the agency said it would be “too costly and cumbersome” to change the practice.  Congress passed a new private health care program for veterans, but much of the money has gone unspent due to “resistance to change among employees.” When asked to account for how a single construction project ballooned by $1.1 billion, one official said, “you’re not going to find a dollar-by-dollar account.” 

CLAIM: VA Secretary Bob McDonald “is bringing energetic new leadership … he is working to hold people accountable.”

TRUTH: That’s certainly what Secretary McDonald would like you to believe, so much so that he went on national television and claimed that 60 VA employees were fired for manipulating wait times.  In reality, only two lower-level employees have been fired for these actions, while bonuses continue to be doled out.

CLAIM: “We are focused on this at the highest levels.”TRUTH: The president cannot credibly claim he is focused on the VA when he has yet to produce a real, long-term plan to fix the agency.  What’s more, he has left the agency without a permanent inspector general for more than 18 months.  The administration won’t even offer a timeline for when the VA will have a new watchdog in place.  If there’s one thing the VA needs right now, it is the highest possible oversight. 

CLAIM: “Patient safety is a top priority … the care is often very good.”TRUTH:  More than 120 previously unpublished investigations found “problems at VA medical centers nationwide ranging from medical malpractice and patient safety concerns to mismanagement, infighting and corruption.”  And 88 percent of veterans, according to a nonpartisan survey, want health care options outside the VA.  That is not exactly a vote of confidence in the quality of care. 

CLAIM: “Whenever there are any missteps, there is no excuse."  TRUTH: Excuses are one thing that the VA does well.  For instance, when we learned last week that hundreds of thousands of veterans likely died while waiting for care, the VA’s response wasn’t an apology or a mea culpa.  The VA said some pending applicants likely used other insurance, so the numbers weren’t as bad as they looked.

CLAIM: “The Republican budget falls short.”TRUTH: During the Obama administration, most of which has occurred with a Republican majority in the House, the VA has enjoyed a larger budget increase by percentage than any other Cabinet department.   Last year, Congress passed $16 billion in emergency funding to improve care. And in April, the House passed a $4.6 billion increase in spending for the VA.  The VA’s main problem isn’t a lack of funding – it’s a lack of accountability.

CLAIM:  “Even with all these new resources, the VA is still struggling to keep up with the surge of veterans who are seeking care.”TRUTH:  This one is true.  Congress has done its part, approving funding and passing reforms, but the VA is still struggling.  What the agency needs is a sweeping change in culture – one that only the president can provide.  Except at this point the president can barely change his tune, making the same promises we’ve heard before. 

Next week, the House will take up legislation that gives the VA secretary the authority to fire any employee for misconduct.  Our veterans deserve the care they need when they need it – and until the VA can fulfill this basic obligation, we will hold the agency, its leaders, and the president accountable.

NOTE: President's quotes in the original post were based on a rough transcript, and have been updated here to reflect the White House transcript

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Three Things to Keep In Mind Before President’s VFW Speech

2015/07/21

President Obama is in Pittsburgh today to address the Veterans of Foreign Wars.  Before he does, a few things to keep in mind:

1. According to one report, the president “is expected to highlight his administration’s progress on veterans’ issues…”

Now, what ‘progress’ would that be exactly? 

It will certainly be interesting to see what the president defines as ‘progress.’

2. According to another report, the president will “highlight a federal rule he's finalizing on predatory lending and the military.” 

This sounds like a nice idea.  What it doesn’t sound like is a real, long-term plan to fix the VA.  You know, the one that Speaker Boehner has been calling for regularly since last year’s waiting list scandal erupted.  After all, it’s going to take more than a new rule here and there to address problems that allowed dozens to die while waiting for appointments, and hundreds of thousands to die while waiting to receive any kind of care.  Last year, the president himself said “there is a need for a change in culture” at the VA.  That brings us to….

3. The president will likely make more promises to our veterans today.  Some of them may sound similar to pledges he made last year such as:  

  • “The number one priority is making sure that problems get fixed
  • “Our first job is let’s take care of some basic management issues
  • “We’re not going to stop working to make sure they get the care, the benefits, and the opportunities that they’ve earned”
  • “This is my administration; I always take responsibility for whatever happens
  • “There is a need for a change in culture … within the VA as a whole”

It’s true.  While Congress continues to pass good reforms, only the president can change the culture at the VA.  But at this point, the president hasn’t delivered any change at all. 

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House of Representatives to Honor Five Service Members Killed in Chattanooga, Flags Fly at Half-Staff

2015/07/21

The flags @USCapitol stand at half-staff today in honor of the brave service members we lost in #Chattanooga. pic.twitter.com/N24p7aCIrc

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) July 21, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC - As Congress reconvenes today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has ordered flags over the United States Capitol to be flown at half-staff to honor the five service members killed in Chattanooga, Tennessee. 

"Last week, five brave service members were murdered in a terror attack in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Out of respect for their courageous service and sacrifice to our nation, flags at the U.S. Capitol are being lowered to half-staff.  Later today, we will also mark a moment of silence on the House floor in their memory.  We will continue to pray for their loved ones and also take action to protect our men and women in uniform who protect all Americans."

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

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday, July 21, 2015
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Speaker Boehner on the Reopening of the Cuban Embassy in Washington, DC

2015/07/20

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement on the reopening of the Cuban embassy in Washington, DC amid reports that the Castro regime continues to beat and imprison pro-democracy activists:

“As the Cuban flag rises just up the street from the White House, the Cuban dictatorship continues to attack, arrest, and abuse pro-democracy activists.  It is appalling to see America’s president welcoming – and rewarding – a regime that shows no regard for our most fundamental values.    Instead of mingling with the Castros’ representatives today, our government should be standing with Cuba’s freedom fighters.  These brave men and women, and their families, are certainly in my prayers.”

NOTE: One of Speaker Boehner’s guests at this year’s State of the Union was Jorge Luis Garcia Pérez, known as “Antúnez,” a leader of a non-violent movement for human rights and democracy in Cuba.  He spent more than 17 years in jail as a political prisoner, after being arrested for publicly denouncing the oppressive Castro regime. 

 

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Constant Barrage of False Claims: A Quick Reference Guide

2015/07/20

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s constant barrage of false claims: a quick reference guide → http://t.co/st7gMUiazr #Benghazi

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) July 20, 2015

It’s gotten so bad, we needed a chart. As several in the media have pointed out, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s “self-inflicted wound” continues to undermine her ability to appear truthful or transparent, and she “has only herself to blame” for all the questions surrounding her unprecedented email arrangement with herself.

And so, as the Obama State Department joins her in stonewalling (and thus prolonging) the Benghazi Select Committee’s investigation into the 2012 terrorist attack that killed four Americans, keep this reference guide handy.

Hillary Clinton's Claims                The Truth “I want the public to see my email.” (3/4/15) She set up a private email server in her home to ensure her employer did not have access to any of her work-related emails, which are public records.  “I didn’t have to turn over anything.” (7/7/15) When leaving their jobs, all State Department employees are supposed to sign form OF-109. This certifies that they have surrendered all classified, unclassified, or administratively controlled documents, material, and papers, including emails and “documents of a personal nature” that contain administratively controlled information. She has not said whether she signed the form, and the State Department says they have no record of her doing so. “I chose to turn over 55,000 pages because I wanted to go above and beyond what was expected of me[.]” (7/7/15)

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

If she truly wanted to go “above and beyond,” she would have answered a December 2012 letter from the House Oversight Committee, which asked: “Have you or any senior agency official ever used a personal email account to conduct official business? If so, please identify the account used.” She never did. “I opted for convenience to use my personal email account … because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal emails instead of two.” (3/10/15) Virtually everyone in America knows that many email addresses can be managed and used from a single phone or device. But even if that was not true, her statement makes no sense: the evidence suggests that she used multiple personal email accounts.  “I had one device.” (7/7/15) She carried more than one device, and has admitted to using “an iPad, a mini iPad, an iPhone and a Blackberry.” “[Sidney Blumenthal] sent me unsolicited emails[.]” (5/19/15) She solicited information about Libya from him, asking for “additional info” and instructing him to "please keep 'em coming." (BLU-151) “I … provided all my emails that could possibly be work-related …. [to] the State Department.” (3/10/15) The Obama administration confirmed that she withheld at least 15 work-related emails, including some related to Libya and the Benghazi attack. “[I]t is the fact that we have released all of them that have any government relationship whatsoever.” (5/22/15) The Obama administration confirmed that she apparently deleted parts of at least six emails before turning them over to the State Department. These parts related to official government business.  “I turned over everything I was obligated to turn over. … I turned over everything that I could imagine.” (7/7/15) The Benghazi Select Committee still does not have copies of two Sept. 29, 2012, emails regarding the terrorist attack, and the State Department won’t say why. “I've never had a subpoena.” (7/7/15) Official requests for her email date back to 2012, and the Benghazi Select Committee issued a subpoena on March 4, 2015. “Everything I did [with my email] was permitted.” (7/7/15) During her tenure, an American ambassador was forced to resign after an internal audit detailed his failure to “accept clear-cut U.S. Government decisions,” including those related to “the nonuse of commercial email for official government business.” “There was no law, there was no regulation, there was nothing that did not give me the full authority to decide how I was going to communicate.” (7/7/15)

Under National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) regulations adopted in 1995 and updated in 2009, she was obligated to “ensure that Federal records sent or received on such systems [not operated by the agency] are preserved in the appropriate agency record-keeping system.”

An order sent from her office to all State Department employees on June 28, 2011, instructed them to “Avoid conducting official Department business from your personal e-mail accounts.” “When I mailed anybody in the government, it would go into the government system.” (7/7/15) At least four of her key aides (Philippe Reines, Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills, and Jake Sullivan) also used personal email addresses for official work. “I knew the vast majority of everything that was official [email] already was in the State Department system.” (7/7/15) An inspector general found that, under her leadership, the State Department failed to preserve the vast majority – in fact, less than 1 percent – of employee emails for the public record “as required by the government.” “I did not email any classified material to anyone on my [personal] email. There is no classified material.” (3/10/15) To date, more than two dozen of her emails released by the State Department contain classified material that has been redacted. “[Former Secretary of State Colin] Powell has admitted he did exactly the same thing.” (7/7/15) Secretary Powell – who left office before YouTube was created – never established a private email server in his home.

 

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As the Obama State Department joins former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in stonewalling (and thus prolonging) the...

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday, July 22, 2015
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Boehner Statement on U.N. Security Council Vote

2015/07/20

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement after the Obama administration allowed – and joined – the United Nations Security Council in approving the president’s proposed nuclear deal with Iran before Congress completes its mandated review:

“Today President Obama ignored the concerns of the American people, and senior members of his own party, and allowed the United Nations Security Council to take up his proposed nuclear deal with Iran.  Enabling such a consequential vote just 24 hours after submitting the agreement documents to Congress undermines our national security and violates the spirit of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which passed the House in May with more than 400 votes.  This is a bad start for a bad deal.  The American people expect their representatives to review this potential agreement and stop Iran’s push for a nuclear weapon, and we will continue our critical work to do just that.”

NOTE: Today House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Ranking Member Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) issued a joint statement expressing disappointment with today’s U.N. vote, and concern with provisions in the agreement that lift Iran’s arms and missile embargoes.  

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Weekly Address: End Wall Street Bailouts

2015/07/19

Together, we can end Wall Street bailouts,” House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) says in this week’s Republican address, which marks the fifth anniversary of the Dodd-Frank law that has hurt our economy and made it harder to create jobs.

Here are some key quotes from the address, which you can watch now:

  • "You may not have heard of Dodd-Frank, but it’s essentially Obamacare for our economy and your household finances. And just like Obamacare, Dodd-Frank has left us with fewer choices, higher costs and less freedom."

  • “When President Obama signed Dodd-Frank into law five years ago with much fanfare and celebration, we were told it would ‘lift the economy,’ ‘end too big to fail’ and ‘increase financial stability.’  It didn’t happen.”
  •  “Dodd-Frank did nothing to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which were at the epicenter of the crisis.  It enshrined taxpayer-funded bailouts and ‘too big to fail’ into law, and it imposed 400 new burdensome, job-destroying regulations upon our economy.”
  • “Services that we all once took for granted – like free checking – are being curtailed or eliminated because of Dodd-Frank.  Before, 75 percent of banks offered free checking.  Just two years after Dodd-Frank became law, that number was cut almost in half.”
  •  “If we want strong economic growth, more freedom and an end to bailouts, it’s time we commit to making sure this anniversary is Dodd-Frank’s last anniversary.  House Republicans are working to do just that.  Together, we can end Wall Street bailouts, have a healthier economy, and protect consumer choice.”

In its report on the address, The Hill notes that “Hensarling has pushed for a series of hearings in an effort to make the case that the law should be revisited, casting it as a threat to the economy.

Watch the address now, and learn more about our efforts to address the people’s priorities.  

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Why is a dangerous terrorist getting amnesty in the Iran nuclear deal?

2015/07/18

He’s been called the “shadow commander” and “the single most powerful operative in the Middle East today.”  He’s trained and directed Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Syria, guided Hezbollah raids on Israel, and he’s responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American troops.  And shockingly, he’s getting a big break in President Obama’s proposed nuclear deal with Iran.   Qasem Soleimani is innocuously listed on page 95 in Annex II of the agreement alongside other individuals and companies slated to receive sanctions relief.  But don’t be fooled: this is the same Qasem Soleimani (aka General Soleimani) who commands the Quds force – Iran’s elite foreign fighting group that supports terror groups in places like Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.      Just last week in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Marine Corps Commandant, and the nominee to serve as the next chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joseph Dunford said Soleimani and his forces have killed at least 500 U.S. soldiers, airmen, sailors and marines in Iraq.  Many also believe General Soleimani is behind the 2011 plot to kill the Saudi Arabian ambassador and blow up the Israeli and Saudi embassies in Washington, D.C.    So why would President Obama ever agree to lift travel and financial sanctions on General Soleimani in a nuclear agreement? So far the White House isn’t saying.   In an interview Tuesday with ABC News, Secretary of State John Kerry flatly denied that the general was part of the deal.  “He is not listed,” Kerry said.  “No, that’s another Suleimani [sic].  It’s not – he is not listed.”  Meanwhile the White House has tried to steer all questions on the topic to the Treasury Department.    Earlier this week, The Daily Beast caught up with a former Treasury official who said sanctions relief for the general was likely an Iranian precondition for negotiations.     "'Presumably, in the beginning, the Iranians put a list across the table and said, ‘We want these people off the sanctions list,’” Zachary Goldman, a former senior official in the Treasury Department’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence said.   If that’s the case, the White House should admit Iran demanded these concessions to come to the table.   On Wednesday President Obama made clear “this deal is not contingent on Iran changing its behavior.”  He admitted “it’s likely” the agreement will give Iran “additional resources” to increase its support for terror and instability in the Middle East.    Giving one of the world’s most powerful terrorists more money and more freedom to spread death and violence is an unconscionable price to pay for any agreement – and especially for an agreement that allows Iran to keep thousands of nuclear centrifuges spinning.    The American people – and particularly the families of our fallen troops – deserve clear answers from this administration.  Read More

Weekly Republican Address: Together, We Can End Wall Street Bailouts & Grow Our Economy

2015/07/17

WASHINGTON, DC – In this week’s Republican address, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) discusses Republicans’ commitment to protect hardworking families and small business owners from the job-crushing Dodd-Frank law, which President Obama signed five years ago this week.

KEY QUOTE: “If we want strong economic growth, more freedom and an end to bailouts, it’s time we commit to making sure this anniversary is Dodd-Frank’s last.  House Republicans are working to do just that.  Together, we can end Wall Street bailouts, have a healthier economy, and protect consumer choice."

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

Remarks of Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas Weekly Republican Address Financial Services Committee Hearing Room July 18, 2015

Hello, I’m Jeb Hensarling, Congressman for the Fifth District of Texas and Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.

Five years ago this week President Obama signed into law the Dodd-Frank Act.  You may not have heard of Dodd-Frank, but it’s essentially Obamacare for our economy and your household finances.

And just like Obamacare, Dodd-Frank has left us with fewer choices, higher costs and less freedom.

Now, the financial crisis of 2008 and the recession that followed devastated millions of Americans.  But instead of preventing the crisis, misguided Washington policies helped lead us into it – policies that either strong-armed or enticed financial institutions into loaning money to people to buy homes they couldn’t afford to keep. 

That was wrong.

It wasn’t deregulation that caused the crisis.  It was Washington’s dumb regulations.  

Then, and now, House Republicans have offered an alternative to Dodd-Frank that would have ended taxpayer-funded bailouts and protected consumers.

But in typical Washington fashion, Democrats instead by passing a 2,300-page bill that did not solve the crisis but in my ways made it worse.  When President Obama signed Dodd-Frank into law five years ago with much fanfare and celebration, we were told it would ‘lift the economy,’ ‘end too big to fail’ and ‘increase financial stability.’  It didn’t happen.

But, Dodd-Frank did nothing to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which were at the epicenter of the crisis.  It enshrined taxpayer-funded bailouts and ‘too big to fail’ into law, and it imposed 400 new burdensome, job-destroying regulations upon our economy.

And the harm to consumers has been real, very real.  We continue to be mired in lackluster, halting economic growth. Middle income paychecks are nearly 12,000 dollars less compared to the average post-war economic recovery.  It is now harder for credit-worthy Americans to buy a home.  In fact, one-out-of-five who borrowed to buy a home just five years ago will not meet the underwriting requirements of Dodd-Frank’s mortgage rules.  According to the Federal Reserve, that’ll hit roughly one-third of Hispanic and African-American borrowers.

Since Dodd-Frank, the big banks have gotten bigger and the small banks are now fewer.  Today there are fewer community banks and credit unions serving the needs of small businesses and families.  Local financial institutions tell us they can’t keep up with the sheer weight, volume and complexity of Dodd-Frank’s regulations.  In fact, because of Dodd-Frank, we’re losing on average one community financial institution per day.  It’s no wonder that small business deaths outnumber small business births for the first time in 35 years. 

It is also now more expensive for American companies to raise working capital that’s needed to grow and create jobs. 

Services that we all once took for granted – like free checking –  are being curtailed or eliminated because of Dodd-Frank.  Before, 75 percent of banks offered free checking.  Just two years after Dodd-Frank became law, that number was cut almost in half. 

And bank fees have also increased due to Dodd-Frank’s costs.  This has led to a rise in the number of low and moderate income Americans who simply can’t afford to maintain a checking or savings account.

Not long after the financial crisis, we heard the cry from the Left to “Occupy Wall Street.”  But hardworking taxpayers aren’t interested in Occupying Wall Street.  They just want to quit bailing it out.

Yet Dodd-Frank enshrines “Too Big to Fail” into law.   It gives Washington bureaucrats the power to officially designate large financial firms “Too Big to Fail” and then makes them eligible for bailouts.  That’s wrong.  We have to absolutely end bailouts -- period.

It is evident that Dodd-Frank has made us less prosperous and less free.  It has meant lost opportunities and frustrated dreams for millions hoping to start a small business, buy a home or plan for a secure retirement.

If we want strong economic growth, more freedom and an end to bailouts, it’s time we commit to making sure this anniversary is Dodd-Frank’s last anniversary.

House Republicans are working to do just that.  Together, we can end Wall Street bailouts, have a healthier economy, and protect consumer choice.

Thanks for listening.

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Chairman Jeb Hensarling to Deliver the Weekly Republican Address

2015/07/17

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has selected Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) to deliver the Weekly Republican Address on Saturday, July 18.  Hensarling will discuss Republicans’ commitment to protecting hardworking families and small business owners from the job-crushing Dodd-Frank law, which President Obama signed five years ago this week.  

“We were told Dodd-Frank would ‘lift the economy,’ ‘end too big to fail’ and ‘increase financial stability,’” Chairman Hensarling said. “Instead, five years later the big banks are bigger, the small banks are fewer and the economy remains moribund.  Low and moderate income Americans have lost free checking, seen small business lines of credit evaporate, and it’s now harder for them to achieve financial independence.  I look forward to discussing these challenges and how we can overcome them.” 

Chairman Hensarling is in his seventh term representing the people of Texas’ Fifth Congressional District.  Follow the Financial Services Committee on Facebook and Twitter.

The Weekly Republican Address will be available nationwide starting Saturday, July 18 at 6:00 am ET on Speaker.gov and GOP.gov.

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“Skeptical,” “Concerned,” “Disappointed”: Dems Raise Tough Questions on Iran Nuclear Deal

2015/07/17

President Obama “vigorously’” defended his nuclear agreement with Iran yesterday, the Associated Press reports, but “in Congress, resistance comes not only from Republicans, but also Obama’s own Democratic Party.”  Indeed, numerous Democrats are raising tough questions for the Obama administration on its Iran deal, from lifting the arms embargo to providing a cash infusion that will allow Iran to continue fomenting terrorism in the region.  Here’s a look:

  • House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD): “Without Verification, This Is a Useless Agreement” “‘Verification is going to be very critical,’ House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said. ‘Without verification, this is a useless agreement. Without verification that’s meaningful and effective, it’s not an agreement that I can support.” (National Journal, 7/14/15)

                         Hoyer: “[I]t is now up to Members of Congress to work carefully through every detail, particularly given Iran’s likelihood to exploit any ambiguity or loophole to                          its benefit and to the detriment of the security of America, Israel, and our allies in Europe and the Gulf.’” (Press Release, 7/14/15)

  • House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-CA): “Great Concern that that Is Going to Just Continue to Fuel this Conflict, as Well as Destabilize Other Parts of the Region” “[F]irst they will be armed with all these resources to support all these bad actors in the region. … So that’s a great concern that that is going to just continue to fuel this conflict, as well as destabilize other parts of the region. The other major downside is they remain a threshold nuclear state when this is all said and done. And when that short period -- and 10 to 15 years isn’t very long -- expires, then they can really gin up their enrichment program.” (CNN’s “The Situation Room,” 7/14/15)
  • Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY): “You Can Continue to Count Me in the ‘Skeptical’ Column” “Rep. Steve Israel, the highest-ranking Jewish Democrat in the House and a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, doubled down on earlier comments he made before the deal that he remained skeptical of the Iranians.  ‘In the fall, there will be a vote on this deal, and my obligation is to review every word, sentence, and paragraph of the deal to ensure it satisfies my continued concerns,’ Israel said in a statement. ‘Until then, you can continue to count me in the ‘skeptical’ column.’” (CNN, 7/15/15)
  • Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY): “I Continue to Have Long-Standing Concerns About the Enforcement & Verifiability of Any Agreement with Iran” “[I] continue to have long-standing concerns about the enforcement and verifiability of any agreement with Iran, given their long history of deception and well-documented illicit activity in the region. … Most importantly, I do not support providing any economic relief until Iran has indisputably met their obligations and demonstrated their sincerity.” (Press Release, 7/14/15)
  • Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL): “Great Concern that this Cash Infusion Will Embolden Them in Their Support for Terrorism” “[I] remain highly skeptical of Iran’s intent, and fear that there is little basis for us to trust their adherence to the agreement’s inspections, restrictions, and transparency.  Furthermore, the significant resources that Iran would receive once sanctions are removed, upwards of $100-150 billion, gives me great concern that this cash infusion will embolden them in their support for terrorism, Syria’s regime, and threats against Israel.  Iran’s contributions to war and unrest in the region cannot be overstated.” (Press Release, 7/14/15)
  • Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY): “‘Deep Concerns’ About a Late Concession … To Lift an Embargo on Shipping Arms to Iran” “Engel said he had ‘deep concerns’ about a late concession that will allow the UN Security Council to lift an embargo on shipping arms to Iran in five years and a ban on sending it ballistic missile parts after eight years.” (New York Daily News, 7/14/15)
  • Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA): “I Continue to Have Skepticism About Iran’s Intentions” “[I] continue to have skepticism about Iran’s intentions. … I remain extremely concerned that inspectors will not have ‘anytime, anywhere’ access to Iran’s nuclear programs. We must avoid, at all costs, agreeing to a deal we find partly acceptable and instead carefully decide whether this deal will help or hinder our ultimate objective of eliminating Iran’s nuclear capabilities.’” (Press Release, 7/14/15)
  • Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA): “Doesn’t Do Enough to Prevent Iran from Building a Weapon a Decade from Now” “Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) is one vocal critic of the deal, saying it doesn’t do enough to prevent Iran from building a weapon a decade from now.  ‘In 10 years — some would argue 12 — Iran will be able to have an industrial sized facility,’ Sherman said. ‘The amount of enriched uranium needed to make a bomb is a tiny portion of what is generated in a peaceful, or an allegedly peaceful, plant that generates enough fuel to illuminate a city.’” (The Hill, 7/15/15)
  • Rep. Donald Norcross (D-NJ): “I Am Deeply Skeptical that the Iranian Regime Shares America’s Values & Desire for Peace” “Any agreement reached by negotiators must be transparent and verifiable, and while I fully support the administration’s goals, I am deeply skeptical that the Iranian regime shares America’s values and desire for peace.” (Press Release, 7/14/15)
  • Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY): “I’m Deeply Concerned & Disappointed” “I’ll say at the outset that while I reserve final judgment on the deal until I am able to read it through completely, I’m deeply concerned and disappointed by what appears to be in its terms.” (House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing, 7/14/15)
  • Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ): “The Deal Ultimately Legitimizes Iran as a Threshold-Nuclear State” “[I]’m concerned that the deal ultimately legitimizes Iran as a threshold-nuclear state. I’m concerned the redlines we drew have turned into green-lights; that Iran will be required only to limit rather than eliminate its nuclear program, while the international community will be required to lift the sanctions, and that it doesn’t provide for anytime-any-place inspections of suspected sites. The bottom line is: The deal doesn’t end Iran’s nuclear program – it preserves it.” (Press Release, 7/14/15)
  • Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT): “Could He Vote Against The Deal…? ‘Oh Sure,’ Tester Said”  “‘Verification, verification, verification, verification,’ said Tester (D-Mont.). ‘That’s the big thing. Look, I don’t trust these guys, I want to make sure that whatever we’ve agreed to, we’ve got verification that’s going to happen.’ Could he vote against the deal if those concerns aren’t satisfied? ‘Oh sure,’ Tester said.” (Politico, 7/14/15)
  • Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE): “Iran Has Seriously Earned Our Distrust” “‘Iran has seriously earned our distrust,’ Coons said in the Capitol on Tuesday. … Coons, the Delaware Democrat who occupies Biden’s old Senate seat, said that given Iran’s past record of ‘supporting terrorism globally,’ he enters the review process ‘with a position of suspicion and distrust of Iran.’ He added that he must be convinced that the inspections regime and the way the sanctions relief is structured won’t enable Iran’s long-term ability to build a bomb.” (Politico, 7/14/15)
  • Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) on Lifting the Arms Embargo: “What Did We Get for That?” “[M]any want an explanation of how relaxing an international arms embargo on Iran become part of the deal after the April interim agreement appeared to be silent on that matter. ‘I want to find out why it came back in. It was not part of the original talks,’ said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). ‘What did we get for that?’” (Politico, 7/14/15)
  • Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) on Dismantling Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program: “I Have Questions About Whether this Agreement Accomplishes That” “I said all along I was skeptical that Iran’s leaders would agree to dismantle their nuclear weapons program and I have questions about whether this agreement accomplishes that, particularly in light of Iran’s history on this issue.” (Press Release, 7/14/15)

“On Iran, given everything I’ve seen so far, this is a bad deal.  It paves the way for a nuclear Iran.  And yesterday the president admitted that it will likely further Iran’s support for terror activities throughout the region,” Speaker Boehner said today. “We’re going to continue to review this, but we’re going to fight a bad deal that’s wrong for our national security and wrong for our country.” 

READ MORE:

Eight Ways to Judge President Obama’s Iran Deal

Read More

VIDEO: “Showing Up Is 90 Percent of Life”

2015/07/16

Showing up is 90 percent of life.  That's one of the reasons Speaker Boehner recently led a bipartisan delegation to Lithuania, Finland, Poland, and Ireland.  Our allies need to know that America stands with them in the face of Russian aggression.

In this new video featuring previously unreleased footage, Speaker Boehner shares some of what he saw, what he learned, and why showing up is so important.

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Our Push for Real VA Reform Continues

2015/07/16

The House will soon take up legislation to hold the VA accountable for failing to give our veterans the care they need when they need it.  Here’s what Speaker Boehner had to say earlier today about this latest push for VA reform:

“Also this month, we’ll take up a bill that gives the VA Secretary [the authority] to actually fire an employee over misconduct.  To date, only two VA officials have been fired for the waiting list scandal that affected more than 110,000 veterans.  President Obama promised reform at the VA.   It hasn’t happened.  He promised accountability.  It hasn’t happened.  So we’ll continue to press for these reforms, but only the president can change the culture at the VA.”

In recent weeks, Speaker Boehner has repeatedly spoken out about the ongoing problems at the VA and President Obama’s failure to deliver on his promises of reform:

  • May 20: “Congress also gave the VA more than $16 billion to improve care and shorten wait times.   And yet, the number of patients facing long waits is about the same.  The number of patients waiting more than 90 days has nearly doubled.  At this point, the VA can’t even build a hospital – just about every project ends up years behind schedule and hundreds of millions, if not billions, over budget.   And just last week, the public learned that the VA is spending $6 billion a year illegally.  An internal report exposed examples of overspending on conferences, improper gifts, inappropriate purchases, and promotional items.  Again: if only VA bureaucrats did as good a job taking care of our veterans as they do themselves.
  • June 11: “Another week has gone by without a long-term plan from the president to fix the problems at the Veterans Administration.  Recently, the VA admitted to Congress it spends billions of taxpayer dollars on care with no contracts.  Really? No contracts?   And the agency has no intention of changing this.  So we keep passing reforms, but only the administration can make the culture changes necessary from within.”
  • June 21: “The Deputy Veterans Administration Secretary is on Capitol Hill today to discuss a nearly $3 billion shortfall in the agency’s budget.  Now his message to Congress – and the American people – is, and I’ll quote, ‘get your checkbooks out.’  The VA’s problem isn’t funding – it’s outright failure.  Absolute failure to take care of our veterans.  Maybe the VA wouldn’t jump from crisis to crisis if it actually had a long-term plan to clean up this mess.”
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Boehner Statement Regarding the Attack on Military Personnel in Tennessee

2015/07/16

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement regarding today’s attack on U.S. Marines in Chattanooga, Tennessee:

“Today’s cowardly attack is a reminder that our men and women in uniform are under constant threat, no matter where they serve.  I’m deeply saddened by this loss of life, and on behalf of the whole House, offer condolences to the families who lost loved ones today.  Our thoughts and prayers are with them, the people of Tennessee, and all of our troops.”

 

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We Will "Protect the Values that We Hold Dear"

2015/07/16

WASHINGTON, DC – At his weekly press briefing earlier today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) pledged that the House will get to the bottom of the gruesome practices uncovered in the Planned Parenthood video, and called on the president to denounce, and stop, these activities.  Following are Boehner’s remarks:

“Also this week, at my request, our committees have begun looking at some of the gruesome practices embraced by Planned Parenthood.  I’m also demanding that the president denounce – and stop – these practices.

“If you’ve seen this video, I don’t have to tell you how sickening it is.  So rest assured that we’re going to get to the bottom of this, [and] protect the values that we hold dear. …

“I want the committees to do their investigation.  I want them to do their hearings.  And, once they have, then we’ll decide what’s the proper course of action. …

“I could talk about the video, but I think I’d vomit trying to talk about it.  It’s disgusting.”

NOTE: Yesterday, Speaker Boehner directed the House committees of jurisdiction to look into the grisly actions exposed in the Planned Parenthood video, and called on the Obama administration to denounce and stop these practices.  Read the full statement here.

 

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“This Is a Bad Deal”: Boehner Says Obama Administration Agreement Paves the Way to a Nuclear Iran

2015/07/16

WASHINGTON, DC – The Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran lifts sanctions on a general who helped militants target Americans and, by the president’s own admission, will increase Iran’s support for terrorism in the region, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said today.  For those reasons, and several others, Boehner reaffirmed that the House will fight the deal, which is “wrong for our national security and wrong for our country.”  Following are Boehner’s remarks from his weekly press briefing today:

“On Iran, given everything I’ve seen so far, this is a bad deal.  It paves the way for a nuclear Iran.  And yesterday the president admitted that it will likely further Iran’s support for terror activities throughout the region. 

“It blows my mind that the administration would agree to lift the arms and missile bans, and sanctions on a general who supplied militants with weapons to kill Americans.

“President Obama says it’s this deal or war.  Well, that’s a false choice.  The sanctions were working, and bringing Iran to its knees.  We’re going to continue to review this, but we’re going to fight a bad deal that’s wrong for our national security and wrong for our country.” 

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Mr. President...on Iran, this is a bad deal.

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Thursday, July 16, 2015
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Boehner Statement on Bipartisan Passage of Water Resource Management Legislation

2015/07/16

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement applauding House passage of the Western Water & American Food Security Act (H.R. 2898), which would provide relief to those affected by the current man-made water shortage in California:

“The Obama administration has prioritized extreme environmental policies over people, turning a drought into a man-made water shortage that is affecting the lives of millions of Americans in California and the Western United States.  This crisis was avoidable, but government incompetence, bureaucratic conceit, and a liberal agenda that disregards scientific data and the wellbeing of families, workers, and farmers prevailed over common sense.

“For too many Americans, this year has been much like the last few: a constant struggle to keep their crops and their livelihoods alive.  Today’s bipartisan House vote is an honest attempt to help them.  It demands the use of updated science in making water management decisions, requires the federal government to expedite feasibility studies for water storage, and streamlines the permit process for efforts to capture water.  Yesterday’s White House veto threat of this bill only reinforces this administration’s inflexibility, close-mindedness, and desire to please its liberal allies.  I urge the Senate to send a message to the president by acting swiftly on this bill.”

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The VA Accountability Act

2015/07/16

New documents show that one out of every three veterans waiting for care at the VA has already died.  One out of three.  That’s some 238,000 veterans.  

Such is the state of the VA on President Obama’s watch.   

This week, the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee approved H.R. 1994, the VA Accountability ActThis straightforward legislation gives the VA Secretary the authority to fire any employee for misconduct.  And the House will take it up this month.

You may be having some déjà vu.  “Didn’t we do something like this last year?”  You’d be right: last summer, after dozens of veterans died while waiting for appointments, we gave the VA Secretary the authority to fire senior officials.

And at that very bill signing, President Obama proclaimed, “If you engage in an unethical practice, if you cover up a serious problem, you should be fired.  Period.  It shouldn’t be that difficult.”

Well put, but not well-executed.  To date, only two employees have been fired for the waiting list scandal that gripped the country.  TWO for a catastrophic failure that affected more than 110,000 veterans. 

Meanwhile, waiting lists are still growing, waste is still rampant, and incompetence remains standard practice.  “I’m seeing the same things, and it’s worse than ever,” one VA whistleblower told the committee last month.

In addition to accountability, we’ve passed reforms to provide better care and help prevent veteran suicides.  But what the VA clearly needs is the sweeping culture change that President Obama hasn’t delivered.   And that can only happen with a real change in personnel.

The VA Accountability Act will root out the bureaucrats who are failing our veterans to make room for dedicated public servants who will get the job done.

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Help and Hope for ALS Patients

2015/07/15

WASHINGTON, DC – By a unanimous vote today, the House of Representatives passed the Steve Gleason Act (S. 984), which overturns an Obama administration regulation that makes it harder for ALS patients to access speech-generating devices.  House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), who will sign the bill and send it to President Obama’s desk, issued the following statement:

“ALS is an ugly disease, but there may be nothing more poetic than seeing ALS patients communicate with their loved ones.  This bill will make sure there are more of those moments.  It will unlock doors thought to be closed to ALS patients and families.   And it will provide hope, too.  My congratulations go to Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Steve Scalise, Erik Paulsen, and of course, Steve Gleason, who is no stranger to game-changers.  It’ll be my honor to sign the Steve Gleason Act and send it to President Obama’s desk.”

NOTE: Last week, the House passed the breakthrough 21st-Century Cures initiative to accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery of cures for deadly diseases like ALS. 

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Speaker Boehner on Highway Program Extension

2015/07/15

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement after the House passed the Highway and Transportation Funding Act (H.R. 3038) to extend highway and transit program authority through the end of the year:

“Rebuilding our roads, bridges, and tunnels is critical to growing our economy.  This bipartisan action will keep construction workers on the job, and pave the way for further efforts on a long-term infrastructure plan.  I appreciate the work Chairman Ryan and Chairman Shuster are doing to deliver certainty and stability for America’s commuters and workers.”

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According to Her Own State Department’s Rules, Secretary Clinton’s Special Email Arrangement Was Not ‘Permitted’

2015/07/15

Following her CNN interview, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was roundly criticized for failing to tell the truth about her exclusive use of a personal email address and private server for official government business, and her decision to delete tens of thousands of emails.

In addition to her false claim that she was “never” subpoenaed, she also insisted that “Everything that I did was permitted. There was no law, there was no regulation, there was nothing that did not give me the full authority to decide how I was going to communicate.” The Washington Post Fact Checker awarded her three Pinocchios for her dishonesty, and pointed out that “she appears to have not complied with the requirement to turn over her business-related e-mails before she left government service.”

Of course, when Secretary Clinton claims that everything she did was permitted, not only is she effectively blaming President Obama for allowing official government records to disappear, she is also contradicting the policies of her own State Department.

  • An order sent from Clinton’s office to all State Department employees on June 28, 2011, included this instruction: “Avoid conducting official Department business from your personal e-mail accounts.”
  • In June 2012, the American ambassador to Kenya resigned days before an internal audit was released detailing his failure to “accept clear-cut U.S. Government decisions,” including those related to “the nonuse of commercial email for official government business, including Sensitive But Unclassified information.”

This was not a small aspect of the report. It continued:

[H]is refusal to accept fully the Department’s decisions on … the nonuse of commercial email for official government business, except in emergencies, is widely known and a source of confusion and discouragement within the embassy community. …

He has willfully disregarded Department regulations on the use of commercial email for official government business, including a front channel instruction from the Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security against such practice, which he asserted to the OIG team that he had not seen. …

He ordered a commercial Internet connection installed in his embassy office bathroom so he could work there on a laptop not connected to the Department email system. He drafted and distributed a mission policy authorizing himself and other mission personnel to use commercial email for daily communication of official government business. … The Department email system provides automatic security, record-keeping, and backup functions as required. The Ambassador’s requirements for use of commercial email in the office and his flouting of direct instructions to adhere to Department policy have placed the information management staff in a conundrum: balancing the desire to be responsive to their mission leader and the need to adhere to Department regulations and government information security standards. …

The Ambassador uses a government-owned laptop that is not physically or electronically connected to the Department’s OpenNet network. Authorized Department OpenNet email systems are available on the Ambassador’s office desktop. According to 12 FAM 544.3 and 11 State 73417 (from the Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security to the Ambassador), it is the Department’s general policy that normal day-to-day operations be conducted on an authorized information system, which has the proper level of security controls. The use of unauthorized information systems increases the risk for data loss, phishing, and spoofing of email accounts, as well as inadequate protections for personally identifiable information. The use of unauthorized information systems can also result in the loss of official public records as these systems do not have approved record preservation or backup functions. Conducting official business on non-Department automated information systems must be limited to only maintaining communications during emergencies.

Recommendation 57: Embassy Nairobi should cease using commercial email to process Department information and use authorized Department automated information systems for conducting official business.

Even if we assume that President Obama explicitly granted permission to his Secretary of State to only use a personal email address for her work – he says he didn't, and that he learned of her private server “through news reports” – under a 2009 federal regulation, Clinton was obligated to “ensure that Federal records sent or received on such systems [not operated by the agency] are preserved in the appropriate agency record-keeping system.” She did not, but claims that “When I mailed anybody in the government, it would go into the government system.”

This is false as well. We know that at least four of her key aides (Philippe Reines, Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills, and Jake Sullivan) also used private email addresses. Furthermore, an inspector general found that, under Clinton, the State Department failed to preserve the vast majority of employee emails for the public record “as required by the government.”

“Moreover,” noted the Washington Examiner, “since 2005, the State Department's Foreign Affairs manual forbids the transmission of ‘sensitive but classified’ agency information over private emails. Clinton evidently violated this rule as well, because some of the material she handed over to State had to be redacted before the public could see it.” That's the case with more than two dozen emails and counting.

Amid all of these untruths, a key question remains: “When did Hillary Clinton wipe her email clean?

As Benghazi Select Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) told CNN, “There are at least three separate legal obligations that should have informed and instructed her not to delete emails or wipe her server clean” – including congressional requests for her email dating back to 2012.

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Eight Ways to Judge President Obama’s Iran Deal

2015/07/15

Last week – as negotiators closed in on a final nuclear agreement with Iran – we looked at a number of the Obama administration’s own benchmarks for what a “good deal” would accomplish.

So does the deal do what the president and his key advisers said it would?  

See for yourself:  

 

Where they started

Where they finished

Past military programs

 

“We raised possible military dimensions.  And in fact in the Joint Plan of Action, we have required that Iran come clean on its past actions as part of any comprehensive agreement.” – Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, February 4, 2014

 

“Secretary of State John Kerry said [June 16] that a full accounting of Iran's possible past atomic weapons research is not necessarily critical…” (Associated Press)

#Iran commits to take steps to answer PMD questions by Oct. 15, but compliance is not linked to lifting of sanctions.” (Washington Post)

Breakout capacity

“It is my strong belief that we can envision an end state that gives us an assurance that even if they have some modest enrichment capability, it is so constrained and the inspections are so intrusive that they, as a practical matter, do not have breakout capacity.” – President Obama, December 7, 2013

 

“Little in the deal announced on Tuesday eliminates Iran’s ability to become a threshold nuclear power eventually — it just delays the day.” (New York Times)

“[Weapons inspectors] do not get automatic access to military sites but can get something called ‘managed access.’" (CBS News

“International inspectors seeking access to a suspected Iranian site could be delayed by a 24-day, multi-step process ultimately requiring five votes on an eight-member committee” (Washington Post)

Enrichment

“There is no right to enrich.  We do not recognize a right to enrich.  It is clear, in the — in the NPT, in the nonproliferation treaty, it’s very, very [clear] that there is no right to enrich.” – Secretary of State John Kerry, November 24, 2013

 

“Under the agreement, Iran would retain the right to enrich its own uranium” (Washington Post)

Sanctions relief

“Iran is not open for business until Iran is closed for nuclear bombs.” – Secretary of State John Kerry, March 3, 2014

 

“[The deal’s] most immediate effect will be to provide Tehran with up to $150 billion in fresh assets from sanctions relief over the next year, funds that its leaders will probably use to revive the domestic economy but also to finance wars and terrorist groups in Iraq, Syria, the Gaza Strip, Yemen and elsewhere.” (Washington Post)

“While a U.S. president could, in theory, unilaterally determine that Iran was cheating and force the reimposition of U.N. sanctions, it could take 65 days and might prove politically unworkable.” (Washington Post)

Future of Iran’s nuclear program

 

“This includes a lot of dismantling of their infrastructure” – Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, December 4, 2013

 

“[I]f at the start of these talks you… said Iran would be able to keep all these major nuclear facilities, including, for instance, the one at Fordow…  even some administration officials and supporters would say, wait a second, we’re not going to go that far.” (CNN

Ballistic missiles

“It is true that in these first six months we’ve not shut down all of their production of any ballistic missile that could have anything to do with delivery of a nuclear weapon.  But that is indeed something that has to be addressed as part of a comprehensive agreement.”— Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, February 4, 2014

 

“[T]he Iranians won the eventual lifting of an embargo on the import and export of conventional arms and ballistic missiles – a step the departing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, warned about just last week.” (New York Times)

Regional stability

“It will reduce the pressure for a regional nuclear arms race, and it will increase the strength of the international nonproliferation regime. It will also vastly improve the prospects for peace both here and elsewhere.” – Secretary of State John Kerry, March 5, 2015

 

“Following the signing of the landmark nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said he expected Iran to increase its backing of ‘just causes’ throughout the region.” (Business Insider)

“U.S. officials and experts say they fear a wave of nuclear research and threatening rhetoric that will make the region even more of a tinderbox than it is now.” (NBC News)

Sponsorship of terror

“[I]deally, we would see a situation in which Iran, seeing sanctions reduced, would start focusing on its economy, on training its people, on reentering the world community, to lessening its provocative activities in the region.” – President Obama, April 7, 2015

 

“With sanctions relief perhaps giving Iran access to $150 billion, Iran will be less constrained in playing patron to groups like Hezbollah.” (The Atlantic)

“There will be significant sanctions relief for the leader of the Quds force, a special unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard accused of supplying militants with weapons to kill Americans during the Iraq war, under the new Iran nuclear deal.” (ABC News)

We also noted there were other issues – like the Americans still being held hostage in Iran – any good deal should address.  Disturbingly, the agreement “offers no certainty” on their plight.  “The outcome of the nuclear deal does not change Jason’s cruel and illegal imprisonment for the past 365 days,” said the brother of jailed Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian. 

For his part, while defending his deal yesterday, President Obama welcomed scrutiny. “It’s important that the American people and their representatives in Congress to get a full opportunity to review a deal,” the President said.  “After all, the details matter.”

We couldn’t agree more.  That’s why we’ll continue to review this deal and judge it – in part – by whether it does what the administration said a good agreement would do:

“Listen, the president has abandoned all of [his] goals, and that’s why the deal that we have out there, in my view, from what I know of it thus far, is unacceptable,” Speaker Boehner said yesterday.  “It’s going to hand a dangerous regime billions of dollars in sanctions relief while paving the way for a nuclear Iran.

“This isn’t about Democrats or Republicans.  It’s not a partisan issue at all.  It’s about right versus wrong.  And we’re going to do everything we can to get to the details.  And, if in fact it’s as bad a deal as I think it is at this moment, we’ll do everything we can to stop it.”

 

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Speaker Boehner Calls for Hearings on Grisly Abortion Practices, Says President Obama Should Denounce Them

2015/07/15

WASHINGTON, DC -- House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement on the video released yesterday documenting the grisly practices embraced by Planned Parenthood:

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

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Ending President Obama’s Man-Made Water Shortage in California

2015/07/14

Earlier this year, with the effects of a multi-year drought becoming even more serious, California Governor Jerry Brown (D) ordered cities and towns to cut water use by 25 percent. The State Water Resources Control Board later approved rules encouraging residents to let their lawns die. Meanwhile, farmers have struggled mightily to maintain their crops. Half of the fruits, vegetables, and nuts consumed in the United States are grown in California, and this crisis poses a serious threat to the state’s agriculture and the millions of Americans who rely on it.

The fact that this was completely avoidable makes it even more frustrating. Investor’s Business Daily explained last year:

California's system of aqueducts and storage tanks was designed long ago to take advantage of rain and mountain runoff from wet years and store it for use in dry years. But it's now inactive — by design. …

Environmental special interests managed to dismantle the system by diverting water meant for farms to pet projects, such as saving delta smelt, a baitfish. That move forced the flushing of 3 million acre-feet of water originally slated for the Central Valley into the ocean over the past five years. …

The shutdown has been made worse by the inaction of California's Democrats, who for years have refused to build adequate storage facilities so that rainwater and snowmelt runoff can be stored for use by a growing population during dry years, another element of the earlier system. With no storage, the rain goes wasted.

Why is this particular fish worth inflicting so much pain on so many people? It’s not:

As fish go, it is undistinguished. Inedible, short-lived, and growing to a maximum length of just under three inches, smelt are of interest to nobody much — except, that is, to the implacable foot soldiers of the modern environmental movement, some of whom have recently elevated the smelt’s well-being above all else that has traditionally been considered to be of value. Human beings, the production of food, and the distribution of life-enabling water can all be damned, it seems. All hail the smelt, the most important animal in America.

The Central Valley’s woes began in earnest in 2007, when the hardline Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) won a lawsuit against California’s intricate water-delivery system, sending farmers like John Harris into a tailspin. In court, the NRDC’s lawyers contended that the vast pumps that help to funnel water from the reservoirs up in the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta down to the Central Valley, to Southern California, and to the Bay Area were sucking in and shredding an unacceptable number of smelt — and, the smelt being protected by the Endangered Species Act (ESA) since 1994, that this was illegal.

Given that the NRDC has long wished for farming operations in the valley to be curtailed on the peculiar grounds that it isn’t native to the area, this struck many observers as rather too convenient. … [But a federal judge] ruled that the protections afforded to the smelt were insufficient and ordered the federal Fish and Wildlife Service to issue a new “biological opinion” on the matter — this time without deciding that the smelt was in “no jeopardy.” And that, as they say, was that. … In 2007, the pumps were turned down; the Delta’s water output was lowered dramatically, contingent now upon the interests of a fish; and the farms that rely on the system in order to grow their crops were thrown into veritable chaos. Predictably, a man-made drought began.

If ever there was a phrase that perfectly encapsulates liberal environmentalists’ backwards priorities and regressive ideology of restriction and scarcity, it is the one now displayed on a government sign in Arcadia, California: “It’s ‘green’ to go brown.”

This is not what progress, growth, and 21st-century solutions look like.

Of course, the facts haven’t stopped President Obama from claiming that the current water shortage is caused by climate change and threatening to veto more than one bill passed by House Republicans to help provide relief. Last year’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Emergency Water Delivery Act (H.R. 3964) was also completely ignored by the Democrats in control of the U.S. Senate at the time.

And so, for many California farmers and workers, this year has been like the last few: a constant struggle to keep their crops and their livelihoods alive, despite the best efforts of big government bureaucrats. “We can get through the season, the water is there, if they manage it properly,” one farmer said.

Which is why, this week, the Republican-led Congress will act once again on legislation to provide relief and allow water resources to be managed in a way that actually makes sense. The Western Water & American Food Security Act (H.R. 2898) will, according to the Natural Resources Committee, require that federal and state agencies use the most updated available science in water management decisions, require the federal government to expedite and complete consideration of feasibility studies for water storage projects that have been languishing in bureaucratic purgatory for over ten years, streamline the permit process for building infrastructure to capture water, and more.

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Boehner on Iran: “We’ll Do Everything We Can to Stop” a Bad Deal

2015/07/14

WASHINGTON, DC – Responding to the Obama administration’s nuclear agreement with Iran, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) pledged today to do “everything we can to stop” a bad deal that paves the way to a nuclear Iran.  Here are Boehner’s remarks from a press conference with Republican leaders:

“You know, at the outset of the Iran negotiations, the Obama administration said that a good deal would affirm that Iran does not have the right to enrich.  They also said that keeping sanctions in place until Iran met concrete, verifiable standards.  And, they believed that they had to stop Iran’s drive for a nuclear bomb. 

“Listen, the president has abandoned all of those goals, and that’s why the deal that we have out there, in my view, from what I know of it thus far, is unacceptable.  It’s going to hand a dangerous regime billions of dollars in sanctions relief while paving the way for a nuclear Iran.

“This isn’t about Democrats or Republicans.  It’s not a partisan issue at all.  It’s about right versus wrong.  And we’re going to do everything we can to get to the details.  And, if in fact it’s as bad a deal as I think it is at this moment, we’ll do everything we can to stop it.”

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Speaker Boehner Statement on Iran Nuclear Agreement

2015/07/14

WASHINGTON, DC - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after the Obama administration announced a final agreement in nuclear negotiations with Iran:  

At the outset of these talks, the Obama administration said it would secure an agreement that affirmed Iran does not have a right to enrich and permanently dismantles the infrastructure of its nuclear programs.  It said that sanctions would not be lifted until Iran met concrete, verifiable standards.  And if these terms were not met, the president promised he would walk away.  

“The American people and our allies were counting on President Obama to keep his word.  Instead, the president has abandoned his own goals.  His 'deal' will hand Iran billions in sanctions relief while giving it time and space to reach a break-out threshold to produce a nuclear bomb - all without cheating. Instead of making the world less dangerous, this ‘deal’ will only embolden Iran – the world’s largest sponsor of terror – by helping stabilize and legitimize its regime as it spreads even more violence and instability in the region.  Instead of stopping the spread of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, this deal is likely to fuel a nuclear arms race around the world.

“The House of Representatives will review every detail of this agreement very closely, but I won’t support any agreement that jeopardizes the safety of the American people and all who value freedom and security.  This isn’t about Republicans versus Democrats.  It’s about right and wrong.  And we will fight a bad deal that is wrong for our national security and wrong for our country.”  

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WATCH: Speaker Boehner Talks About Faith & The Pope’s Visit

2015/07/13

For a kid who grew up going to Mass every morning, it's a pretty humbling experience.

Preparations continue this week for Pope Francis’ historic address to Congress on September 24. 

During an interview Sunday on Face the Nation, Speaker Boehner talked a bit about what this moment means to him, and how long he’s been working on this project.  Here’s what he had to say:

John Dickerson: “You are a practicing Catholic, and you’ve gotten the Pope – first time ever – to come visit Congress.  You’ve been working on that for a long time…” Speaker Boehner: “About 20 years ago, I offered my first invitation to a Pope, and over the years, three different times, I’ve attempted to get the Pope to come and address a joint session of Congress.  We’ve never had a Pope come, and I’m really happy that the Pope has accepted my invitation.  For a kid who grew up going to Mass every morning, it's a pretty humbling experience.

John Dickerson: “You don’t talk much about your religion, but I went back and read a speech that you gave – a commencement speech you gave at Catholic – you talked about your faith, not as Speaker, but when you had been bumped out of leadership..." Speaker Boehner: “Well, I have a very deep faith.  I have my conversations with the Lord.  They start in the morning early, and they go on all day long.  You can’t do this job by yourself.  … It’s helpful all the time, all the time.” 

You can read Speaker Boehner's 2011 commencement address at Catholic University here. And watch “The Biggest Long Shot" for more on the central role faith has played in the Speaker's life, including his decision to run for Congress: 

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Excerpts from Speaker Boehner’s Interview on Face the Nation

2015/07/12

In an interview with John Dickerson airing on CBS’s “Face the Nation” this morning, Speaker Boehner discussed the ongoing nuclear talks with Iran, the House’s investigation into the terrorist attacks in Benghazi, the Pope’s upcoming address to Congress, and much more.  Watch the video here, and check out a few key excerpts from the interview below:

On Iran Negotiations: “No Deal Is Better than a Bad Deal”: “No deal is better than a bad deal.  And from everything that’s leaked from these negotiations, the administration’s backed away from almost all of the guidelines that they set up for themselves.  And, I don’t want to see a bad deal.  And so if, in fact, there’s no agreement, the sanctions are going to go back in place.  And at some point, the Iranian regime, they’re going to have to change their behavior.  Abandon their efforts to get a nuclear weapon, and stop being the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world.” 

On the State Department & Sec. Clinton Stonewalling the Benghazi Investigation: “We Are Not Going to Walk Away from This”: “Our committees asked for her [Sec. Clinton’s] emails going back to 2012.  And we’ve been rolled and rolled, and held off and held off, now for over three years.  The emails need to come forward.  We’ve got this investigation with regard to what happened in Benghazi.  Four Americans died there.  We still don’t have the answers because the administration and Sec. Clinton refuse to turn over the relevant documents for the American people to see.  We are not going to walk away from this.  And, the State Department’s rolling these emails that they do have over to us at a rate of about 4,000 a month, this is going to go on throughout the rest of this year.” 

On the Need for Sec. Clinton to Turn Over Her Email Server to the State Department IG: Boehner: “She had an obligation to turn over all of the emails.”  Dickerson: “She said she didn’t.  She said she didn’t have to.”  Boehner: “Well, she’s wrong.  She had an obligation --”  Dickerson: “She’s not telling the truth?”  Boehner: “She’s not telling the truth.  She had an obligation to turn these emails over.  And the fact is, the IG [Inspector General] at the State Department ought to be able to go through these emails and make the determinations like they do anyplace else on what’s official and what isn’t. … I would hope they would turn them over, or the State Department would go after the server.  But Congress doesn’t want the server.  The State Department IG is the appropriate group of people to go through these emails to make those determinations.” 

On So-Called “Sanctuary Cities”: “These Are Laws…They Are Required To Be Enforced”: “We are looking at this, but these are laws.  They are on the books.  They are required to be enforced.  There’s no ifs, ands, or buts here.  And the fact is that some cities have decided to ignore the law is wrong, it’s flat out wrong.”

On the President’s Immigration Overreach: “The President Said 22 Times That He Didn’t Have the Authority to Do What He Eventually Did”: “John, I’ve been trying to do immigration reform for four years.  But the president said 22 times that he didn’t have the authority to do what he eventually did.  Now what the president has done, is that he’s poisoned the well.  He’s stirred up the American people in such a way that it would almost be impossible to do immigration reform given the environment that we’re dealing with.  I want to do immigration reform, and the president knows it.  I asked the president about a year ago, gave him some ideas about things that should happen if he wanted to do immigration reform, and some things that he shouldn’t do.  Well, the president didn’t take my advice.  And he doubled down on these executive orders that, frankly, far exceeded his authority, and the courts have got him stopped.  But he’s really poisoned the well.”

On the Pope’s Upcoming Address to a Joint Meeting of Congress: “A Pretty Humbling Experience”: “About 20 years ago, I offered my first invitation to a Pope.  And, over the years, three different times, I’ve attempted to get the Pope to come address a Joint Session of Congress.  We have never had a Pope come, and I am really happy that the Pope has accepted my invitation.  You know, for a kid who grew up going to Mass every morning, that’s a pretty humbling experience.” 

On the Role of Faith in Public Service: “You Can’t Do This Job by Yourself”: “Well I have a very deep faith, I have my conversations with the Lord.  They start in the morning early and they go on all day long, you can’t do this job by yourself. … It’s helpful all the time, all the time.” 

 

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SUNDAY: Speaker Boehner to Appear on CBS’ Face the Nation

2015/07/10

On Sunday, Speaker Boehner will appear on CBS’ Face the Nation with John Dickerson.

Face the Nation airs at 10:30 a.m. ET in Cincinnati, OH and Washington, DC.  Check local listings for air times in your area.

 

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Joint Statement by House GOP Leaders on Resignation of OPM Director

2015/07/10

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), and House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) released the following statement on the resignation of OPM Director Katherine Archuleta – a departure that comes less than 24 hours after GOP leaders called for President Obama to fire her:

“The resignation of the OPM director does not in any way absolve the president of the responsibility to repair this damage to our national security.   We know from last year’s resignation of the VA secretary that a change in personnel does not always lead to real change.  We applaud the work of Chairman Chaffetz and the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and we will hold the president accountable for restoring the public’s confidence.”

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21st Century Cures: Getting New, Life-Saving Treatments to the Patients Who Need Them

2015/07/10

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement applauding House passage of the 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 6), a bipartisan initiative to accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery of new cures by cutting red tape, streamlining outdated bureaucracy, modernizing clinical trials, and making critical investments in medical research:

“As a parent, I can imagine nothing more excruciating than to watch your child suffer from an incurable disease.  That’s why the 21st Century Cures Act is one of the most important things we will do here in Congress.  By combining critical investments in medical research with a comprehensive framework to streamline outdated bureaucracy, the Cures initiative will get more life-saving treatments to the patients who need them and unleash a new era of medical innovation.  That innovation will, in turn, help create jobs and boost U.S. competitiveness – ensuring more drugs and devices are developed here, not in China.  And, it will save taxpayers billions over the long term. 

“This bill was more than a year in the making, and thanks to the leadership of Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton and Rep. Diana Degette, it reflects the best ideas from doctors, patients, researchers, advocates, and medical innovators across the country.  American families that are holding out hope for new cures can’t wait any longer, and they shouldn’t have to.  I hope this breakthrough, bipartisan initiative makes its way to the president’s desk as soon as possible.” 

NOTE: In a Politico Magazine op-ed out today, Speaker Boehner details several key provisions of the 21st Century Cures Act and how they will help patients, doctors, researchers, and the millions of Americans working the biomedical field.  As Boehner also notes, H.R. 6 is not only fully paid for, but will save taxpayers $500 million in the first 10 years, and billions thereafter.  Read the entire op-ed here.

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Speaker Boehner Applauds South Carolina for Removal of Confederate Flag

2015/07/10

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement following South Carolina’s removal of the Confederate flag from statehouse grounds:

“I commend Governor Haley, the legislature, and the people of South Carolina for removing the Confederate flag from statehouse grounds.  In a short time, we have seen our fellow citizens come together in a thoughtful way to deal with a horrific crime and a difficult issue.  This is the American spirit at its finest.”

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PHOTOS: A Very Special Day for Vietnam Veterans

2015/07/10

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

As Speaker Boehner noted in his welcome remarks,  those "who served built a reputation for commitment and courage unparalleled in our military history.  They faced rejection on the home front by some – something that should never, ever happen again – and yet they stood tall and did their duty without complaint."

A great performance by @TheUSArmyBand Downrange at yesterday’s #VietnamWar Ceremony: https://t.co/KT5ZeAOGIv pic.twitter.com/Q68fbwOuMK

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) July 9, 2015

On behalf of the entire nation, the ceremony honored the service & sacrifice of the 7.4 million living Vietnam-era veterans, as well as those killed in action, held as prisoners, or still listed as missing.  Click here to watch the full ceremony.

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21st Century Cures: Helping Americans Live Longer, Healthier Lives

2015/07/10

By John A. Boehner July 9, 2015POLITICO Magazine

Hardly anyone amongst us has been spared the heartache of seeing someone battle for their life against an incurable disease. In those moments, we invariably ask ourselves: “What more can we do?” Over the last year, members of the House Energy & Commerce Committee have put that question to doctors, patients, experts, and medical innovators across the country, and their input has formed the foundation of a bipartisan initiative called “21st Century Cures.”

True to its name, 21st Century Cures is a multi-faceted initiative designed to accelerate the entire “3D” lifecycle of cures—from discovery to development to delivery. It reflects the feedback that members of both parties, led by Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Rep. Diana Degette (D-CO), have received in eight hearings and more than two dozen roundtables and listening sessions across the country. And, most importantly, it represents a new approach that puts the patient perspective at the fore—drawing from their experience to inform and improve new treatments at every point in the process. 

That process starts with critical investments in medical research. The legislation reauthorizes and increases resources for the National Institutes of Health, the preeminent agency for medical research that supports more than 300,000 researchers at more than 3,000 universities and research institutions. Those resources will allow NIH to continue its progress toward finding cures and treatments for diseases like cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and much more. The bill also addresses the economic challenges associated with developing treatments by enhancing researchers’ ability to repurpose drugs and providing economic incentives to develop new therapies. 

The initiative fully pays for these new resources with savings in other areas, including permanent entitlement reforms that will save taxpayers an additional $500 million over the next 10 years, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. Separate analysis by the Energy & Commerce Committee finds it will save billions after that also. It also gives Congress the ability to review these programs through the annual appropriations process and direct resources to where they’re needed most. This initiative makes every taxpayer dollar count—but is about much more than just that too.

Medical technology has undergone a vast transformation in recent decades, but it is being throttled by an outdated bureaucracy that hasn’t kept pace. Today, it takes 15 years for a new drug to move from the lab to the local pharmacy. The 21st Century Cures initiative aims to shorten that time, in part, by modernizing clinical trials. It does so by reducing the administrative burden of setting up new trials and making it easier to recruit the right candidates utilizing patient-generated medical registries. Researchers are able to tailor trials to specific patient groups and zero in on the treatments that are working for those with certain characteristics, and remove those who are not responding to treatment. And, it relies on patient feedback throughout the process so researchers can better gauge the impact of new treatments and improve their development.

It’s critical to ensure researchers have access to the vast amount of available medical data. That’s why the initiative breaks down barriers and allows for greater collaboration amongst researchers, facilitating more data-sharing and information-pooling to expedite the development of new drugs and devices. It also streamlines burdensome regulations that delay the approval of new treatments and technologies in order to help keep America on the cutting edge of innovation.

Maintaining our edge in biomedical research and development doesn’t just save lives, it strengthens our economy and boosts U.S. competitiveness around the world. Today, four million Americans are employed in the biopharmaceutical industry and two million are working in the medical device field. The House recently passed legislation to protect thousands of jobs that are being threatened by a tax on medical devices in the president’s health care law. The 21st Century Cures initiative goes a step further by making it easier to create more jobs and keep our most talented researchers working toward the next frontier of biomedicine on our shores.

Here in the House, we are committed to putting the American people’s priorities first, and there is no higher priority—no greater opportunity—than to help more Americans live longer, healthier lives. This process has shown how much we can achieve when we work together, and I look forward to seeing the House pass this critical, bipartisan initiative, and others like it, that will provide the real solutions Americans expect from their elected leaders.

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Speaker Boehner Praises Passage of Bipartisan Forests Bill

2015/07/09

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after today’s passage of the Resilient Federal Forests Act (H.R. 2647), which expedites much-needed forest management activities in the National Forest System to help fire-prone federal lands:

“America’s national forests are a blessing and add to the natural beauty of our land.  For too long, however, radical environmentalists have exploited federal laws and overzealous regulations to severely curtail responsible timber production from our national forests.  This dramatic drop in production, especially in the Western states, has cost jobs and hurt local communities.  It is also one of many underlying reasons why wildfires have grown in size and regularity over the previous generation. 

“The answer to the West’s wildfire problem is not to simply throw ever-increasing taxpayer funds at the situation.  The answer lies in the approach taken in this legislation: expediting environmental review to halt endless litigation; authorizing FEMA to provide financial assistance for fire suppression in bad fire years; and giving the Forest Service the flexibility to more swiftly restore lands already affected by fire.  We must streamline planning so that we are actively managing forest health and ensuring protection of America’s forests for all ages.  I commend Chairman Bishop and Rep. Westerman for their work on this critical bipartisan legislation.”

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Speaker Boehner Calls on President Obama to Fire OPM Chief

2015/07/09

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement in response to the Office of Personnel Management’s announcement that the theft of personal records at the agency was nearly six times larger than initially reported: 

“It has taken this administration entirely too long to come to grips with the magnitude of this security breach – a breach that experts agree was entirely foreseeable.  Americans who serve our country need to be able to trust that the government can keep their personal information safe and secure.  After today’s announcement, I have no confidence that the current leadership at OPM is able to take on the enormous task of repairing our national security.  Too much trust has been lost, and too much damage has been done.  President Obama must take a strong stand against incompetence in his administration and instill new leadership at OPM so we can move forward in a fashion that begins to restore the confidence of the American people.”

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Boehner Says Secretary Clinton, State Department Are Prolonging Benghazi Investigation

2015/07/09

WASHINGTON, DC - “Four Americans lost their lives in this terrorist attack, and the American people deserve the truth,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said today, saying former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the State Department are prolonging the House’s fact-driven investigation into the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.  Following are Speaker Boehner’s remarks from a press conference earlier today:

“On the issue of Benghazi and the work of the select committee, Secretary Clinton said, ‘it is the fact that we have released all of [the emails] that have any government relationship whatsoever.’ That just isn’t true. She said that Sidney Blumenthal, ‘sent me unsolicited emails.’  That’s not true either. And Secretary Clinton said, ‘there was no subpoena’ regarding her email.  That isn’t true either.  

“All these facts were uncovered by the Benghazi Select Committee, and they were uncovered despite the efforts of Secretary Clinton and the State Department to delay, derail, and stop this fact-finding investigation.

As Chairman Gowdy said this week, Secretary Clinton had a statutory duty to preserve these records from her time in office.  She had a legal duty to cooperate and tell the truth with congressional investigators requesting her records going back to 2012.

“Four Americans lost their lives in this terrorist attack, and the American people deserve the truth about what really happened.  Secretary Clinton and the State Department are prolonging this investigation. They need to stop dragging this out, they need to start cooperating, and step up document production so we can get all the facts. Frankly, that’s not too much to ask.”

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Boehner Challenges Obama Administration on Iran, ISIL

2015/07/09

WASHINGTON, DC Ahead of today’s deadline on Iran nuclear negotiations, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) reiterated his concern that the administration appears willing to accept a bad deal, asking, “When will the president and his negotiators stand strong?”  Boehner also addressed the fight against ISIL, calling on the president to change course and lay out a real, overarching strategy to defeat the terrorist threat.  Following are Boehner’s remarks:  

“Iran, by all accounts, still isn’t serious about abandoning its nuclear weapons program.  When will the president and his negotiators stand strong?  We cannot accept a deal that hands Iran billions of sanctions relief while allowing it to retain the capability to build a bomb almost immediately. 

“Iran is a global menace, Iran is the world’s largest state sponsor of terror.  And I think it’s a pipe dream to think that the regime will ever be a responsible partner when it comes to Iraq, Yemen and Syria.  So I think it’s time for the administration to come back to earth. 

“On Monday, President Obama made a statement at the Pentagon just 24 hours before Secretary Carter’s shocking admission that we’re only training 60 Syrian fighters.  He announced no new changes in our fight against ISIL.  If nothing’s going to change, I don’t know how we ever expect to win. 

“President Obama, I think, has to lay out a broad, overarching strategy to defeat and destroy these savage terrorists.  I’ve outlined on a number of occasions what – in my view – an overarching strategy should look like.  We should give our commanders on the ground more flexibility, we need to combat ISIL’s use of social media, and we need to engage – not ignore – our longstanding allies.

“We only have one commander-in-chief at a time, however, it’s his responsibility to lead this fight against ISIL.”

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House Continues Getting Things Done for the American People

2015/07/09

WASHINGTON, DC – The House is continuing to focus on Americans’ priorities this week, advancing measures to protect veterans’ from identity theft, help more students get a good education, and accelerate the development of new cures for the patients who need them.  It’s more good news for American families, as House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) discussed earlier today:

“Here in the House, we continue to get things done for the American people.  For example, we’ve passed: the first real entitlement reform since the 1990s; new tools to fight human trafficking; new resources to combat veterans suicides; and reforms to make our trade agreements better.

“This week, we sent to the president a bill that gets our veterans a permanent ID card to prove their service.  Yesterday, we passed reforms to help more students get a good education – no matter where they’re from.

And tomorrow, we’ll pass the 21st Century Cures initiative to get life-saving treatments for patients who need them.  So, our focus continues to be on the people’s priorities.” 

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Every Child Should Have A Chance at a Great Education

2015/07/08

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The House passed the Student Success Act (H.R. 5), which replaces top-down Washington mandates with conservative reforms...

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Thursday, July 9, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today applauded House passage of the Student Success Act (H.R. 5), which replaces top-down Washington mandates with conservative reforms to reduce the federal footprint, restore local control, and empower parents and local leaders to hold schools accountable for results:

“Education ought to be the civil right of the 21st century, and it will be so as long as we make sure our students have the freedom to fulfill their potential.   “The Student Success Act replaces top-down mandates with conservative reforms that empower the parents, teachers, and administrators at the heart of our education system.  If we make this bill law, Washington will have fewer programs, less power, and no authority to coerce states into adopting Common Core.  If we make this bill law, there will be real local control, more high-quality charter schools, and more flexibility for Title I funds to follow low-income children to the school of their family’s choosing. “We talk about education reform often, but the fact that one out of every five of our students is dropping out of school should give all of us a real sense of urgency about this.  We can’t allow our children to be trapped by their zip code, their income, or their background – not in the Land of Opportunity.  I commend John Kline, Todd Rokita, and the members of the Education & the Workforce Committee for their hard work and persistence.  Let’s turn this first step into real momentum and meaningful progress for the country.”

NOTE: Speaker Boehner, a former chairman of the House Education & the Workforce Committee, talked about his commitment to school choice and education reform in this video.  

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‘Very Defiant,’ Secretary Clinton Claims She Was ‘Never’ Subpoenaed

2015/07/08

“I didn’t hear a more open or transparent Hillary Clinton,” CNN’s Brianna Keilar said regarding her interview of the former Secretary of State, which touched on her unprecedented email arrangement. “[E]ven Democrats will say that’s a self-inflicted wound, that she was using her personal email account only, a personal server, that she turned over emails that she chose to, but ultimately wiped her server[.]”

This echoed what Keilar’s fellow journalist at CNN, John King, said a little over a week ago: Secretary Clinton “has only herself to blame.”

Indeed, Secretary Clinton’s false claims in yesterday’s CNN interview – some new, some repeated – earned fact checks from The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, while more reporters and journalists agreed that her evasions and obfuscations left critical questions unanswered:

  • Carl Bernstein: “[T]here are many self-inflicted wounds because she very often wants to cut a corner on the whole truth. She very often obfuscates.”
  • Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin: “Some of what she says is sort of maybe technically true … but it evades a lot of the issues that people are concerned about, including whether she did turn everything over[.]”
  • NBC’s Chuck Todd: “I thought it was more defensive this time than it was during her initial email press conference. … She showed no remorse, no regret, where in the initial press conference she said, ‘you know what, maybe I should have done it differently.’ None of that was in this one. Very defiant.”
  • The New York TimesMaggie Haberman: “The emails, she was very defensive answering questions about that. … She had one line at one point where she said, ‘I didn’t have to turn over anything’ … That’s not a great answer to that question considering that she was using a private email for government-related business.”
  • BBC’s Katty Kay: “There is something about the way when she is asked a question, she visibly doesn’t like being pushed or pushed for transparency. I thought that was the weakest part of the interview last night is the manner in which she answered the questions.”
  • The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove: “Clinton once again trotted out her creakily baroque defense of the private email server she used as secretary of state (in apparent contravention of Obama administration regulations), and the massive deletions she ordered upon leaving office.”
  • MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough: “It’s not true that everything she did was acceptable under regulations. It’s not true that she only had one device, and you can go down the list. … A lot of things she’s saying are just not true.”

Benghazi Select Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) also responded to Clinton, saying that despite what she asserted, she “had a statutory duty to preserve records from her time in office, she had a legal duty to cooperate and tell the truth with congressional investigators requesting her records, and she was personally subpoenaed the moment the Benghazi Committee became aware of her exclusive use of personal email and a server[.]”

And today, the Committee released its March 4, 2015, subpoena of Clinton, proving she did not tell the truth when she said “I've never had a subpoena”:

#BREAKING: Here’s the subpoena Hillary Clinton told @CNN she “never had.” It’s dated 3/4/15. http://t.co/gp1E32PkTz pic.twitter.com/7BaZ8IKdAg

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) July 8, 2015
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Congress Commemorates 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War

2015/07/08

WASHINGTON, DC – Leaders and members of the United States Congress held a ceremony today at the U.S. Capitol to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.  House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) made the following remarks, as prepared for delivery:

“Ladies & gentlemen, distinguished guests, welcome to the United States Capitol.  In a few weeks Americans will mark 70 years since the end of World War II. 

“When that war concluded on the deck of the Battleship Missouri, General MacArthur spoke of his great hope that the carnage of that war would be a foundation for a future based – in his words – on the ‘dignity of man and the fulfillment of his most cherished wish for freedom, tolerance, and justice.’

“We know that world failed to emerge, especially in Asia.  And within a few years America was called upon to lead the free world against Communist tyranny. President Kennedy would later call this the ‘long, twilight struggle.’  This struggle led us, first, to Korea in the early 50s.  Later it led us to Vietnam, a country few Americans at that time had ever heard of.

“Today, we gather to celebrate the Vietnam Commemoration and the 50 years since the deployment of America’s first ground combat units.   We do this consistent with the will of Congress, and the president’s proclamation.  And we do this with obvious pride and appreciation.

“At this time, I’d like to ask two groups of heroes to please stand up:  frst, as Speaker, I am blessed to ask my Congressional colleagues who served during Vietnam to please rise.  And, I’d like to ask all Vietnam-era veterans with us here, please rise.  Let’s give them all a hand.

“Today, we honor all veterans of the Vietnam War, including those held as prisoners or still listed as missing.  We honor their service & sacrifice on behalf of our nation, and we pay special attention and give thanks to the families of all these heroes.

“Vietnam was a tough war; it was a long war.   But the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen who served built a reputation for commitment and courage unparalleled in our military history.  They faced rejection on the home front by some – something that should never, ever happen again – and yet they stood tall and did their duty without complaint.

“And so today is a very special day.  Because Americans still want the things that MacArthur spoke about on the Missouri: dignity, freedom, tolerance, and justice.  These are things worth fighting for anywhere in the world.  And I give special thanks to God we are defended today by warriors inspired by the example of our Vietnam veterans.”

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More Good News: The Veterans ID Card Act

2015/07/08

Earlier today, Speaker Boehner signed the Veterans ID Card Act (H.R. 91).  This bill will allow all of America’s veterans to have a permanent ID card that proves their military service.   It now goes to the president’s desk for his signature.

Yes, this sounds like one of those things that should exist already.   Even now, however, there is no universal way for our veterans to prove their status.  Some have special ID cards, but many have to carry around old forms that contain sensitive information and, of course, weather over time.   It’s another hassle and headache our veterans shouldn’t have to bear.   With this bill, introduced by Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL), we’re fixing the problem, making it easier for our veterans to access the services they need and better protecting them from identify theft.

This is more good news for the people’s priorities, and the latest in a series of reforms we’ve enacted to help the nation’s veterans, including initiatives to help prevent veteran suicides  and allow more veterans to seek private care.

Of course, there is much more to be done.  “We’re going to continue to do our part,” Speaker Boehner says, “but only the president can change the culture at the VA.” 

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“Things Every Family Can Identify With”

2015/07/08

WASHINGTON, DC – “These are the things every family can identify with,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said today at a Republican leadership press conference where he previewed the House’s work on legislation to help students, patients, and families:

“This week, the House will continue to focus on jobs and the American people’s priorities.  We will take up reforms to help more students get a good education – no matter where they’re from.

“We’ll also take up a breakthrough initiative to help more patients get the life-saving treatments that they need.  Today in America, we have thousands of diseases to fight and the best minds in the world are on the front lines of that fight.  But our researchers need more tools and fewer roadblocks, and that’s what the 21st-Century Cures initiative will provide.

“I recently heard from a woman in Cincinnati whose sister suffered from pancreatic cancer.  She said this initiative, and I’ll quote, ‘it’s my definition of hope.’  So these are the things every family can identify with, and I look forward to passing both of these bills this week.”

NOTE: Learn more about these initiatives by going to Speaker.gov:

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Announcement on Pope Francis’ Visit to the U.S. Capitol

2015/07/08

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today made the following announcement on the visit by His Holiness Pope Francis to the U.S. Capitol on September 24, 2015:

“The visit of Pope Francis to the U.S. Capitol is a historic moment for the country.  Given the unprecedented nature of his visit, Pope Francis’ address to a joint meeting of Congress will be broadcast live to members of the public on the West Front of the Capitol.  In addition, Pope Francis has expressed an interest in making a brief appearance on the West Front.  We look forward to welcoming Pope Francis and Americans from all walks of life to our Capitol on September 24.”

NOTE: Information on West Front ticketing, logistics, and media credentialing will be issued at a later date.  Speaker Boehner issued a formal invitation to Pope Francis to address a Joint Meeting of Congress on March 13, 2014.   The Vatican officially accepted the Speaker’s invitation on February 5, 2015.

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Is it a ‘Good Deal?' Start by Reviewing the Administration’s Own Benchmarks

2015/07/08

After more than two years of talks, multiple deadline extensions, and reports of numerous concessions to Iran, President Obama could announce a nuclear deal with Iran as soon as today.

If and when negotiators do strike a deal, Americans can expect the White House to frame it as the best chance to prevent Iran from getting a weapon. It’s this or war, administration officials will say. 

Of course that's not true.  So how are Americans supposed to sift through the spin and decide for themselves whether this is truly a good deal?

Thankfully the Obama administration laid out plenty of benchmarks for what a good deal looks like during the course of negotiations.  Here are just a few:

Past military programs

 

“We raised possible military dimensions.  And in fact in the Joint Plan of Action, we have required that Iran come clean on its past actions as part of any comprehensive agreement.” – Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, February 4, 2014

 

Breakout capacity

“It is my strong belief that we can envision an end state that gives us an assurance that even if they have some modest enrichment capability, it is so constrained and the inspections are so intrusive that they, as a practical matter, do not have breakout capacity.” – President Obama, December 7, 2013

 

Enrichment

“There is no right to enrich.  We do not recognize a right to enrich.  It is clear, in the — in the NPT, in the nonproliferation treaty, it’s very, very [clear] that there is no right to enrich.” – Secretary of State John Kerry, November 24, 2013

 

Sanctions relief

“Iran is not open for business until Iran is closed for nuclear bombs.” – Secretary of State John Kerry, March 3, 2014

 

Future of Iran’s nuclear program

 

“This includes a lot of dismantling of their infrastructure” – Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, December 4, 2013

 

Ballistic missiles

“It is true that in these first six months we’ve not shut down all of their production of any ballistic missile that could have anything to do with delivery of a nuclear weapon.  But that is indeed something that has to be addressed as part of a comprehensive agreement.”— Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, February 4, 2014

 

Regional stability

“It will reduce the pressure for a regional nuclear arms race, and it will increase the strength of the international nonproliferation regime. It will also vastly improve the prospects for peace both here and elsewhere.” – Secretary of State John Kerry, March 5, 2015

 

Sponsorship of terror

“Ideally, we would see a situation in which Iran, seeing sanctions reduced, would start focusing on its economy, on training its people, on reentering the world community, to lessening its provocative activities in the region.” – President Obama, April 7, 2015

 

 

It would be reasonable for the American people to expect most, if not all of these benchmarks to be met.  And there are a number of other issues that should also be resolved in any good agreement, including the release of the Americans being held hostage in Iran that President Obama says is “a top priority.” 

But alarmingly, it appears President Obama has decided that a deal – any deal – is critical to bolstering his legacy.  The president has already shown he’s willing to ignore Iran’s unacceptable behavior during the talks, and he’s put the White House in the “weird” position of having to defend Iran’s non-compliance with an interim agreement.  And now the administration is ratcheting up pressure on the Congressional Democrats to support any deal while it openly dreams about partnering with an empowered Iran to deal with Iraq, Yemen and Syria

President Obama has acknowledged he’s “anxiety-ridden” about a deal with Iran, and for good reason.  A deal that gives Iran up to $150 billion in sanctions relief while allowing it to retain the capability to quickly build a nuclear weapon would make for an incredibly dangerous gamble. 

“A bad deal is worse than no deal at all,” Speaker Boehner said again before the July 4th holiday.  Let’s hope the president still agrees and either delivers an agreement that meets his own standards, or has the courage to stop a bad deal.  If he doesn’t, Congress will act.      

 

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President Obama Punts on Destroying ISIL

2015/07/08

In the span of 15 minutes at the Pentagon on Monday, President Obama effectively informed the American people half a dozen times that he is simply not interested in doing anything to change the current trajectory of the fight against the Islamic State (ISIL):

“Our mission to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group ISIL …. will not be quick. This is a long-term campaign. … It will take time to root them out …. there will be periods of progress, but there are also going to be some setbacks …. Our mission to destroy ISIL and to keep our country safe will be difficult. It will take time. There will be setbacks as well as progress.”

Here’s why he’s right that this will take time: his current strategy is focused not on ISIL’s destruction, but on leaving this problem for the next president to deal with, as National Journal’s Shirish Dáte reported a month ago.

That’s why the president said nothing at the Pentagon about a change in strategy – what you see is what you get. And as numerous newspaper editorial boards and outside experts have repeatedly pointed out, what we’ve got is an administration strategy that’s half-baked, half-hearted, and completely hamstrung by President Obama’s political red line:

  • “It has been apparent for some time that the United States lacks a strategy to fulfill President Obama’s pledge to ‘degrade and ultimately destroy’ the Islamic State …. [I]t is Mr. Obama’s unwillingness to match means to strategy that threatens to prolong this war.” (The Washington Post)
  • The reality is that the political limitations that the White House has put on U.S. military planners have allowed ISIS to hold or retake most of its ground. Half-hearted wars rarely end in victory.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  • “This is what happens when a policy of half-measures, restrictions and posturing meets a skillful and determined enemy on the battlefield.” (Kimberly Kagan and Frederick W. Kagan, The Washington Post)
  • The ‘Phony War’: That’s how history recalls the meager Allied effort in Western Europe early in World War II. … Today, another phony war is being waged, this time in the Middle East. Those opposed to Islamic State—the Saudis, Iraqis, Kurds, Turks and, yes, Americans—mostly squat and occasionally harass, unable or unwilling to strike decisively. … Fearful that Islamic State would dominate a post-Assad era, the U.S. largely stays its hand, unwilling to aid Mr. Assad or depose him. … Baghdad’s Shiite leaders, under threat from Islamic State and seeing U.S. hesitation, embrace Iranian support. … [I]t isn’t hard to envision the Middle East, bereft of U.S. leadership and awash in blood, with its hatreds and violence spilling ever westward. Herein lies the great gamble of the phony war.” (Hillel Fradkin and Lewis Libby, The Wall Street Journal)
  • What is needed is decisive U.S. leadership. Without it, the long-term entrenchment of Islamic State in Iraq may become a disturbing reality.” (Norman Ricklefs and Derek Harvey, The Wall Street Journal)
  • “To this point, U.S. efforts to train and advise Iraqi forces have been hamstrung by rules barring American personnel from accompanying their charges into battle in noncombat roles.” (Bloomberg)
  • “The problem is that Mr. Obama has offered only halfhearted support for his strategy. … Perhaps most important, Mr. Obama should make his priority eliminating the Islamic State — as opposed to limiting U.S. engagement in Iraq.” (The Washington Post)
  • “Fighting ISIS will require a much more robust response than has been utilized thus far. … There is a step between the tepid actions now ongoing and redeploying large conventional American formations. … Vacillation by the Obama administration is leading Iraq to a choice between radical Sunni-Islamist ISIS, and radical Shia-Islamist Iran. Either outcome is disastrous for Iraq and for the interests of America.” (Steven Bucci, The National Interest)
  • The Obama administration’s limited U.S. effort … did more in Iraq to empower Iran than win support for the U.S. … [T]he administration has failed to provide any honest transparency about the impact of the limits to its present strategy, the train and assist mission, the real world course of the fighting, and the risks and cost benefits of the present form of U.S. military intervention. There have been no substantive plans, risk assessments, or progress reporting[.]” (Anthony Cordesman, Defense One)
  • “The Islamic State can be decomposed through a comprehensive and robust air campaign designed to: (1) terminate its expansion; (2) paralyze and isolate its command-and-control capability; (3) undermine its ability to control the territory it occupies; and (4) eliminate its ability to export ­terror. But to do these things, air power has to be applied like a thunderstorm, not a drizzle. In the campaign against the Islamic State, we are averaging 12 strike sorties per day. … The fastest way to end the inhumanity of war is to eliminate its source — in this case, the Islamic State — as quickly as possible. … This does not have to be a ‘long war,’ as has been claimed by those whose politics benefit from that assertion[.]” (David Deptula, The Washington Post)
  • “To succeed in the president’s ambition of ultimately destroying the Islamic State — or even to contain its gains or roll them back — a broader and more intensive effort is needed. … [T]he execution of this [current] strategy has lacked the urgency and resources necessary for success.” (Michèle Flournoy and Richard Fontaine, The Washington Post)
  • “The White House will now dribble an additional 450 military advisers into Iraq. What that will accomplish is a mystery. … It seems inevitable that the current plan will eventually have to be followed by Americans going into battle along with Iraqis and calling in precision airstrikes. … [I]f the Islamic State survives, the entity that would emerge would more than likely bring the war home to the United States and other Western countries. … The question is not whether this is a fight worth having. The question is whether it can possibly be avoided. The inescapable conclusion, however, is that Obama has once again reached for a political solution to a military problem. … His stated goal is to degrade and destroy the Islamic State, but that’s just rhetoric — like his red line bluff in Syria. What he really wants is to vindicate his pledge to end the war in Iraq. He has his eye on his legacy.” (Richard Cohen, The Washington Post)

It’s time President Obama puts that aside and does what is best for the country – and the world.

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Senate Democrats’ Shutdown Caucus Strategizes at the White House

2015/07/07

Tonight, Senate Democrats are meeting with President Obama at the White House, preparing for “filibuster summer.” The Washington Post reported a month ago:

After almost six months in the minority, Charles E. Schumer says Senate Democrats aren’t afraid to be obstructionists, detailing a strategy of blocking appropriations bills and other Republican agenda items until they get what they want. …

Get ready for filibuster summer. …

The White House-backed plan to get Republicans to support more spending for domestic programs by blocking floor consideration of appropriations bills was developed in a series of closed-door meetings held over the course of several weeks.

You read that right. Democrats in Congress are plotting with the president to shut down the government and block a pay raise for our troops if they don’t get more spending for things like the EPA and IRS.

“We’re headed for another shutdown,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) warned.

“We need to have more money,” Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) demanded.

Are they out of their minds?

Yesterday at the Pentagon, President Obama was asked this question:

Every servicemember who is listening to you today, Mr. President, is wondering, are you going to veto the defense bills that are going to pay me? … Would you veto the appropriations bills?

The president’s response? “Our men and women are going to get paid.”

But how can he say that when he’s threatening to veto the bills that pay them?

Already, more Democrats voted to fund their own offices than voted to fund our troops. Think about that.

If the president actually wants our troops to get paid, he should stop calling strategy meetings of his shutdown caucus. After all, Democrats were against busting the budget caps before they were for it.

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House Backs Stronger Security Ties With Jordan to Counter ISIL

2015/07/07

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after the House passed the United States-Jordan Defense Cooperation Act (H.R. 907), which expedites arms transfers to Jordan:

“Jordan is a stabilizing force in the Middle East, and making sure it can take the fight to ISIL is vital to America’s national security interests.  This will also strengthen our ties with King Abdullah, a good friend and solid partner in the region.  If the president does finally put forward a broad, overarching strategy to defeat the terrorist threat, supporting our allies should be a big part of it.”

NOTE: Speaker Boehner visited Jordan in March to meet with His Majesty King Abdullah II and government officials for talks focused on ISIL and Iranian-backed violence in the region.  

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21st Century Cures: Cutting Red Tape, Increasing Accountability, & Protecting American Jobs

2015/07/07

This week, the House will consider the 21st Century Cures Initiative, bipartisan legislation to expedite the discovery, development, and delivery of new treatments for the thousands of diseases with no known cure.  The product of more than two dozen roundtables and listening sessions across the country over the past year, 21st Century Cures has garnered widespread support amongst doctors, patients, experts, advocates, medical innovators, and members on both sides of the aisle, and with good reason.  

The bill not only paves the way for a new era of medical innovation, it does so by drawing on several conservative reforms that are good for taxpayers, and good for our economy.  Here are a few examples, according to the Energy & Commerce Committee:

  • Cuts Red Tape: Today, it takes 15 years for a new drug to move from the lab to the local pharmacy.  The Cures Initiative modernizes clinical trials to expedite the development of new drugs and devices, removes regulatory uncertainty in the development of new medical apps, and breaks down barriers to facilitate increased research collaboration. “Reforming procedures at the National Institutes of Health will reduce the amount of paperwork and red tape scientists will have to endure to conduct basic research,” writes former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. “This will allow scientists to focus on discovery rather than bureaucracy.”
  • Fully Offsets Investments in Medical Research: The bill provides dedicated resources for NIH and the FDA that are fully paid for and sunset after five years.  The entitlement reforms, however, remain permanent - providing more savings for taxpayers beyond that five-year window.        
  • Increases Accountability: The resources provided for NIH and the FDA in H.R. 6 will be subject to review under the annual appropriations process.  This gives Congress the opportunity to review programs and prioritize spending where it is needed most.
  • Reduces the Deficit with Permanent Entitlement Reforms: The bill includes several permanent entitlement reforms in the Medicare and Medicaid programs that, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, will reduce the deficit by $500 million over the next decade.  Analysis by the Energy & Commerce Committee finds that the bill will cut spending by an additional $7 billion in the following decade.    
  • Protects Jobs: Four million Americans are employed in the biopharmaceutical industry and two million are working in the medical device field, according to the Energy & Commerce Committee.  The reforms in H.R. 6 will increase U.S. competitiveness in the biomedical field, helping to beat back competition from other countries, like China, and keep more of our jobs and medical professionals working on new cures on our shores.

Learn more about the 21st Century Cures Initiative @ energycommerce.house.gov/cures or by following the Energy & Commerce Committee on twitter.

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President Obama Says Our Troops “Are Going to Get Paid” – But How?

2015/07/06

Earlier today at the Pentagon, in response to a question about his threat to veto national defense bills, President Obama said that “our men and women are going to get paid.”

But how can the president say our troops will get paid when he’s threatening to veto the bills that pay them?  Even though these bills fund our national defense at the exact level he requested.

Republicans are committed to making sure our troops get paid, and paid more.  We’ve passed a raise for our troops, and we’re getting the people’s business done:

“The House is steadily moving through all 12 spending bills for fiscal 2016, and will finish work on a funding bill for the Environmental Protection Agency and Interior Department after the July 4th break. … But those appropriations bills are hitting a dead-end in the Senate, with Republicans unable to break the filibusters being waged by the Democratic minority.  Democrats have already blocked legislation to fund the Pentagon, and appear comfortable with the strategy…” (The Hill)

That ‘strategy’ is to block a pay raise for our troops – and everything else – in order to extract more money for big government.  In other words, what the president was really saying today was:

Our men and women are going to get paid so long as I get more money for the IRS and the EPA.

That’s right, the president has a strategy to get more money for the IRS and the EPA – but not much of one to defeat the terrorist threat. 

If the president actually wants our troops to get paid, he ought to drop his threat to veto the bills that pay them.  Immediately.

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This Doesn't Happen Anywhere Else in Government

2015/07/06

Flashback to January of 2011.  John Boehner is newly elected as Speaker of the Republican-led House of Representatives, and the first week on the job, the House slashes $35 million from its own budget...with the promise of much more to come.  Now fast forward to present day, and those taxpayer savings have grown to more than $782 million.  All told, that's a 14% reduction in the cost of Congress.

As Speaker Boehner says in the video above, this simply "doesn't happen anywhere else in government."

--

Related Stories: 

1.  $782 Million and Counting

2.  7 Things to Like About This Legislative Branch Funding Bill

3.  Politifact: Promise Kept

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Speaker Boehner Completes Week of Talks With Key European Allies

2015/07/05

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has completed a week of talks with key European allies, including Lithuania, Finland, Poland, and Ireland.  With discussions focused on transatlantic trade, energy security, and defense cooperation, Boehner stressed the importance of strengthening U.S.-European ties to counter Russian aggression. 

This week was about showing our allies that we stand with them, and we are united in our commitment to their future,” Speaker Boehner said. “Closer ties between the United States and Europe mean less leverage for Russia and the world’s aggressors.  And whether it’s trade, energy, or defense, there’s no shortage of opportunities to deepen our ties. The United States is blessed to have such courageous and determined allies, and we certainly look forward to building on these talks.”

Speaker Boehner’s bipartisan delegation included Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN), Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO), and Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR).

Lithuania: “Whether it’s arming Ukraine or declaring energy independence, Lithuania sets an example for the region, and frankly, the world.  The American people recognize that this threat demands decisive leadership and action.” Read the full release

Finland: “Finland has been a great ally and friend to the United States.  We care about our relationship.  Clearly, the events going on in Europe are of interest to us and we are certainly interested in your perspective.  We are looking forward to strengthening our relationship.” Read the full release

Poland: “Poland is a close ally of the United States, and we’re grateful for the important relationship between our countries.  Both the Polish people and the American people recognize the need to deal with Russian aggression.  We are here to show our support to the Polish people and talk about how we can make our relationship even stronger.” Read the full release.

Ireland: “We’re on the eve of celebrating our 239th anniversary as a country, and it wouldn’t have happened without the Irish.   We’re very pleased to be here, the Irish are our dearest and oldest friends.”  Read the full release.

Follow Speaker Boehner on Medium for more behind-the-scenes content from his visit to Europe.

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Boehner in Ireland: “Americans Are The Luckiest People On The Face of The Earth”

2015/07/04

DUBLIN, IRELAND – Addressing a crowd of approximately 2,000 at the U.S. Embassy’s Independence Day Celebration here on Friday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said that Americans are the “luckiest people on the face of the Earth,” in no small part because of the hard work and friendship of the Irish people. 

“While I know it’s all about ‘the luck of the Irish,’ in my view, Americans are the luckiest people on the face of the Earth,” Speaker Boehner said. “Because we inherited the greatest fortune known to man: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  And guess what?  We’ve got the best friends in the world.  So I just want to wish all of you a very happy Fourth of July.”

Speaker Boehner arrived in Ireland on Thursday for talks on trade and economic ties following visits to LithuaniaFinland, and Poland.  His bipartisan delegation includes Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN), Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO), and Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR). 

On Friday afternoon, Speaker Boehner talked about opportunities for growth through trade and energy at an annual Independence Day Lunch hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland. 

Speaker Boehner concluded his remarks at the luncheon by saying, “Tomorrow’s the Fourth of July.  It’s not just celebrating the birth of a nation. It’s celebrating the birth of an idea – an idea that people can be free, people can govern themselves, and people can be whatever they want themselves to be.  239 years later, this idea – this experiment in democracy – continues.  And while I’d probably prefer to be in West Chester, Ohio ... it’s really wonderful to be here in Ireland, where I feel like I’m with family.”

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Weekly Republican Address: Let's Come Together to Protect All That Makes America Great

2015/07/03

WASHINGTON, DC – In this week’s Republican address, Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) discusses Republicans' efforts to provide our troops and our intelligence professionals with the support they need to carry out their vital missions.

“Too much is at stake right now to let our differences get in the way of our work to protect freedom," Rep. Hurd says in the address. "America's men and women who serve our country make up the greatest force for good this world has ever known.  They deserve our unwavering support on Independence Day and every other day."

Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, Hurd served as an undercover officer in the CIA in the Middle East and South Asia for nearly a decade.  Hurd was elected to serve the people of Texas’ 23rd Congressional District in 2014, and today sits on the Committee on Homeland Security and chairs the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s Information Technology Subcommittee.  Learn more by visiting his official website or by following him on Facebook and Twitter.

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

Remarks of Representative Will Hurd of TexasWeekly AddressJuly 4, 2015

Hello, I’m Will Hurd, and I’m proud to represent the 23rd District of Texas in Congress.  I hope you and your family are having a great Independence Day weekend.

First, I want to wish the U.S. women’s soccer team the best of luck in the World Cup Final.  We are so proud of all that you’ve accomplished together as a team.  Your grit and determination is inspiring a new generation of American athletes to dream big.

Of course, we’re fortunate to live here in the United State of America, a country where you can work hard and be anything you want to be.  Growing up in San Antonio, my parents – Mary Alice and Bob – instilled that lesson in me at an early age, along with the values of honesty and service to a greater good.

Before the people of Texas sent me to Congress, I spent nearly a decade as an undercover case officer in the CIA.  I witnessed folks struggling for freedom overseas.  And I saw firsthand why we can never take our liberty for granted. 

Today we face enemies around the world that are more determined than ever.  They have no intention of giving up their pursuit of nuclear weapons, or the violence, fear, and hate they use to cling to power.  Our principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — they represent everything our enemies want to destroy.

So as we celebrate this Independence Day, let’s recommit ourselves to supporting our troops, supporting our intelligence professionals, and winning this fight. 

Already this year in the U.S. House of Representatives, we’ve passed measures to provide new mental health resources to our veterans and bolster cybersecurity while protecting privacy.  And last month we passed a strong national defense bill that meets the president’s funding requests and authorizes a much-deserved pay raise for our troops.

Sadly, some members of the president’s party are trying to block this critical measure.  They think that by playing political games, they can extract more funding for unrelated federal agencies like the IRS and the EPA.  I hope they’ll reconsider because too much is at stake right now to let our differences get in the way of our work to protect freedom.  America’s men and women who serve our country make up the greatest force for good this world has ever known.  They deserve our unwavering support on Independence Day and every other day. 

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

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In Ireland, Speaker Boehner Talks Trade & Economic Ties, Pays Tribute to Berkeley Victims

2015/07/03

DUBLIN, IRELAND – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) began a visit to Ireland Thursday with talks on trade, U.S.-Irish economic ties, and security challenges in Europe.

“We’re on the eve of celebrating our 239th anniversary as a country, and it wouldn’t have happened without the Irish,” Speaker Boehner said. “I appreciate the conversation that we had earlier about some of the issues we’re dealing with.  We’re very pleased to be here, the Irish are our dearest and oldest friends.”

Speaker Boehner’s comments came at a media availability with Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny, who met with Boehner prior to hosting the delegation for lunch at Farmleigh House.  Speaker Boehner hosts the Taoiseach for an annual luncheon on St. Patrick’s Day as part of the Friends of Ireland tradition begun by President Ronald Reagan and Speaker Tip O’Neill.

At the media availability, Speaker Boehner also paid tribute to the six Irish students who died last month in a tragic accident in Berkeley, California:  “On behalf of the U.S. Congress, let me express my condolences to the Irish people for the loss of your young ones in California.  I think it’s been very impressive how the Irish have pulled together, banded together, as a family to deal with this significant loss.”   After the luncheon, the delegation met with Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan and Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton.  The delegation shared insights from their meetings in Central and Eastern Europe, heard more about the Irish economic recovery, and stressed the importance of strengthening transatlantic trade following passage of trade promotion authority

The delegation also visited Dáil Éireann (Parliament) to meet with Ceann Comhairle (Speaker) Seán Barrett, who paused the day’s proceedings to recognize Speaker Boehner and the delegation in the visitor’s gallery.

Speaker Boehner arrived in Ireland's capital after five days of talks in LithuaniaFinland, and Poland.  His bipartisan delegation includes Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN), Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO), and Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR). 

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Three Behind-The-Scenes Photos from June

2015/07/02

You may not always see it from behind the podium, but behind the scenes, Speaker Boehner has a lighter side.  Whether it's cutting up with staff around the water cooler or entertaining some special guests in his office, the Speaker knows how to get a grin out of his audience, and here are three quick photos from last month that capture some of those smaller moments.

1.  Advice for summer interns: "Don't ever give up, and choose your socks wisely."

2.  A pen for Rep. Paul Ryan after the signing of bipartisan trade legislation.

3.  Dancing is a universal language, as shown by this waltz with Speaker Grauzniene of Lithuania.

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In Warsaw, Speaker Boehner Vows to Work to Make Strong U.S.-Poland Relationship Even Stronger

2015/07/02

WARSAW, POLAND – In a series of meetings with Polish leaders on Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) paid tribute to the strong U.S.-Poland relationship and vowed to work to make it even stronger amid the threat of Russian aggression.  “Poland is a close ally of the United States, and we’re grateful for the important relationship between our countries,” Boehner said at a media availability.  “Both the Polish people and the American people recognize the need to deal with Russian aggression.  We are here to show our support to the Polish people and talk about how we can make our relationship even stronger.”

Speaker Boehner arrived in Central Europe after four days of talks in Lithuania and Finland.  His bipartisan delegation includes Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN), Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO), and Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR).

Discussions here focused on Russia, missile defense, and the overall security situation in the region, as well as the importance of energy diversification and transatlantic trade.  The delegation met with the following Polish and American officials:

  • President Bronisław Komorowski;
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs Grzegorz Schetyna;
  • Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska, Speaker of the Sejm, the lower house of the Polish Parliament
  • U.S. Ambassador Stephen Mull; and
  • Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, Commanding General, U.S. Army Europe.

In addition, the delegation met with representatives from the American Chamber of Commerce in Poland.

In between meetings, the delegation visited the Ronald Reagan Monument, which honors our 40th president's role in supporting the anti-communist Solidarity movement.  The meeting with President Komorowski was held at Belweder Palace, which served as Lech Walesa’s official presidential residence from 1990 to 1994.  Speaker Boehner welcomed President Walesa to the U.S. Capitol in December 2013

RELATED STORIES:

Like the Reagan statue @uscapitol, but the one across from @USEmbassyWarsaw is also impressive http://t.co/pvmN2Gerr1 pic.twitter.com/UMraGlrHT0

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) July 2, 2015
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As Hillary Clinton’s Email Claims Crumble, State Department Stonewalls Benghazi Select Committee Investigation

2015/07/02

It’s not just Hillary Clinton who's prolonging the #Benghazi investigation. The Obama @StateDept is stonewalling too: http://t.co/noXynWQ2P4

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) July 2, 2015

If only Secretary of State John Kerry was as cooperative with congressional investigators as he is with Iran’s ayatollahs.

Ever since it was revealed that Hillary Clinton exclusively used personal email for official government business as Secretary of State, the Select Committee on Benghazi has sought to obtain a complete record of her Libya-related emails. For the investigation to conclude, all the evidence needs to be presented – that’s just common sense.

But so far, that looks like it may never happen. Not only because Clinton withheld relevant emails when she decided which messages to turn over to the Obama administration, but also because the State Department’s stonewalling specialists continue to evade, obstruct, and delay all reasonable inquiries.

Here’s how:

Pretending not to understand the meaning of “any and all” (just like Clinton)

  • The Committee requestedany and all documents and communications referring or relating to a) Libya (including but not limited to Benghazi and Tripoli), and/or b) weapons located or found in, imported or brought into, and/or exported or removed from Libya, authored by, sent to, or received by the email address ‘hdr22@clintonemail.com’ between January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2012.”
  • But of the 61 previously unreleased Libya-related emails that the Committee obtained from longtime Clinton crony Sidney Blumenthal last month, the State Department said it had 46. Officials told the Associated Press that those emails “weren't handed over to congressional investigators because they had no relevance to events in Benghazi and did not correspond to the committee's request.” False.

Refusing to launch an internal investigation into incomplete records

  • “The State Department says there won't be an internal investigation into why the agency couldn’t find part or all of 15 emails from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s personal email server,” The Hill reported. No accountability? No problem!

Failing to provide emails from seven of 10 senior Clinton aides

  • Until yesterday, the Committee had only received some emails from one of the 10 aides named in its initial request eight months ago. After a new cache released by the State Department to the Committee on Tuesday, some emails from three of the 10 aides have been received – but by no means does the State Department’s production represent these aides’ complete records.

See a pattern of secrecy and slow-walking here? It’s no wonder. The Obama administration has its top fixer on this scandal, reports Politico:

A year ago, Catherine Duval was embroiled in the scandal over former IRS official Lois Lerner’s lost emails.

Now the top government attorney is heading up another document project in the cross hairs of Congress: the State Department’s release of Hillary Clinton’s emails and Libya documents to the House Select Committee on Benghazi. …

Duval, a former attorney for the powerhouse Washington law firm Williams & Connolly who left the IRS and joined the State Department last August, declined to comment for this story. But she told House Oversight investigators last year that she didn’t know such backup tapes of the lost Lerner emails — recently found destroyed — even existed. …

But now, with an IRS watchdog announcing last Thursday that tax agency employees under Duval’s watch had erased more than 400 backup tapes central to Congress’ IRS probe of the tea party targeting, Republicans are even more suspicious. …

[Duval] knew there were important gaps in Lerner’s email records for months and did not tell Congress … just as State did not tell the Benghazi panel for months that Clinton had exclusively used her personal account for work.

Guess who else works at the Williams & Connolly law firm? David Kendall – the lawyer for Hillary Clinton who announced her personal server had been erased after she supposedly turned over everything work-related. (Hint: she didn’t.)

“Until we know there’s been an independent vetting of her server, we are always going to wonder [what the truth is],” National Journal’s Ron Fournier said this week. “I judge people by their actions, not their words. White House officials tell me too they’re disgusted with the fact that Hillary Clinton violated their rules on donations, foreign donations, violated their rules on email. Well, I haven't heard the president rebuke her. I haven't seen his State Department investigate this. So I've got to assume that the Obama White House is complicit in this lack of transparency and in this rule breaking and whatever else might be going on that we don't know about yet.”

That’s a fair assumption. Indeed, just as Hillary Clinton can prove she wants the public to see her email by turning over her server to an independent, neutral third-party, so can White House officials prove they are disgusted with her lack of transparency by calling on her to do so.

In the meantime, it’s up to Secretary of State John Kerry to ensure his department complies with the Benghazi Committee in a timely manner.

“I get that he has other things going on. … But I want to get this investigation over with and he is the only thing standing between me and a completed investigation,” Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) told CBS News on Sunday. “[I]f I don't get satisfaction from … his Chief of Staff, the next person to come explain to Congress why he has been so recalcitrant in turning over documents will be the Secretary himself.”

Secretary Kerry, call your office.

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Speaker Boehner on the June 2015 Unemployment Report

2015/07/02

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

“It’s encouraging that more Americans found work last month, but we must do better in order to achieve the sustained, robust economic growth we need.  Republicans are advancing solutions to promote stronger economic growth and reduce Americans’ cost of living, recently passing legislation to expand free trade, prevent electricity price hikes, and help protect Americans from the president’s health care law.  Millions of Americans are still struggling to find a job or living paycheck to paycheck, and they deserve a better opportunity to get ahead.  That’s why we will continue to focus on the priorities of hardworking families, and advance solutions that will make a real difference for them.  We’re off to a good start this year, but we still have plenty of work to do and I encourage the president and members of his party to work with us to get more bipartisan, House-passed jobs bills signed into law.”

NOTE: In an IJ Review op-ed published earlier this week, Speaker Boehner highlighted some of the accomplishments in the first six months of the new American Congress, including the first real entitlement reform in decades, and measures to fight human trafficking and prevent veterans’ suicides.  Read the entire op-ed and watch the accompanying video here.

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“Outright Failure”: Ongoing Problems Underscore Lack of Accountability at the VA

2015/07/01

Last week, Speaker Boehner took the VA to task for its “outright failure…to take care of our veterans,” citing a lack of accountability for the failures that continue to plague the VA – not a lack of funding.  Here are a few recent examples that back that up: 

  • Longer Wait Lists: “One year after an explosive Veterans Affairs scandal sparked national outrage, the number of veterans on wait lists to be treated for everything from Hepatitis C to post-traumatic stress is 50 percent higher than at the same time last year, according to VA data.” (The Washington Post)
  • Dangerous & Deplorable Conditions: “Workers at the James A. Haley VA Medical Center reported ‘3 large dead rats that fell through the kitchen ceiling’ at the hospital during renovation work Wednesday night, according to emails obtained by the Tampa Bay Times. … ‘I have…been made aware that there is a major roach problem in the kitchen and that some roaches have been found on patients’ trays,’ Ruisz wrote in an email Thursday to the Haley ‘enviro team,’ which handles pest control.  Ruisz said she was told workers replacing a canteen ceiling two months ago ‘filled multiple buckets with roaches, dead rats and feces...Please let me know if there is an ongoing problem with this infestation and what is being done about it...‘We could possibly end up on the news, not to mention risk patient safety.’” (Tamba Bay Times)
  • Lapses in Medical Testing: “Two inspections released Thursday found nearly two dozen new problems at the Phoenix VA Health Care System and its outpatient clinics in Arizona.  The most serious issues in the VA's Office of Inspector General reports involve a lack of testing given to stroke patients, a lack of reporting potential complications prior to MRIs, a lack of diagnostic testing for those with positive alcohol screens and a lack of routine testing for HIV.” (Arizona Republic)
  • Unsafe Facilities, Canceled Appointments: “Nearly three months after the authorities issued a do not consume notice for the water at the Wilmington VA Clinic, the Veterans' Affairs Administration still has no timeline on when the water problems will be fixed so the order can be lifted.  Until the water is usable, patients in the GI, Urology and Dental departments are still having their appointments canceled. In some cases, veterans are having appointments rescheduled for a later date when the VA hope a the facility will be operational again. In other cases, patients are being referred to the VA clinic in Fayetteville as an alternative. The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority ordered the clinic to stop consuming the water on March 23. … Still, a VA spokesman said they ‘don't have a timeline’ on when the water issues will be fixed.” (WECT-TV6)
  • Mental Health Patients “Slipping Through the Cracks”: “Maine’s Veterans Affairs health care system mishandled referrals and appointment scheduling for mental health treatment, leaving some patients without requested care or waiting too long for visits, a government watchdog has found. … In some cases, staff closed out requests for referrals before patients actually received care, the investigation found. As a result, staff failed to follow up with some patients who canceled or failed to appear for scheduled visits for mental health treatment. … Interviewees acknowledged the mishandled referrals may leave some patients ‘slipping through the cracks,’ according to the report. One man in his 30s with post-traumatic stress disorder waited eight months for a visit with a therapist after his psychologist improperly documented a referral, investigators found.” (Bangor Daily News)

Last year, the House passed, and the president signed, legislation to increase accountability at the VA (H.R. 3230), but the agency has thus far failed to use the tools at its disposal to clean up this mess.  It has been more than a year since the Phoenix VA scandal and the president, for his part, has failed to deliver on his promise to “do right by our veterans across the board.”   We will continue working to hold the administration accountable but, as Speaker Boehner has made clear, only the president can change the culture from within.

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The Obama Administration Hands the Castro Regime a Lifelong Dream

2015/07/01

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement regarding President Obama’s announcement on restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba’s communist regime:

“The Obama administration is handing the Castros a lifetime dream of legitimacy without getting a thing for the Cuban people being oppressed by this brutal communist dictatorship.  As I’ve said before, relations with the Castro regime should not be revisited, let alone normalized, until Cubans enjoy freedom – and not one second sooner.”

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Hillary Clinton’s ‘Absolutely Unacceptable Choice’ Continues to Prolong Benghazi Investigation

2015/07/01

“The Hillary Clinton private emails controversy has new legs and the Democratic frontrunner has only herself to blame,” CNN’s John King reported Sunday. “After the House Select Benghazi Committee released new emails this past week, the Obama State Department was forced to admit it was not in possession of some Clinton emails that clearly discussed department business. … Secretary Clinton can’t definitely prove there aren’t additional things that should have been turned over to the government that were not. She can’t prove that because she erased her private email server without any independent supervision.”

Pointing out that Hillary Clinton’s statement that she had turned over all of her work-related emails “is not true,” MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell piled on. “If you care at all about the Freedom of Information Act, which is what liberals should care about here, that was an absolutely unacceptable choice from the start, that she used an email system in that way, and then that she deleted it,” he said Tuesday. “That was to contradict the Freedom of Information Act, Americans’ freedom, the press freedom, to be able to request these kinds of documents.”

But it was exactly this accountability and transparency that Hillary Clinton tried so hard to avoid as she performed her taxpayer-funded duties as Secretary of State. That includes periods of time when the Benghazi terrorist attack was front and center, and Sidney Blumenthal was sending her unvetted, unsubstantiated intelligence on Libya. The Obama administration confirmed last week that she deleted specific parts of at least six emails before turning them over to the State Department. What other emails are still missing?

“Hillary failed to supply a complete record, despite her assertions to the contrary,” the New York Post editorialized. “Once again the public may never know what it’s missing.”

“[A]fter arranging for a secret server, screening her own messages, and making the unilateral decision to destroy those she deemed personal, Hillary Clinton does not get the benefit of the doubt,” the Boston Herald editorial board concluded.

That’s why she should turn over her private server to an independent, neutral third-party who can examine it and decide which of her emails should be public and which should be private.

As Benghazi Select Committee Chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) told CBS News on Sunday, Hillary Clinton will testify as soon as the committee has what it needs to “have a constructive conversation with her.”

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In Helsinki, Speaker Boehner Expresses Full Support for Stronger U.S.-Finland Ties

2015/07/01

HELSINKI, FINLAND – Calling Finland a “great ally and friend to the United States,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has completed two days of discussions here, expressing his full support for stronger ties between the two countries amid Russian aggression in the region.

Speaker Boehner arrived in Finland’s capital on Monday following a three-day visit to Lithuania. His bipartisan delegation includes Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN), Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO), and Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR).  

On Monday afternoon, the delegation met with U.S. Ambassador Bruce Oreck at the U.S. Embassy, where lawmakers toured the Innovation Center.

On Tuesday morning, the delegation met with President Sauli Niinistö and Foreign Minister Timo Soini.  Topics of discussion included Ukraine and the security situation in the region, as well as the importance of strengthening transatlantic trade.  The delegation stressed that closer economic ties with Europe is a priority for the United States following passage of trade promotion authority.

“Finland has been a great ally and friend to the United States,” Boehner said at a media availability prior to the meeting with President Niinistö.  “We care about our relationship.  Clearly, the events going on in Europe are of interest to us and we are certainly interested in your perspective.  We are looking forward to strengthening our relationship.” Finland’s security situation was the focus of the afternoon, starting with a tour of the Helskini archipelago on a Finnish naval vessel.  After that, the delegation visited the Coast Guard Command Center at Katanjanokka for a briefing and discussion of the recent possible submarine incursion in Finnish waters.  The delegation wrapped up the day’s meetings with a briefing from Arto Räty, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Defense.

On Tuesday evening, the delegation attended a working dinner with members of Finland’s Parliament and their new Speaker, Maria Lohela.  Lohela, 37, is the youngest lawmaker to hold the post in nearly 90 years. Offering a toast to the new speaker and the relationship between the two countries, Speaker Boehner said, “The reason we came here is to show all of you that we care about you, that we’re all in this together, and that we’ve got a lot to do together.  But Madam Speaker, I want to congratulate you, you’ve only been Speaker about a month, but you’re off to a great start, and I wish you and your colleagues the best of luck.”

 

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Good News

2015/06/30

Under Republican Leadership, Congress is Getting Things Done by John Boehner Tuesday, June 30, 2015 Read on IJ Review

In November, the American people decided to entrust Republicans with control of the U.S. Senate, where common-sense jobs bills too often went to die in recent years. Now, since the start of this year, the Republican majority in the U.S. House finally has a willing partner in our work on behalf of the American people.

It’s an opportunity we haven’t let go to waste.

We’re now halfway through the year, and the Republican-led Senate has held more roll call votes on amendments than in all of 2014 under the Democrats’ leadership. In the House, we launched the earliest start to the appropriations process since 1974, and we’ve already passed more than half of the 12 annual appropriations bills.

So far, Congress has sent President Obama more than two dozen bills that he signed into law, including one just yesterday: bipartisan trade negotiating legislation that will pave the way for stronger economic growth and more jobs. This was a big win for American workers, and will help us sell more goods stamped with “made in America” around the world.

Other major accomplishments in Congress in the last few months include the first real entitlement reform in nearly two decades, a mental health care law that will help prevent veterans’ suicides, and new measures to fight human trafficking and support the victims of that terrible crime.

The House also passed the first 10-year balanced budget plan since 2001, a bill to protect unborn babies who can feel pain from abortion, and legislation that both protects our country and defends Americans’ civil liberties by ending the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records.

Also noteworthy is the bipartisan, nearly-veto proof majority that voted to repeal ObamaCare’s tax on medical devices like pacemakers, heart valves, insulin pumps, artificial joints, and MRI machines – a really stupid tax when you think of all the people who benefit from these innovative treatments.

What about cybersecurity legislation? The House passed that too. In the wake of terrible hacks at Sony Pictures, major retail stores and health care companies, it’s clear that the threat of more cyberattacks is only growing. The White House, the State Department, the IRS, and the government’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM) have all been targets of cyberattacks too. That’s why the House acted to strengthen our nation’s cybersecurity and safeguard Americans’ personal information and intellectual property. The Senate is expected to act soon.

So there’s been some real progress on the people’s priorities, but we’ve got a lot more to do. Being Speaker of the House means trying to get people to work together and accomplishing things for the American people. With 535 members of the House and Senate, that’s no easy task, but every day we strive to take another step in the right direction. So far, this year has gotten off to a solid start. We’re going to stay focused, keep doing our jobs and continue making progress on behalf of the American people.

 

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On Pope Francis’ Visit to the U.S. Capitol

2015/06/30

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement after the Vatican released the schedule for Pope Francis’ visit to the United States in September:

It is with humility and deep gratitude that we will welcome His Holiness Pope Francis to the U.S. Capitol in September for a Joint Meeting of Congress.  His visit to the U.S. Capitol is unprecedented, and it is with open ears and hearts that we will welcome his address to the Congress.  This will be a historic visit, and given the large public interest in Pope Francis, the U.S. Congress is making the appropriate preparations to reflect the magnitude of his visit to the Capitol and ensure his message can be heard by all Americans.”

NOTE:  More information on logistics and media credentialing will be issued at a later date.  Speaker Boehner issued a formal invitation to Pope Francis to address a Joint Meeting of Congress on March 13, 2014.   The Vatican officially accepted the Speaker’s invitation on February 5, 2015. 

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Boehner Statement on Signing of Bipartisan Trade Legislation

2015/06/29

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement after President Obama signed bipartisan trade negotiating authority legislation into law:

“The bipartisan trade bill signed into law today will pave the way for stronger economic growth and reinforce America’s role as a leader in promoting free enterprise around the world.  It will expand free trade, creating more jobs, better pay, and more opportunities for American workers, farmers, and small businesses.  And, as we pursue new agreements to break down trade barriers and sell more American goods and services around the world, this measure will strengthen the hand of U.S. negotiators, allowing them to secure the best deal for American workers while maintaining new, rigorous standards of transparency and accountability.  This bill is a big win for American jobs and leadership, and I hope the president will continue to work with us to get more bipartisan, House-passed jobs bills signed into law.”

NOTE: Last week, Speaker Boehner signed the bipartisan trade legislation in his office. 

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Supreme Court Decision a Big Win for Jobs & American Energy

2015/06/29

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement praising today’s Supreme Court decision requiring the EPA to consider the costs of the regulations it imposes on American families and energy producers:

“The EPA is bent on furthering its regulatory agenda regardless of the costs to American families and consequences for American workers, and I’m pleased that the Supreme Court has finally said enough is enough.   The fact that the EPA would absolve itself of any responsibility to consider the impact of its actions underscores the arrogance of this bureaucracy and proves, once again, that the Obama administration will stop at nothing to fulfill its promise to make electricity prices ‘skyrocket.’

“We can’t erase the damage that the EPA has already caused by shutting down power plants and putting thousands of Americans out of work, but we can take action to protect the jobs and energy that are still at risk under this administration.  The Supreme Court’s decision today validates actions the House has taken to rein in the EPA, including a measure that would force bureaucrats in Washington to account for the impact of the rules they hand down.  We’re listening to the American people, and I hope today’s decision sends a clear message to the president and his administration that they ought to start doing the same.”

NOTE: Earlier this year, the House passed the Regulatory Accountability Act (H.R. 185) that would help rein in economically-harmful regulations by requiring bureaucrats to institute regulations based on sound data and at the lowest possible cost to taxpayers.  Most recently, the House passed the Ratepayer Protection Act (H.R. 2042) that would help shield families and small businesses from double-digit energy price hikes by delaying new rules on power producers that pose a significant threat to the economy.

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In Lithuania, Speaker Boehner Reaffirms Commitment to Counter Russian Aggression

2015/06/29

VILNIUS, LITHUANIA – Marking the 25th anniversary of Lithuania’s independence, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has completed a three-day visit to the country’s capital, where he reaffirmed Congress’s commitment to counter Russian aggression through free trade, energy independence, and defense assistance to Ukraine and the region.

Speaker Boehner was joined by a bipartisan delegation that included Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN), Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO), and Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR). 

On Saturday, President Dalia Grybauskaitė welcomed the delegation to the presidential palace, where much of their discussion focused on the security situation in the regionLast December, Congress passed legislation giving the Obama administration the authority to provide lethal aid to Ukraine.  The delegation also emphasized the opportunity for more growth and closer ties through trade following last week’s passage of trade promotion authority.

At a press conference following the meeting, Boehner said, “Whether it’s arming Ukraine or declaring energy independence, Lithuania sets an example for the region, and frankly, the world.  The American people recognize that this threat demands decisive leadership and action.  That’s why the Congress of the United States is working to ensure that tangible assistance is provided not only to Lithuania, but to all of our partners in the region. We’re also working to expedite exports of natural gas to Europe, to help break the manipulation of access to these valuable resources.”

On Saturday evening, Speaker Loreta Graužinienė hosted a dinner for the delegation at the Palace of the Grand Dukes, which dates back to the 15th century and symbolizes Lithuania’s resilience as a free state.

Offering a toast to the “brave Lithuanian people,” Boehner said, “Next week, America will celebrate our 239th birthday.  For Americans, we have to go to history books and statues to see our founders.  But here, we can sit and talk with freedom fighters.  You show the world that freedom can never be taken for granted.  We’re here tonight, and more importantly, we’ll always be here to stand with you as friends and allies.”

On Sunday, the delegation visited the Port of Klaipeda to see the country’s new liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, the first of its kind in the region.  With the potential to supply all of Lithuania and much of the Baltics with affordable and reliable energy, this terminal will play a key role in disrupting Russia’s energy stranglehold on Europe.  In January, the House passed bipartisan legislation to expedite the approval of LNG exports, which would help create American jobs and support Europe’s energy independence.

On Sunday evening, the delegation attended a reception hosted by U.S. Ambassador Deborah McCarthy for American servicemembers stationed in Lithuania.

On Monday morning, the delegation met with Speaker Graužinienė, Members of Parliament, and Vytautas Landsbergis, the architect of Lithuania’s modern independence and the country’s first post-communist leader.  The delegation wrapped up its visit with a tour of the barricades the Lithuanians built in 1991 to defend the new independent government against Soviet forces.

Speaking to members of the media at the barricades, Boehner said, “We’ve learned a lot about the challenges facing your country, and expressed our support for the Lithuanian people in their ongoing struggle.”

 

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Hillary Clinton Withheld Work-Related Emails from State Dept – What’s Still Missing?

2015/06/27

“I want the public to see my email,” she said. That isn’t true.

“I opted for convenience to use my personal email account … because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal emails instead of two,” she said. That isn’t true.

“[Sidney Blumenthal] sent me unsolicited emails,” she said. That isn’t true.

“I … provided all my emails that could possibly be work-related …. We went through a thorough process to identify all of my work- related emails …. I have absolute confidence that everything that could be in any way connected to work is now in the possession of the State Department,” she said. That isn’t true.

“[I]t is the fact that we have released all of them that have any government relationship whatsoever,” she said. That isn’t true, reports Politico:

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton withheld from the State Department several emails related to Libya, the State Department confirmed Thursday night — calling into question her insistence that she has handed over her complete public record.

The 2016 Democratic front-runner did not hand over 15 exchanges with longtime Clinton ally Sidney Blumenthal on the security situation in the Middle Eastern nation. The existence of the new correspondence only came to light days ago after Republicans subpoenaed the former Clinton White House adviser’s records and he turned them over.

“This confirms doubts about the completeness of Clinton’s self-selected public record and raises serious questions about her decision to erase her personal server—especially before it could be analyzed by an independent, neutral third party arbiter,” said Rep. Trey Gowdy, Chairman of the Select Committee on Benghazi.

The Committee has previously pointed out that there are several inexplicable gaps in Clinton’s email record. What emails are still missing from these gaps?

(Click to expand infographic)

The gaps represent periods of time when, according to previous statements made by Hillary Clinton and the State Department, no Libya-related emails existed.

The yellow dots represent Libya-related emails obtained from Hillary Clinton's aide Sidney Blumenthal that fall in those gaps, which proves Clinton withheld work-related emails.

The Select Committee's document request  covered the period of January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2012.

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Boehner on the Supreme Court’s Decision on Marriage

2015/06/26

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement following the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges:

"All human beings are created equal by God and thus deserve to be treated with love, dignity and respect. I am, however, disappointed that the Supreme Court disregarded the democratically-enacted will of millions of Americans by forcing states to redefine the institution of marriage. My views are based on my upbringing and my faith. I believe that marriage is a sacred vow between one man and one woman, and I believe Americans should be able to live and work according to their beliefs."

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The Obama Administration ‘Looks Like They’re Struggling to Run the Government’

2015/06/25

As scandals and crises engulfed the Obama administration last summer, outside observers began to openly wonder if the president and his team are up to the task of managing the government:

  • National Journal’s Ron Fournier: “For a party that wants to establish the fact that good government can do good things, they're now giving the public two choices: One, either we're incredibly incompetent …. Or, we're crooked.” (CNN)
  • CNN’s John King: “Raising the competence question, some Democrats, who believe in government, [are saying] this White House doesn’t appear to have its hand on the lever.” (CNN)
  • The Washington Post’s Fred Hiatt: “Overseas and at home, the administration seems besieged and befuddled. Obama is in danger of cementing an image of haplessness that would be hard to undo.” (The Washington Post)
  • NBC’s Chuck Todd: “I think the last six months have painted a picture of an administration that looks like they’re struggling to run the government.” (MSNBC)

A year later, it still looks that way:

  • “A computer glitch in the State Department system for conducting security checks on foreign visitors has virtually halted the issuing of visas at embassies worldwide this month …. Although the system is slowly returning online at some embassies, the State Department says the problems will continue through this week and probably beyond. Then it will take time to catch up with two weeks of backlog, built up at an average of 50,000 visa applications every day. … On June 8, the system that stores the data suffered a hardware failure …. When technicians tried to switch to a backup system, they discovered it was damaged and unusable.” (The Washington Post)
  • “The federal government cannot verify nearly $3 billion in subsidies distributed through ObamaCare, putting significant taxpayer funding ‘at risk,’ according to a new audit report. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) … did not have an internal system to ensure that subsidies went to the right enrollees, or in the correct amounts.” (Washington Free Beacon)
  • “A ‘sophisticated’ organized crime syndicate used the IRS website to steal tax forms full of personal financial information on 104,000 taxpayers …. An unnamed cybermafia used .... posed as legitimate taxpayers, and tried to download forms on 200,000 people between February and May. They got away with half of them, the IRS said. The crooks used about 15,000 of them to claim tax refunds in other people's names. But the potential damage is worse. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said he believes the criminals' true mission was to gather vast amounts of personal information. Armed with that info, fraudsters can open bank accounts, credit lines and steal tax refunds in the future.” (CNN)
  • “The personal data of an estimated 18 million current, former and prospective federal employees were affected by a cyber breach at the Office of Personnel Management - more than four times the 4.2 million the agency has publicly acknowledged. The number is expected to grow, according to U.S. officials briefed on the investigation.” (CNN)
  • “The [Denver VA] hospital project is now more than $1 billion over budget and years behind schedule. … In 2010, contractor Kiewit-Turner signed on to the Denver-area project using a type of contract the VA had never used before and allowed construction to begin before planning and design had been finalized.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  • “Employees in the purchasing department of a VA hospital in the Bronx had used government purchase cards like credit cards at least 2,000 times to buy prosthetic legs and arms for veterans. Each time they swiped the cards, it was for $24,999. That was precisely one dollar below VA’s charging limit for purchase cards. … VA officials had prepared to tell Congress that the records had been destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, according to previously undisclosed records, until a senior adviser in the Secretary’s office pointed out that the timing was wrong and the excuse wouldn’t hold up. … [A]n internal memo … described a culture of ‘lawlessness and chaos’ at the Veterans Health Administration …. [which] has been spending at least $6 billion a year in violation of federal contracting rules to pay for medical care and supplies, wasting taxpayer money and putting veterans at risk.” (The Washington Post)
  • “One year after outrage about long waiting lists for health care shook the Department of Veterans Affairs, the agency is facing a new crisis: The number of veterans on waiting lists of one month or more is now 50 percent higher than it was during the height of last year’s problems, department officials say.” (The New York Times)
  • “A year after Americans recoiled at revelations that sick veterans were getting sicker while languishing on waiting lists, VA statistics show that the number of patients facing long waits has not declined, even after Congress gave the department an extra $16.3 billion last summer to shorten waits for care. Nearly 894,000 appointments completed at VA medical facilities from Aug. 1 to Feb. 28 failed to meet the health system's timeliness goal, which calls for patients to be seen within 30 days. More than a quarter of those appointments involved a delay of longer than 60 days.” (Associated Press)
  • “Two months after testifying to Congress for a third time about the Department of Veterans Affairs Philadelphia regional office, this time about a ‘revolving door of taxpayer waste,’ culture of retaliation and improper behavior — like two managers asking workers to pay one’s wife to contact the dead — whistleblower Kristen Ruell said little had changed. ‘I’m wondering what problems have been fixed,’ she said Monday … ‘I’m seeing the same things, and it’s worse than ever.’” (Stars and Stripes)
  • “For three years, more than $43 million the Department of Veterans Affairs had set aside to inform veterans about their benefits sat in an account, not a penny spent, until an agency financial manager happened to notice. … The Inspector General’s office, in a report issued last week, cited a ‘breakdown of fiscal controls’ and ‘lack of oversight’ in concluding that VA officials had ‘no need’ for the $43.1 million. At least not for the purpose they claimed, which was to print personalized handbooks that explain in detail what benefits a veteran is eligible for. … But the money sat from fiscal 2011 through fiscal 2014 ‘with no designated purpose,’ auditors found, and $2.3 million that eventually was spent did not produce handbooks but business cards, pamphlets and mailings about the Affordable Care Act, instead. … The agency had plenty of money to produce the handbooks, with a $20.1 million balance in the handbook account when the $43.1 million showed up in 2011. During the three years it went unspent, the handbook fund grew by $6.7 million, investigators said.” (The Washington Post)
  • “State Department spokesman John Kirby said Monday the agency is still trying to determine whether the dozens of previously undisclosed emails sent to and from Hillary Clinton and published by the House Select Committee on Benghazi were records State ‘didn't have.’ … The uncertainty suggests it was not immediately clear that Clinton had submitted the newly published emails to the State Department upon request last November. Her former aide, Sidney Blumenthal, provided the emails to the committee earlier June 12. … [Kirby] did not deny the possibility, raised by several reporters at Monday's briefing, that some of the Blumenthal emails may not have been given to the State Department by Clinton's staff.” (Washington Examiner)
  • “Federal agents in a sweep targeting the most dangerous criminal immigrants arrested 15 people who have been allowed to remain in the U.S. under President Barack Obama's executive action intended to protect children who came to the U.S. years ago with their parents, The Associated Press has learned. Fourteen of the 15 had been convicted of a crime, the Homeland Security Department confirmed late Thursday. In at least one case, the Obama administration renewed the protective status for a young immigrant after that person's conviction in a drug case, a U.S. official briefed on the arrests said.” (Associated Press)
  • Most of the illegal immigrant criminals Homeland Security officials released from custody last year were discretionary, meaning the department could have kept them in detention but chose instead to let them onto the streets as their deportation cases moved through the system, according to new numbers from Congress. Those released [in 2013] had amassed 116 homicide convictions, 15,635 drunken driving convictions and 9,187 convictions stemming from what ICE labeled involvement with ‘dangerous drugs.’ … [T]he seriousness of the offenses increased [in 2014], with 193 homicide convictions among the detainees and 16,070 drunken driving convictions. There were also 426 sexual assaults and 303 kidnapping convictions, ICE said.” (The Washington Times)
  • Ten months since the start of the American-led intervention against ISIS in Iraq, President Obama said today that the United States does not have a ‘complete strategy’ to defeat ISIS and stem the group's rise in Syria and Iraq. ‘We don't yet have a complete strategy,’ Obama said at the G7 summit of world leaders in Germany. ‘The details of that are not yet worked out.’” (ABC News)

And here’s another thing to think about: President Obama justified his veto of the Keystone XL pipeline project by saying it needs to be studied more. Set aside the fact that everyone knows that’s a bogus excuse. Even if the president’s reason was valid, the federal government has been studying this energy infrastructure improvement project for nearly seven years. Is his administration really incapable of studying a single construction project in less time than it took to build the entire First Transcontinental Railroad more than 140 years ago?

Instead of sucking up to Iran, reducing wait times for dangerous terrorists held at Gitmo, and working to block a pay raise for our troops, the White House needs to get its priorities straight. 

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Boehner: “Giving Iran More Flexibility Will Not Lead to a Good Deal”

2015/06/25

WASHINGTON, DC - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today responded to reports that the White House is prepared to extend Iran nuclear negotiations yet again, saying “giving Iran more flexibility will not lead to a good deal.” Here are his remarks from a press conference this morning:

“On Iran: Tuesday marks the White House’s own deadline for a final nuclear agreement.  And after two years of talks – and multiple extensions – French, Russian, and British negotiators have expressed concern that the negotiations are stalling.  Of course that’s not for lack of effort on the part of the Obama administration.

“Despite getting virtually nothing in return, the president has handed Iran concession after concession.  He looked the other way, even as the Iranian regime built up its stockpile of nuclear material, stoked violence in Yemen, and tortured Americans that they hold hostage.  Now the administration says, ‘well, we may need a little more time.’ 

“Giving Iran more flexibility will not lead to a good deal.  It will only lead to more concessions for a regime that has no intention of giving up its desire for a nuclear weapon.  And I’ve said before, a bad deal is worse than no deal at all.”

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The Obama Administration's potential deal with Iran is not good for America or our allies around the world.

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Thursday, June 25, 2015
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Speaker Boehner Announces GOP Negotiators on Defense Authorization Bill

2015/06/25

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today named the following negotiators to serve on a formal House-Senate conference committee charged with resolving differences over the FY2016 National Defense Authorization Act:

“The House passed a strong defense bill that promises the pay raise and benefits our troops have earned and provides the tools, resources, and authorities they need to keep America safe.  It is unfortunate that Democrats, who overwhelmingly backed the measure in committee, withdrew their support to extract more government spending on bureaucracies like the EPA and the IRS.  It is even more disappointing that President Obama has threated to veto these promises to our troops in support of his party’s dangerously misguided strategy.  I am, nevertheless, encouraged that we have reached the next step in advancing this critical legislation, and I am confident that this agreement will put our national security, and the brave men and women to whom we owe it, first.”  

NOTE: In addition to the provisions mentioned above, the House-passed defense bill imposes greater restrictions on transferring terrorist detainees, provides lethal aid to Ukraine, strengthens our missile defense capabilities, enhances our cybersecurity, and more.  A summary of the bill is available here.

The House Republicans the Speaker named to serve on the House-Senate conference committee are:

  • Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee
  • Rep.  J. Randy Forbes (R-VA)
  • Rep. Jeff Milller (R-FL)
  • Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC)
  • Rep. Frank Lobiondo (R-NJ)
  • Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT)
  • Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH)
  • Rep. John Kline (R-MN)
  • Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL)
  • Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA)
  • Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX)
  • Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO)
  • Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA)
  • Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA)
  • Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO)
  • Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV)
  • Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH)
  • Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY)

 

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Boehner: “The VA’s Problem Isn’t Funding – It’s Outright Failure”

2015/06/25

WASHINGTON, DC – The ongoing problems at the VA aren’t a matter of funding, they are a reflection of the agency’s failure to use the resources and authorities Congress has provided to clean up the mess and lay out a long-term plan to ensure it never happens again, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said at a press conference earlier today.  Following are Boehner’s remarks:   

The Deputy Veterans Administration Secretary is on Capitol Hill today to discuss a nearly $3 billion shortfall in the agency’s budget.  Now his message to Congress – and the American people – is, and I’ll quote, ‘get your checkbooks out.’

“So let’s review what’s gone on over there:  We’ve given the VA the authority to fire bureaucrats, they fired practically no one.  We gave the VA the resources to build hospitals, they can’t get any of them built on time.  We gave the VA the resources to improve their care, the waiting lists are even longer.

“The VA’s problem isn’t funding – it’s outright failure.  Absolute failure to take care of our veterans.  Maybe the VA wouldn’t jump from crisis to crisis if it actually had a long-term plan to clean up this mess.  We’re going to continue to do our part, but only the president can change the culture at the VA.” 

 

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Boehner Marks Six Months of Progress on the People’s Priorities

2015/06/25

WASHINGTON, DC – A press conference earlier today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) marked the halfway point of the year by ticking off a list of solutions the House has advanced to address Americans’ top priorities, while making clear that “our work is far from finished.”  Following are Boehner’s remarks:

“It’s been another productive week here in the People’s House.  We passed common-sense legislation to protect American families and job creators from EPA rules that’ll drive up their electricity bills.  We passed a measure to repeal ObamaCare’s unelected, unaccountable board of bureaucrats and protected seniors’ access to health care.  And yesterday, we sent to the president’s desk a bill that will lead to more jobs and more opportunities for American workers.

“We’re just about at the halfway point for this year, and we can point to some real progress on the people’s priorities, but we’ve got a lot more work to do.  That includes the first real entitlement reform in nearly two decades, the first 10-year balanced budget plan since 2001, and real strides on veterans’ health and human trafficking.

“As I said, our work is far from finished, but we’re making real progress, and getting things done for America’s workers, families, and small businesses.”    

 

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Speaker Boehner on King v. Burwell Ruling

2015/06/25

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling in King v. Burwell:

“ObamaCare is fundamentally broken, increasing health care costs for millions of Americans.  Today’s ruling doesn’t change that fact.  Republicans will continue to listen to American families and work to protect them from the consequences of ObamaCare.  And we will continue our efforts to repeal the law and replace it with patient-centered solutions that meet the needs of seniors, small business owners, and middle-class families.”

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ObamaCare is fundamentally broken. That’s why the House is taking action on solutions that will actually LOWER costs and EXPAND access to quality health care.

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday, June 17, 2015
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PHOTO: Speaker Boehner Signs Bipartisan Trade Legislation

2015/06/24

WASHINGTON, DC – A short while ago, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) signed H.R. 2146, the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act, which now goes to President Obama’s desk for his signature:

“The most important thing we can do for our workers – the best in the world – is remove obstacles in their way, and that’s what we’ve done today.  After the president signs this bill into law, America will take the next steps towards more free trade, which means more jobs, better pay, and more opportunities for our workers, farmers, and small businesses.  This will breathe new life into America’s spirit of free enterprise, and American leadership in the world.  And it will renew first principles by holding trade agreements to the highest standards of transparency and accountability.  Our work to address the people’s priorities is far from finished, but this is real bipartisan progress, and a big win for all Americans.”

NOTE: Speaker Boehner signed H.R. 2146 in his office joined by House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX), House Ways & Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Pat Tiberi (R-OH), Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA), Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI), and Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL).

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Why Won’t President Obama ‘Do Everything’ to Bring Home Americans Held Hostage in Iran?

2015/06/24

Announcing a new policy to negotiate with terrorists who are holding Americans hostages, President Obama said today that “we should always do everything in our power to bring these Americans home safe.”

If we “should always do everything,” why has he refused to include the four Americans being held hostage in Iran in his ongoing nuclear deal negotiations with that official State Sponsor of Terror?

Why won’t he insist that Iran release those four Americans as part of any potential nuclear deal?

Pressed today to explain this glaring contradiction, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest – who has said in the past that the administration’s focus in negotiations lies elsewhere – offered no reason to believe the president will take up the cause of freedom for these particular hostages.

The fact is, President Obama will do anything to reach a deal with Iran, even a bad one. That’s why he continues to look the other way as Iran tortures those Americans, builds up its supply of nuclear fuel, and supports radical Islamic terrorists across the Middle East.

Is there anything Iran could do that would cause the White House to rethink its courtship of concessions and extensions? Apparently not:

  • “Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday ruled out freezing sensitive nuclear work in the country for a long time and said sanctions imposed on it should be lifted as soon it reaches a final deal with major powers, state TV reported. … [E]choing hardline Iranian military commanders, [Khamenei] also ruled out international access to Iran's military sites. ‘Inspection of our military sites is out of the question and is one of our red lines,’ he said.” (Reuters)
  • “With some lawmakers chanting ‘Death to America,’ Iran’s Parliament voted Sunday to ban access to military sites, documents, and scientists as part of a future deal with world powers over its contested nuclear program.” (Associated Press)
  • “The United States and its allies are willing to offer Iran state-of-the-art nuclear equipment if Tehran agrees to pare down its atomic weapons program as part of a final nuclear agreement, a draft document has revealed. … [T]he scope of the help now being offered in the draft may displease U.S. congressional critics who already argue that Washington has offered too many concessions at the negotiations.” (Fox News)

“Showering Iran with rewards for making illusory concessions poses grave risks,” one nuclear proliferation expert explained this week. “Worst of all, lifting sanctions would facilitate a huge expansion of Iran’s nuclear program.” He also noted:

President Obama’s main pitch for the pending nuclear deal with Iran is that it would extend the “breakout time” necessary for Iran to produce enough enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon. …

Unfortunately, that claim is false, as can be demonstrated with basic science and math. By my calculations, Iran’s actual breakout time under the deal would be approximately three months — not over a year. Thus, the deal would be unlikely to improve the world’s ability to react to a sudden effort by Iran to build a bomb.

Breakout time is determined by three primary factors: the number and type of centrifuges; the enrichment of the starting material; and the amount of enriched uranium required for a nuclear weapon. Mr. Obama seems to make rosy assumptions about all three.

Most important, in the event of an overt attempt by Iran to build a bomb, Mr. Obama’s argument assumes that Iran would employ only the 5,060 centrifuges that the deal would allow for uranium enrichment, not the roughly 14,000 additional centrifuges that Iran would be permitted to keep mainly for spare parts. Such an assumption is laughable. In a real-world breakout, Iran would race, not crawl, to the bomb.

“I don’t know how you cut a deal with the devil and think the devil is going to keep his end of the deal,” Speaker Boehner has said. Indeed, how can a country that is torturing American hostages be trusted to hold up its end of the bargain?

It can’t, and that’s why “they must all be allowed to come home to their families immediately. This should be a condition of any potential agreement the Obama administration discusses with Iran.”

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Warrior Games Athletes Visit the U.S. Capitol

2015/06/24

WASHINGTON, DC – House and Senate leaders today welcomed to the Capitol hundreds of wounded warriors who are participating in the annual Department of Defense Warrior Games.  The Games feature eight sporting events with approximately 250 athletes representing teams from the branches of our military.  

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) applauded the athletes and their families for their service and devotion:

“Good afternoon everyone, and let me just welcome all of you to the United States Capitol.  I’m joined today by the leaders of the House, the Senate, and our Armed Services & Veterans Affairs Committees.  It’s good to see General Dempsey here.  You can tell he’s proud that the Army still has a firm grip on the Chairman’s Cup.  Of course, it’s not over yet.  The best teams, of course, have the best fans, so we want to recognize all the families here today.

“Now, my understanding is that this is your off day.   And we’re honored you would spend it here at the Capitol.  You know, people come from around the world to see all these statues and this history.  But today, we have with us living proof of what it means to be an American.  Because you show the world what is possible.  You show the world what the human spirit can achieve, no matter the odds or the cost.  You are our best, our toughest, and you make us proud. 

“So congratulations, God bless you all, and God bless America.”

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Protecting Families from Double Digit Energy Bill Hikes

2015/06/24

WASHINGTON, DC - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement today commending House passage of the Ratepayer Protection Act (H.R. 2042), introduced by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY):

“The Obama administration’s EPA is handing down a slew of new rules with absolutely no regard for the hardworking families who will be footing the bill.  New regulations on power producers alone could drive electricity bills up by double digits in some areas, compromise grid reliability, and destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs.  The low and middle-income families who will be hit hardest can’t afford it, nor can the manufacturers and Main Street businesses that rely on affordable energy to keep Americans working.  What we’ve done today is simply a matter of common sense.  We’ve given states more time to plan ahead for these rules, in light of the ongoing legal challenges they face.  And we’ve given them the ability to opt out if they find the new rules will have a significant, adverse impact on the economy or grid reliability.  Americans’ priorities are our priorities, and we’ll continue working to advance solutions to help working families, not Washington bureaucrats.”

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Contact Information

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

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

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