Speaker of the House

John Boehner

Weekly Republican Address: Bipartisan Entitlement Reform to Strengthen Medicare

2015/03/28

WASHINGTON, DC – In the Weekly Republican Address, Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN) discusses bipartisan legislation (H.R. 2) passed by the House this week that permanently replaces Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula with a more stable payment system that will ensure seniors’ access to their doctor.  The measure also includes critical, structural reforms that will strengthen the Medicare program and save taxpayers billions of dollars over the long term.  

Drawing on his more than 30 years of experience as a physician, Rep. Roe outlines how H.R. 2 will benefit seniors and families caring for elderly parents by preventing payment cuts to Medicare providers, and putting the program on a more sustainable path.  “We’re delivering the first real entitlement reform in nearly two decades,” Roe says. “This is progress, and it’s an example of what we can accomplish when we focus on finding common ground.”

As he notes in his address, Dr. Roe ran a successful medical practice in Johnson City for 31 years.  He is now in his fourth term representing Tennessee’s First Congressional District, serving as co-chair of the GOP Doctors Caucus.

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

Remarks of Representative Phil Roe of Tennessee Weekly Republican Address The Ronald Reagan Room, Rayburn House Office Building March 28, 2015

Hello, I’m Dr. Phil Roe, and I have the great honor of representing Tennessee’s First Congressional District, which is located in the beautiful mountains of East Tennessee.  As a physician, I ran a successful medical practice in Johnson City for 31 years, delivering more than 5,000 babies. 

Today I’d like to talk to you about strengthening Medicare so it works for everyone from seniors now to a child born today.

First, here’s a fact.  Right now, a married couple – both 66, both making average earnings – will receive more than double in benefits what they actually contribute in Medicare payroll taxes over the course of their lifetimes.  That’s unsustainable.  It’s what’s driving our debt, and robbing our kids and our grandkids of benefits they’ll never see.

Not only that, but due to what’s called Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate formula, or SGR, doctors will soon be hit with an automatic 21 percent cut to the payments they receive for treating patients on Medicare.  This only jeopardizes seniors’ access to physicians they count on every day. 

Congress has faced this cliff before, nearly 20 times in fact.  And it won’t surprise you to learn that each time, Congress has punted, spending your money on short-term fixes without providing any kind of certainty for doctors and our seniors.  

But this time is different.  This week, the House passed bipartisan legislation to permanently repeal this formula.  Instead, we’re delivering the first real entitlement reform in nearly two decades.

These reforms ask higher-income seniors, like myself, to pay a little more for their premiums for Part B and D, and encourage certain beneficiaries to think more like consumers when it comes to their health care – a concept we know is the right approach to reducing health care costs.  Both reforms will be phased in over time.

For seniors, this will end years of needless concern and frustration that care will suffer from arbitrary cuts.

And for families, this will mean a more stable Medicare program to care for their elderly parents.

And for taxpayers, this will result in a huge amount of savings 20, 30, 40 years down the road.

Of course, much more needs to be done and like you, my to-do list for fixing our health care system is pretty long. 

We need to repeal the president’s flawed health care law.  We need to put the focus on patient-centered reforms that lower costs.   And we need to make the real reforms necessary to ensure Medicare and all of our entitlement programs can serve future generations.

For now, this is progress, and it’s an example of what we can accomplish when we focus on finding common ground. 

Thank you so much for listening.

 

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House Votes to Strengthen Medicare: What They’re Saying

2015/03/27

This week, Speaker Boehner led the House in passing “a big win for the American people,” a bill that strengthens Medicare, saves money for taxpayers, and improves health care for seniors. Notably, the legislation also represents the first real entitlement reform in decades. Here’s how it’s being reported:

  • “The House overwhelmingly approved sweeping changes to the Medicare program …. Lawmakers could not immediately recall the last time a bill of such consequence had passed with a huge majority in the era of divided government[.]” (The New York Times)
  • “The House passed a bill Thursday that may be its biggest legislative accomplishment of the year: a $214 billion package that fixes a massive funding gap in Medicare, extends health care for poor children and makes long-term spending cuts. The bill overwhelmingly passed 392-37[.]” (Huffington Post)
  • “On Thursday, the House touched the third rail. Lawmakers didn’t punt. They didn’t kick the can down the road.” (Roll Call)
  • “To get to 392 [votes] on something as battle-worn as the Doc Fix requires some accommodation, some give and take. … The leaders and members must, in a word, compromise. And on this occasion, Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi did just that, with skill and savvy.” (NPR)
  • “The House on Thursday overwhelmingly passed a measure to reformulate how Medicare reimburses physicians and other providers, a deal forged in a rare bipartisan alliance between the chamber’s top two leaders. The measure was put together by House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) …. after Mrs. Pelosi agreed to shift some of the costs to Medicare beneficiaries, an approach Democrats have typically opposed.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  • “Many House members were downright buoyant ahead of the vote, with no widespread opposition evident. In a rare display, both Republicans and Democrats engaged in a near love fest for the repeal of the payment formula and the bipartisanship.” (Politico)
  • “The deal … has been hailed as a rare bipartisan victory that takes the first small steps toward entitlement reform.” (Washington Examiner)
  • “The lopsided 392-37 vote shifted pressure onto the Senate, where its prospects have brightened as Democrats have muffled their criticism and President Barack Obama has embraced the bill. … Republicans won long-term though modest strengthening of Medicare’s finances[.]” (Associated Press)
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Speaker Boehner Announces Appointments to the National Women’s History Museum Commission

2015/03/27

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement today announcing his two appointments to serve on the commission establishing a National Women’s History Museum:

“Last year Congress overwhelmingly approved legislation creating a bipartisan commission to study the establishment of a National Women’s History Museum in the nation’s capital.  The legislation authorized Congressional leaders to select eight commissioners to serve and make formal recommendations to the President and Congress next year.  Today I am honored to announce that my former colleague, the Honorable Marilyn Musgrave of Ft. Morgan, Colorado and Mrs. Kathy Wills Wright of Arlington, Virginia have accepted requests to serve as commissioners. 

“In her three terms in the House of Representatives, Marilyn Musgrave built a solid reputation as a capable legislator and steward of taxpayer money.  Marilyn brings three decades of public service, advocacy, and fundraising ability—skills critical to shaping the Museum’s future path.  Kathy Wills Wright is a native of Texas.  She is an accomplished public servant with 25 years of communications, marketing, and government relations experience.  She served early in her career as the ‘ROTUS’ –  Receptionist of the United States - for President George H.W. Bush and has built an outstanding reputation among her peers for her ability and collaborative spirit.

“Both of these public servants will work hard to ensure that the Museum’s future governance and organizational structure are built wisely and its operation not dependent on federal appropriation.  They will also work to make sure America’s story, as told from the perspective of its many great women, is presented with great care and utmost integrity.”

NOTE:  Among its many charges, the Commission is tasked with determining the availability and cost of the Museum’s collections and memorabilia; its impact on other related museums; its potential location; and its cost of construction and future operation.

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Afghanistan's President Comes to the Capitol

2015/03/27

At a joint meeting of Congress earlier this week, President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan paid tribute to the brave Americans who have served and sacrificed in Afghanistan.  His address — which was only the second time a leader of Afghanistan has spoken before Congress — was a reminder of the important relationship that exists between our nations.  

Click the video below to watch the full joint meeting address.

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SUNDAY: Speaker Boehner to Appear on CNN’s State of the Union

2015/03/27

Speaker Boehner sat down with CNN’s Dana Bash earlier this week to discuss passage of legislation to strengthen Medicare, foreign policy and the threat posed by Iran, and more.

CNN’s State of the Union airs Sunday at 9 AM and noon ET in Washington, DC.  Check local listings for times in your area.

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Boehner Statement on Sen. Harry Reid’s Retirement Announcement

2015/03/27

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement today on the announcement by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) that he will not seek re-election to the Senate next year:

"Harry Reid has always been a tough advocate for the people of Nevada, and I have always appreciated the candid and straightforward nature of our relationship. I wish him, his wife Landra, and their entire family all the best in the future.”

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Dr. Phil Roe to Deliver the Weekly Republican Address

2015/03/27

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has selected Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN) to deliver the Weekly Republican Address on Saturday, March 28.  He will discuss bipartisan legislation the House passed this week to strengthen Medicare and permanently repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, marking the first real entitlement reform in nearly two decades.

“After more than a decade of temporary patches, I am proud the House acted this week to repeal and replace Medicare’s flawed formula for physician payments, SGR,” Rep. Roe said. “As a physician, I know just how important this is to strengthening Medicare for seniors and preserving the program for future generations. I look forward to talking more about what SGR is and the broad bipartisan effort to repeal and replace it in this week’s address.”

Rep. Roe is in his fourth term representing Tennessee’s First Congressional District.  As a physician, he ran a successful medical practice in Johnson City for 31 years, and is now co-chair of the GOP Doctors Caucus.  Learn more about Rep. Roe by visiting his official website or by following him on Facebook and Twitter.

The Weekly Republican Address will be available nationwide starting Saturday, March 28, at 6:00 am ET on Speaker.gov and GOP.gov.

 

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Boehner in Cleveland Plain Dealer: Expanding Opportunities for American Families

2015/03/27

"Bold new reforms are needed to unleash the potential of the American people and expand opportunities for everyone, and the House of Representatives continues to lead the way."

House GOP budget offers real expanded opportunities for American families By John Boehner March 27, 2015 Cleveland Plain Dealer http://bit.ly/1xExckU

Middle-class families and small businesses today want their leaders in Washington focused on real solutions to create growth and new opportunities, but President Barack Obama isn't delivering.

Instead the president is offering the same top-down policies that have failed in the past -- policies like those in his budget, which includes a 65 percent increase in spending over 10 years on the backs of taxpayers, more than $2 trillion in new taxes on working families, and piling on $8.5 trillion in new debt on our kids and grandkids. 

Remarkably, President Obama calls this approach "middle-class economics" and he's been pushing it at public campaign-style stops across the country -- including Cleveland last week.

But even liberals in Washington, D.C., aren't buying it. Not when the Tax Policy Center confirms the president's plan will actually raise taxes on the 20 percent of Americans making between $49,086 and $85,055 per year, Obamacare is raising premiums and health care costs, and Gallup says as many as 30 million Americans remain unemployed or underemployed. Only one Democrat in the Senate was willing to stand up and vote for the president's budget on Tuesday.

In Cleveland and across Ohio, folks know just how tough these last seven years have been. High energy prices, rising food prices, and a difficult jobs market have hurt countless families.

And the scars still run deep. Though there's no doubt Ohio is now on the path to recovery, thanks to the leadership of statewide and local leaders, like elsewhere in America, many middle-class families now earn less than when President Obama took office. 

If we're going to truly bring about the growth America needs, Washington can't just slap a new slogan on the same old approach. Bold new reforms are needed to unleash the potential of the American people and expand opportunities for everyone, and the House of Representatives continues to lead the way.

Take the budget. In stark contrast to the president's budget, which never, ever balances, House Republicans passed a pro-growth balanced budget this week. It addresses the government's spending problem head-on, and paves the way for job creation, a simpler and fairer tax code -- and it protects critical programs like Medicare and Social Security.

And Thursday, the House voted overwhelmingly to replace one of Washington's most infamous gimmicks, Medicare's Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, with a more stable system that rewards quality and innovation. This permanent SGR solution is a big win for the American people and represents the first real entitlement reform in decades. It will help ensure that seniors have access to their doctor, put in place a stronger Medicare program to aid every American trying to care for elderly parents, and provide hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars of durable savings for taxpayers over the long term.

These critical Medicare reforms now move to the Senate, and I'm pleased President Obama has said he's ready to sign our bill, as he did our bill to help prevent veteran suicides. I also hope the president will take another look at our other bipartisan House-passed bills, including jobs measures that would approve the Keystone XL pipeline, restore the 40-hour work week to help small businesses grow and hire, and expand natural gas exports.

In the House of Representatives, we've had a strong first 100 days of 2015, and we're just getting started. We'll continue to listen to the American people and do what's right for the country, not what's easy. 

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Protection for American Workers

2015/03/26

Earlier this week, Speaker Boehner was joined in his office by Rep. John Kline (MN-2), Chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, for the signing of S.J. Res. 8.  The legislation will help prevent the National Labor Relations Board from implementing its ambush elections rule that drastically shortens the time frame for union elections and compromises the privacy of American workers.  

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Boehner Warns Against Arbitrary Deadlines in Afghanistan

2015/03/26

Following yesterday’s address by Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani to a joint meeting of Congress, Speaker Boehner once again warned against any arbitrary deadlines that would compromise the gains U.S. and Afghan forces have made in that country, or undermine our success in completing the mission.  Here are Boehner’s remarks:

“It was an honor to have President Ghani from Afghanistan here in the Congress this week.  His message of peace, and his tributes to the service and sacrifice of our brave Americans was powerful.  

“And I was particularly struck about his statement that three million Afghan girls are now in school – compared with none before September 11, 2001.  This is something to be proud of, and reminds us that arbitrary political deadlines should never be put ahead of ensuring this success that we’ve worked so hard to achieve. 

“We’ll review closely the specifics of President Obama’s troop level announcement for the remainder of 2015.  But make no mistake: more tough decisions will be here soon.”

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“A Big Win for the American People”

2015/03/26

WASHINGTON, DC – The House passed the first real entitlement reform in decades today, taking up legislation that will strengthen Medicare, improve health care for seniors, and provide real savings for taxpayers.  House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) highlighted these critical reforms at his weekly press briefing earlier today:

“Today, the House will pass legislation that’ll make real progress in strengthening Medicare.  This is a bill that will provide better health care for seniors and real savings for taxpayers.  The bill will permanently replace the so-called ‘doc fix’ budget gimmick with a system that’s more stable that rewards quality and innovation in the delivery of our health care.  It will help ensure that seniors have access to their doctor, and put in place a stronger Medicare program to aid every American who are trying to care for their elderly parents.

“We’re also putting in place two structural reforms that will strengthen Medicare and put the program on a more sound financial footing.  Over the long-term – the next 20, 30, 40 years– the bill will produce hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars of durable savings for taxpayers.  CBO confirmed it will result in a net deficit reduction for the taxpayers by the end of the second decade – far more after that.  CBO also confirmed that the savings from the structural Medicare reforms ‘would increase rapidly’ in the second decade.

“This will be the first real entitlement reform that we’ve seen in nearly two decades, and that’s a big win for the American people.  It was a true bipartisan agreement, and I want to thank Leader Pelosi and Democrat Whip Hoyer for their efforts in helping to put this together.  I was pleased to hear the president would sign the bill, and I would urge the Senate to pass it expeditiously.”

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Boehner Contrasts House’s Balanced Budget with President’s Plan

2015/03/26

WASHINGTON, DC – The House passed a pro-growth, balanced budget yesterday that “represents a stark contrast” between Republicans’ vision for the future and that of the president.  House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) outlined the major differences in the two plans at a press conference earlier today:

“This has been an important week in the House as we continue to focus on the American people’s priorities.  Yesterday, the House passed a pro-growth, balanced budget that represents a stark contrast between our vision for the future, and that of the president. 

“While the president’s plan never balances, indeed runs red ink for as far as the eye can see, the House plan would balance the budget in 10 years.  While the president’s plan would raise taxes by more than $2 trillion, the House plan calls for reforming the entire tax code for families and small businesses to make it simpler and fairer.  While the president’s plan would be a disaster for working families struggling in this economy, the House plan lays the foundation for more robust economic growth and more jobs.” 

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Speaker Boehner Invites Prime Minister Abe of Japan to Address Congress

2015/03/26

WASHINGTON, DC -  House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today invited Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan to address a joint meeting of Congress on April 29, 2015:

 “As the United States continues to strengthen our ties with Japan, we look forward to welcoming Prime Minister Abe to the United States Capitol.  His address will provide an opportunity for the American people to hear from one of our closest allies about ways we can expand our cooperation on economic and security priorities.  That, of course, includes working together to open markets and encourage more economic growth through free trade.  Prime Minister Abe will become the first Japanese leader to address a joint meeting of the United States Congress, and we are proud to host this historic event.”

NOTE: Additional details regarding media credentialing and logistics will be released closer to the date of the joint meeting. 

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The First Real Entitlement Reform In Decades

2015/03/26

WASHINGTON, DC – In a floor speech today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) called on the full House to back H.R. 2, the bipartisan Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act.  Following are Boehner’s remarks, as prepared for delivery:

“First, let me thank Chairman Upton and Chairman Ryan, Mr. Pallone and Mr. Levin.  And thank you also to Wendell Primus with Leader Pelosi, Charlene MacDonald with Mr. Hoyer, and of course, Charlotte Ivancic on my team.  Thanks to their hard work, and the work of this House, we expect to end the so-called doc fix once and for all.  As you know, we’ve patched this problem 17 times.  I decided about a year ago we’d had enough of it.

“In its place, we will deliver for the American people the first real entitlement reform in nearly two decades.  This is good news for America’s seniors, who will benefit from a more stable and reliable system for seeing their doctor.  It is good news for hardworking families, who will benefit from a stronger Medicare program to help care for their elderly parents.  It is good news for the taxpayers, who – according to the CBO and a number of fiscal experts – will save money now and well into the future.

“And that means it is especially good news for our kids and grandkids.  Because today is about a problem much bigger than any ‘doc fix’ or deadline.  It’s about solving our spending problem – and it’s about strengthening and saving Medicare, which is at the heart of that problem.  Normally, we’re here to admit that we’ve just ‘kicked the can down the road.’  Today, because of what we’re doing here, we will save money 20, 30, and 40 years down the road.  Not only that, we are strengthening Medicare’s ability to fight fraud, waste, and abuse.  And we are extending the Children’s Health Insurance Program and Community Health Centers as well.

“My colleagues, this is what we can accomplish when we focus on finding common ground.  But we cannot be complacent.  We know more serious entitlement reform is needed.  It shouldn’t take another two decades to do it – and frankly, it can’t take that long.  I urge every member of this House to join this effort, and to start by casting a vote for H.R. 2.”

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Boehner on National Review: Fixing the ‘Doc Fix’ for Good

2015/03/26

Strengthening Medicare would be "a win for the conservative movement," a fact the CBO confirmed yesterday. These 10 things you should know about the permanent "doc fix" are just some of the reasons why so many conservative Republicans in Congress support the bill the House will vote on later day. Read Speaker Boehner's op-ed on National Review to learn more:

Fixing the ‘Doc Fix’ for Good by John Boehner Thursday, March 26, 2015 http://www.nationalreview.com/article/415965/fixing-doc-fix-good-john-boehner

President Obama’s debt is hurting our prosperity today and imperiling the American Dream for our children and grandchildren. On his watch, America’s national debt has increased by $7.5 trillion, to more than $18.1 trillion. Virtually everyone agrees: This simply can’t go on forever.

Entrusted with a majority in the House of Representatives since the start of 2011, Republicans have worked hard to reduce out-of-control Washington spending. Despite staunch opposition from the White House and Senate Democrats, we have made 99 percent of the Bush tax cuts permanent and we are on track to save taxpayers nearly $2.1 trillion. And every year, we’ve proposed budgets that would balance and set us on a path to pay off our debt.

Obviously, we haven’t achieved everything we wanted. The federal government still spends more than it takes in, largely because of mandatory entitlements like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, which account for more than half of the entire budget. These important programs are still scheduled to go bankrupt in just a few years. It will take more work to save them, not to mention a president willing to do the right thing.

We can’t put off progress until 2017, though. Our debt grows by the day, robbing our kids and grandkids of promised benefits that they are unlikely ever to see. Social Security Disability Insurance runs out of money next year. And due to what’s called Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, doctors will be hit with an automatic 21 percent cut to the payments they receive for treating patients on Medicare — unless Congress acts.

We’ve faced this cliff before, nearly 20 times over the past dozen years. And every time, instead of actually addressing the problem with real reforms, Congress has punted with a temporary “doc fix.” But this time can be different. 

Later today, the House will vote on legislation that will make real progress in strengthening Medicare — a bill that will provide better health care for seniors and real savings for taxpayers. We know that more and more seniors have been losing access to their doctors because of Medicare rules. If enacted, this bill will permanently replace one of Washington’s most infamous budget gimmicks, SGR, with a more stable system that rewards quality and innovation. In doing so, not only will we reassure seniors that they can count on Medicare and continue to see their own doctor, but we will also put in place a stronger Medicare program for Americans who are trying to care for elderly parents.    

For the first time ever, Democrats in Congress have dropped their demands for tax increases and accepted two structural reforms that will strengthen Medicare and put the program on a more sound financial footing. The first means-testing reform would ask higher-income seniors to pay a little more for their premiums for Parts B and D. The second reform would limit the availability of first-dollar coverage (i.e., having insurance pay the deductible) for certain Medigap plans, to encourage beneficiaries to think more like consumers when it comes to their health care — a concept we know is the right approach to reducing health costs.

These reforms must be phased in over time, so they won’t “pay for” the total cost of this bill over the ten-year Congressional Budget Office (CBO) window. But 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 — not just the illusion of savings from the gimmicks in SGR. CBO has confirmed that the bill will result in a net deficit reduction for taxpayers by the end of the second decade — and far more after that. Moreover, Douglas Holtz-Eakin from the American Action Forum estimates that these two Medicare reforms will save $230 billion in the second decade alone.

This would be the first real entitlement reform in nearly two decades, and that’s a big win for conservatives. Just as important, these commonsense changes — in combination with the “doc fix” reforms — will bring more competition to Medicare and set the stage for further reforms in the future to help seniors and taxpayers.

Make no mistake — this bill is not perfect. But it is an opportunity to solve a problem permanently and improve Medicare in the process. We should seize that opportunity and do some good for the American people.

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A Gold Medal for the Golden Bear

2015/03/26

On Tuesday, legendary golfer, Jack Nicklaus, became the seventh athlete in history to be presented with a Congressional Gold Medal.  Mr. Nicklaus holds a number of records on the golf course — including winning a total of 18 career major championships —  but at the U.S. Capitol this week, Congressional leaders applauded him for his promotion of excellence, good sportsmanship, and philanthropy. 

As Speaker Boehner observed, "in golf, as in all things, it is not whether you win or lose, it is how you play the game.  And no one has played it better for longer than Jack."

Related Stories: 

Jack Nicklaus on Instagram

Full video of the Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony

Behind the Scenes: The Congressional Gold Medal (Video)

Congrats to @jacknicklaus for receiving the Congressional Gold Medal. ⛳️

A photo posted by Speaker John Boehner (@speakerboehner) on Mar 25, 2015 at 4:24pm PDT

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A Pair of Speakers

2015/03/25

Speaker Boehner welcomed Cemil Cicek, Speaker of the Turkish Parliament, and a delegation of Turkish leaders to the U.S. Capitol today.  During the visit, they discussed issues of mutual interest and concern in the Middle East, including the ongoing war in Syria.  Boehner last met with Speaker Cicek last April during a visit to Turkey

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A Balanced Budget for A Stronger Economy & A Safer America

2015/03/25

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement today applauding House passage of the FY 2016 House Republican budget resolution (H. Con. Res. 27):

“Today, the House passed a pro-growth, balanced budget that establishes a stark contrast between our vision for the future, and that of the president.  Instead of drowning our kids in a sea of red ink, we cut more than $5 trillion in spending and balance the budget within a decade.  Instead of taking money out of the economy with more than $2 trillion in tax hikes, we call for reforming the entire tax code to make it simpler and fairer.  And instead of shirking responsibility for entitlement reform, we offer a plan to strengthen and protect these programs for seniors and future generations.  With additional proposals to cut red tape and boost American energy, our budget lays the foundation for more robust economic growth and more American jobs.  I want to thank Chairman Price and the members of the Budget Committee for their hard work in advancing a balanced budget for a stronger economy and a safer America.”

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CBO Confirms Permanent Doc Fix Saves Taxpayers Money, Bends Cost Curve

2015/03/25

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office confirmed today that H.R. 2, bipartisan legislation to strengthen Medicare and permanently repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR), will save taxpayers money and put the nation’s budget on a more sustainable path.  Here are two main takeaways:

  • H.R. 2 will save taxpayers money compared to the path we’ve been on – freezing physician payments every year and 17 times total.  From CBO:

“CBO estimates that enacting the legislation would cost $0.9 billion less over the 2015–2025 period than freezing payment rates for physicians’ services.”

  • By making structural reforms to Medicare, H.R. 2 will bend the cost curve and generate savings that “would increase rapidly,” putting our budget on a more sustainable path.  From CBO:

“The budgetary effects of some provisions of the bill that would generate federal savings would increase rapidly in that [second] decade. … Compared with the costs of freezing Medicare’s payment rates for physicians’ services, the budgetary effects of the legislation could represent net savings or net costs in the second decade after enactment, but the center of the distribution of possible outcomes is small net savings.”

The CBO’s report confirms an analysis from former CBO Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who wrote that “savings will continue to rise … and on balance lower projected Medicare spending indefinitely into the future”:

“A rough projection is that the combination of the Medigap policies and the reduced premium subsidies will cut Medicare outlays by $230 billion over the second 10 years, 2026-2035.”

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Speaker Boehner on Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s Address to Congress

2015/03/25

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) presided today as President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan addressed a joint meeting of Congress.  Boehner, who met with Ghani prior to the address in the Speaker’s Ceremonial Office, issued the following statement:

“We were honored by President Ghani’s address today, particularly his tributes to the brave Americans who have served and sacrificed in Afghanistan.  All around, the address was a great display of statesmanship from a leader who has already established himself as a trusted partner for peace and security in the region.  We should be particularly inspired by his and his wife’s commitment to women’s rights.  As I told President Ghani when we met, Congress remains committed to securing the gains our forces have made together and completing our mission successfully.  That is why we look forward to reviewing the specifics of President Obama’s announcement regarding our force levels to ensure it meets the needs of our Afghan partners and our commanders on the ground.  We must be vigilant to ensure we preserve the success we have achieved to date through blood and sacrifice, and working with President Ghani and his government, I know the relationship between our peoples has a bright and prosperous future.”

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Support Grows for Reforms to Strengthen Medicare

2015/03/25

Yesterday, Speaker Boehner applauded the introduction of bipartisan legislation that will strengthen Medicare and establish the most significant structural entitlement reform in nearly two decades, saying:

“This bipartisan legislation is about strengthening Medicare to provide better health care for seniors and real savings for taxpayers.  If enacted, it will help permanently replace one of Washington’s most infamous budget gimmicks – the Sustainable Growth Rate – with a more stable system that ensures seniors have access to the doctors and quality care they need.  It will put in place the first real, structural entitlement reform in nearly two decades.  Over the long-term, these reforms will put Medicare on a more sound financial footing and produce significant savings for taxpayers.”       

Indeed, support has continued to grow among House Republicans:

The highly anticipated plan would repeal what’s known as the Sustainable Growth Rate, which lawmakers override every year with a so-called “doc fix” even when it calls for a cut.

Many lawmakers are sick of overriding the formula, which is tied to growth in the gross domestic product and has been ignored 17 times.

“Those yearly fixes aren’t good for anybody,” said Rep. Matt Salmon, Arizona Republican, who called the patches “intellectually dishonest.”

“Let’s just admit to the American people that it’s been a facade the whole time and just fix it,” he said.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI):

“Many of us have worked for a long time to repeal this flawed formula and replace it with a more patient-centered system. Now we have a chance to get it done. This package is the best opportunity to turn the page on years of short-term fixes so that we can finally make the reforms we need to strengthen Medicare for our seniors. This is real patient-centered reform—done in a bipartisan way—and I urge all of my colleagues to support it.”

Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA):

“For years, the SGR has distorted Medicare’s finances and the federal budget. We’re now very close to permanently replacing it and passing some real Medicare reforms that will have a lasting impact. There’s a lot for conservatives to like here.”

Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX):

“It’s historic: fundamental structural changes in Medicare not sold on the back of a tax increase.”

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN):

“This legislation will provide actual, structural entitlement reform by changing the way healthcare providers are paid. Everyone agrees that healthcare reimbursement should encourage quality and coordination of care, rather than volume. This legislation is the right move in that direction. It is a win-win-win for seniors, your local healthcare providers, and hard-working taxpayers.”

Rep. Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-IN):

“For the first time, real structural reforms that ensure access to quality care for seniors and help us protect the Medicare promise are within our grasp. Let’s build upon the unprecedented progress of last Congress, and solve this problem once and for all."

Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY):

“This is the type of substantive and cost-saving reform the American people elected us to enact. Repealing and replacing the SGR is a milestone achievement that will reduce long-term costs, increase quality of care and implement structural changes to Medicare.”

Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY):

“Now is the time to finally leave the flawed SGR formula in the past, and begin working on real reforms to our health care system that will improve care for seniors while putting the Medicare program on more sound fiscal footing.”

Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC):

“It’s time we in Congress do our job and show leadership by enacting permanent legislation to repeal and replace the flawed SGR formula. … Continually kicking the can down the road is only perpetuating Washington’s spending problem, while yet another SGR deadline quickly approaches.”

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX):

“The first concrete step in saving Medicare is solving the way it pays local doctors for treating our seniors. … Congress and the President could continue to duck the issue. They can simply ‘kick the can down the road’ by extending the current damaging doctor payment system for another year or two — as they have an astounding 15 times already. Or they can come together and pass a permanent solution now that encourages doctors to see Medicare patients and rewards them for providing quality care at affordable cost.”

Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX):

“I think it's good. We need some of the structural entitlement reform. That's a good thing. … I know how hard this is. Our seniors are having more and more difficulty getting doctors because Medicare doesn't reimburse, and doctors are dropping Medicare.”

Rep. John Fleming (R-LA):

“These are two huge improvements that would drive costs down and actually, in the long-run, improve care and access to care. This is a long-term solution for doctors who are having their patients really destroyed. ... This is a huge advance.”

Rep.  Pete Sessions (R-TX):

“We must find a way to get it done, and will. ... The art of getting it done is in everyone's interest. ... I view it as a must-pass piece of legislation.”

Rep. Fred Upton (R–MI):

“We can see the light at the end of the SGR tunnel—finally. Our bipartisan product begins the task of strengthening Medicare over the long term. This responsible legislative package reflects years of bipartisan work, is a good deal for seniors, and a good deal for children too. It’s time to put a stop once and for all to the repeated SGR crises and start to put Medicare on a stronger path forward for our seniors.”

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“Political Manifesto” vs. Pro-Growth Balanced Budget

2015/03/24

When President Obama unveiled his budget last month, CBS News’ Major Garrett characterized it as “the most methodically political of his presidency” (…and that’s not a low bar).  Chock full of billions in new spending, massive tax hikes and lacking any effort to address the long-term drivers of our debt, it’s impossible to argue the president’s budget is anything other than “a political manifesto.” 

House Republicans will vote on a much different plan this week: a pro-growth, balanced budget that reins in excessive spending, enacts real entitlement reform, helps our economy, and puts us on a more sustainable fiscal path.  Here is a side-by-side look at how the two budgets compare:

FY 16 Budget

House Republicans

President Obama

Balancing the Budget

“would balance the federal government’s books within a decade” (USA Today)

“abandon any pretense of pursuing a balanced budget - now or ever” (CBS News)

“never reaches balance” (Associated Press)

Cutting Spending

“pares more than $5 trillion from the federal budget” (Washington Post)

“cut $5.5 trillion in projected spending over the next decade” (The Hill)

“tens of billions of dollars in new government spending,” “a clear contrast with the new Republican Congress” (NPR)

Addressing the Debt & Deficit

“makes an honest effort to stem the tide of red ink” (Washington Times op-ed)

“targeted policy changes to the real drivers of the federal debt” (Wall Street Journal editorial)

“will add more than $6 trillion to the national debt” (U.S. News)

“debt crisis would only accelerate if Congress approved his spending blueprint” (Washington Times)

Preventing Tax Hikes

“contains no tax increases” (Reuters)

“Republicans are calling for an overhaul of the tax code” (NY Times)

“has packed more than 20 new tax increases into his proposed 2016 budget” (Fox News)

“would raise at least $1.5 trillion in new taxes” (Wall Street Journal)

Taking on Entitlement Reform

“A centerpiece of the proposal is a Medicare reform plan” (Washington Examiner)

 

“makes no new effort to fix the swelling costs of Social Security and Medicare” (Wall Street Journal)

“Absent from the plan is any pretense of remaking the main drivers of the long-term debt — Social Security and Medicare” (NY Times)

Repealing ObamaCare

“fully repeals Obamacare” (RealClearPolitics)

“would eliminate all mandates, taxes, regulations and subsidies under the healthcare law” (The Hill)

“would fully fund the healthcare law and make no serious changes to its implementation” (The Hill)

Boosting American Energy & Private-Sector Jobs

“call for the Obama administration to streamline and eliminate unnecessary regulations and pursue less expensive rules” (The Hill)

“envisions expanded domestic energy production” (Greenwire)

“increased regulation of oil and gas drilling” (U.S. News)

“$95 billion in higher taxes on oil and natural gas companies” (Forbes)

 

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“Yes Sir!”: A Congressional Gold Medal For Jack Nicklaus

2015/03/24

WASHINGTON, DC – At a ceremony today in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol, House and Senate leaders presented a Congressional Gold Medal to Jack Nicklaus for his promotion of excellence, good sportsmanship, and philanthropy.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) delivered the following remarks prior to the presentation of the medal, as prepared for delivery:

“In a few moments, we’ll have the presentation of the gold medal.  Thank you all again for being here.  

“With Jack, there are so many stories to tell, but everyone usually wants to talk about the same thing: the comeback at the 1986 Masters.  People ask you where you were when it happened … that’s how big a deal it was.  Even the sun brags about being in the gallery.

“Few transcend their sport to achieve that kind of moment, or this kind of honor.  With Arnie, it was how he brought an audience to the game – an army.   With Jack, it’s how he gave the game a gold standard – a ladder to climb.  That’s true on and off the course, as we’ve heard here.  But Jack was so good that he was the best in both victory and defeat.

“You see, the toughest thing to learn in golf isn’t the swing or the short game – it’s losing.  Because no matter what, you have to shake the other man’s hand at the end – and mean it, too.  Then you have to go face the man in the mirror.

“When Jack came up short against Arnie in 1960 at Cherry Hills, Ben Hogan said, ‘I played with a kid who could have won by 10 shots if he’d known how.’  So Jack worked harder and learned how. 

“He won with class, and when he fell short, he was just as classy.  Ask Tom Watson his favorite story about the duel at Turnberry back in ’77.  He’ll tell you it’s Jack congratulating him, saying, ‘I gave it my best shot, but it wasn’t good enough.’  Same thing goes for the ’82 Open at Pebble Beach, when Jack said to Watson, ‘you did it to me again, you little SOB.’

“It’s not the trophy or the triumph – it’s the respect that Jack’s rivals remember most.   

“That’s what gives the ’86 Masters its size.  To win, Jack had to overcome Watson, Seve, Tom Kite, Greg Norman – and, according to some, Father Time.  Not a slouch on that list. 

“That day, we were part of something special – something bigger – just as we are now.   Because in golf, as in all things, it is not whether you win or lose, it is how you play the game.  And no one has played it better for longer than Jack.

“So, in the immortal words of Verne Lundquist – ‘yes sir!’ – the Congressional Gold Medal goes to the Golden Bear, Jack Nicklaus of the state of Ohio.”

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Speaker Boehner Statement on Afghanistan Troop Announcement

2015/03/24

WASHINGTON, DC – Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement after President Obama announced the U.S. will maintain current force levels in Afghanistan through the end of the year:

“The president cannot repeat the mistakes he made that allowed for ISIL’s brutal rise in Iraq – dictating policy preferences divorced from security realities. I look forward to reviewing the specifics and hope the implementation of this announcement will meet the requests of our Afghan partners, our commanders on the ground, and bipartisan members of Congress.” 

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10 Things You Should Know About the Permanent Doc Fix

2015/03/24

This morning, leaders of the House Energy & Commerce and Ways & Means Committees introduced H.R. 2, bipartisan legislation to strengthen Medicare for seniors and permanently replace the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR).  Read the bill here.

Here are 10 things you should know about this legislation:

1. H.R. 2 strengthens Medicare and provides stability for seniors and their doctors.  The legislation moves beyond the sustainable growth rate (SGR) to a better system that ensures seniors have access to their doctors and the high-quality care they deserve.

2. H.R. 2 establishes the first real, structural entitlement reform in nearly two decades – offsetting all new spending without tax increases.  These reforms – increased means-testing and prohibition of Medigap “first-dollar coverage” – have long been part of Republican budgets.   For the first time, however, Democrats agreed to these reforms without demanding tax hikes – a breakthrough and a win for conservatives.

3. With these structural reforms, H.R. 2 reduces the deficit over the long term.  Looking ahead – 20, 30, and 40 years down the road – these reforms will produce hundreds of billions in durable savings for taxpayers, while the status quo only provides the illusion of savings.  As an example, former CBO Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin writes that these reforms “will continue to reap benefits in the years beyond the budget window,” estimating $230 billion in savings in the second decade alone.

4. With these structural reforms, H.R. 2 drives more competition into Medicare, bending the cost curve and putting these programs on a more sound financial footing.  While additional reforms are necessary, these policies are an essential first-step toward larger reforms.

5. After 17 short-term patches since 2003, H.R. 2 ends the cycle of cliffs and “must-pass” ‘doc fix’ bills that have often served as vehicles for more spending and new programs. 

6. H.R. 2 strengthens Medicare’s ability to fight fraud, waste, and abuse by, among other things, removing Social Security numbers from beneficiaries’ Medicare cards, preventing Medicare payments for deceased and ineligible individuals, and removing burdensome reporting policies for employers.

7. H.R. 2 extends the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and traditional Medicare extenders for two years, giving House committees time to lay the groundwork for better reforms under a new president.

8. By extending CHIP, H.R. 2 keeps more than three million Americans from becoming uninsured or enrolled in ObamaCare exchanges.

9. H.R. 2 applies traditional Hyde Amendment protections to Community Health Centers, National Health Service Corps, and Teaching Health Centers.  

10. H.R. 2 is supported by leaders of both parties, at least 75 physician groups, and a number of conservative organizations, including Americans for Tax Reform, American Action Forum, the Galen Institute and the National Taxpayers Union. 

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Watch Live: Gold Medal Ceremony for Jack Nicklaus

2015/03/24

Today at 3:00 pm ET, House and Senate leaders will present a Congressional Gold Medal to a great Ohioan and golf legend, Jack Nicklaus, for promoting excellence, good sportsmanship, and philanthropy. 

We invite you to watch today’s ceremony at speaker.gov/liveIf you plan on tuning in, here's some background on what you can expect:  

  • The Gold Medal is the highest honor Congress can bestow, a tradition that dates back to the American Revolution.  It is being presented to Nicklaus pursuant to H.R. 2203, which was signed into law on December 16, 2014.  This short behind-the-scenes video tells you all about the history and the making of the medal.
  • The Gold Medal has been awarded to such great athletes as Arnold Palmer, who will be in the audience for today’s ceremony, as well as Roberto Clemente, Joe Louis, Byron Nelson, Jesse Owens, and Jackie Robinson. 
  •  Also on hand will be many members of the Nicklaus family.  Jack and his wife, Barbara – who is often called “The First Lady of Golf” – have five children and 22 grandchildren.
  •  Members of The Ohio State University Marching Band will perform.  Nicklaus, born and raised in Ohio near Columbus, is an Ohio State graduate.
  • There will be speeches by congressional leaders, as well as Jim Nantz of CBS Sports and Jack Nicklaus II, who was Jack’s caddie for his legendary come-from-behind win at the 1986 Masters.
  • After the presentation of the medal, the last speech of the day will be given by Jack Nicklaus himself.

In addition to watching the ceremony live, here are a few other ways to get the latest:

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A Big Week for the People’s Priorities

2015/03/24

WASHINGTON, DC – This week, the House will consider a pro-growth balanced budget and a permanent solution to the ‘doc fix’ that with strengthen Medicare and constitute the first real structural entitlement reform in decades.  House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) discussed both measures at a press conference earlier today:

Well this is a big week for the House’s focus on the people’s priorities.  We’ll be considering a balanced budget that helps create more jobs, strengthens our economy, frankly, from the ground up.  A stark contrast to the president’s budget, which never balances, full of tax increases, and a lot, lot more spending. 

“We’re also going to act this week to strengthen Medicare and make the first real structural entitlement reforms in nearly two decades.  For Washington, this means the end of the ‘doc fix.’  For seniors, it means a stronger Medicare system and better health care.  And for taxpayers, it means real savings.”

 

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Speaker Boehner Applauds Bipartisan Legislation to Strengthen Medicare

2015/03/24

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today applauded the introduction of bipartisan legislation that will strengthen Medicare and establish the most significant structural entitlement reform in nearly two decades:

“This bipartisan legislation is about strengthening Medicare to provide better health care for seniors and real savings for taxpayers.  If enacted, it will help permanently replace one of Washington’s most infamous budget gimmicks – the Sustainable Growth Rate – with a more stable system that ensures seniors have access to the doctors and quality care they need.  It will put in place the first real, structural entitlement reform in nearly two decades.  Over the long-term, these reforms will put Medicare on a more sound financial footing and produce significant savings for taxpayers.  These are common-sense reforms, and I thank the leaders of the Energy & Commerce and Ways & Means committees for all their hard work.  Today, we are one step closer to solving a problem for good and doing some good in the process.”        

NOTE: The bipartisan legislation would permanently replace the broken Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, put in place several structural reforms to strengthen Medicare for seniors, and extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program for two years.  A summary from the chairs and ranking members of the Ways & Means and Energy & Commerce Committees can be found at this link.

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Boehner Praises Bipartisan Vote to Support Ukraine

2015/03/23

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement today after the House passed H.Res.162, which calls on President Obama to provide Ukraine with military assistance to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity against the Russian Federation:  

“The House reflected the will of the people again today in passing a bipartisan call-to-action to help the Ukrainian people.  There is an overwhelming support for sending military aid to help address the crisis in Ukraine.  Without action from this administration, Russia's aggression will continue to be left unchecked.  While Congress has already provided the White House with the authorities, resources, and political support to aid the government and people of Ukraine, today’s vote is yet another sign that the American people support action to help our ally.  I applaud the Foreign Affairs Committee for its work, and I hope the president will take action and reassure our friends and allies that we stand behind them.”

NOTE: In December 2014, Congress passed H.R.5859, the Ukraine Freedom Support Act.  This bill, which passed by unanimous consent in the House and was signed into law, authorized the President to provide defense military systems, weaponry, and aid to the Ukrainian government while also enforcing further sanctions on the Russian Federation.  The Obama administration has thus far failed to provide military support to Ukraine, prompting Speaker Boehner and a bipartisan group of members to send a letter to the White House earlier this month urging the president to do so.  Read the full text of the letter here.

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Speaker Boehner on the Fifth Anniversary of ObamaCare

2015/03/23

WASHINGTON, DC – Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement on ObamaCare’s fifth anniversary. 

“Five years after ramming ObamaCare into law, the president continues to mislead Americans about its legacy of broken promises. The president says his law is working ‘better than expected,’ even as premiums and deductibles rise, the website remains a mess, and workers across America have had their hours and wages slashed. Every week, new stories pour in from Ohio families, seniors and small businesses struggling to deal with canceled plans and losing access to doctors. If ObamaCare is truly working better than the president expected, it only shows the extent to which he hid the truth about the law while selling it.  

“In the House, Republicans are listening to the American people and putting their priorities first. This year the House passed a commonsense bill to restore the 40-hour work week by scrapping rules in ObamaCare that have become a significant barrier to job growth and higher wages, and once again we’ve put forward a responsible, balanced budget that repeals the president’s fundamentally-flawed law and paves the way for real solutions to lower costs and protect jobs.”  

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));Post by Speaker John Boehner. Read More

Strengthening Medicare Would Be “A Win for the Conservative Movement & For All Americans”

2015/03/23

This week, the House will consider a permanent solution to the ‘doc fix’ that replaces gimmicks that have been used to patch payment cuts to Medicare providers with real structural reforms that will help put Medicare on a more sustainable path over time.  These critical reforms are garnering praise from numerous voices on the right who are touting the agreement as a win “for the conservative movement and for all Americans”:

  • Let Freedom Ring President Colin Hanna: “Democrats have dropped their demand for tax increases in exchange for this entitlement reform. I wouldn’t claim to know their motivations, but it represents a major concession and a significant step toward entitlement modernization. … I would consider the deal to be a win for the conservative movement and for all Americans.”
  • Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist: “The plan ‘as explained to us is a good idea,’ Norquist told POLITICO. ‘It saves money for taxpayers over time, and it gets rid of this game every few years of making spending cuts that pretend’ to save money.”
  • American Action Forum President & Former CBO Director Doug Holtz-Eakin: “Congress has the chance to eliminate an annual legislative nightmare, fix the reimbursement of doctors under Medicare, introduce substantive, structural changes to an entitlement program, and ensure the continued insurance coverage of needy children – all without raising a dime of taxes.” 
  • Galen Institute President Grace-Marie Turner: “This is an investment today to begin to gain control over a program that by the year 2020 will constitutes more than one-third of the nation’s total debt accumulation. Continuing to play the Medicare doc fix shell game only makes it harder to get control of federal spending, and it keeps Congress from focusing on real and desperately-needed entitlement reform.”  
  • Americans for Tax Reform Tax Policy Director Ryan Ellis: “Conservatives should hate SGR, and view its replacement with large structural Medicare reforms as a win-win- of the highest order.” 
  • National Taxpayers Union Executive Vice President Brandon Arnold: “Recently, House Republicans announced plans to make structural changes to Medicare that could save hundreds of billions of dollars in the medium term and potentially much more in the extended future. Strengthening means-testing provisions in certain components of Medicare, as well as introducing additional market mechanisms, are wise moves that would significantly improve the program’s financial stability and reduce its long-term liabilities.”
  • The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board: “So maybe progress on health care is possible after all: Congress is close to repealing a two-decade budget cheat and reforming the entitlement state for the first time in the Obama Presidency. … The improvements Republicans might secure here are incremental but important over the long run.  Killing an annual ‘must pass’ vehicle that is inevitably loaded with irrelevant and costly add-ons is another asset.”
  • National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Vice President of Human Resources Policy Joe Trauger: “Putting in place reasonably small structural reforms now will make a tremendous difference in the health of the Medicare program in the future. In due course we’ll get more information about what the parameters of the proposal look like, but if a bipartisan group of lawmakers can cut a deal that solves this problem permanently, we’d all better off for it. It’s time to fix the sustainable growth rate in a sustainable way.”

“I’ve been committed to finding a permanent solution to this problem.  It’s a chance to get rid of Washington’s most infamous budget gimmicks,” Boehner said at a press conference last week. “And I hope we can solve this problem once and for all.”

More information on the agreement is available here.

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This Administration Never Misses a Chance to Appease Radical Environmentalists

2015/03/20

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement in response to the Obama administration’s new regulations on hydraulic fracturing: 

“America’s energy boom is one of the best things going for our economy, and keeping it going should be one of the federal government’s top priorities.  Instead, the Obama administration is so eager to appease radical environmentalists that it is regulating a process that is already properly regulated.  Meanwhile, the people who work hard every day to produce American energy safely and reliably will have to bear needless costs and headaches.  This is the president’s idea of ‘middle-class economics’?  Listening to the American people, Republicans will do all we can to protect middle-class jobs and keep our energy boom going.” 

 

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25th Anniversary of Václav Havel’s Address to Congress

2015/03/20

Earlier this week, Speaker Boehner and House leaders marked the 25th anniversary of former Czech president Václav Havel's address to Congress.  The House and Senate met on February 21, 1990 to receive an address by Havel, just months after his election as the first president of a newly free Czechoslovakia.  

Together with Petr Gandalovič, Czech ambassador to the United States, the leaders laid a wreath at the base of Havel’s bust located in the Capitol’s Freedom Foyer.  The bust is a new addition to the Capitol having just been dedicated at a ceremony in November of last year.  Havel is in good company with the busts of Winston Churchill, Lajos Kossuth, Abraham Lincoln, and George Washington nearby. 

From our GoPro camera, check out this aerial view of the wreath laying ceremony directly above Havel’s permanent place in the Capitol.

Click here to watch the entire bust dedication ceremony.  To see photos of the ceremony and a closer look at Havel’s bust, check out Speaker Boehner’s Flickr page.

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Israel: Speaker Boehner Congratulates Prime Minister Netanyahu

2015/03/19

During his weekly press conference today, Speaker Boehner took a moment to comment on this week’s elections in Israel:

“Lastly, let me congratulate my friend, Benjamin Netanyahu, on his party’s victory this week.  The Prime Minister recognizes the grave threats that we face from radical Islam and from Iran.  That’s what he talked about in his speech to Congress.  This is an opportunity to renew our commitment to confront these threats and, of course, to continue to strengthen the bond between Israel and America.” 

 

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Really? POTUS Says ObamaCare Working “Better Than Even I Expected”

2015/03/19

President Obama said yesterday in Cleveland that his health care law is “working better than even I expected.” Really?

We do know President Obama failed to tell the truth about being able to keep your plan if you like your plan. So to be fair, the president did expect millions of Americans to get cancellation notices even as he repeatedly said the opposite.

But how does the president’s statement square with:

  • Higher costs. “The Obama administration on Friday unveiled data showing that many Americans with health insurance bought under the Affordable Care Act could face substantial price increases [in 2015] — in some cases as much as 20 percent — unless they switch plans. … Experts said the wide swings in prices were likely to continue.” (The New York Times, 11/14/14)
  • Lost jobs, fewer hours and lower wages. Workers across America have seen their hours and wages slashed as a result of ObamaCare’s 30-hour mandate.  And the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office released a devastating 2014 report that found that the president’s health care law will “reduce the total number of hours Americans work by the equivalent of 2.3 million full-time jobs,” the Wall Street Journal reported in February of 2014.
  • An IRS nightmare. “The federal government sent incorrect tax information to about 800,000 people who purchased health insurance last year through HealthCare.gov and asked them to delay filing their returns, Obama administration officials said Friday. The mistake, which affects a critical part of the president's signature health-care law, could slow tax refunds for many Americans who depend on the money for their family's ­finances.” (Washington Post, 2/20/15)

Five years after Democrats forced their health care plan into law, Americans continue to deal with all its broken promises. If ObamaCare is truly working better than the president expected, it only shows he didn’t begin to tell people the truth while selling it.  

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Benghazi: Boehner Continues to Urge Secretary Clinton to Turn Over E-Mail Server

2015/03/19

As the Benghazi Select Committee continues its pursuit of the facts, Speaker Boehner today reiterated the need for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to turn over her e-mail server.  Here are Boehner’s full comments:

“On Benghazi, as I said on Tuesday, Secretary Clinton must hand over her e-mail server to an independent, third-party arbiter.  In terms of who that could be, Chairman Gowdy has already discussed a few examples: a federal inspector general, a retired judge, and a professional archivist.  All of these choices would be eminently fair and reasonable.  We need the Secretary to do the right thing here so that we can get to the facts about what happened before, during, and after an attack on our people.”

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Stopping a Washington Power Grab that Hurts American Workers

2015/03/19

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today applauded House passage of S.J. Res. 8, legislation to prevent the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from implementing its ambush elections rule that drastically shortens the time frame for union elections and compromises the privacy of American workers:

“The NLRB’s ambush election rule is another example of the Obama administration expanding Washington’s reach at the expense of American small businesses and workers.  What is supposed to be a fair and neutral agency has instead become a tool for the administration to advance an agenda dictated by the president’s special interest allies.  The ambush election rule the NLRB finalized last year will deny workers the opportunity to gather all the information they need before deciding whether to join a union.  What’s worse, the rule will make all of their personal information – addresses, work schedules, email, phone numbers – available to union bosses without their consent, putting them at risk for harassment and identify theft.  This bill will soon make its way to the White House, where President Obama will have the opportunity to rethink his veto threat and stop this assault on the rights of American workers.  I urge him to do the right thing and sign the measure.”

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Budget & Doc Fix: Boehner Encouraged By The House’s Progress

2015/03/19

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) began his weekly press conference today with updates on the progress the House has made on the people’s priorities:

“The House continues to listen to the American people and focus on their priorities.  Next week, we’ll take up a balanced budget that puts the middle class first by expanding opportunity, not government.  Our budget is about the future: it addresses our spending problem, and focuses on building an economy from the ground up.

“Completing work on a budget is always one of the toughest jobs we have all year.  The Budget Committee has done good work today and we expect the committee to approve its proposal.  But there is overwhelming support in our conference for providing additional resources to protect our national security.  In consultation with Chairman Price, next week the House will consider a rule that reflects those priorities. We have been, and will continue to, work with all of our members on this issue.

“Next, I’m encouraged by the progress our committees are making to permanently resolve the so-called ‘doc fix.’  As you all know, we’ve had to patch these doctor payments 17 times over the last 11 years.  I’ve been committed to finding a permanent solution to this problem.  It’s a chance to get rid of Washington’s most infamous budget gimmicks.  But it’s also an opportunity to make structural reforms to Medicare that mean better health care for seniors and real savings for taxpayers.  Again, I’m encouraged by what we’ve seen, and hope we can solve this problem once and for all.”

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Gold Medal Ceremony for Doolittle Tokyo Raiders

2015/03/19

WASHINGTON, DC - On Wednesday, April 15, leaders of the U.S. House and Senate will present a Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders’ outstanding heroism and service to the United States during World War II.

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

The Doolittle Tokyo Raiders were a volunteer unit comprised of 80 men who risked their lives during the first U.S. air raid strike on enemy forces in the Pacific on April 18, 1942.   Low on fuel and flying in hazardous conditions, the raiders faced steep odds, but were able to successfully bomb all their targets.  Without enough fuel to make it safely to China, however, the 16 airplanes were forced to crash-land or ditch at sea.  Eight Doolittle Raiders were captured, 2 died in the crash, and 70 returned to the United States.  Their heroic mission served as a pivotal strategic victory and morale boost for Allied forces.

The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian honor the United States Congress can bestow.  Pursuant to H.R. 1209, a single gold medal has been struck to honor their distinguished service. For more information on the how a Congressional Gold Medal is struck, watch this behind-the-scenes video.

The ceremony will take place April 15, 2015 at 3 p.m. in Emancipation Hall and will be live streamed at speaker.gov/live.  

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Photo: German Ambassador Meeting

2015/03/19

Yesterday, in his office in the U.S. Capitol, Speaker Boehner met with the Ambassador of Germany to the United States, Peter Wittig.  They had a productive conversation regarding the situation in the Ukraine, international negotiations with Iran, and macroeconomic issues affecting the European Union.

Met with the German Ambassador to the U.S. yesterday to discuss a range of issues: http://t.co/vDgitnyton @GermanyinUSA

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) March 19, 2015
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The EPA Is A Serial Offender Against Transparency

2015/03/18

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement after the House passed H.R. 1030, the Secret Science Reform Act: “There’s no better, more blatant example of bureaucracy run amok than the EPA.  It puts the screws to small businesses, hardworking taxpayers, and entire industries every day, and it does so without adhering to the most basic standards of transparency.  Chairman Lamar Smith’s bill requires the EPA to release all the data on which its regulations are based, and if it won’t, then it can’t issue those regulations.  No more secrets – it’s that simple.  This will be good for American jobs, and it will rein in a serial offender against the public’s right to know what goes on in its government.”

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Speaker Boehner Meets With Mayor Garcetti of Los Angeles

2015/03/18

Speaker Boehner welcomed the City of Los Angeles’ 42nd mayor, Eric Garcetti, to the U.S. Capitol yesterday afternoon.  They discussed a range of issues including trade, infrastructure, and other economic priorities.  

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Hello, Tribe Fans

2015/03/18

His own budget plan is a disaster. His ‘middle-class economics’ are a bust. Democrats are bailing on his priorities. So what is President Obama going to do? He’s going to Cleveland to try and start a partisan political brawl.

USA TODAY reports “White House officials from President Obama on down are using a series of events to trash the GOP…”

Sadly this is just the latest example of President Obama putting campaign-style events and partisan politics above governing. And it’s all a ruse designed to distract from the president’s own problems, including:

  • His budget, which includes $2.1 trillion in new tax hikes, a spending increase of 65 percent over 10 years, $8.5 trillion in new debt and never balances…. ever. 
  • His inability to win over his own party on priorities like an AUMF, cybersecurity and trade (see Sherrod Brown).
  • And his economic plan that “doesn’t actually help the average middle-class taxpayer.”

Meanwhile, in the House, Republicans will be using today to move forward with markup and debate on our budget, which balances within 10 years and paves the way to job creation and new opportunities for all Americans. 

Republicans have passed bill after bill this year to help make a difference for middle-class families – including bipartisan proposals to expand 529 plans to help make college more affordable, approve the Keystone XL pipeline and create at least 42,000 jobs, and restore the 40-hour work week to help Americans hit hardest by the president’s health care law.

It’s quite the contrast in leadership.

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Photos: St. Patrick’s Day

2015/03/18

Yesterday, in the spirit of the Irish, Speaker Boehner welcomed President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Prime Minister Kenny of Ireland to the U.S. Capitol for the 32nd annual Friends of Ireland luncheon.  The tradition, which began in 1983 with Speaker Tip O’Neill and President Ronald Reagan, provides an opportunity for the leaders to set aside partisan politics for a day and celebrate the Irish people, the history, and the values we share.

More behind-the-scenes photos can be found exclusively on Instagram…including this one of Irish actor, Pierce Brosnan.  

BONUS VIDEO: On the surface, the Friends of Ireland tradition may appear to be just another political lunch with bad jokes and long-winded speeches, but in this 15-second video on Facebook, Speaker Boehner explains otherwise.

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Boehner Turns Up Pressure on Sec. Clinton to Turn Over Email Server

2015/03/17

Last week, House Select Committee on Benghazi Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) called on Sec. Clinton to turn over her email server to a neutral third party to ensure congressional investigators and the American people have all of the information they’re entitled to regarding the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya that took the lives of four Americans.  Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) echoed that call in the Weekly Republican Address, as have numerous analysts and editorial boards.  At a press conference earlier today, Speaker Boehner turned the heat up even further: 

  • “John Boehner to Hillary Clinton: Turn Over Server”  “Speaker John Boehner has joined a growing number of Republicans who are calling on Hillary Clinton to turn over her personal server to an independent arbitrator for investigation.” (Politico)
  • “Boehner Calls on Clinton to Hand Over Email Server to Third Party” “‘I think this is the fairest way to make sure that we have all the facts that belong to the public,’ Boehner told reporters at a news conference.” (Reuters)
  • “Boehner Urges Hillary Clinton to Turn Over Email Server” “House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) on Tuesday called on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to turn over her personal computer server to a neutral third party, saying that handing over the equipment was necessary to ensure that Americans had all the facts about what happened in 2012 when a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed in an attack on a diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya.” (Wall Street Journal)
  • “Boehner to Hillary Clinton: Turn Over Email Server to ‘Neutral Third Party’” “The Speaker pushed back at Democrats’ complaints that multiple congressional probes were ‘overkill’ and Clinton was receiving extra scrutiny because she was likely to announce she was running for president in 2016.  ‘Nothing has changed,’ Boehner said, adding, ‘the Benghazi committee is focused on getting the facts about what happened with regard to Benghazi.’” (CNN)
  • “Boehner Joins Call for Outside Look at Clinton E-Mail Server” “Republican U.S. House Speaker John Boehner joined calls for Hillary Clinton to turn over her private e-mail server to an outside arbiter, saying the ‘American people deserve all the facts.’  Boehner said an outside review is the only way to determine if congressional investigators into the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, have what they need.” (Bloomberg)
  • “Boehner Calls for Clinton to Turn Over Server to ‘Neutral Third Party’” “Mr. Boehner said the way forward ‘is for the secretary to turn over all of her emails that pertain to the public.’  ‘But some neutral third party is going to have to make some decision about what documents are, quote, personal, and which ones are public record,’ he said. ‘And thus far, she’s been unwilling to do this.’” (Washington Times)
  • “Boehner: Third-Party Review of Clinton Emails Needed” “‘The American people deserve all the facts about what happened in Benghazi,’ Boehner said. ‘Now that’s why it’s so important for Secretary Clinton to turn over her personal server to a neutral third party. And I think this is the fairest way to make sure that we have all the documents that belong to the public and, ultimately, all the facts.’” (Washington Examiner)
  • “John Boehner Says Hillary Clinton Should Turn Over Personal Email Server” “Speaking to reporters at a Capitol Hill news conference, Boehner said such a step is needed to determine which emails sent by Clinton were official and which were personal. The former secretary of state has said she deleted emails she deemed personal and won’t turn over the server she used. Experts, meanwhile, believe that the deleted emails may be recoverable in some form.” (MarketWatch)

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The 2015 Friends of Ireland Luncheon

2015/03/17

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) welcomed President Obama and Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Enda Kenny of Ireland to the U.S. Capitol today for the annual Friends of Ireland luncheon.  This continues a tradition begun in 1983 by House Speaker Tip O’Neill and President Ronald Reagan.  During the luncheon, Speaker Boehner made the following remarks, as prepared for delivery:

“Let me thank you all for being here.  The Prime Minister and I are meeting after this so I just thought I’d give you all a little preview.  I will congratulate him on leading one of Europe’s strongest economic recoveries.  Then chances are, he’ll congratulate me on having the good fortune to hear another one of his lectures about immigration reform.

“Now, it’s always special to wear the shamrock and to recall the story of how St. Patrick used it to explain the Trinity… Which is a good thing too – as many a pastor has observed – because otherwise you would just have a bunch of grass clippings.

“The same could be said of this event, really.  On the surface, this may appear to be just another political lunch with bad jokes and long-winded speeches.  Or as Joe Biden calls it: Heaven.

“But this is one of our most unique traditions.  Back in the day, the typical Reagan-O’Neill get-together was a free-for-all.  Their arguments were so famous that they would actually send each other pictures of them arguing. 

“But on this day, for this cause, it was all-for-one.  Because it was family, and these were men with broad shoulders – broad enough to carry the hopes of their people, and to carry all of us too.

“And it is that faith and spirit of the Irish which give this friendship – and the shamrock – their great meaning.

“I would now like to offer a toast: to Reagan, to O’Neill, and to Ireland.”

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Boehner Highlights Balanced Budget & The Latest in the Benghazi Investigation

2015/03/17

WASHINGTON, DC – At a press conference with Republican leaders today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) discussed Republicans’ pro-growth, balanced budget and reiterated the need for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to turn over her e-mail server to a neutral third party.  Following are Boehner’s remarks:

“For 53 of the last 60 years, the federal government has spent more than it has taken in - 53 of the last 60 years.  It’s unacceptable.

“To this day, now in his seventh year in office, the president has never proposed a budget that balances.  Our budget will balance, but it’s also about growing our economy, growing jobs and building economic strength for our future. 

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

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Did Secretary Clinton Sign Form OF-109?

2015/03/17

You can’t just become Secretary of State and refuse a government phone and email address without anyone noticing. You also can’t regularly contact your boss from your personal email account for years without him noticing that you never use the work account you’re supposed to have. Especially when your boss is the guy who has the nuclear codes.

But that’s what President Obama would like you to believe. Asked when he first learned about Hillary Clinton’s private email system, he said, “The same time everybody else learned it, through news reports.” His staff even rushed to tell reporters how shocked they all are, as if Secretary Clinton went rogue and this never would have been allowed if the occupant of the Oval Office had only known what was she was up to.

The fact is that Secretary Clinton wanted to skirt the law and avoid oversight, and President Obama went right along with it, national security and transparency and the law be damned.

Now, Clinton’s team and the White House are scrambling to answer a simple question about whether or not she signed form OF-109, as all State Department employees must do when they leave their jobs. Signing the form certifies that the employee has turned over all official records and emails to the federal government, as required.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki couldn’t say last week, or on Friday, or again yesterday whether Clinton signed the document. And Hillary Clinton herself ignored the question, quickly scurrying away when confronted by a reporter in Manhattan. As for President Obama, he thinks the whole thing is pretty funny.

It’s not. From the very beginning of the investigation into what happened in Benghazi, the Obama administration’s response and their attempts to blame a YouTube video, document requests and even congressional subpoenas were ignored. It wasn’t until after the Select Committee on Benghazi demanded the records that the State Department asked Clinton to turn over her emails, and it wasn’t until Clinton received that request that she provided only the email she wanted to – nearly two years after she left the administration.

That’s a big problem if she signed that form like she was supposed to. And that’s also why Clinton is being urged “to turn her server over to a neutral, detached third-party arbiter who can determine which documents should be public and which should remain private.”

Meanwhile, her story keeps changing. First her team said they provided the State Department with some of her emails based on keyword searches. Now they say each one of her emails were read before being deleted or turned over. What is the truth?

One thing is certain: the Select Committee will continue seeking just that.

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Democrats are Bailing on President Obama

2015/03/17

With less than two years remaining in office, almost no one would suggest President Obama has what amounts to a serious legislative agenda.  But on the few realistic agenda items he is pushing that remain – like trade, cybersecurity, and an AUMF for ISIL – one thing is clear: his fellow Democrats are the obstacle.

Here’s the story:

“Mr. Obama’s legislative agenda has gotten little traction in Congress. And even some of the president’s unilateral efforts have been slowed by roadblocks.” (Wall Street Journal, 3/16/15)

“More Democrats are going their own way, and that’s away from Obama” (New York Times, 3/14/15) 

“Democrats still oppose Iran talks…  ‘Nearly all of the 54 Republicans and more than a dozen Democrats in the Senate remain at odds with the president on the issue.’” (POLITICO, 3/16/15)

“Democrats warn Obama they don't have his back on trade plans” (Huffington Post, 1/21/15)

“Key Democrats are hardening their opposition to President Barack Obama’s proposal for attacking Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria, raising fresh doubts the White House can win congressional approval of the plan as concerns grow over its handling of crises around the globe.” (POLITICO, 3/5/15)

Looking for more than a slogan to create jobs? How about a real plan to fix the tax code, or deal with deficits and debt? Don’t hold your breath.  

“The closest thing Democrats have to an organizing concern is income inequality,” Ezra Klein writes at VOX.com. “But their solutions are neither sufficient to the scale of the problem nor quickening to the pulse.”

The fact is Republicans are the only ones listening to the American people and offering real reforms. This year alone the GOP House majority has helped advance bills to expand 529 plans to help families save for college, approve the Keystone XL pipeline and create at least 42,000 jobs, help America’s veterans get access to the mental health care services they need, and more.

Today Republicans will release a responsible, balanced budget that addresses the drivers of our debt and paves the way for robust growth and job creation. Learn more here.   

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Bill of Slights: The President’s Student Loan Mistakes

2015/03/16

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Sending your kids to college is a rite of passage for many Americans, but in this tough economy, it’s become harder for middle-class families to afford.   On the president’s watch, “carrying tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt has become the new normal.”

If the president is serious about tackling this problem, he has a funny – not to mention, expensive – way of showing it.  In January, he proposed taxing the 529 plans millions of families use to save for college.   So instead of withdrawing those hard-earned savings tax-free, parents would first have to hand over some of that money to the feds.   And last week, the president proposed a ‘student aid bill of rights’ that may actually make the borrowing system more complicated.  Not only that, it doesn’t address the root problem, as Michelle Singletary writes in The Washington Post

·         “It doesn’t adequately address the problem of the rising student-loan debt that is now an astounding $1.3 trillion.  It swipes at the issue, but there aren’t any concrete solutions to the rising costs in higher education that have already indebted so many.”

Singletary continues, “Families need more options that don’t involve loans.”

That’s why the House has passed a bipartisan plan to promote and expand the use of college savings accounts.  Under our proposal, families can use these accounts to pay for computers, and redeposit funds without facing penalties.

The National Association of State Treasurers, which is made up of the officials who run these programs and know them best, has backed our plan, writing to House leaders:

·         “Research has demonstrated children with a college savings account in their name are six to seven times more likely to attend a four-year college, compared with similar children with no dedicated account… The growth in these plans has largely been driven by middle class Americans and 39 percent of accounts are being funded with systematic contributions that average $146 per month.  Most plans allow minimum contributions as low as $25 per month to encourage participation by families of all income levels.  … We look forward to working with Congress to protect and enhance 529 plans.”

Read their full letter here.  Instead of complicating the current borrowing system, we can empower families to avoid it as best they can – so they can have peace of mind for their kids and the future

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Weekly Address: Our Pursuit of the Facts on Benghazi

2015/03/14

Click to Play | Facebook | Twitter   In this week’s Republican address, Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) calls on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to turn over her personal email server to a neutral arbiter in order to advance the House’s investigation into the Benghazi terrorist attacks that took the lives of four brave Americans.

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

Associated Press: “GOP lawmaker: Clinton email server key to Benghazi inquiry” “A member of the House committee investigating the deadly attacks against Americans in Benghazi, Libya, says Hillary Rodham Clinton's email server could help lawmakers answer vital questions.  Rep. Susan Brooks of Indiana said in the weekly Republican radio address Saturday that gaining access to Clinton's server is ‘the only way to truly know’ that investigators have obtained all the State Department communications that ‘rightfully belong to the American people.’”

The Guardian: “Clinton emails may answer 'vital questions' on Benghazi: GOP lawmaker” “Republicans on Saturday sought to keep up the pressure on Hillary Clinton … over her use of personal email while serving as secretary of state.  Congresswoman Susan Brooks, a member of the House committee investigating the deadly September 2012 attack at the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, used the weekly GOP public radio address to call on Clinton to hand over her email server in order to answer ‘vital questions.’”

The Hill: “GOP rep wants Hillary to give server to 'neutral' arbiter” “Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) on Saturday urged former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to let an independent investigator search her private email server. …

Brooks on Saturday argued closure on Benghazi was more important than the debate over Clinton’s technology decisions.  ‘Because this isn’t about Hillary Clinton, or Trey Gowdy, or me,’ she said. ‘It’s about the four brave Americans we lost. These men were public servants. They were also fathers, sons, friends, colleagues and neighbors.’”

Washington Examiner: “House Republicans call on Hillary Clinton to hand over email server” “In the GOP's weekly address to the nation, Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Ind., said an independent arbiter should review the contents of the server to determine which emails should be made public.  It was the Benghazi panel, Brooks said in her address, that led to the discovery of Clinton's personal computer server and her decision to hand over some of the emails.  Brooks said Clinton should turn over the emails to help determine why four Americans were lost that night.”

Newsmax: “Rep. Brooks: Hillary Must Turn Over Her Email Server” “Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton didn't decide to turn over some of her emails out of a sudden ‘sense of transparency,’ but because of the House committee investigating the Benghazi attacks, Rep. Susan Brooks said Saturday, insisting that it is time for Clinton to turn over her email server to an independent arbiter.  But not only that, but the committee learned Clinton kept her emails, and once it was discovered, ‘it was she and her attorneys alone who decided what e-mails should be returned to the government and then just a fraction of those were released to our committee,’ said Brooks, a former U.S. Attorney.”

ABC News Radio: “Rep. Susan Brooks, R-IN, delivered this week’s Republican address, giving an update on the House select committee investigating the attack on the U.S Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.  It was the committee’s oversight investigating the attack which killed four Americans, according to Brooks, that led to the discovery that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used personal e-mail for official State Department business.”

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Weekly Republican Address: Next Steps In The Benghazi Investigation

2015/03/13

WASHINGTON, DC – Delivering the Weekly Republican Address, Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) discusses the work of the House select committee investigating the Benghazi terrorist attacks that took the lives of four brave Americans on Sept. 11, 2012. 

It was the committee's oversight, Brooks notes, that led to the discovery that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used personal e-mail for official State Department business.   Brooks calls on Secretary Clinton to turn over her personal server to an independent arbiter who can determine which of her e-mails should be made public.  “By handing her server over to a neutral, third-party arbiter,” Brooks says, “Secretary Clinton can help us move forward with figuring out what happened to our people.”

Rep. Brooks, now in her second term representing Indiana’s Fifth District, is a former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.

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

Remarks of Representative Susan Brooks of Indiana Weekly Republican Address Indiana War Memorial, Indianapolis, IN  March 14, 2015

Hello, I’m Congresswoman Susan Brooks from the great state of Indiana.

Every morning, as we enjoy our first cup of coffee and get ready for the day ahead, there are tens of thousands of Americans already on the job representing the United States at diplomatic posts around the world.  They are deeply committed to this work, and their protection is one of our government’s most solemn responsibilities.  

That is why I agreed to serve on a select committee to investigate the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya that took the lives of four Americans on September 11, 2012.  I’ve brought to this assignment the same commitment to fairness and truth that guided my service as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.  

When we began our work, Trey Gowdy, the chairman of the select committee, told us: facts are not Republican or Democrat.  When four Americans serving their country die on foreign soil, we have a duty to uncover the whole truth – wherever it may lead and whoever it may involve. 

As part of this pursuit, we requested documents from the State Department, which oversees our diplomatic posts and personnel.  As Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State at the time said herself, she was “in charge” of their security.  It was through our investigation that we became aware that Secretary Clinton was using personal e-mail for official State Department business.   And only when we pressed for more information did we find out that she relied exclusively on personal e-mail hosted by her own personal server as Secretary of State.  

Not only that, she also kept those emails from the State Department when she left.  Once this was discovered, it was she and her attorneys alone who decided what e-mails should be returned to the government and then just a fraction of those were released to our committee.

That’s right: it was not out of a sense of transparency that she acted.  It was our select committee’s oversight that compelled Secretary Clinton to hand over some of her e-mails. 

The key word there, of course, is ‘some.’  You see, right now there is no way for us to know whether we have all of the State Department communications that rightfully belong to the American people.    The only way to truly know is by having access to Secretary Clinton’s personal server.

Why is this so important?  Because these communications may help us answer vital questions. We need to know why the security at our embassy was left inadequate.  Why were requests for additional security denied?  Why was our response not sufficient?  Why were some members of the administration slow to acknowledge a terrorist attack had actually occurred?  It is simply unacceptable for so many questions to remain unanswered.  And it is unjust and simply wrong for anyone to withhold evidence that may lead to the answers. 

That is why we are asking Secretary Clinton to turn her server over to a neutral, third-party arbiter.  After a complete inventory, this arbiter can make a determination as to which emails should be public and which should remain private.  These decisions would be completely impartial and independent. 

President Obama promised you ‘the most transparent administration in history’ – but his first Secretary of State has fallen painfully short.  By handing her server over to a neutral, third-party arbiter, Secretary Clinton can help us move forward with figuring out what happened to our people.

Because this isn’t about Hillary Clinton, or Trey Gowdy, or me.  It’s about the four brave Americans we lost.  These men were public servants.  They were also fathers, sons, friends, colleagues and neighbors. 

The people who knew them – who loved them – deserve the truth.  The government they served has a duty to provide that truth and do whatever is necessary to make sure it never happens again. 

Thank you for listening.  And to all our Foreign Service and Diplomatic Security officers, thank you for what you do for us every day.

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Rep. Susan Brooks to Deliver the Weekly Republican Address

2015/03/13

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has selected Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) to deliver the Weekly Republican Address for Saturday, March 14.  Rep. Brooks will provide the American people with an update on the work of the House select committee investigating the Benghazi terrorist attacks that took the lives of four brave Americans on September 11, 2012.

“The American people still have significant questions as to what occurred before, during and after the September 11, 2012 attack on our consulate in Benghazi,” Rep. Brooks said. “The Select Committee is hard at work trying to answer those questions and ensure all of the relevant facts are uncovered. I look forward to providing an update on our efforts during the upcoming Weekly Address.”

Learn more about Rep. Brooks, a former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana now in her second term representing Indiana’s Fifth District, by visiting her official website or by following her on Facebook and Twitter.

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

 

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Editorial Boards, Analysts Back Benghazi Committee Call for Sec. Clinton to Turn Over E-Mail Server

2015/03/13

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s press conference earlier this week left more questions than answers surrounding her use of a private email server while in office, and her decision to delete thousands of emails withheld from the State Department.  In response, House Select Committee on Benghazi Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) called on Sec. Clinton “to turn her server over to a neutral, detached third-party arbiter who can determine which documents should be public and which should remain private,” arguing that “the Secretary of State has enormous responsibility and jurisdiction and the public, the media and Congress have a legal right to access these public records without impediment.”  A number of editorial boards and political analysts agree:

  • “Clinton Should Make the Private Servers” Available “For An Independent Review” “Clinton should make the private servers containing all the correspondence, even deleted emails, available to the State Department for an independent review. This way we’ll know that every email relevant to the historical record, even if embarrassing, will be preserved.” (Newsday editorial, 3/5/15)
  • “Surrendering the Devices for Inspection Is Clinton’s Only Way to Gain Public Confidence” “After revelations that Hillary Clinton set up her own email computer server as America’s top diplomat, the Democratic presidential frontrunner must deliver her hard drives to the State Department.  Surrendering the devices for inspection is Clinton’s only way to gain public confidence that she is hiding nothing and, no footnote, to comply with the Freedom of Information Act.” (New York Daily News editorial, 3/5/15)
  • “Should Make a Bold Statement About Her Commitment to Transparency by Turning Over Her Server” “If Clinton truly wants to put the e-mail matter behind her, she needs to go beyond merely complying with State Department requests to turn over work-related e-mails. She should make a bold statement about her commitment to transparency by turning over her server to the National Archives or the State Department’s inspector general.” (USA Today editorial, 3/10/15)
  • National Journal’s Ron Fournier: “Turn Over the Servers” “There’s only two questions, and only two answers. Here’s the servers, here’s your e-mails back. … It’s the truth, that she violated regulations, that she assaulted transparency, that they’ve been deceiving and lying about it ever since, her henchmen out here.  They’ve got to come clean. Turn over the servers.” (MSNBC’s Hardball, 3/9/15)
  • NBC’s Chuck Todd: “She Needs to Announce Something Actionable Like She’s Going to Turn the Server Over” “I think she needs to announce something actionable like she’s going to turn the server over to the State Department, let them have it.  So I think it’s going to have to be more than an explanation.  She’s got to do something.” (NBC’s The Today Show, 3/10/15)
  • Former Clinton White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry: “Likely Will Be Pressured to Turn Over Her Email Server” “Mr. McCurry said Mrs. Clinton likely will be pressured to turn over her email server so an independent party can review her records.  ‘I am absolutely sure that will happen,’ he said. ‘I’m sure there will be an ample number of people who will suggest that as a way to do this, and I won’t dispute that is a sensible opinion for those people to have.’” (Wall Street Journal, 3/9/15)
  • “She Should … Offer More Opportunities for Independent Verification” “Clinton has been involved in politics in Washington for more than 20 years, too long for her to smugly brush off concerns about secrecy and transparency. Her private email use and her tone-deaf response to the ensuing controversy is deeply disturbing. A House committee has pledged to question Clinton about the emails. She should have better answers and offer more opportunities for independent verification than she did this week.” (Tampa Bay Times editorial, 3/11/15)

As Speaker Boehner has said: “It doesn’t matter if the server was in Foggy Bottom, Chappaqua or Bora Bora. The Benghazi Select Committee needs to see all of these emails, because the American people deserve all of the facts.”

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Missing: A Long-Term Vision from President Obama to Fix the VA

2015/03/13

Today President Obama plans to correct a recent mistake by visiting the Phoenix VA hospital at the center of the scandal that rocked the nation. That’s a good thing. But with continued reports of delays, mistreatment and incompetence, what our veterans really need is more action and a long-term vision to fix the VA from this president.  They haven’t gotten it, and the consequences for veterans continue to pile up:

“2015 GOAL FOR VA CLAIMS APPEARS OUT OF REACH” (Military Times, 12/31/14)

  • “VA workers are still not on pace to fully eliminate the backlog by the end of next year, a goal long promised by department officials.” (Military Times, 12/31/14)
  • “The urology department for the Phoenix VA Health Care System remains understaffed and ‘hundreds of records behind’ in processing in-coming tests results from private doctors paid to examine veterans, according to a report issued by the VA Inspector General's Office." (USA TODAY, 1/29/15) 

“AT VA HEALTH FACILITIES, WHISTLEBLOWERS STILL FEAR RETALIATION” (Washington Post, 3/15/15)

  • The OSC, an independent federal agency that investigates whistleblower claims, said it has received 111 VA reprisal cases involving health and safety issues across 36 states plus the District and Puerto Rico since McDonald became secretary in July.” (Washington Post, 3/15/15)
  • “‘The secretary said that retaliation against whistleblowers wouldn't be tolerated, and it's still happening. I've been home for 43 days and I'm still on administrative leave,’ Coleman said.” (ABC 15 Arizona, 3/10/15)
  • “The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is now investigating the claims of a whistleblower who revealed the use of a secret appointment wait list at the Shreveport VA hospital — including 37 veterans who died awaiting care. Mental health social worker Shea Wilkes contacted the media in June, saying his bosses and the VA Inspector General had done nothing to address his year-old complaints about excessive wait times. In fact, Wilkes’ attorney, Richard John, says the IG turned the tables on his client, opening a criminal investigation into how Wilkes obtained the list he used as evidence to show patients were not receiving adequate care...” (FOX NEWS, 3/12/15)

“THIS SHOULDN’T HAVE HAPPENED TO OUR SON” (Wausau Daily Herald, 2/24/15)

  • “Wisconsin VA hospital nicknamed ‘Candy Land’ by some for an alarming surge in pain-killer prescriptions is under investigation – six months after a Marine Corps veteran died of an overdose in the psychiatric ward.” (NBC News, 2/24/15)
  • "Current and former hospital staff members described patients who show up to appointments stoned on painkillers and muscle relaxants, doze off and drool during therapy sessions, and burn themselves with cigarettes.” (Chicago Tribune, 1/9/15)

“COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE” (Channel 13 Indianapolis, 3/10/15)  

  • “A manager and licensed social worker at a Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Indianapolis apparently sent an e-mail that pokes fun at the mental health problems by showing a combat veteran as a Christmas elf ready to hang himself with holiday lights and another begging for a hit of Xanax.” (Washington Post, 3/9/15)

While the president remains on the sidelines, House Republicans led the fight to expose the VA scandal and continue working to deliver the accountability and quality care our veterans deserve. In February, the bipartisan Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act (H.R. 203), was enacted to help more veterans get access to mental health care resources.  And last week the House passed two more billsH.R. 280 to give the VA Secretary complete authority to recoup bonuses paid to failed VA employees, and H.R. 294 to authorize the VA to expand options available to veterans for long-term care.

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Speaker Boehner Announces Annual Friends of Ireland Luncheon

2015/03/12

  (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); Post by Speaker John Boehner.

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) will host President Obama and Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Enda Kenny of Ireland at the United States Capitol on Tuesday, March 17, for the annual Friends of Ireland Luncheon.

The event, which marks Prime Minister Kenny’s fifth St. Patrick’s visit to the Capitol, will include speeches by the three leaders.  “Every day, we hope for the luck of the Irish, but on St. Patrick’s Day, we’re fortunate enough to have the leader of the Irish as well,” Speaker Boehner said.  “It’s an honor to continue this great tradition that celebrates the Irish people, the history, and the values we share.” The Friends of Ireland tradition began with President Ronald Reagan and Speaker Tip O’Neill, who hosted the first luncheon on March 17, 1983.  The first recorded celebration of St. Patrick’s Day at the Capitol dates back to 1884, when members of Congress wore green ribbons on their lapels. In anticipation of last year’s event, Speaker Boehner released this video featuring rare photos of President Reagan, Speaker O’Neill, and all the presidents, speakers, and prime ministers who have taken part in the Friends of Ireland luncheon over the years.

NOTE: Additional details regarding photo opportunities for the luncheon will be released on Monday.

 

 

 

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More Americans Looking to Republicans on Foreign Policy

2015/03/12

Lately, the news has been dominated by dangerous regimes like Iran, antagonistic global thugs like Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and barbaric terrorists like the Islamic State (ISIL). To deal with these threats to the American people and our allies in Israel, Ukraine, and elsewhere, Republicans in Congress have urged President Obama to aggressively exert American leadership, stand with our friends, and ratchet up pressure on our enemies.

  • On Iran, Republicans have warned against making additional concessions to a regime that has not agreed to abandon its nuclear weapons program. And Speaker Boehner invited Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to address a Joint Meeting of Congress and speak about the threat posed by Iran and radical Islam.
  • On ISIL, Speaker Boehner and other Republicans have urged President Obama for more than a year to outline a more robust strategy to defeat and destroy our terrorist enemies, and to submit to Congress an authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) that would help accomplish that goal. Speaker Boehner has also made it clear that the president should not repeat his Iraq mistakes in Afghanistan.
  • On Russia, Republicans have championed legislation that would help break Putin’s energy stranglehold on Europe, and pressed President Obama to provide lethal aid to our struggling ally Ukraine. Speaker Boehner also invited Ukraine’s President, Petro Poroshenko, to address a Joint Meeting of Congress in September.

Recent polls show more Americans trust Republicans when it comes to dealing with foreign policy and terrorism:

  • “The Republican Party continues to hold a sizeable (20-point) lead as the party that could do a better job ‘dealing with the terrorist threat at home.’ But today, the Republican Party also has a 13-point edge when it comes to ‘making wise decisions about foreign policy.’ This is the first time the GOP has had a significant advantage on this issue since 2002.” (Pew Research Center, 2/26/15)
  • “At this point, 55% of Americans choose the GOP [as being better able to protect the U.S. from international terrorism and military threats], while 32% choose the Democratic Party. This is the widest Republican advantage in Gallup's history of asking this question since 2002.” (Gallup, 9/11/14)

In contrast, President Obama’s job approval on these matters isn’t faring very well:

  • The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey unveiled this week found that 58 percent disapprove of President Obama’s handling of foreign policy.
  •  “57% of Americans disapprove of how Obama is handling the threat posed by ISIS, a significant decline in support for the President over the past few months. In late September, that number was 49%. Fifty-seven percent disapprove of his handling of foreign affairs more broadly, and 54% disapprove of how the President is handling terrorism.” (CNN, 2/17/15)

Even members of the president’s own party have distanced themselves from him on these issues, especially when it comes to Iran and Russia.

Last week’s bipartisan letter to President Obama, signed by eight Republicans and three Democrats, is the most recent example. The group called for the approval of lethal aid for Ukraine. Today, the administration announced it still would not do so – only hours after Putin admitted his invasion of Ukraine last year was pre-planned, violated the ceasefire agreement again by sending in more tanks and heavy military equipment, and his Foreign Ministry official said Russia has the right to deploy nuclear arms in its newly acquired territory.

With evidence of President Obama’s failed foreign policy nearly everywhere, it’s not surprising that more Americans are looking to Republicans to show leadership and keep the country safe. 

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President Obama’s Fiscal Irresponsibility Is Off the Charts

2015/03/11

Despite the fact that the national debt has so far increased $7.5 trillion on his watch – to $18.1 trillion – President Obama has opted to ignore and even deny America’s long-term spending and debt problem.

He likes to say he’s proposed “balanced” solutions. But that doesn’t include a budget that actually balances. That’s right: no budget he has ever proposed would ever balance – never. Not in a decade and not in two decades. How is that serious?

Under his latest “plan,” the national debt would continue to rise to more than $20 trillion when he leaves office, and more than $26 trillion by 2025, even with $2.1 trillion in new tax increases. That’s because total spending would increase by 65 percent in 10 years under his plan, causing annual deficits to increase.

This would only make the problem worse. Just two days ago, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) announced updated projections. According to The Hill:

The annual budget deficit will rise to $486 billion in fiscal 2015, slightly higher than the government’s shortfall last year, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected Monday.

The latest deficit estimate is $18 billion higher than CBO had originally projected for 2015, and represents 2.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

CBO said Monday the estimated rise in the deficit stems mostly from a projected rise in mandatory spending—mainly for student loans, Medicaid and Medicare.

The CBO’s warning was stark:

Such high and rising debt would have serious negative consequences for the nation …. [A] large debt increases the risk of a fiscal crisis, during which investors would lose so much confidence in the government’s ability to manage its budget that the government would be unable to borrow at affordable rates.

President Obama used to agree, and that makes his refusal to do the right thing even more irresponsible.

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Why 72% of Americans Say the President Isn’t Helping the Middle Class & What He Can Do to Fix It

2015/03/11

“The strength of our economy can be measured directly by the strength of our middle class,” President Obama said in 2009.  More than six years later, the president’s economy remains weak even by his own measure – leaving too many middle-class families behind.  Two recent surveys bear that out:

  • A recent Pew Research Center survey found that 72 percent of Americans “say that, in general, the government’s policies since the recession have done little or nothing to help middle class people.”
  • “71 percent say that over the past ten years, life for the middle class has gotten worse - up from 59 percent in 2007,” according to a CBS News survey. “Among those who describe themselves as middle class, 21 percent say life for the middle class has improved, and 72 percent say it has gotten worse.

While the economy has improved for some, there is one big reason millions of middle-class families continue to struggle: stagnant wages.  The Washington Post reports:

“[T]he recovery is still a fragile one, particularly because wages have been flat for years and consumer spending could pull back if energy prices again climb. …

“Wage growth was modest in February, and average hourly earnings ticked up by 3 cents, to $24.78. In nominal terms, that’s a 2 percent improvement from one year ago.

But this time around there are millions on the margins. Some are stuck with part-time jobs because they can’t find full-time jobs. Others are part of the ‘shadow unemployed’ — those who are too discouraged to even look for work and therefore are not counted in official unemployment numbers.”

The lack of wage growth – coupled with “disappearing  middle class jobs” - is leaving  “Americans, particularly the middle class… feel like they are treading water, trying to figure out like is there a way for wages to move forward,” says Lizzie O’Leary, host of Marketplace Weekend.  

House Republicans have offered a path forward based on solutions that will help boost wages and make it easier for middle-class families to save and get ahead.  Here are just a few examples:

  • In the very first week of the new Congress, the House passed the Save American Workers Act (H.R. 30) to restore the traditional 40-hour work week under the president’s health care law.  ObamaCare’s 30-hour rule puts 2.6 million Americans earning less than $30,000 a year at risk of having their hours and their wages cut, according to the Hoover Institution.  The White House has already said President Obama would veto the measure.  
  • The House recently passed H.R. 529 to strengthen, expand, and modernize 529 college savings accounts after the president proposed a tax on these plans, the vast majority of which are utilized by middle-class families.
  • And, Congress sent the president a bill approving the Keystone pipeline (S. 1) and the more than 40,000 jobs that come with it.  The president vetoed the bill, saying no to a “conduit for new jobs, opportunities for thousands of working men and women, and energy security for manufacturers here at home,” says the Laborers International Union of North America and the National Association of Manufacturers.  The fight for Keystone, however, is far from over.

If the president is serious about helping middle-class families all of these measures would be a good place to start.  The House has also passed numerous other bipartisan, commonsense jobs bills that deserve the president’s support.  As the president himself said, our strength as a nation lies in the strength of the middle class, so why keep standing in the way?

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The Real Reason Secretary Clinton Turned Over Some Emails

2015/03/10

Retweet if you agree → There remain unanswered questions about #HillaryEmail. http://t.co/kug9PgpAs4

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

There remain unanswered questions about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email address for official State Department business, as well as her own personal server, located at her home in New York.  But what is clear is that Secretary Clinton didn’t hand over her emails out of the goodness of her heart.  She was forced to by smart, determined, and effective oversight by the House Select Committee on Benghazi

Today she claimed: “I feel that I have taken unprecedented steps to provide these public emails; they will be in the public domain.”

But the fact is she never would have turned over those emails were it not for the House Benghazi inquiry.  It’s easy for her to claim openness and transparency now, but she had no intention of ever turning over those emails, as The New York Times documented:

Why did Mrs. Clinton provide the State Department with copies of emails from her personal account?

Mrs. Clinton’s spokesman and the State Department have cast her decision to hand over the emails as motivated by the department’s efforts to update its record management system. “When the department asked former secretaries last year for help ensuring their emails were in fact retained, we immediately said yes,” Nick Merrill, the spokesman, said on Sunday. But State Department officials briefed on the matter have said that the agency asked for the documents as it sought to comply with a request from a special House committee investigating the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

The paper has also described in detail the negotiations under which Secretary Clinton was forced to turn over some of her emails:

Mrs. Clinton’s spokesman and the State Department have cast her decision to hand over her emails as motivated by efforts to update the department’s record management system. “When the department asked former secretaries last year for help ensuring their emails were in fact retained, we immediately said yes,” Nick Merrill, the Clinton spokesman, said on Sunday.

But it was the review of Benghazi-related documents last summer that, within the State Department, set off the chain of events leading to the public disclosure this week of Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private email account, according to the current and former department officials.

The decision to ask Mrs. Clinton for her emails went all the way to Secretary of State John Kerry’s chief of staff, who, along with officials working on the response to the Benghazi requests, signed off on it.

Beginning in August, senior State Department officials held negotiations with Mrs. Clinton’s lawyers and advisers to gain access to her personal email records. At one point, her advisers met face-to-face with department officials in Washington.

In October, the State Department sent a letter to Mrs. Clinton and all former secretaries of state back to Madeleine K. Albright, seeking emails and other documents in their possession that related to their government work.

Finally, in December, dozens of boxes filled with 50,000 pages of printed emails from Mrs. Clinton’s personal account were delivered to the State Department. Those documents were then examined by department lawyers, who found roughly 900 pages pertaining to the Benghazi attacks.

Three weeks ago, the State Department handed over the Benghazi emails to the House Select Committee on Benghazi, which is led by Representative Trey Gowdy, Republican of South Carolina.

Secretary Clinton’s press conference raised a whole lot more questions than it answered, and the American people deserve the truth.  As Speaker Boehner recently said on Fox News Sunday:

“What we need are facts. The American people deserve the truth about what happened, and that’s all what we’re interested in.”

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One Way We Can Make College More Affordable

2015/03/10

The White House says the president will talk about student loans today.  That’s good to hear.  It’s a problem that needs to be addressed, especially when you consider that, on his watch, student loan debt has exploded to a record $1.2 trillion.  It’s now the second largest-form of household debt, a trend that has been attributed to “climbing tuition and inadequate college savings.”

Indeed, if the president was truly committed to making college more affordable, he wouldn’t have proposed taxing the very savings accounts millions of Americans use to pay for college.  All that would do is push more families into the borrowing system he’ll be talking about today.  And while ‘enhancing’ the borrowing experience is all well and good, our goal should be helping parents and students avoid it as best they can.   

That’s why the House has approved a bipartisan plan to expand 529 college savings accounts. 

The Kansas City Star has a write-up on how our proposal will help middle-class families:

Congress focuses on enhancing 529 college savings plans.   Democrats and Republicans rarely agree on anything these days on Capitol Hill, but one piece of legislation appears to be generating positive vibes from both parties.  The subject of such harmony is an effort to expand the benefits of the popular 529 college savings plans.

“President Barack Obama had pushed to scale back the product in his State of the Union address in January before protests forced him to drop the idea. Now the attention has shifted to Congress, which has its own 529 agenda.

Recently the House passed 401-20 a bill - aptly named HR 529 - that would let college students use money from their 529s to buy computers and other technology.  Under current law, tax benefits from 529s apply only to ‘qualified’ higher education expenses, including tuition, room and board, and books. …

“Asked to respond, the College Savings Plans Network said its data suggest that 529 accounts are largely held by middle-income families. Consider that the average account balance was a less-than-eye-popping $20,474 at the end of 2014.  That's about what it costs to attend many public in-state universities for one year.

“The College Savings Plans Network concluded by noting that children with a college savings account are ‘six to seven times more likely’ to attend a four-year school compared with children with no dedicated college account.  That type of motivation should be rewarded.”

President Obama has had years to address this problem, but instead, “carrying tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt has become the new normal.”   It doesn’t have to be.  By expanding 529 accounts, we can make college more affordable and easier to plan.

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Boehner Marks 50th Anniversary of Selma Marches

2015/03/07

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement today honoring the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery civil rights marches:

“Today, 50 years after the Selma to Montgomery marches began, the House honors the brave foot soldiers who risked their lives to secure the blessings of liberty for all Americans.  The harrowing images of that day - the unspeakable violence perpetrated against those who marched - summoned us to live up to our founding principles.  Their actions commanded change, and today we live in a better America because they fought and died to make it so.  Guided by their determination, inspired by their courage, and moved by their call for justice, let us honor their sacrifice by rededicating ourselves to the cause of freedom and equal opportunity for every American.”

NOTE: Earlier this week, Speaker Boehner signed bipartisan legislation (H.R. 431) awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to the foot soldiers who participated in the Selma to Montgomery marches in March of 1965.

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

2015/03/06

A year ago, Russian-backed militants forcibly took control of key buildings in a part of Ukraine called Crimea. In the days that followed, the attacks grew and violence escalated. Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed ownership of the territory and sent in columns of tanks. As the world watched the invasion live on TV, President Obama shrugged it off as “not really a shift.”

In response, Speaker Boehner invited President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine to address a joint meeting of Congress. On the day of Poroshenko’s speech in September, Boehner urged President Obama to “answer his call for America’s leadership” by “imposing tougher sanctions, providing military and intelligence assistance, and breaking Russia’s energy stranglehold on Europe.”

But instead of doing all he could to support our ally Ukraine, President Obama has spent his time freeing terrorists from Guantanamo and getting cozy with foes like Cuba and Iran. With only a few sanctions to worry about, Putin has stayed on offense and continued to pressure Ukraine by threatening to cut off the country’s natural gas supply:

Putin’s warning raised new troubles for Ukraine’s economy, which is on the verge of collapse. Among the problems: dangerously low reserves of foreign currency needed to pay for the critical natural gas supplies.

Putin also said that any cutoff could also hit Europe, raising the prospect that the continent could again face shortages with warmer weather still months away.

Ukraine is a vital throughway for Russian gas deliveries to Western Europe. Russia has in the past cut off gas to nations with which it was having geopolitical disputes, although it has always denied using energy as a weapon.

This is why Speaker Boehner led the effort over the past several years to help our European allies, counter Putin’s aggression, and help create jobs at home by ending the Obama administration’s de facto ban on natural gas exports. Congress passed bipartisan legislation in December to impose new sanctions on Russia, which President Obama signed. In the new Congress this year, the House again passed bipartisan legislation to expedite the approval of LNG exports.

This is more important than ever. Last week, Secretary of State John Kerry testified to Congress that “Russia is engaged in a rather remarkable period of the most overt and extensive propaganda exercise that I've seen since the very height of the Cold War. And they have been persisting in their misrepresentations — lies, whatever you want to call them — about their activities there to my face, to the face of others on many different occasions.”

Still, the Obama administration – still clinging to its failed “reset” six years later – has done little to weaken Russia’s energy leverage, and is dawdling on whether to provide Ukraine with the weapons it needs to defend itself. “I have not made a decision about that yet,” President Obama said on February 9th. Kerry confirmed that that was still the case last week. What more will it take for the administration to come up with a strategy?

Earlier this week, Speaker Boehner and a bipartisan group of House leaders and committee chairs sent a letter to President Obama urging him to approve lethal aid for Ukraine.

A senior Obama administration official who stepped down in January, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Derek Chollet, wrote last week that “the time has come” to provide arms to Ukraine.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, seems to agree. “I think we should absolutely consider providing lethal aid,” he said earlier this week.

James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, concurred. "I would favor it," he told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week.

President Obama should have provided meaningful military assistance our ally months ago. It’s still not too late to stand up to Putin.

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Speaker Boehner on Chairman Candice Miller’s Retirement

2015/03/06

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement on the retirement announcement by House Administration Committee Chairman Candice Miller (R-MI):

“Anyone who knows Candice Miller knows how deeply committed she is to public service and the democratic process.  As Michigan’s secretary of state and now as chairman of the House Administration Committee, she has overseen open, free, and fair elections.  She has also been a tough fiscal watchdog, cutting spending and delivering clean audits for the people’s House – no small tasks in a government unaccustomed to doing more with less.  Chairman Miller cares about getting things done and getting things right – an example of dedication that is second to none.  On behalf of the whole House, I thank Candice for her service and wish her and her family all the best.” 

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

2015/03/06

Six years ago today, President Obama’s new Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, presented Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with a red plastic “reset” button featuring the word printed in both English and Russian. At least, that’s what the Obama administration thought it said:

“We worked hard to get the right Russian word,” Mrs. Clinton said, handing the button to Mr. Lavrov. “Do you think we got it?”

“You got it wrong,” he replied, explaining that the Americans had come up with the Russian word for overcharged.

The Obama administration’s foreign policy of flexibility and fantasy has been all downhill from there, especially when it comes to standing up to Russian President Vladimir Putin. From missile defense to nuclear arms reduction to human rights, a pattern of American concessions followed by Russian aggression culminated last year in Putin invading Ukraine, annexing Crimea, and enabling militants to shoot down a civilian airliner with 298 people on board. For added measure, Russia granted Edward Snowden asylum in 2013 and signed a military cooperation deal with Iran just this year. And let’s not forget Putin’s steadfast support for Syria’s Bashar al-Assad.

Looking back, Speaker Boehner’s 2011 speech urging President Obama to reassert American exceptionalism in the U.S.-Russia relationship is more applicable than ever:

“Within Russia, control is the order of the day, with key industries nationalized, the independent media repressed, and the loyal opposition beaten and jailed.  Russia uses natural resources as a political weapon.  And it plays ball with unstable and dangerous regimes. …

“We should do more to compel the Kremlin to curtail its relationship with Iran, particularly related to its nuclear program and missile technology. …

“The Kremlin is also exploiting its growing energy monopoly – turning on and off the spigot in the Ukraine and Belarus, and increasing Europe’s energy dependence. …

“Instead of downplaying Russia’s disregard for democratic values and human rights, we should call them on it.  Publicly, forcefully, frequently.  The United States should insist Russia ‘reset’ its own policies.”

President Obama ignored this appeal, choosing instead to promise Putin “more flexibility” after the 2012 election. As of July 2014, Hillary Clinton was still insisting that “the reset worked.” But as one TIME headline stated bluntly, “A Failed Russia ‘Reset’ Haunts Obama in Europe.” Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, the former Chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee, went as far as to say that U.S.-Russia relations have deteriorated to Cold War levels.

“Obama offered Putin a ‘reset’ strategy of improved relations. But when it became clear that Putin wasn’t interested — that he wanted to re-create a Russian empire while blocking the achievement of a Europe whole and free — the West again had no strategic response,” wrote The Washington Post’s Fred Hiatt. “Obama thought he could engineer a cautious, modulated retreat from U.S. leadership. What we have gotten is a far more dangerous world.”

This is the result of the Obama-Clinton reset with Russia. One has to wonder: what will President Obama’s reset with Iran bring?

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Raw Video: Prime Minister Netanyahu at the Capitol

2015/03/06

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed a joint meeting of Congress to warn about the dangers of radical Islam and a nuclear Iran.  As Speaker Boehner said, "It was a speech the American people needed to hear," and editorial boards across the country agreed.  In fact, more than 275,000 people tuned in online to watch the full speech.  

Immediately following his record-tying third joint meeting address, Prime Minister Netanyahu gave another set of remarks - this time only about two minutes long - at a small reception in the Rayburn Room of the U.S. Capitol.  Click here to watch the short video.

Related Stories:

Watch Prime Minister Netanyahu's full address

Photos from the day

Editorial Boards: Speech Demands Answers from the President

See more exclusive content on Instagram: @SpeakerBoehner

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Bipartisan Pressure Leaves President Isolated on Ukraine

2015/03/06

Pressure from top advisers and leaders in his own party has left President Obama increasingly isolated in his reluctance to help Ukraine defend itself against Russian-backed forces:

Read the bipartisan letter calling on President Obama to arm Ukrainian forces.

Boehner, bipartisan group pressure Obama on Ukraine.  … Boehner and a group of top Democrats and Republicans stepped up the pressure on President Barack Obama to provide lethal, defensive weapons to Ukraine in its fight against Russian-backed separatists.” (Associated Press)

Boehner, bipartisan lawmakers urge Obama to arm Ukraine. … Three senior House Democrats also signed the letter – the top Democrats on the Armed Services, Intelligence and Foreign Affairs panels.’” (CNN)

Boehner, top Democrats demand Obama arm Ukraine. … In stark language, Mr. Boehner and 10 colleagues, including the ranking Democrats on the Armed Services, Foreign Affairs and intelligence committees, said the president needs to understand Ukraine is a major geopolitical test for the U.S. — and one it is in danger of losing.” (The Washington Times)

Boehner, bipartisan group of lawmakers seek to counter Russian activity in region. … Democrats and Republicans alike have urged the Obama administration more forcefully to counter Russia over its move to annex Crimea and the continuing conflict in Ukraine.’” (The Wall Street Journal)

Top Congressional Leaders Urge President Obama to Extend ‘Lethal’ Aid to Ukraine.  House Speaker John Boehner and a bipartisan group of senior congressional leaders want President Obama to beef up Ukraine's military...” (ABC News)

Boehner, others push for Obama to send weapons to help Ukraine. … The lawmakers wrote that just this week, Ukrainian elected officials were in Washington and pleaded with the White House to provide ‘assistance to the Ukrainian military.’” (The Columbus Dispatch)

“Boehner, senior members press Obama on arms to Ukraine.  Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and a bipartisan group of senior lawmakers are stepping up the pressure on President Obama to provide weapons to Ukraine’s military to fend off Russian-backed separatists.” (The Hill)

Lawmakers urge Obama to approve lethal aid to Ukraine. … In his confirmation hearing last month, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said he was inclined to support sending such weapons.  On Tuesday, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the U.S. ‘should absolutely consider lethal aid’ for Ukraine.” (USA TODAY)

Lawmakers press Obama for lethal aid to Ukraine. … The letter to Obama, signed by eight Republicans and three Democrats, follows high-level meetings that Speaker John Boehner and House members held last week with lawmakers from the Ukrainian Rada, or parliament. The Ukrainian politicians urged more forceful action from the United States.” (POLITICO)

Lawmakers Urge Obama to Approve Defensive Weapons to Ukraine.  President Barack Obama is being urged by a bipartisan group of House members led by Speaker John Boehner to provide ‘lethal, defensive weapons’ to the Ukraine military.” (Bloomberg)

Boehner, other top House members urge weapons for Ukraine. … U.S. lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have expressed frustration with what many see as the Obama administration's resistance to providing weapons despite what they see as increased Russian aggression.” (Reuters)

Lawmakers Urge Obama to Expedite Lethal Aid for Ukraine.  … In their letter, the lawmakers … remind the president that he signed legislation in December that empowers the administration to give lethal aid to Ukraine, but that the authorities contained in that bill had not yet been tapped.” (Roll Call)

Lawmakers Push Obama to Approve Lethal Aid for Ukraine. … The letter from US lawmakers acknowledged the differing opinions of some American allies but urged Obama to ‘lead’ on the issue.” (NBC News)

“The group of 11 lawmakers said that if Mr. Obama did not act quickly to send defensive weapons systems to the Ukrainian military, other parts of the country could be taken under Russian control.”  (The New York Times)

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Speaker Boehner on the February 2015 Unemployment Report

2015/03/06

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

“While it is welcome news that more Americans found work last month, middle-class families continue to be left behind by the president's policies.  By vetoing the Keystone pipeline, the president put his political agenda ahead of the more than 42,000 workers who would have a shot at a good-paying job.  And while middle-class families struggle with wages that haven’t kept up with rising costs, the president proposed a tax on 529 college savings plans that would make it even harder for them to save for college.  Simply put, most Americans aren’t seeing the positive economic news translate into improvements in their daily lives.

“Republicans remain focused on solutions that will help grow the economy and support more jobs and better wages for all Americans.  We’ve passed bills to restore the 40-hour work week, boost natural gas exports, simplify the tax code to help small businesses grow, expand college savings accounts for middle-class families, and more.  It is time for the president to put down the veto pen and work with us to get these common-sense measures signed into law.”

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Former Secretary Clinton’s Secret Emails Just the Latest Obama Administration Transparency Failure

2015/03/05

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s successor, John Kerry, says his department will work to review for release the tens of thousands of emails it first received from Clinton’s private cache just recently, but that it will take time – months, in fact.

Of course, the Obama administration only has the emails Clinton chose to provide. As BuzzFeed News noted, “an undisclosed number of pages from the email account that Clinton used exclusively during her four-year tenure as secretary will remain private. The State Department does not have access to the full archive of messages from Clinton’s personal account, which she used in lieu of government email.”

The State Department recently provided the House Select Committee on Benghazi with some of the emails it received from Clinton, but as Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) said in an interview on CNN yesterday, “I have no way of knowing whether that represents 10 percent or 50 percent or 100 percent” of the relevant documents. Last night, the committee issued subpoenas for all of Clinton’s communications related to Libya.

Secretary Kerry’s pledge is certainly welcome, but the Obama administration will have to prove it is truly interested in accountability and in cooperating with the Select Committee’s inquiries. After all, this administration has a long history of slow-walking investigations and failing the transparency test, especially when it comes to email:

  • In response to a congressional subpoena, in May 2013 the White House released some documents and emails related to the administration’s development of talking points that then-United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice used in a round of Benghazi-focused television interviews on September 16, 2012. But additional emails relevant to that subpoena were only revealed in May 2014 after a court ordered their release. Then-White House Press Secretary Jay Carney received heavy criticism for insisting that a Benghazi-related email sent by White House aide Ben Rhodes was not in fact related to Benghazi.
  • IRS Commissioner John Koskinen claimed in June 2014 “all emails are not official records,” contradicting the IRS’s own official manual. At issue was former IRS official Lois Lerner’s discrimination against conservatives and her mysteriously missing or destroyed emails and hard drive, some of which may have recently been recovered.
  • Just this week, a U.S. District Court judge blasted the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for destroying emails requested in 2012 under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Separately, former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson infamously used a fake email address and the alias “Richard Windsor.”
  • Emails and hard drives at other federal agencies have also been destroyed or lost at extremely convenient times.
  • In the aftermath of the failed 2013 launch of the ObamaCare website, Healthcare.gov, then-Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner sent an email to a subordinate asking her to “please delete this email.”
  • Just under three years ago, the Associated Press reported that “Some of President Barack Obama's political appointees are using secret government email accounts to conduct official business … a practice that complicates agencies' legal responsibilities to find and turn over emails under public records requests and congressional inquiries. … The practice is separate from officials who use personal, nongovernment email accounts for work, which generally is discouraged due to laws requiring that most federal records be preserved.”

The Obama administration may obfuscate and provide excuse after excuse for its latest transparency failure, but it will not stop the Select Committee on Benghazi from doing its job, pursuing the truth, and providing justice for the families who lost loved ones in the September 11, 2012, attack in Libya.

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Former Secretary Clinton’s Secret Emails Subpoenaed in House’s Benghazi Investigation

2015/03/05

Late yesterday, the House Select Committee on Benghazi announced it had “issued subpoenas for all communications of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton related to Libya” in light of new revelations that she exclusively used a private email system and server to conduct official government business, skirting federal records law and preemptively thwarting any proper oversight.

In a tweet late last night, Clinton said, “I want the public to see my email. I asked [the Department of] State to release them.” Of course, that is not the primary issue, because the Obama administration only has the emails Clinton chose to release, and both the White House and the State Department have refused to say for certain that she has provided and preserved all relevant emails as required by federal law.

This is why the subpoenas are necessary, as well as the Select Committee’s “preservation letters to internet firms informing them of their legal obligation to protect all relevant documents.” Currently, nothing is to stop Hillary Clinton from destroying emails and documents she would like to keep secret.

Here’s what we do know:

  • “A week before becoming secretary of state, Hillary Clinton set up a private e-mail system that gave her a high level of control over communications, including the ability to erase messages completely …. [Her] consultants appear to have set it up with a misconfigured encryption system, something that left it vulnerable to hacking[.]” (Bloomberg, 3/4/15)
  • “State Department technology experts expressed security concerns that then–Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was using a private email service rather than the government’s fortified and monitored system, but those fears fell on deaf ears …. [I]t was well known that Clinton’s emails were at greater risk of being hacked, intercepted or monitored, but the warnings were ignored.” (Al Jazeera America, 3/3/15)
  • “[M]ore than 75 separate requests for her emails were filed with the State Department between 2009 and 2013 by media organizations and other parties. Associated Press requests for Clinton emails and other documents have been delayed for more than a year — and in one case, four years — without any results. The AP said this week it is considering legal action against the department to compel responses.” (Associated Press, 3/5/15)
  • “The White House counsel's office was not aware at the time Hillary Rodham Clinton was secretary of state that she relied solely on personal email and only found out as part of the congressional investigation into the Benghazi attack …. Clinton's exclusive reliance on personal email as the nation's top diplomat was inconsistent with the guidance given to agencies that official business should be conducted on official email accounts.” (Associated Press, 3/5/15)

Commenting on Clinton’s actions, Speaker Boehner said: “It doesn't matter if the server was in Foggy Bottom, Chappaqua or Bora Bora. The Benghazi Select Committee needs to see all of these emails, because the American people deserve all of the facts.”

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Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Urges President Obama to Arm Ukraine

2015/03/05

WASHINGTON, DC – A bipartisan group of House leaders and committee chairs has sent a letter to President Obama urging him to approve lethal aid for Ukraine. 

“In the wake of a cease-fire agreement that appears only to have consolidated Russian and separatist gains since the first Minsk agreement,” the lawmakers write, “we urge you to quickly approve additional efforts to support Ukraine’s efforts to defend its sovereign territory, including through the transfer of lethal, defensive weapons systems to the Ukrainian military.”  Signed by eight Republicans and three Democrats, the letter notes that “Congress has already, with overwhelming bipartisan support, provided you with the authorities, resources, and political support to provide assistance, including lethal, to the government and people of Ukraine.” The bipartisan letter is signed by Speaker BoehnerHouse Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY), Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX), Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Kay Granger (R-TX), Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee. Read a signed copy of the letter here, and the full text below:

Dear Mr. President:

From the very beginning of the crisis in Ukraine, a bipartisan majority in Congress has indicated it understands the crisis in Ukraine to be about more than a Russian assault on the independence and sovereignty of Ukraine.  It is even more than simply a component of a revisionist Russian strategy to redraw international borders and impose its will on its neighbors.  It is a grotesque violation of international law, a challenge to the west, and an assault on the international order established at such great cost in the wake of World War II.

On September 18, 2014, President Petro Poroshenko addressed a Joint Meeting of the United States Congress.  He made a passionate plea for the United States and other nations to put action behind their commitment to freedom, democracy, and human dignity.  He thanked the Congress for its steadfast, bipartisan support for the people in Ukraine struggling to recapture the freedom and territorial integrity of Ukraine, but he also reminded us and the world that words alone do not beat back aggression and violence.  He, like so many friends and allies in Eastern Europe, the Baltic States, and the South Caucasus, remind us daily that the cost of freedom is high, and like any virtue, it is compromised by a lack of vigilance. 

The Congress responded to his call to action, and we sent you the Ukraine Freedom Support Act in December.  To date, the administration has not utilized the authorities provided in the Ukraine Freedom Support Act to provide defensive military systems to the Ukrainian government.

This week, shortly after the one-year anniversary of the Revolution of Dignity, Members of the Ukrainian Rada visiting Washington reiterated President Poroshenko’s long-standing plea for assistance to the Ukrainian military.  We understand these officials discussed a list of military equipment at the Pentagon and with National Security Council staff, and we understand these long-standing requests await a political decision from you. 

In the wake of a cease-fire agreement that appears only to have consolidated Russian and separatist gains since the first Minsk agreement, and in anticipation of the near certainty that Russia and its separatist proxies continue their efforts to destabilize Ukraine and seize additional territory, we urge you to quickly approve additional efforts to support Ukraine’s efforts to defend its sovereign territory, including through the transfer of lethal, defensive weapons systems to the Ukrainian military. 

We should not wait until Russian troops and their separatist proxies take Mariupol or Kharkiv before we act to bolster the Ukrainian government’s ability to deter and defend against further aggression. 

We understand your desire to prioritize unity of effort with Europe, and we believe our European and NATO allies should make clear that Russian aggression in the heart of Europe is unacceptable with deeds as well as words.  But we urge you to lead Europe in challenging this assault on international order, lest our foreign policy be held hostage by the lowest common denominator of European consensus.  In the face of Russian aggression, the lack of clarity on our overall strategy thus far has done little to reassure our friends and allies in the region who, understandably, feel vulnerable.  This needs to change.

The Congress has already, with overwhelming bipartisan support, provided you with the authorities, resources, and political support to provide assistance, including lethal, to the government and people of Ukraine.  We urge you in the strongest possible terms to use those authorities and resources to meet the specific and direct requests the government of Ukraine has made of your administration. 

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Editorial Boards: PM Netanyahu’s Speech Demands Answers from the President

2015/03/05

The Obama administration spent weeks attacking Congress for inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before a joint meeting, and now it’s plain to see why.  In his address this week, Prime Minister Netanyahu delivered a stark assessment of the nuclear agreement the Obama administration is negotiating with Iran, warning of major concessions in the deal that could “pave the way” for a nuclear Iran. 

The Prime Minister’s speech has raised some tough questions for the president, and several editorial boards across the country are pressing him for answers:

  • “Mr. Netanyahu’s Arguments Deserve a Serious Response From the Obama Administration — One It Has Yet to Provide.” “Nevertheless, Mr. Netanyahu’s arguments deserve a serious response from the Obama administration — one it has yet to provide. … ‘Iran’s nuclear program can be rolled back well beyond the current proposal by insisting on a better deal and keeping up the pressure on a very vulnerable regime,’ he said. Is that wrong? For that matter, is it acceptable to free Iran from sanctions within a decade and allow it unlimited nuclear capacity? Rather than continuing its political attacks on Mr. Netanyahu, the administration ought to explain why the deal it is contemplating is justified — or reconsider it.” (The Washington Post)
  • “Raised Serious Doubts” “But the power of the speech—the reason the Israeli leader was willing to risk breaking diplomatic china to give it—was its systematic case against the looming nuclear deal. … His speech raised serious doubts about an accord that has been negotiated in secret and which Mr. Obama wants Americans to accept without a vote in Congress. Now maybe we can have a debate worthy of the high nuclear stakes.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  • “Made It Impossible for This President or Future Presidents to Claim That a Nuclear-Armed Iran Was Completely Unforeseen” “In doing so, the prime minister who warned Congress about Israel’s ability to survive also implicitly warned Obama that history will judge him as well as any deal he approves: Netanyahu made it impossible for this president or future presidents to claim that a nuclear-armed Iran was completely unforeseen. … We’ll know within weeks, if not days, whether these talks produce a deal.  If they do, the details will be scrutinized with Netanyahu’s strong warning in mind.” (Chicago Tribune)
  • “Turns Mr. Obama’s Defense Of His Weak & Feckless Negotiations with Iran Neatly on Its Head” “Mr. Netanyahu’s warning that no deal is better than a bad deal turns Mr. Obama’s defense of his weak and feckless negotiations with Iran neatly on its head. The Democrats have argued precisely that the bad deal coming is better than leaving the status quo undisturbed. The president is stubborn in defense of what he wants, but the Netanyahu visit clearly identifies what Mr. Obama will take is the definition of a sucker deal.” (Washington Times)
  • “Obama Should Toughen His Stance” “The Obama administration is rushing a March 24 deadline for getting an agreement, and is behaving as if reaching a deal is more important for the United States than it is to Iran. That's not the case. Iran needs the deal to get out from under crushing economic sanctions. The U.S. wants a deal to stabilize the region; it should not accept an agreement that falls short of that goal. And this one would. Obama should toughen his stance.” (The Detroit News)
  • “Weight & Power of His Message Was Overwhelming” “While Netanyahu struck a conciliatory tone toward President Barack Obama, the weight and power of his message was overwhelming: The United States is on the brink of a grievous, potentially disastrous mistake if it accepts a legitimization of Iran’s nuclear program.” (San Diego Union-Tribune)
  • “Made a Compelling Case Against the Obama Administration’s Proposed and Permissive Nuclear Weapons Agreement” “In unambiguous and inarguable terms, Netanyahu made a compelling case against the Obama administration’s proposed and permissive nuclear weapons agreement with Iran. …  Iran’s evil aggression, its ambition to unfold an Islamic curtain over the whole of the Middle East and beyond – and most importantly its insatiable thirst for the most destructive weapons known to mankind – must be confronted.  And it must be done in much stronger terms than the U.S. administration is on course to do.” (Augusta Chronicle)
  • “America Will Be Imperiled by the Iran Deal President Obama Seems Ready to Sign” “Urgent Call: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hit Congress like a hurricane, warning that America will be imperiled by the Iran deal President Obama seems ready to sign. No wonder Democrats were furious. … Before any deal, Netanyahu said, Iran must stop its aggression, its funding of terrorism, and its threats to destroy Israel. ‘If Iran wants to be treated like a normal country, let it act like a normal country,’ he said. … Unfortunately, the days when free people succumb to wishful thinking about evil regimes are far from over.” (Investor's Business Daily)
  • “Told Some Hard Truths About the Deal that the Administration Likes to Gloss Over” “And did President Obama really object to yesterday’s speech to Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a breach in protocol or because at last Congress and the American people would get the straight scoop on what this pending deal will really mean?  The truth is, as Netanyahu insisted, this deal would ‘pave Iran’s path to a bomb’ and that poses a threat not simply to the security of Israel but to the security of the civilized world. … Netanyahu told some hard truths about the deal that the administration likes to gloss over — that ‘not a single nuclear facility would be demolishe’ nor would the work of Iran’s current 19,000 centrifuges (used to produce enriched uranium needed for bomb production) be halted.” (Boston Herald)

“This was a speech the American people needed to hear, plain and simple,” Speaker Boehner said earlier this week.  “It addressed the gravity of the threats we face and why we cannot allow a nuclear Iran, or any semblance of a path to a nuclear Iran.”

Watch the entire speech HERE

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Boehner Praises Bipartisan Amtrak Reform Bill

2015/03/04

WASHINGTON, DC - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement on the House passage of H.R. 749, The Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015:

“This sensible package of reforms will make for a more reliable national passenger rail service – and make sure that Amtrak spends taxpayers’ money in a more responsible way.  Chairman Shuster, and the bipartisan coalition he assembled, should be commended for supporting legislation to cut waste, increase transparency, streamline project reviews – and, most importantly, rebuild infrastructure to help our economy grow and create more American jobs.” 

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Speaker Boehner Signs Selma Gold Medal Legislation

2015/03/04

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement after signing H.R. 431:

“Today I signed H.R. 431, legislation awarding a Congressional Gold Medal to the foot soldiers who participated in the Selma to Montgomery marches of 1965.  I commend the bill’s authors, Martha Roby and Terri Sewell, who reached across the aisle to make this possible.  The Gold Medal is our highest honor – an expression of our affection and admiration for those who risked everything for their rights and for the good of all people.  Mile by mile, these men and women changed the face of America.  Long may we retrace their journey.  Long may we remember their struggle.  Long may they remain an example.”

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Speaker Boehner on King v. Burwell

2015/03/04

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after the Supreme Court’s oral arguments in King v. Burwell, which centers on the legality of subsidies offered under ObamaCare:

“Not a day goes by without a reminder that ObamaCare is a disaster for working families and small businesses.  The law has raised premiums, forced millions off their plan, and slashed benefits for seniors – all contrary to the promises made by this administration.  Now, during tax filing season, the law is wreaking havoc on American taxpayers.  It should be repealed and replaced with common-sense solutions that lower cost and protect jobs.  

“ObamaCare is so far beyond repair that administration officials say they have no backup plan should the Supreme Court strike down the law’s core subsidies.  The administration says it is confident it will prevail, just like how it was confident implementation would go smoothly and the law would be popular.  While the administration has no alternative, Republicans are discussing thoughtful solutions to help middle-class families and give them more control over their health care.  We owe that to all those who have been hurt by this nightmare of a law.”

NOTE: In a Wall Street Journal op-ed earlier this week, Chairmen John Kline (R-MN), Paul Ryan (R-WI), and Fred Upton (R-MI) detailed some of their ideas to provide an off-ramp to the president’s health care law.

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White House Doublespeak on Emails

2015/03/04

Yesterday's New York Times report on Hillary Clinton’s use of personal emails as Secretary of State, uncovered by the House Benghazi Select Committee, continues to raise new questions about the Obama administration’s compliance with its own policies and the law.

Here’s how the White House says its policy is supposed to work:

“The administration policy that is effective here is that we–all of our work is conducted on work email accounts” – Jay Carney, 2011

Yet Jay apparently meant all work is conducted on work email accounts, except when it isn't – ever.

Per the NYT, Secretary Clinton “exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as Secretary of State” and “her aides took no action to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act.”

And remember, Secretary Clinton isn’t the first administration official to flout transparency. Kathleen Sebelius used a “secret” address during her time as Secretary at Health and Human Services and former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson infamously used a fake address and the alias “Richard Windsor.”

At yesterday’s White House briefing, Press Secretary Josh earnest did his best to dodge and duck. 

“Josh Earnest said Tuesday that it’s up to the State Department to handle how its employees use email correspondence to conduct official work,” National Journal reports. “[T]he White House thinks the State Department should handle all of the fallout.”

As Washington Democrats try to spin their way out of this mess, Republicans remain focused squarely on getting to the truth about what happened in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012.

 

The House continues to dig for truth, accountability & justice http://t.co/xkfJOUWaGF #Benghazi

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) March 4, 2015

 

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Results: New Information Revealed by Benghazi Select Committee’s Investigation

2015/03/04

New information has been revealed by the @HouseBenghazi #SelectCommittee’s investigation: http://t.co/INqMUlNJsb #Benghazi

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) March 4, 2015

President Obama frequently promised that his would be “the most transparent administration in history.” Perhaps he forgot to mention this commitment to his first Secretary of State?

According to a bombshell report on the front page of yesterday’s The New York Times:

Hillary Rodham Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, State Department officials said, and may have violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record. …

It was only two months ago, in response to a new State Department effort to comply with federal record-keeping practices, that Mrs. Clinton’s advisers reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her personal emails and decided which ones to turn over to the State Department. All told, 55,000 pages of emails were given to the department. Mrs. Clinton stepped down from the secretary’s post in early 2013. …

How many emails were in Mrs. Clinton’s account is not clear, and neither is the process her advisers used to determine which ones related to her work at the State Department before turning them over.

The existence of Mrs. Clinton’s personal email account was discovered by a House committee investigating the attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi as it sought correspondence between Mrs. Clinton and her aides about the attack.

Two weeks ago, the State Department, after reviewing Mrs. Clinton’s emails, provided the committee with about 300 emails — amounting to roughly 900 pages — about the Benghazi attacks.

A follow-up report in today’s paper explains why this is problematic:

In 2012, congressional investigators asked the State Department for a wide range of documents related to the attack on the United States diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. The department eventually responded, furnishing House committees with thousands of documents.

But it turns out that that was not everything.

The State Department had not searched the email account of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton because she had maintained a private account, which shielded it from such searches, department officials acknowledged on Tuesday.

The House Select Committee on Benghazi established by Speaker Boehner continues to follow the evidence and collect the facts. Last month, Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) announced the committee would be interviewing 20 current and former Obama administration officials, as well as Hillary Clinton, but only after receiving all of her relevant documents, including notes and emails.

As Gowdy stated in a press conference yesterday afternoon:

“The fact the Benghazi Committee was able to uncover this previously unknown, and before today unreported, information speaks to the need for the Benghazi Committee.  The fact that the Committee does not rush to trumpet every single discovery we make during the pendency of our investigation, in my judgment, speaks to the commitment that the people behind me and Mr. [Mike] Pompeo and Mr. [Jim] Jordan have to conducting a fair and impartial investigation into what happened before, during, and after Benghazi.

“Our interest here is not in producing a story. Our interest here is in gaining access to all of the documents, all of the emails, all of the witnesses, and producing a final and definitive accounting and one that is frankly worthy of the sacrifice of our four fellow Americans and worthy of the respect of our fellow citizens.”

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Photos: Netanyahu’s Address

2015/03/03

In America’s 220+ year history, there have only been 115 joint meeting addresses delivered by foreign leaders.  Today, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel joined Winston Churchill as the only other leader to address the U.S. Congress on three different occasions

As Speaker Boehner said, “This was a speech the American people needed to hear, plain and simple.”  If you have not already watched the address, you can do so here, and keep scrolling to see exclusive photos from today’s historic event.

For more behind-the-scenes photos of the gift exchange between Speaker Boehner and Prime Minister Netanyahu, check out Instagram.

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Even More Reasons to Expand College Savings

2015/03/03

If you work hard to save for your kids’ college education, you should be able to count on that money being there down the line without any hitches or penalties. 

That’s why the House has passed a bipartisan initiative to expand and modernize 529 plans.  

As CNNMoney reports, our bill “would expand the benefits offered by the college savings plans to include coverage of expenses like computers and Internet access.” With new figures showing that these accounts continue to grow, it’s all the more reason to expand – not tax – these popular plans:

  • There are now 12.1 million 529 accounts across the country.  That’s an increase of 4.1 percent over the last year.
  • The average balance in these accounts has reached a record high of $20,474.
  • Total investment in 529 plans now stands at $247.9 billion.

529 plans work, and the Omaha World-Herald agrees, applauding our bill in an editorial this week: 

“Remember President Barack Obama’s about-face on his ill-advised idea to tax earnings in 529 college savings plans?  Or the GOP-led Congress’ swift response to expand the accounts to cover more education-related costs, such as computers?  Both represent the rare admission that a federal program is popular for the best reason — it works. …  This is not the domain of the rich.  Many working moms, dads, grandparents, uncles, aunts and others set aside money for kids, Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg says.  ‘If it was just the ‘1 percent,’ you wouldn’t have had the political opposition to the president’s proposals,’ Stenberg said, rightly.  Nor would Congress have acted so quickly — and correctly — to protect the plans and offer ideas for expanding them.  This is a bipartisan rarity in Congress, and a positive outcome.”

For those looking to learn more about how our plan will help middle-class families, we’ve got a whole host of options for you:

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A Speech The American People Needed To Hear

2015/03/03

WASHINGTON, DC – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel addressed a joint meeting of the United States Congress today regarding the threats posed by radical Islam and Iran.  House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement:

“This was a speech the American people needed to hear, plain and simple.  It addressed the gravity of the threats we face and why we cannot allow a nuclear Iran, or any semblance of a path to a nuclear Iran.  It demonstrated why there is such deep-seated – and bipartisan – concern about the deal that is being made.  I thank my colleagues, Republicans and Democrats, who took the time to hear the Prime Minister’s address on behalf of their constituents, and I hope all Americans will have the chance to see it for themselves.  “Let me take this moment to personally thank Benjamin Netanyahu.  With his presence here, he demonstrated that politics can never come before our commitment to do what’s right for the future.  And he again revealed himself to be a leader of principle and deep conviction.  It all speaks not only to the kind of leader he is, but to the bonds between America and Israel – bonds that will, with work and sacrifice, long outlast us.”

NOTE: This was Prime Minister Netanyahu’s third address to a joint meeting of Congress – the first foreign leader aside from Winston Churchill to hold that distinction.  Prior to the address, Boehner presented Netanyahu with a bust of Churchill that matches the bust in Freedom Foyer of the Capitol. See what the gift looks like

This was a speech the American people needed to hear. http://t.co/afNfnFvTlA #JointMeeting #StandWithIsrael

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) March 3, 2015
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An Off-Ramp From ObamaCare

2015/03/03

With the Supreme Court set to hear oral arguments in another ObamaCare case, three House committee chairs have an op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal outlining health care alternatives for working families:

An Off-Ramp From ObamaCareIf the Supreme Court follows the law, there will be an opening for a sane health-care alternative. Here it is.The Wall Street JournalBy Chairmen John Kline, Paul Ryan, and Fred UptonMarch 3, 2015

On Wednesday the Supreme Court will take on yet another legal challenge to the president’s health-care law, when the justices hear oral arguments in King v. Burwell. If the court rules against the administration, as any fair reading of the law would demand, millions of individuals and families will hit a major roadblock: They’ll be stuck with health insurance designed by Washington, D.C., that they can’t afford. Americans should have an off-ramp from ObamaCare—a legislative alternative that leads them away from an expensive health-care wreck and toward a patient-centered system.

To review: ObamaCare made health insurance even more costly by requiring plans to include Washington-determined benefits and levels of coverage. The only way to get people to buy these plans was to mandate them. And the only way people could afford these plans was through hundreds of billions of dollars of government subsidies.

But the law—as written—offers subsidies only to people who buy plans “through an Exchange established by the State.” In other words, if you bought a plan through the federal exchange—and more than five million people did in 2014—you’re not eligible for the subsidy.

Not one to worry over the large print, the Internal Revenue Service handed out subsidies to people on both the federal and state exchanges. This blatant disregard for the law has put millions on the hook—because if you received a subsidy and lose it because of the administration’s illegal actions, you’ll face big insurance bills you can’t afford.

The Supreme Court should tell the IRS to enforce the law as written—not as the administration wishes it had been written. As Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in 2012, “Members of [the] Court are vested with the authority to interpret the law” but “possess neither the expertise nor the prerogative to make policy judgments.”

But the question is: Then what? What about the people who will lose their subsidies—and possibly their coverage? No family should pay for this administration’s overreach. That is why House Republicans have formed a working group to propose a way out for the affected states if the court rules against the administration.

What we will propose is an off-ramp out of ObamaCare toward patient-centered health care. It has two parts: First, make insurance more affordable by ending Washington mandates and giving choice back to states, individuals and families. And second, support Americans in purchasing the coverage of their choosing.

Here’s how it would work:

First, make coverage more affordable. Any state that uses our off-ramp would be able to opt out of ObamaCare’s insurance mandates. These coverage requirements are driving up costs, so eliminating them would empower individuals and families to choose from a wider range of plans that fit their personal needs and budgets. Our proposal will also allow participating states to opt out of ObamaCare’s burdensome individual and employer mandates, allowing Americans to purchase the coverage they want.

We would also force insurers to compete for your business, rather than force Americans to buy a government-approved health plan under the threat of IRS fines. Let people buy insurance across state lines. Stop frivolous lawsuits by enacting medical-liability reform. Let small businesses band together so they get a fair deal from insurance companies. Our committees and nonpartisan analysts alike estimate that these proposals will cut costs and raise quality across the board.

At the same time, we would set up other safeguards for patients. We would allow parents to keep children on their plan until age 26. We would prohibit insurers from imposing lifetime limits on benefits. We would protect people with existing conditions. And we would guarantee renewability for people already enrolled in a plan.

Second, help people buy coverage. Right now, those who get insurance through their employer get a lot of help from the tax code, while some people who buy insurance on their own, including potentially the millions of Americans the IRS put at risk, get no help at all. So we would offer those in the affected states a tax credit to buy insurance.

The credit would be “advanceable”—that is, you would get it when you needed it; you wouldn’t have to wait for tax season. It also would be “refundable”—that is, you would get the full amount no matter the size of your tax bill. And would adjust the size of the credit for age; the elderly, who face higher coverage costs, would get more support.

This is a common-sense path—but many members of Congress have proposed a lot of good ideas that deserve further consideration. For example, some have suggested giving states more flexibility to design their own solutions. Yet when House and Senate Republicans discuss this issue, we find that there is a great deal of consensus. We all want to take power away from Washington.

So here’s the bottom line: Under ObamaCare, government controls your choices. Under our proposal, you will. You’ll get to pick a plan that works for you. We look forward to building upon these ideas and working with our colleagues in the House and Senate, health-care experts and, most important, the American people, to put high-quality, affordable coverage within closer reach for all. And we’ll do it by putting Americans, not Washington, in the driver’s seat.

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Previewing Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Address

2015/03/02

“America’s bond with Israel is stronger than the politics of the moment,” Speaker Boehner says in a new video previewing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress, which gets underway today at 11 am ET.

Learn more about all the ways you can watch and discuss the speech.

In the video, Boehner notes that a capacity crowd of Republicans and Democrats will be on hand to hear the Prime Minister discuss the grave threats we face from radical Islam and Iran.

“This is an important message at an important time,” Boehner says, “and the Prime Minister is the perfect person to deliver it.  So I hope you plan on watching, and if you do, I invite you to tune in at speaker.gov/live.”

For now, if you want a quick primer on what today’s speech is about and what the day will be like, we’ve got you covered.

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Two More VA Reform Bills Pass The House

2015/03/02

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today applauded bipartisan passage of H.R. 280 and H.R. 294, initiatives to deliver more accountability and better care for the nation’s veterans:

“Dozens of our veterans died waiting for care, and the VA has no way to go after bonuses collected by bureaucrats who fell down on the job.  That has to change – and quickly.  Meanwhile, we must continue doing all we can to deliver the 21st-century health care system our veterans deserve.  That’s why the House has also acted to expand the options available for addressing the long-term care needs of our veterans.  Americans want to see a long-term commitment to fixing the VA, and Chairman Miller and his committee continue to lead the way.”

The two bills passed today include H.R.  280, giving the VA Secretary complete authority to recoup for cause bonuses paid to VA employees, and H.R. 294, the Long-Term Care Veterans Choice Act, which authorizes the VA to provide long-term care for veterans through medical foster homes.  The average cost of a medical foster home is approximately half the cost of a nursing home.

These votes follow enactment of H.R. 203, the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, bipartisan legislation that will help more veterans get access to mental health care resources.

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Fight on House ObamaCare Lawsuit Continues

2015/03/02

On Friday the U.S. House of Representatives filed a brief opposing the Obama administration’s “motion to dismiss” litigation authorized last July against President Obama’s executive overreach. 

The litigation, based on the advice of legal experts, specifically targets two separate occasions when the president changed his health care law without authorization by Congress – but has broad implications as he continues to circumvent the people’s representatives and unilaterally rewrite and change law.

Here are a few excerpts from the brief:

“Defendants have acted without Congress – by expending billions of dollars in public funds absent any appropriation to make those payments, and by effectively rewriting statutory provisions not to their liking – notwithstanding Article I of the Constitution. Those actions strike at the very heart of the House’s express Article I legislative and ‘guardian of the purse’ powers.”

“If the Executive can simply excise or change express conditions as a matter of discretion, then Article I itself becomes discretionary for any president who disagrees with the results of the legislative process.” 

“Defendants’ extreme position, if accepted, would… enlarge the power of the Executive to dangerous levels... Such a concentration of unchecked power in one branch is precisely what the Framers sought to avoid… and for this reason… the House urges the Court to deny defendants’ motion.”

As Speaker Boehner has said, this isn’t about Democrats vs. Republicans. It is the responsibility of the House of Representatives to defend the Constitution and that’s exactly what we’re going to continue to do. 

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Will Senate Dems Come to the Table to Fund DHS, Stop the President’s Immigration Overreach?

2015/03/02

What tool has Congress used, since its very founding, to resolve differences between House and Senate-passed bills?  Stumped?  Save those power ups, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has you covered:

“Democrats aren’t afraid to debate our principles in the light of day. We aren't afraid to try to resolve our differences in a conference committee instead of behind closed doors. This has been the custom in the Senate and House of Representatives for more than 200 years.” (Sen. Reid, 5/8/13)

Here’s why we ask: Later today, the Senate will vote on legislation to create a conference committee on the House and Senate-passed bills to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  It’s not only a fundamental part of the legislative process, but another opportunity for Senate Democrats who say they oppose the president’s unilateral action on immigration to back those words with action.

It has been more than six weeks since the House did its job and passed a bill to fund DHS while stopping the president’s overreach.  Senate Democrats blocked that bill from coming to the floor four times.  Instead, the Senate eventually passed a bill that does nothing to address the president’s actions. As part of “regular order” – the traditional legislative process – the House and Senate would appoint members from each chamber to iron out differences between the two versions of the bill.  But that can only happen if Senate Democrats do the right thing and vote to go to conference, as House Republicans have done. 

House Republican leaders, including Speaker Boehner, are keeping the heat on Senate Democrats to do just that:

  • Speaker Boehner (R-OH): “You know, the bill is back in the Senate.  We’ve asked for a conference with the Senate.  And, the Senate Majority Leader at the time, in May of 2013, said, and I quote, ‘we aren’t afraid to try resolve our differences in a conference committee.  This has been the custom of the Senate and the House of Representatives for almost 200 years.’  We want to go to conference with the Senate.
  • House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA): “It was the Senate Democrats, who not only voted against the bill, but denied the Senate Republicans from even bringing it up when seven Senate Democrats said they opposed it. So they created the cliff, moved the bill at the last moment, and what was the House action? Let’s go to conference, because even Harry Reid said last year, that’s the way for the last 200 years we settle our differences. We avoided a cliff. They created one.
  • House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA): “What we did is passed a bill that now forces the Senate to vote on going to conference. We actually passed a bill that pushes back on the president's illegal actions on immigration. [The Senate] made changes to that bill that we don't like, the way congress works when the House and Senate have a disagreement – you go to conference. … Let's go to conference and work out these differences and finally put a check on this president that he himself said 22 different times he doesn't have the authority to write his own immigration policies. We're going to keep fighting this battle.”
  • House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA): “Our strategy is to ask the Senate to go to conference. That’s a pretty basic request to make. That’s the way Congress is intended to operate,’ she said. ‘We believe the Senate should agree to go to conference and then we figure out how to go forward.’”

“You have to remember John that the president said 22 times – 22 times – that he couldn’t do what he eventually did,” Boehner added on Face the Nation. “I made it clear we were going to do everything we could to block the president’s executive overreach.” 

Will Senate Democrats stand with the American people and do the same?  Or will they continue protecting the president?  Today’s vote will tell.

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PM Netanyahu's Address: A Watch Guide

2015/03/02

PM Netanyahu’s Address: A Watch Guide

Tomorrow, at 11 a.m. ET, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel will address a joint meeting of Congress.  The address is an opportunity for you to hear from the leader one of our closest allies about the grave threats we face from radical Islam and Iran.  If you plan on watching, we invite you to tune in at speaker.gov/live.  

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Here’s a quick primer on what you can expect tomorrow:

·       Speaker Boehner will welcome the Prime Minister to the Capitol by presenting him with a bust of Winston Churchill.  Netanyahu and Churchill are the only foreign leaders to address a joint meeting of Congress on three occasions.  A bust of Churchill can be found in the Capitol’s Freedom Foyer.

·       After Speaker Boehner gavels the joint meeting to order, a number of dignitaries will be introduced before the Prime Minister, who will be accompanied by an escort committee made up of Republicans and Democrats. 

·       Prime Minister Netanyahu’s audience will include members of Congress from both parties, as well as guests in the gallery.  Speaker Boehner’s guests include former Speaker Newt Gingrich and Elie Wiesel, a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and the Congressional Gold Medal.

·       Given the ties between America and Israel, it’s no surprise that interest in attending the speech is high.  We’ve had 10 times the number of requests for tickets than there are seats available in the gallery.  In fact, demand is so overwhelming that both the House and Senate have set up separate viewing locations, which are also ticketed events. (Don’t worry, you don’t need a ticket to tune in at speaker.gov/live.)

We hope you plan on tuning in tomorrow at speaker.gov/live.  For now, here are some other ways you can watch and discuss the speech: 

·       Sign up for e-mail updates to receive exclusive content about the speech. 

·       Follow Speaker Boehner on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for more news and real-time updates.

·       Follow us on Flipboard to get the latest content about the speech on your mobile device.

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On CBS’ Face the Nation, Boehner Talks Immigration, PM Netanyahu Speech, Defeating ISIS & More

2015/03/01

In an appearance this morning on CBS’ Face the Nation, Speaker Boehner pressed Senate Democrats to agree to a conference committee on the House and Senate-passed Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding bills, pointing to Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid's (D-NV) own words to make the case ahead of the Senate vote to do so.  Boehner also discussed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming address to Congress, and the need for a more robust plan from the president to defeat and destroy ISIS.  Following are excerpts from the interview:

On the President Saying 22 Times that He Did Not Have the Authority to Act Unilaterally on Immigration:

“Well because the president took actions with regard to immigration that were far beyond what the law allows him to do.  You have to remember John that the president said 22 times – 22 times – that he couldn’t do what he eventually did.  I made it clear we were going to do everything we could to block the president’s executive overreach.  And that’s the basis of the problem that we’re trying to deal with.  And the Senate refused to pass their own bill, Senator McConnell tried for almost a month to get the Senate to act, but four times Senate Democrats blocked the ability to even debate the bill.”

On the American Peoples’ Frustration with the President’s Overreach:

“Remember what’s causing this, it’s the President of the United States overreaching and it’s not just on immigration.  You know, 38 times he made unilateral changes to ObamaCare.  Many of these, I believe, far beyond his constitutional authority to do so.  And so the frustration in the country, represented through the frustration of our members, has people scared to death that the president is running the country right off the cliff.”

On the Need for Senate Democrats to Vote to Go to Conference on the House & Senate-passed DHS Funding Measures:

“The promise I made to Ms. Pelosi is the same promise I made to Republicans, that we would follow regular order.  You know, the bill is back in the Senate.  We’ve asked for a conference with the Senate.  And, the Senate Majority Leader at the time, in May of 2013, said, and I quote, ‘we aren’t afraid to try resolve our differences in a conference committee.  This has been the custom of the Senate and the House of Representatives for almost 200 years.’  We want to go to conference with the Senate.”

On the Overwhelming Demand to Hear Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Address to Congress:

“The demand for seats in the House, the demand for tickets – I’ve never seen anything like it.  Everybody wants to be there.  What I do wonder, is why the White House feels threatened because the Congress wants to support Israel, and wants to hear what a trusted ally has to say?   And it’s been frankly remarkable to me the extent to which, over the last five or six weeks, the White House has attacked the Prime Minister, attacked me, for wanting to hear from one of our closes allies.  … The threat coming from Iran and the Iranians having a nuclear weapon is a threat to the region, it’s a threat to the United States, and it’s a threat to the rest of the world.  This is a serious issue and we’re not going to resolve this issue by sticking our heads in the sand.  The prime minister can talk about this threat, I believe, better than anyone.  And the United States Congress wants to hear from him, and so do the American people.”

On the Enduring Strength of the U.S.-Israel Relationship:

“Israel is one of our most trusted allies.  There’s been bipartisan support in the Congress for Israel going back some 50 years.  That relationship is going to continue between the Congress and Israel, between the United States and Israel.  Really the only conflict here is between the White House and Israel.”

On the Need for President Obama to Put Forth a Serious, Robust Plan to Defeat and Destroy ISIS Terrorists:

“When it comes to the issue of ISIS, the president said that he wants to destroy and eliminate ISIS.  That’s what he said, that’s what the goal is.  But then he outlined a strategy that nobody believes will accomplish the mission.  And then he asked for an authorization of the use of military force where he actually asked for less authority than what he has today under current and previous authorizations to use military force.  I don’t see how he can resolve these difference.  We need a robust strategy to take on these terrorists.  This is a very serious matter.  I mean, they’re barbarians, and we’re over there kind of poking them in the nose, we’re not really there to defeat and destroy them.  We don’t have a plan that will do that.   And so we need a robust strategy to take them on, and, I believe that we need then to give the president a robust authorization to use the authority of the Commander-in-Chief to eliminate this threat.”

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February in Photos

2015/02/28

Bill signings. Dignitary meetings. Gold Medal Ceremonies. These are just a few of the things that come up during an average week for the Speaker of the House.  But then again, there really is no such thing as an average week for the Speaker.  

In between some of these big moments, there are also lots of smaller ones.  Hallway conversations.  Team field trips.  Handshakes with grateful parents.  Below, in these photos from February, you'll see both types of moments - big and small.  

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Weekly Address: Make College More Affordable & Easier to Plan

2015/02/28

YouTube I Facebook I Twitter | Transcript

In this week’s Republican address, Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH) talks about a new bipartisan bill that will help middle-class families by expanding 529 college savings plans – the same plans the president tried to tax.  “We talk all the time about rewarding people who work hard and play by the rules - well, that's what 529 plans are,” Renacci says.  The first in his family to go to college, Renacci talks about how, as an accountant, he’s seen countless families struggle to save for college.

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

CBS News: “GOP pushes Obama on expanded college savings proposal” “Just days after the House of Representatives passed an expansion of 529 tax-deductible college savings accounts, the Republican Party called for President Obama's support of the bipartisan bill.   … ‘Why would we make saving for college even harder? We talk all the time about rewarding people who work hard and play by the rules - well, that's what 529 plans are,’ Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Ohio, said in the party's weekly address.  …. The congressional proposal comes after Mr. Obama backed off a plan that would have significantly cut 529 college savings accounts.”  

The Hill: “GOP urges Obama to sign college savings bill”

“President Obama should get on board with House Republican legislation passed this week expanding college savings plans, Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) said in the weekly Republican address. … This week, the House passed a bill 401-20 loosening restrictions on tax incentives and expanding the college savings plan program, after Obama scuttled a proposal to eliminate tax breaks for the plan in his annual budget.”

ABC News Radio: “GOP Weekly Address: Obama Should Back College Savings Plan” “In this week's Republican Address, Rep. Jim Renacci of Ohio called on President Obama to back a bipartisan savings plan passed by the House this week.  Renacci says that to adapt to the times, 529 college saving plans should be clarified to include computers as qualified expenses and remove unnecessary paperwork burdens for the administrators of these plans.”

Newsmax: “Rep. Renacci: College Accounts Crucial for Middle Class” “The expansion and modernization of the popular 529 college savings plans is important to help make it easier middle-class families to save money for their children's higher education needs, Rep. Jim Renacci said in Saturday's GOP address. … Renacci explained that he was the first in his family to go to college, and as he was from a working-class union family, he paid his own way through school, working jobs such as driving trucks or working on a road crew. … The bill is important, Renacci said, ‘because we all know that a good education leads to greater opportunity and a stronger economy. So let’s take this step to make college more affordable and easier to plan.’”

Investor’s Business Daily: “GOP: Broadening chances to save tax-free for college”

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Weekly Republican Address: President Obama Should Back Bipartisan College Savings Plan

2015/02/28

WASHINGTON, DC – In this week’s Republican address, Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH) calls on President Obama to back the bipartisan college savings plan passed by the House this week.

The audio of the weekly address is here.  The video will be available to view and download tomorrow, Saturday, February 28, at 6:00 a.m. ET on Speaker.gov and GOP.gov.

Remarks of Representative Jim Renacci of Ohio Weekly Republican Address The Capitol February 28, 2015

Good morning, I’m Jim Renacci, and I have the honor of representing the good people of Ohio’s 16th Congressional District.

This week, the House of Representatives passed a good, bipartisan bill that could help many middle-class families.  I’d like to take a moment to tell you about it. 

First, a story.  Like many of you, I was the first in my family to go to college.  Ours was a working class union family so I had to pay my own way through school.  To do that, I worked any number of jobs: truck driver, mechanic, a road crew, you name it.

As an accountant, I’ve seen countless parents struggle with putting away money for their kids’ tuition.  You know how it is: you want to make sure they have it better than you do. But at a time when the cost of just about everything is going up and incomes are barely moving, that job’s only gotten harder.

So last month, when President Obama proposed taxing 529 plans, people were understandably outraged. 

Why would we make saving for college even harder?  We talk all the time about rewarding people who work hard and play by the rules – well, that’s what 529 plans are.   They empower families to set up accounts for their children – right from when they’re born – and then down the line they can use that money – tax-free – for books, fees, tuition, and room-and-board.

All told, there are nearly 12 million of these accounts open in all 50 states.  That’s up from 1 million accounts in 2001.  Why would we stop that growth?  So the government can take even more of the money we’ve worked so hard to put away? 

Thankfully, after a public outcry, the president was forced to drop the idea.

But we can do more. With all the challenges middle-class families are facing right now, we need to make it easier – not harder – to save.

That’s why the House acted this week to expand and modernize 529 plans.

Our plan will do a few simple things.

First, to adapt to the times, we clarify that computers are qualified expenses under 529 accounts.

Second, we remove unnecessary paperwork burdens for the administrators of these plans.

And third, we allow families to re-deposit refunds from colleges without taxes or penalties.  This might be useful if something happens and a student has to withdraw early for an illness.  It’s just good peace of mind to have.

I’m pleased to report that the bill passed with more than 400 votes.  Now we just need President Obama to help us get this done. 

Together, let’s make sure that 529 plans will be there for middle-class families for years to come.

Because we all know that a good education leads to greater opportunity and a stronger economy.  So let’s take this step to make college more affordable and easier to plan.

Thank you for giving me a few minutes of your time.

 

 

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

2015/02/27

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

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

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Speaker Boehner Invites President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan to Address Congress

2015/02/27

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

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

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

 

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5 Big Whoppers From President Obama

2015/02/27

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Speaker Boehner Welcomes Members of Ukrainian Government

2015/02/27

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

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

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Boehner Statement on New CBO Director

2015/02/27

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

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

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

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Revealed: President Obama’s IRS is Still Targeting Conservatives

2015/02/26

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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President Obama Should Back Bipartisan College Savings Bill

2015/02/26

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

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

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

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

2015/02/26

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

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

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

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

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

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

2015/02/26

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

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

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

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

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

2015/02/26

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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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.