Speaker of the House

John Boehner

Watch Speaker Boehner’s Interview With Maria Bartiromo

2015/04/17

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"I don’t think the Iranians have any intention of giving up their desire for a nuclear weapon…But the Congress is going to play a role one way or another if these talks continue.”

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Friday, April 17, 2015

In an interview with Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo today, Speaker Boehner discussed a broad range of issues – from the need for President Obama to lead on Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and tax reform to concerns over the administration’s framework for a nuclear agreement with Iran.  Here are select excerpts from the interview:

On How TPA Will Help Create Jobs & Increase Wages:

“We had a meeting this week on Trade Promotion Authority which is critical if we’re going to get to a real agreement, either with the Asians or with the Europeans, and we’re making a lot of progress.  I expect that we’re going to see action in both the House and Senate next week in committee to deal with this issue.  Trade is critically important to the U.S.  We’ve got the lowest barriers to trade in the world. All these trade agreements tend to work to our benefit in terms of opening markets for U.S. products overseas.”

On the Need for President Obama to Secure Democratic Support to Pass TPA:

“I do think we’re going to have a challenge.  The president’s party here in Congress are catering to the unions who, for whatever reason, are adamantly opposed to this and they’ve spent the last three and a half years working Democrat members in opposition to Trade Promotion Authority.  And I’ve asked the president to reach out, because we’re going to need Democrats to pass Trade Promotion Authority.  Now, at the end I think we’ll get there because it’s hard for me to imagine that Democrats here in the House or Senate are going to walk away from their president, America’s president, but their own party at a time when this is one of his areas that could be a big accomplishment for him. … I do believe over the next several months you’ll see this enacted but it’s going to be a pretty heavy lift.”

On the Need for the Obama Administration to Lead on Tax Reform to Help Our Economy Grow & Create More Jobs:

“[T]here’s a conversation that’s been underway between the White House and the House and Senate for months now over, you know, if we had tax reform, what would it look like?  Because there is no reason to run up this mountain - all the work that’s involved - unless the administration is actively engaged in it.  We want tax reform.  It’s critically important for our country.  We’ve got a tax system that no one understands, not even the IRS understands.  It hurts our economic growth.  It hurts our economy.  It hurts wages in America.  And if we had a flatter, simpler tax code, that would allow 95 percent of the American people to do their own taxes, we’d have a much healthier economy creating a lot more jobs.”

On Doubts Surrounding Iran’s Commitment to a Nuclear Agreement:

Boehner: “Well, the more I hear about what the president said, the so-called framework, then the Iranians the next day said, well, there’s no agreement on this so-called framework.   So all we have is an elaborate way of saying we’re going to talk for 90 more days.  I don’t, I have never been optimistic that we can get to an agreement, a real agreement that would stop the nuclear threat from Iran.  And, I don’t think the Iranians have any intention of giving up their desire for a nuclear weapon.  So I don’t know, at the end of the day, how you get to an agreement. … But, Congress is going to play a role one way or another if these talks continue.”  Bartiromo:  “So are you expecting an agreement with Iran at any point?”  Boehner: “I would hope not because I don’t think that we can get an agreement with people who have no intention of keeping the agreement.”

On Iran Spreading Terrorism Throughout the Middle East:

Bartiromo: “And then there is the situation in Yemen continuing to deteriorate.  How do you see working with Iran on this deal for their –” Boehner: “While they’re spreading terrorism?”  Bartiromo: “That’s right, in Yemen.” Boehner: “It is not on the table.  They’re only talking about the nuclear agreement while they continue to spread terrorism through - whether it’s Libya, whether it’s Gaza, whether it’s Syria, whether it’s Yemen, whether it’s Iraq for that matter - they continue to spread terrorism, send money, send troops, to cause havoc, to try to broaden their influence in the region.  And I don’t blame the Saudis for finally saying, ‘hey, enough is enough and, and we’re not going to have this on our border.’  It is a cause of great concern.”

 

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What A Nightmare

2015/04/17

While Tax Day has come and gone, our broken tax code is here to stay.   As millions of Americans sat down and filed their taxes this week, they were reminded of how confusing, complex, and unfair the U.S. tax code is for hardworking families and small businesses.   You don’t have to be a tax accountant to take a look at the numbers below and know that our tax code is a nightmare - making the U.S. uncompetitive, hurting job growth and wages.

  • #1 – The United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world, forcing jobs overseas and leaving America and its workers at a disadvantage as our outdated international tax code threatens competitiveness in the global marketplace.
  • 70,000 pages – The U.S. tax code is now more than 70,000 pages long – or 50 times the size of Tolstoy’s War and Peace.  It is no wonder our tax code is a mess, riddled with loopholes and special exemptions for the few. 
  • 30 years - The last time we reformed our tax code was in 1986 – almost 30 years ago – before the days of the internet while Maverick, Goose & Iceman were on the highway to the danger zone.
  • 6 billion hours – Hardworking taxpayers spend six billion hours trying to sort through the tax code.  Time that could be better spent building a business, spending time with your family, or watching Taylor Swift gifs.
  • 44.6 percent – Small businesses face tax rates as high as 44.6 percent, placing a huge economic burden on their businesses, stifling their ability to grow, expand, and hire new workers.

It’s time to fix the whole tax code to make it simpler and fairer, making it pro-growth and pro-family.  By clearing out loopholes that favor the few, we can lower rates for all Americans.  We should make our tax code so fair and so simple that everyone can do their taxes on two sheets of paper.

Republicans are committed to fixing our tax code, and in the first 100 days House Republicans passed a series of bills to give middle-class families and job creators some relief and certainty:

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Boehner on IJReview: Conservatives Should be Happy We Got This Done

2015/04/17

Conservatives should be happy we got this done → http://t.co/s6OVhqp4ya

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) April 17, 2015

They Say Entitlement Reform Is Impossible. We Just Proved Them Wrong. by John Boehner Friday, April 17, 2015 Read on IJReview

The federal government is collecting more money from American taxpayers than ever before, but the budget still isn’t even close to balanced. Consequently, the national debt grows larger and larger, primarily because of mandatory spending on entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

This spiral of unsustainable spending and debt stirred scores of Americans to march in Washington and declare that they were taxed enough already. As a conservative, I couldn’t agree more, and as Speaker of the House, I’ve worked to make Washington listen.

Entrusted with a majority in the House since 2011, Republicans have made the American people’s priorities our priorities. We’ve banned earmarks, and worked to reduce spending and stop President Obama’s tax hikes. We’ve passed budgets that actually balance, and outlined plans to save Medicare from bankruptcy and rein in the debt. Because of our efforts, we’re on track to save taxpayers $2.1 trillion.

Of course, Democrats fought against these reforms virtually every step of the way, and obviously, we haven’t achieved everything we wanted. But we have had some successes, including a recent breakthrough.

For decades, Democrats in Congress have insisted their support for large spending reforms would only come in exchange for large tax increases. Yesterday, however, the president signed bipartisan legislation that would strengthen Medicare, put the program on a sounder financial footing, and achieve real, long-term savings for taxpayers. The bill passed the House in March by a vote of 392-37, and then in the Senate last week 92-8. Notably, it represents the first real entitlement spending reforms passed in nearly two decades, all without any tax hikes. These two facts are big wins for conservatives.

Here’s why: over the long term, the two structural reforms in the bill will save taxpayers hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars.

Now, it’s true that these reforms are phased in over time, which means there are some costs up front. But the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) confirmed that the bill would result in net deficit reduction by its second decade, and that savings from the reforms “would increase especially rapidly” beginning in 2025. The Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) agreed, finding that the bill would extend Medicare’s solvency and reduce its actuarial deficit. Instead of kicking the can down the road, we’re saving money down the road.

Going forward, higher-income seniors will pay a little more toward their premiums, and certain Medigap supplemental insurance plans will have limits on first-dollar coverage. These two changes will encourage beneficiaries to think more like consumers when it comes to their health care choices. This is a free-market, conservative approach to reducing health costs and saving money. In fact, policy experts at the Heritage Foundation and the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget have long supported these very ideas.

Our bill also repeals a notorious Washington gimmick called the “doc fix.” Nearly 20 times during the past dozen years, under the misnamed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, doctors were scheduled to receive steep, automatic cuts to the payments they receive for treating Medicare patients. Every time, Congress temporarily canceled the cuts instead of instituting permanent reforms. This time, though, was different, and now CBO has calculated our solution will “cost $0.9 billion less over the 2015–2025 period,” saving taxpayers money compared to the path we’ve been on.

Make no mistake, this bill hasn’t fixed all of our fiscal problems or saved Medicare completely. We all know that much more must be done to save our entitlement programs, but we have to start somewhere. After all, it’s been nearly two decades since the last entitlement reforms were enacted. We can’t wait that long for the next opportunity. So this bill is an important step in the right direction – toward market-based entitlement spending reform without massive tax increases.

Conservatives should be happy we got this done, and confident Republicans will continue fighting to curb Washington’s worst habits for the sake of our children’s future.

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VIDEO: The First 100 Days

2015/04/17

“We’ve got a lot more to do,” Speaker Boehner says in a new video recapping the first 100 days of America’s new Congress, a period that saw real progress on the people’s priorities, including: 

As Speaker Boehner said, we have much more to do, and just yesterday, committee leaders in the House and Senate introduced trade legislation to help create more jobs and opportunities for America’s families and small businesses.

Check out these videos to see more highlights from our first 100 days:  

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Speaker Boehner Applauds Bipartisan TPA Legislation, Urges President Obama to Lead

2015/04/16

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement today after Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) introduced The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015:

“I am pleased to hear that Chairmen Hatch and Ryan and Ranking Member Wyden have introduced bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation. TPA is critical to facilitating a more robust trade agenda to help create more jobs and opportunities for America’s families and small businesses. It will ensure the timely and efficient implementation of trade agreements, and give our negotiators leverage to break down barriers to boost exports and wages. And, notably, TPA will strengthen Congress’s authority by clearly defining negotiating objectives and spelling out a detailed oversight and consultation process to achieve a final agreement.

“While this agreement is good news, there is much work still to be done. In the House, Republicans stand ready to work with President Obama to advance TPA but he must secure the support from his own party that’s needed to ensure strong, bipartisan passage. If both parties work together, we can create more jobs, increase wages, and expand opportunity for American families and small businesses.”

NOTE: Speaker Boehner and House Republicans have long supported TPA and free trade agreements as part of the GOP’s jobs agenda. In 2011, the new Republican majority played a critical role in helping complete agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea that had languished for years under a Democratic-controlled Congress. These agreements quickly paid off for American farmers, small business owners, and manufacturers, and bolstered the case for new pacts with Asian and European nations to generate more economic growth and job creation here at home.  

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“A Win that Every American Can Share In”: Boehner Signs First Entitlement Reform in Decades

2015/04/16

WASHINGTON, DC - Joined by House and Senate leaders today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) signed bipartisan legislation (H.R. 2) to strengthen Medicare, ensure seniors’ access to their doctors, and save taxpayers billions.  Boehner made the following remarks before signing the bill:

“In a few minutes, I’ll sign H.R. 2, bipartisan legislation to strengthen Medicare.  At a time when we face serious spending problems, this marks the first entitlement reform in nearly two decades.  And it was accomplished by working together to find common ground on behalf of the American people.

“By getting rid of the notorious ‘doc fix,’ seniors will have a more stable and reliable system for seeing their doctor.  Families taking care of their parents will have a little more peace of mind.  And taxpayers will save hundreds of billions of dollars over the next 20, 30, and 40 years. 

“We’ve also extended the Children’s Health Insurance Program and community health centers authorization - doing all of this without raising taxes.   So this is a win that every American can share in.

“I want to thank Leader Pelosi for her indispensable leadership in helping tackle these challenging issues.  I also want to thank Leader McConnell and Senator Hatch, who led this effort to get it through the Senate.  I also want to thank the leaders of the Ways & Means Committee, the Energy & Commerce Committee – Chairman Upton and Chairman Ryan, Mr. Levin, and Mr. Pallone, and all of the members and their staffs who really worked hard to get us to this moment.  And a special thanks to the doctors caucus here in the House, who have been working to solve this problem for a long time. 

“You know, about a year ago, after some 17 patches over the last 11 years, I decided that we’ve had enough of this ‘doc fix.’  And so in recent months, Leader Pelosi and I began an effort to see if we could find common ground.  With a lot of hard work by our committees and 484 votes in the House and Senate, we’ve reached this important moment – and on the 100th day of this new Congress.

“Now, we know we got a lot more to do to fix these entitlement programs for our kids and our grandkids.  But we’ve taken a good step here, and again, we’ve done it by finding common ground on behalf of the people that we serve.”

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Repealing the Death Tax to Protect Family Farmers, Ranchers & Small Businesses

2015/04/16

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Good news → The House just voted to repeal the Death Tax PERMANENTLY.

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Thursday, April 16, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement today applauding House passage of the Death Tax Repeal Act (H.R. 1105) and the State and Local Sales Tax Deduction Fairness Act (H.R. 622):

“Family farmers, ranchers, and small business owners work tirelessly to create jobs in our communities, put food on our tables, and – God willing – have something to pass on to their children and grandchildren.  Taking away that opportunity with a massive death tax bill is simply wrong.   And while the money is nothing more than a drop in the bucket to the federal government, it can prove devastating to families - forcing them to sell land, lay off workers, and even shut down entirely.  The Death Tax Repeal protects families and small businesses, and makes it easier for them to grow and plan for the future.  We’ve also taken another step to bring more certainty to the tax code by extending and making permanent a provision allowing families and small businesses to deduct sales tax from their tax filings, helping them keep more of what they earn.  These are common-sense bills that make the tax code simpler and fairer for hardworking families and I urge the president to reconsider his opposition to these measures.”

NOTE: Yesterday, in addition to these common-sense tax relief bills, the House passed a package of reforms to stop IRS abuse.

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Tough New Reforms to Stop #IRSAbuse

2015/04/15

WASHINGTON, DC – A Taxpayer Bill of Rights is at the heart of a package of tough IRS reforms passed by the U.S. House of Representatives today.   This effort, led by Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam (R-IL), would bring much-needed accountability and transparency to an agency that has repeatedly abused the public trust.  House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement:

“This isn’t just about passing common-sense reforms.  We do that every day.  This is about stamping out a culture of arrogance at the IRS.  It is a culture in which bureaucrats have willfully targeted citizens for their political beliefs, seized assets from law-abiding small business owners, and routinely wasted taxpayer dollars.  All the while, the Obama administration has tried to stonewall the problem away.  We owe it to every taxpayer to make sure the abuses of power at the IRS are neither tolerated nor repeated.  These reforms will move us closer to achieving both goals, and I applaud Chairman Roskam for his leadership.  Let’s keep at it so we can look back on this Tax Day as Reckoning Day for the IRS.”

The reforms passed by the House today include:

  • H.R. 1058, Taxpayer Bill of Rights Act, Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL)
  • H.R. 709, Prevent Targeting at the IRS Act, Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH)
  • H.R. 1026, Taxpayer Knowledge of IRS Investigations Act, Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA)
  • H.R. 1314Ensuring Tax Exempt Organizations the Right to Appeal Act, Rep. Pat Meehan (R-PA)
  • H.R. 1152IRS Email Transparency Act, Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-TX)
  • H.R. 1295IRS Bureaucracy Reduction and Judicial Review Act, Rep. George Holding (R-NC)
  • H.R. 1104, Fair Treatment For All Gifts Act, Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL)

A full summary of these reforms is available here

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President Obama’s “Middle-Class Economics” Trick

2015/04/15

On this Tax Day, President Obama should’ve told Americans the truth about his latest budget plan. The fact is, despite all the White House spin, even liberals say the president’s proposal will mean higher taxes for middle-class families.

According to analysis by the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute’s Tax Policy Center, “U.S. households with average incomes -- the 20 percent taking in between $49,086 and $84,055, to be exact -- would on average see an increase” in their tax bills under the president’s budget, the Washington Post recently reported.

President Obama says his “middle-class economics” works. And in Charlotte, North Carolina today, the president was quick to push his approach with a heavy side of partisan attacks on Republicans.

But across the board, the president’s policies are proving to be a bust for working families – and recent headlines tell the story:

  • “Obama’s Plan Doesn’t Actually Help the Average Middle-Class Taxpayer” (The Washington Post)
  • “Middle Class Decline Looms Over Final Years of Obama Presidency” (Reuters)
  • “Dilemma Over Deductibles: Costs Crippling Middle Class” (USA Today)
  • "Family finances: Obama tax plan takes aim at savings" (Tulsa World)
  • “The real ‘middle class’ is even worse off” (CBS MoneyWatch)
  • “Middle Class Jobs Are Still Lagging” (FiveThirtyEight)

This year’s tax season was a real headache for millions of Americans, thanks to President Obama’s broken health care law. And for some it was a downright disaster.            

“To me it was kind of a trick,” Marta Chapman, a personal-care aide in New Mexico, told the Wall Street Journal.

A trick. That’s a pretty good way to describe the president’s “middle-class economics” agenda that doesn’t help middle-class families – and the American people aren’t about to fall for it.

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Following Middle East Visit, Boehner Calls for Real, Overarching Strategy to Defeat the Terrorist Threat

2015/04/15

Following a visit to the Middle East that took him and a delegation of senior lawmakers to Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Israel earlier this month, Speaker Boehner sat down with a group of reporters yesterday to share his observations from the trip and outline the challenges we, and our allies, face in the region.  Boehner emphasized the need for President Obama to offer a real overarching strategy to defeat the terrorist threat, and to reassert American leadership in the world.  Here are a few highlights from the discussion:

On the Need for President Obama to Lay Out a Real, Overarching Strategy to Defeat ISIL Terrorists:

  • “Boehner said the Obama administration needs a clearer, ‘overarching’ strategy for dealing with Islamic State throughout the region. … Boehner, a frequent critic of Obama’s policies, said it was ‘an embarrassment’ that Iraq turned to Iran to help oust Islamic State fighters from Tikrit.  Boehner said the Iraqis need more U.S. assistance to buy weapons and the region needs a more defined approach from the United States that should include an economic component.” (Reuters)
  • “House Speaker John Boehner, back from a recent trip to the Middle East, said he’s concerned that the administration lacks an ‘overarching’ strategy aimed at fighting and suggested that the U.S. needs to do better at fighting the terrorist organization’s success at recruiting through social media.  ‘They’re attracting people from every country in the world to their effort,’ he said. ‘And yet there’s no big plan on the part of our allies or us to confront this effort.’… ‘The problem is growing faster than our ability to control it,’ he said, adding. ‘If anything, the administration is more focused on rewarding our enemies than helping our allies.’” (Dayton Daily News)

On the Need to Do More to Help the Iraqis & for a More Robust Authorization for the Use of Military Force: 

  • “‘Until the president gets serious about fighting the fight, until he has a strategy that makes sense, there’s no reason for us to give him less authority than what he has today, which is what he’s asking for,’ Boehner told a group of reporters Tuesday, following his trip with lawmakers to several Middle East hot spots during the congressional recess.” (Washington Post)
  • “‘I think the president is placing artificial constraints on our commanders,’ Boehner told reporters at a roundtable to discuss his recent trip to the Middle East. ‘We've got 4,500 troops in Iraq. They’re only there to train and advise the Iraqi army.’  ‘We're not talking about 100,000 troops on the ground; nobody needs to throw that canard out there,’ he said. ‘But we have troops there that could provide a lot more assistance to the Iraqi army if they were given the ability to do so.’” (USA Today)
  • “Boehner, who recently led a congressional delegation to the Middle East, said he wants U.S. forces in Iraq to have a larger role in planning and directing Iraqis trying to combat the Islamic militants. … Boehner expressed frustration with the administration’s strategy, saying he repeatedly heard two questions from U.S. allies — where’s America headed or is America abandoning us.” (Associated Press)

On Serious Concerns About the Obama Administration’s Framework for a Nuclear Agreement with Iran:

  • “Mr. Boehner, who has been playing an increasingly active role in foreign policy issues, also said the House would eagerly take up any Senate measure that gives Congress power to review a nuclear deal with Iran. But he made clear he has deep doubts about the willingness of the Iranian government to negotiate in good faith.  ‘I don’t know how you cut a deal with the devil and think the devil is going to keep his end of the deal,’ Mr. Boehner said.” (New York Times)
  • “He said there was great skepticism among Iran’s neighbors about the emerging agreement between it and the P5+1 world powers, and he shared those concerns. … ‘All they’ve done this far is talk about a delay of their development of a nuclear weapons for a few months or a year, in exchange for the rehabilitation of their entire economy? I think they are desperate for a deal at any cost and I think this is a prescription for disaster.’ … Boehner warned that Arab Gulf nations are likely to pursue their own nuclear weapons programs if the deal with Iran doesn’t satisfy their deep skepticism. ‘If Iran is on a path to get a nuclear weapon, all those countries that can afford to get one are going to have one,’ he said. ‘It’s a fact.’” (Bloomberg)

“The United States is fortunate to have allies that recognize the importance of our partnerships and the gravity of the threats we face.  We owe it to our allies, and our people, to articulate a real, overarching strategy to defeat this enemy,” Boehner said at the conclusion of his trip earlier this month.  “This problem is growing faster than we can solve it, and American leadership is vital to closing the gap.”

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VIDEO: Two Sheets of Paper

2015/04/15

I believe in a smaller, less costly, and more accountable government.   That’s what I’ve been fighting for ever since, as a small business owner, I learned the hard (and expensive) way how Washington takes from people without any appreciation for the challenges they face. If you work hard, you should be able to keep more of what you make.   And you shouldn’t have to worry about the feds taking more than they should. Over the years, however, our tax code has gotten more and more out of hand, and so has the IRS.   That’s why the House is spending this Tax Day passing a full spread of reforms to stop IRS abuse – and why our balanced budget includes a plan to fix our tax code.  We’ll lower rates for everyone, and clear out all the loopholes.  As I’ve said before, we should make our tax code so fair and so simple that everyone can do their taxes on two sheets of paper. That’s my standard for a good Tax Day. The president sees things very differently.   He calls his plan “middle-class economics,” but it won’t help the middle class.  Experts say the president’s plan will actually cost you more.  Higher taxes for more government: the same-old approach that punishes hard work. Lower rates, fewer loopholes, two sheets of paper.   That’s a formula for growth and success – now and in the future. 

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Our balanced budget includes a plan to fix our tax code by lowering rates and clearing out all the loopholes. Everyone should be able to do their taxes on two sheets of paper.

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Thursday, April 16, 2015
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Boehner on Senate Passage of House Bill to Strengthen Medicare

2015/04/14

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement after Senate passage of H.R. 2, a bipartisan bill to strengthen Medicare and fix its payment formula for doctors:

“This reform bill is a big deal.  For the first time in nearly two decades – and without raising taxes – Congress has come together in a bipartisan way to pass meaningful entitlement reform.  And while much more must be done to rein in unsustainable entitlement spending, this agreement represents an important step in the right direction.  By permanently replacing Medicare’s notoriously unworkable ‘doc fix,’ this bill will ensure seniors have a more stable and reliable system for seeing their doctor and help Americans who are trying to care for elderly parents.  And, importantly, it will save taxpayers hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars in the decades to come.  Strengthening Medicare means a better future for our kids and grandkids, and I urge the president to sign this bill into law.”

NOTE: The House passed H.R. 2 on March 26 by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 392 to 37.

READ MORE:

Medicare Actuary Confirms “Doc Fix” Bill’s Long-Term Savings for Taxpayers

Titanic Entitlement Reform

Nation’s Editorials Praise House-Passed Medicare Reform

“This bill is a big deal”

Putting Medicare on a Sounder Financial Footing – Part 2

Putting Medicare on a Sounder Financial Footing – Part 1

House Votes to Strengthen Medicare: What They’re Saying

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

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Speaker Boehner Announces House Republican Budget Negotiators

2015/04/14

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today appointed five House Republicans to serve on the House-Senate conference committee responsible for crafting a pro-growth, balanced budget to put our economy on a more sustainable fiscal path:

“Every hardworking family in America knows that you can’t build towards a better future without a responsible plan to get there.  The president has failed in that regard, putting forth spending plan after spending plan loaded with massive tax hikes, new spending, and more debt.  The Republican-led House has taken a much different tack, passing a balanced budget that establishes a foundation for stronger economic growth and more jobs.  It does so by addressing the major drivers of our debt, reining in out-of-control spending, enacting reforms to strengthen and protect entitlement programs, ensuring a strong national defense, and repealing the president’s disastrous health care law.  I am grateful to all the members who have agreed to serve on the conference committee and work toward a final budget agreement that helps get our fiscal House in order and reflects the people’s top priorities – a stronger economy and a safer America.”

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

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The American People’s Priorities: House Acts to Increase Access to Affordable Housing

2015/04/14

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement after the House passed two bills aimed at making it easier for Americans to obtain affordable housing and achieve financial independence:

“These bipartisan bills are part of House Republicans’ continued focus on the American people’s priorities.  Affordable housing is vital for low and middle income families and workers, but far too often, Washington’s regulatory overreach and red tape gets in the way of their American dream.  By increasing access and promoting choice for consumers, this legislation will help more hardworking Americans get ahead and achieve financial independence.”

NOTE: According to the House Committee on Financial Services:

  • H.R. 650, the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act, sponsored by Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN), amends the Truth in Lending Act, as modified by the Dodd-Frank Act, to ensure that consumers can continue to have access to affordable manufactured housing by altering the definition of a “high-cost mortgage.”
  • H.R. 685, the Mortgage Choice Act, sponsored by Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI), provides clarity to the calculation of points and fees in mortgage transactions, allowing more loans to be classified as Qualified Mortgages and increasing options for borrowers.
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A Blow to All Who Long For Freedom

2015/04/14

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s move to rescind Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism: 

“I am disappointed that the White House seems determined to reward the Castro regime, which has a clear record of repression at home and exporting violence throughout the region. Not even a week has passed since the brutal attacks on Cuban democracy protestors in Panama City during the Summit for the Americas. Those attacks – and the Castros’ long history of human rights violations -- demonstrate the folly of revisiting diplomatic relations with this communist dictatorship and removing it from the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terror. 

“Cozying up to the oppressive regime in Cuba is a blow to all who long for liberty and dignity. And it’s just one more example of this administration focusing more on befriending our enemies than helping our allies. The United States has a responsibility to stand strong for all those who struggle for freedom, and the House of Representatives is committed to doing its part.”  

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80 Volunteers

2015/04/14

In 1942 when 80 brave airmen, all volunteers, signed up for a mission in the Pacific, they didn’t know where they were going or what they would be doing.  All they knew was, it was a dangerous mission from which they may not return.  After April 18, 1942, they became known as the “Doolittle Raiders,” led by Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle into the first air raid on Japanese soil during World War II. 

The crew, along with 16 B-25 bombers, were more than 600 miles from the Japanese mainland on a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier when they were spotted by an enemy boat.  Faced with the choice to abandon the mission or launch the raid knowing they didn’t have enough fuel to make it to allied airfields, Doolittle decided the crew would attack.  

Flying through hazardous conditions with little visibility, the Doolittle Raiders faced steep odds.  Despite the conditions, they were able to successfully bomb all of their targets in five different cities.  Soon after, with their fuel gauges quickly heading towards empty, the 16 airplanes were forced to bail out or crash-land.  Eight Doolittle Raiders were captured, two died in the crash, and 70 returned to the United States.  The raid changed the course of the war in the Pacific and provided a tremendous morale boost for Americans reeling from the attack at Pearl Harbor.

The Doolittle Raiders epitomized the honorable qualities of “The Greatest Generation”: they were brave, heroic, and no matter the odds, honorably fought in service to their country.  Doolittle Raider Lt. Col. Dick Cole simply described the daring mission,”[W]e were just doing our job, part of the big picture, and happy that what we did was helpful.”

Honoring their outstanding heroism, valor, skill, and service to the United States, the Doolittle Raiders will receive a Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor the United States Congress can bestow.  The ceremony will take place Wednesday, April 15 at 3:00 p.m. in Emancipation Hall and will be live-streamed at www.speaker.gov/live.  

On April 18, 2015, the 73rd anniversary of the raid, the medal will be presented at a ceremony to the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio by one of the two surviving Raiders, Lt. Col. Dick Cole. The other surviving Raider, Staff Sgt. David J. Thatcher is also planning to attend.  More information on that ceremony can be found here.

Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle, pictured left with other Doolittle Raiders, accepts a medal from the skipper of the USS Hornet, Capt. Marc A. Mitscher. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Air Force)

 

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Boehner Slams President Obama’s Middle-Class Tax Hike

2015/04/14

WASHINGTON, DC – At a press conference with Republican leaders today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) contrasted House Republicans’ pro-growth, balanced budget with the president’s spending plan that would raise taxes on middle-class families.  Following are Boehner’s remarks: 

“The House remains focused on the people’s priorities – starting with jobs and the economy.  We’ve passed a reasonable, responsible plan that would balance the budget for the American people, which means more jobs and a better economy.  And this week we’ll pass a series of bills to stop the IRS abuses and help hard-working taxpayers. 

“Meanwhile, the president’s notion of ‘middle-class economics’ would actually raise taxes on America’s middle class.  Even liberals admit the president’s budget means higher taxes for middle-class Americans.  And the fact is, incomes for middle-class Americans have declined since President Obama has taken office.   

“I think we’ve got a better approach on the Republican side. Reduce the tax burden that American families have to pay and raise their incomes through a better economy and better jobs.” 

NOTE: According to analysis by the Tax Policy Center, “U.S. households with average incomes -- the 20 percent taking in between $49,086 and $84,055, to be exact -- would on average see an increase” in their tax bills under the president’s budget, the Washington Post reports.

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Taxpayer Cometh: Seven Bills to Stop IRS Abuse

2015/04/14

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This week, the House of Representatives will mark Tax Day by passing a series of commonsense bills to rein in IRS abuse, protect taxpayers, and hold agency employees accountable for misconduct.

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A few things happened on the way to Tax Day:

Indeed, hardworking Americans remain vulnerable to IRS abuse, especially at a time when filing a tax return “appears more complicated than ever.” That’s why, as Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) announced on Friday, the people’s House will mark Tax Day “by passing a series of commonsense bills to rein in IRS abuse, protect taxpayer rights, and hold agency employees accountable for misconduct.”  Here’s a quick rundown of how these measures, which were approved by the Ways & Means Committee last month, will help taxpayers:

A Taxpayer Bill of Rights Right now, when dealing with the IRS, taxpayers lack some basic protections under the law, including the right to quality service, the right to confidentiality, and the right to appeal and have their challenge be heard.  Rep. Roskam’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights Act will change this by codifying a strong set of basic rights for taxpayers.  “After a difficult period for the IRS,” National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson says, “a Taxpayer Bill of Rights has the potential to restore taxpayers’ trust in both the IRS and the tax system.” Make Targeting a Firing Offense Rehiring hundreds of employees who were previously fired for misconduct issues showed that accountability is still sorely lacking at the IRS.  The Prevent Targeting at the IRS Act, authored by Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH), would authorize the IRS to terminate employees who engage in political targeting.  “Political targeting contradicts the very principles this country was founded upon,” Renacci says, “and there is no room for it in our democracy. It will not be tolerated.” No Personal Email for Official IRS Business Days before the revelations regarding former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of personal e-mail for official business, Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-TX) introduced legislation to prevent IRS employees from doing the same.  This wasn’t just a prescient move: Lois Lerner also engaged in the practice, and the IRS has no outright ban on e-mailing outside its network.   Marchant says, “The last thing hardworking taxpayers should have to worry about is the security of their confidential information being compromised due to IRS negligence or abuse.”

An Impartial, Two-Way Process In addition to being freed from one-sided targeting, nonprofit organizations seeking tax-exempt status deserve an impartial application review process.  If your application is turned down, you should be able to directly petition the IRS and get a fair hearing.  Legislation introduced by Rep. Pat Meehan (R-PA) would establish such common-sense protections and, in his words, send  “the clear signal that no American or group of Americans shall be targeted by their IRS for their political views.”

The Right to Know One of the first things we learned about Lois Lerner was that her division shared highly confidential tax-exempt applications with an outside organization.  It also shared confidential information with the FEC.  The Taxpayer Knowledge of IRS Investigations Act, introduced by Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), affords taxpayers the right to know the status of investigations pertaining to their personal information.

No More Indefinite Delays

“Justice delayed is justice denied.” That’s how one retired IRS veteran described the IRS’s treatment of nonprofit organizations that have been waiting years to be granted tax-exempt status without any resolution.  Leaving groups in limbo hurts their ability to recruit members and raise funds.  The IRS Bureaucracy Reduction and Judicial Review Act, authored by Rep. George Holding (R-NC), would allow organizations to declare their tax-exempt status rather than wait for bureaucratic approval.

Fair Treatment For All Gifts

As part of its effort to target Americans for their political beliefs, the IRS has threatened to apply a gift tax to donations to nonprofit organizations.  Rep. Roskam’s Fair Treatment for All Gifts Act will prevent this abuse of power by ensuring that all donations to nonprofit organizations are tax-free.

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Medicare Actuary Confirms “Doc Fix” Bill’s Long-Term Savings for Taxpayers

2015/04/13

On Friday, the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a memo outlining the short-range and long-term financial effects of the House-passed bill (H.R. 2) to strengthen Medicare for seniors and fix the Medicare payment formula for doctors.

Notably, the memo confirms what the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and other experts, such as the American Action Forum’s Douglas Holtz-Eakin, have stated – the House bill will save taxpayers money and put the Medicare program on a more sustainable path.  As we have noted previously, CBO has confirmed that while there is an upfront cost the bill will result in a net deficit reduction by the end of the second decade, and that savings from the structural Medicare reforms “would increase rapidly in the second decade” (though CMS notes it would cost less in the near-term 10-year window than CBO’s estimate).  Moreover, Douglas Holtz-Eakin estimated that the two Medicare reforms in the bill would save $230 billion in the second decade alone.

As for the CMS Actuary memo, here are a few key takeaways as noted by the House Energy & Commerce Committee:

  • Extends the Solvency of the Medicare Program.  “Under the provisions of H.R. 2, the fund would be depleted one year later, in 2031.”
  • Reduces Medicare’s Actuarial Deficit.  “Over the 75-year period, the actuarial deficit would be reduced from the current-law estimate of 0.87 percent of taxable payroll to 0.78 percent under H.R. 2.”

Some critics of the bill have latched onto the Actuary’s conclusion that more than three decades into the future, in 2048, payments to physicians would begin to decline.  But it begs the question: Why worry about payment levels in 2048 when the Medicare program itself will be insolvent by 2031?  That’s like complaining about the drink prices in the bar on the Titanic – after it sank. 

Indeed, the Actuary’s report notes that Medicare’s Hospital Insurance trust fund is scheduled to go bankrupt in 2031.  Long before 2048, and one hopes long before 2031, both parties will need to work to preserve, strengthen, and ultimately solve Medicare’s financial problems to ensure the program is there for generations of seniors to come.  And, of course, any such reform would necessarily take into account physician payments to preserve access and quality for beneficiaries.  The good news is that Republicans have proposed these types of common-sense Medicare reforms for years, including in this year’s House-passed budget.

This reform bill, however, is just the beginning of our efforts.  It represents the first real entitlement reform in decades, and experts have confirmed that it will save taxpayer dollars over the long term.  As Speaker Boehner has said, that’s “a big win for the American people.”

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President Obama Fails to Offer Long-Term Vision for VA Reform

2015/04/13

As media coverage of the administration’s VA scandal reached a crescendo last year, President Obama was said to be “mad as hell” at the deadly mismanagement and secret waiting lists plaguing American military veterans on his watch. If only his actions over the last year had borne that out.

Following the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki in May 2014, House Republican leaders made it clear that it did not address the systemic problems in the department.

“[T]he next VA secretary,” Speaker Boehner said in June, “can only succeed in implementing [dramatic, systemic] change if his boss, the president, first commits to … articulating a vision for sweeping reform.”

The president never did.

Last week, the Associated Press dropped a bombshell:

A year after Americans recoiled at revelations that sick veterans were getting sicker while languishing on waiting lists, VA statistics show that the number of patients facing long waits has not declined, even after Congress gave the department an extra $16.3 billion last summer to shorten waits for care.

Nearly 894,000 medical appointments completed at VA medical facilities from Aug. 1 to Feb. 28 failed to meet the VA's timeliness goal, which calls for patients to be seen within 30 days. Nearly 232,000 of those appointments involved a delay of longer than 60 days.

Since the summer, the number of vets waiting more than 30 or 60 days for non-emergency care has largely stayed flat. The number of medical appointments that take longer than 90 days to complete has nearly doubled. …

[Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan Gibson] acknowledged that the VA has historically been "not very adroit as a bureaucracy" in responding to [problems]. It takes too long to plan and build new clinics when they are needed, he said, and the VA isn't flexible in its ability to reallocate resources to places that need them most.

"We are doing a whole series of things — the right things, I believe — to deal with the immediate issue," Gibson said. "But we need an intermediate term plan that moves us ahead a quantum leap, so that we don't continue over the next three or four years just trying to stay up. We've got to get ahead of demand."

He’s right. House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller also asked the president to outline “a long-term vision for fixing what is clearly a broken system” nearly a year ago.

It was a call Speaker Boehner reiterated again in January, saying, “the system is still broken, and needs to be fundamentally transformed in a way that puts the needs of veterans before the needs of the bureaucracy.  We call on the president to offer a long-term vision for reforming the systemic problems at the VA.  We’ve yet to see it.”

President Obama finally visited the Phoenix VA hospital at the center of the scandal last month, but signs of wide-ranging mismanagement still persist nationwide:

  • In 2012, the VA designated eight million dollars to build 7,000 solar panels in the parking lot of its Little Rock, Arkansas, facility. Also approved for construction in 2012 was a parking garage – for the same location the solar panels were built. They are now being torn down, after never being turned on. (KATV, 4/9/15)
  • One VA official received more than $288,000 in relocation expenses after moving from Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia to head a facility there. (Philly.com, 3/27/15)
  • Whistleblowers’ warnings about over-prescription of pain killers at the Tomah VA Medical Center in Wisconsin were ignored for years, leading to the deaths of many veterans. (USA Today, 3/31/15)
  • Despite claims to the contrary, the Obama administration has not fired 60 VA employees for manipulating wait times. (The Washington Post, 2/18/15)
  • Punishment of whistleblowers remains a major problem at the VA, even though Obama administration officials have pledged to end such retribution. (The Washington Post, 3/5/15)

It’s time for the president to get serious about dealing aggressively with VA mismanagement and keep his promises to veterans. That starts with offering a long-term vision for reforming the troubled department.

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Weekly Address: A Commitment to Fixing the Tax Code & Stopping IRS Abuse

2015/04/12

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Transcript

In this week’s Republican address, Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) previews initiatives the House will take up to provide tax relief for middle-class families and protect hardworking people from IRS abuse.

“Delivering the weekly Republican radio address, Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, said Saturday that his party is committed to fixing the complicated tax code and reining in the Internal Revenue Service. … ‘As Tax Day approaches, Americans need no reminder of how expensive and difficult it is just to be compliant with the law,’ Boustany said. ‘And no agency elicits more frustration and distrust than the Internal Revenue Service.’ Boustany said last week at a town hall meeting in Lafayette a small business owner told him that compliance with IRS rules and regulations costs her nine-person business the equivalent of one worker.” (New Orleans Times-Picayune)

“With tax day fast approaching, Republicans are pushing a ‘taxpayer bill of rights’ that they argue is necessary to rein in the abuses of the Internal Revenue Service.  ‘Next week, the House will act on several initiatives to require more accountability and transparency at the IRS,’ said Louisiana Rep. Charles Boustany in the weekly Republican address on Saturday.” (CBS News)

Republicans are moving to shine a spotlight on the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) targeting of conservative groups in the days leading up to Tax Day this year.   The House will move on measures next week allowing the IRS greater ability to fire employees who used their positions for political ends, Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.) said in the GOP's weekly address. … ‘We must address the people’s misgivings with the IRS itself,’ Boustany said. ‘This agency still operates in the shadow of a scandal in which it admitted to targeting organizations based on their political beliefs.’” (The Hill)

Republicans are also working to fix the nation's complicated tax code, Boustany said.  ‘Today, it’s a volumes-long jumble of outdated provisions held together with Scotch tape and glue,’ Boustany said. ‘That doesn’t help create jobs, and it doesn’t serve the best interests of the American people.’” (Newsmax)

“In this week’s Republican address, Rep. Charles Boustany of Louisana discussed the commitment to bring much-needed transparency and accountability to the Internal Revenue Service.  Boustany also spoke of the need to provide tax relief for middle-class Americans.” (ABC News Radio)

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Weekly Republican Address: Fixing Our Tax Code & Taking on IRS Abuse

2015/04/10

WASHINGTON, DC – Ahead of Tax Day, Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) uses the Weekly Republican Address to highlight Republicans' efforts to fix our tax code for middle-class families and protect hardworking people from IRS abuse. 

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 Charles Boustany of Louisiana Weekly Republican Address April 11, 2015

Hello, I’m Charles Boustany, and I have the great honor of representing Louisiana's Third Congressional District.

Every day, Republicans are listening to the American people and focusing on your priorities.   

Because too often, it seems the administration in charge in Washington doesn’t have your best interests at heart.  It takes more and more money for the government while limiting opportunities for hardworking families.    

Nowhere is this disconnect more pronounced than in our tax code.   As Tax Day approaches, Americans need no reminder of how expensive and difficult it is just to be compliant with the law.  And no agency elicits more frustration and distrust than the Internal Revenue Service.   

Just last week at a town hall meeting in my hometown of Lafayette, Louisiana, a small business owner told me compliance with the IRS alone costs her nine-person business the equivalent of hiring one new worker.  And just think, the president’s budget calls for raising taxes by more than $2 trillion, further squeezing families and small businesses who are trying to make ends meet.   

Republicans are offering a better approach.

First, that means fixing our tax code.  Today, it’s a volumes-long jumble of outdated provisions held together with scotch tape and glue.  That doesn’t help create jobs, and it doesn’t serve the best interests of the American people. 

Second, we must address the people’s misgivings with the IRS itself.  This agency still operates in the shadow of a scandal in which it admitted to targeting organizations based on their political beliefs. The investigation is ongoing – but the IRS still refuses to admit that some of its employees engaged in intentional wrongdoing. To successfully carry out its mission, the IRS must be viewed by the American people as an unbiased arbiter of the law. It cannot do that without coming clean.

Next week, the House will act on several initiatives to require more accountability and transparency at the IRS.  This includes enacting a Taxpayer Bill of Rights complete with common-sense sense steps like requiring the IRS to fire employees that use their position for political purposes, prohibiting the IRS employees from using personal email accounts to conduct official business, and improving access to the courts for groups that feel they’ve been wronged by the IRS.  

We’re also going to act to provide more tax relief for American families.  This is in addition to legislation we’ve already passed to provide permanent tax relief to small businesses, a move that would help create nearly 200,000 jobs. 

Fixing our tax code and reforming the IRS: this is all part of Republicans’ focus on making government address your priorities and work for the people it is it’s elected to serve.

I thank you for listening.

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Rep. Charles Boustany to Deliver the Weekly Republican Address

2015/04/10

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) will deliver the Weekly Republican Address on Saturday, April 11. With Tax Day approaching, Boustany will discuss Republicans’ commitment to providing tax relief for middle-class families and bringing much-needed transparency and accountability to the IRS.

Today, our tax code is a volumes-long jumble of outdated provisions overseen by an agency still operating in the shadow of scandal,” Rep. Boustany said. “As Tax Day approaches, Republicans are focusing on your priorities. That’s why I’m excited to highlight our plan to provide tax relief to working families and to reform the IRS in this week’s Republican Address.”

Rep. Boustany is in his sixth term representing Louisiana’s Third Congressional District.  Learn more about Rep. Boustany by visiting his official website or by following him on Facebook and Twitter.

The Weekly Republican Address will be available nationwide starting Saturday, April 11, at 6:00 am ET on Speaker.gov and GOP.gov.

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Titanic Entitlement Reform

2015/04/10

Something big happened recently.  You might even say it was something titanic.  Republicans and Democrats actually came together to pass meaningful entitlement reform without raising taxes.  Put plainly, it is the single biggest entitlement reform since 1997 – nearly two decades ago.  

That same year, another remarkable event played out:  Titanic came to the big screen.  So to help explain the titanic entitlement reform just passed by the House, here are 10 GIFs from the blockbuster 1997 film.  

(To read the bill or learn more about the details of the long-term savings, visit here.)

1. It’s no secret.  Washington has a spending problem.

2.  You can search for savings everywhere…but ultimately, the biggest driver of our debt is the outdated structure of our entitlement programs.

3.  Unfortunately, today's costs are just the tip of the iceberg compared to what's coming if we don't change course.

4.  Eventually, national debt can flood even the biggest of ships.

5.  For years, Washington has gone round and round to avoid long-term solutions, opting instead for perennial band aids.

6.  The fight for meaningful entitlement reform has been lonely at times...but it's time to face the music.

7.   We owe it to future generations to clean up this mess.

8.  So Democrats and Republicans came together and passed real entitlement reform.

9.  And that is titanic.

10.  There is much more to be done to fully reform and save programs like Medicare, but this breakthrough is more than just a life raft.  It is an important step to begin to right the ship and secure fair winds and calm seas for our children and grandchildren – the future kings and queens of the world.  

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Speaker Boehner Calls on President Obama to Denounce Attacks on Cuban Democracy Leaders

2015/04/09

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today called on President Obama to condemn attacks on a group of Cuban democracy leaders, who were attacked yesterday by supporters of Raul Castro’s communist regime at a peaceful protest in advance of the Summit of the Americas in Panama:

“The assault on Cuban democracy protestors in Panama City, including Jorge Luis García Pérez – who attended the State of the Union as my guest this year – is an outrage and a reminder of the brutal character of the Castro regime.  It raises serious questions about the wisdom of revisiting diplomatic relations with Cuba and removing the country from the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terror while this dictatorship, which practices repression at home and supports violence throughout the region, continues to hold power.  I hope that President Obama, if and when he has a conversation with the Cuban dictator during the Organization of American States summit, will take the opportunity to condemn this violence in the strongest possible terms and reaffirm that the United States should and must always stand on the side of human rights and democracy against Communist tyranny.”

NOTE: One of those Cuban Resistance leaders who was beaten in the Panama attacks was Jorge Luis Garcia Pérez, known as “Antúnez,” who was a guest of Speaker Boehner at the president’s State of the Union address this year.  Antunez is a leader of a non-violent movement for human rights and democracy in Cuba.  He spent more than 17 years in jail as a political prisoner, after being arrested for publicly denouncing the oppressive Castro regime.  Since his release from prison in 2007, Antunez has continued to advocate for the freedoms and rights of all Cubans.  In an interview, Antunez stressed his commitment to this movement, “I think that my faith in the ideas for which I fight never ceased and never will cease. I believe that faith in God and in this just cause which I defend is what helped me survive.” 

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Nation’s Editorials Praise House-Passed Medicare Reform

2015/04/09

Editorials across the country continue to praise House-passed legislation to strengthen the Medicare program and preserve seniors’ access to their doctors, calling the measure “an important marker of progress in the area of entitlement reform.”  The bill permanently replaces Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula with a more stable payment system, preventing cuts to Medicare providers that will otherwise take effect in the near term.  A new round of editorials are calling on the Senate to act: 

  • The Citizens’ Voice: “The Senate Should Pass It” “In that regard, the bill simply ends an annual charade rather than increasing actual costs, since savings that were supposed to begin in 1997 are only on paper.  The compromise represents good work by Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. The Senate should pass it and send it to President Barack Obama, who supports it.”
  • Deseret News: “Important Marker of Progress in the Area of Entitlement Reform” “A strong bipartisan vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to change the way Medicare payments are disbursed may or may not represent a thaw in the stranglehold that has frozen Congress in recent years, but it certainly is an important marker of progress in the area of entitlement reform.”
  • Chicago Tribune: “Take This Step Toward Medicare’s Survival” “Medicare can’t thrive deep into this century without major fiscal surgery. Part of that is finding ways to pay doctors not to do more, but to do better. That’s what this bipartisan legislation does. … Senators, make this your first vote when you return. Take this step toward Medicare’s survival — for today’s seniors, and tomorrow’s.”
  • The Olympian: “Should Be Supported by Both Sides of the Political Aisle” “In theory this year’s agreement would end the yearly drama that requires last-minute votes to avoid automatic cuts in Medicare reimbursements to physicians, which this year were estimated to be about 21 percent.  Cuts that deep would be hardships, if not catastrophic for doctors and patients, especially if fewer doctors were to accept Medicare patients. … Given political realities in the Other Washington, action needs to come quickly, and it should be supported by both sides of the political aisle.”
  • The New York Times: “A Rare Chance to Solve a Long-Festering Problem” “[T]his appears to be a rare chance to solve a long-festering problem, and Congress should approve this bill.”
  • Norwich Bulletin: “A ‘Win for the American People’” “House Speaker John Boehner was right on the money in calling the bipartisan plan a ‘win for the American people’ and the first serious entitlement reform in the last two decades. … It would be tragic if this spirit of cooperation were to whither from inaction. Worse, it would be a travesty to return to the past practices of just kicking the can down the road one more time, especially with a reasonable and responsible compromise on the table.  Providing physicians with a permanent stabilized reimbursement fee structure for health care services is long overdue.”

There’s good reason the House-passed Medicare bill has garnered broad, bipartisan support.  First, it includes two structural Medicare reforms – means testing and Medigap reform – that have long been backed by experts on both sides of the aisle and will put the program on a more sustainable path.  Second, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the measure will result in billions of dollars of savings for taxpayers over the long term – 20, 30, even 40 years down the road.  And third, it puts a stop to one of Washington’s perennial budget gimmicks – the SGR formula – that has been patched 17 times over the last 11 years and created a significant amount of uncertainty for Medicare providers.   It is an important step toward broader entitlement reform and, having passed the House by an overwhelming margin, deserves Senate approval as well.

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House Democrats Reject President’s Demand that Congress Rubber-Stamp Any Deal with Iran

2015/04/08

When President Obama announced an agreement on a framework for a potential deal with Iran regarding its nuclear program, he attempted to characterize any opposition to it as partisan politics. This, of course, is nonsense.

Concerns in Congress – as well as support for a Senate bill that would require Congressional approval of any final deal – are both broad and bipartisan.

Indeed, numerous House Democrats have made it clear that war is not the only alternative to a bad deal, rejecting President Obama’s false choice and reiterating the responsibility that Congress has to review and approve any agreement with Iran:

  • Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), House Foreign Affairs Committee ranking member: “As I’ve said again and again, no deal is better than a bad deal, and we need to ensure that this agreement forecloses any pathway to a bomb.”
  • Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL): “Our job in Congress is to hold the Administration to its promise that no deal is better than a bad deal as the details of this initial framework are hammered out.”
  • Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL): “I greet any deal with Iran with great skepticism given its deceptive history and ongoing destabilizing and dangerous activities. I remain deeply concerned as to how a number of issues have been addressed in the framework and may be addressed in a final agreement. … I look forward to a full and frank discussion with the Administration on these issues and the questions the framework leaves open, specifically including the necessary role Congress must play going forward.”

Deutch elaborated on this point to The Hill, which reported similar sentiments from even more House Democrats:

“Last week’s framework contemplates action by the United Nations Security Council,” Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee’s subpanel on the Middle East, said Tuesday in an email. “Surely if U.N. Security Council members should have a vote on sanctions relief, members of the United States Congress should as well.” …

Highlighting the party split … even some members of Pelosi’s leadership team are bucking the White House in calling for a congressional vote on final approval.

“I’ve been skeptical about a deal with Iran,” Rep. Steve Israel (N.Y.), head of the Democrats’ communications arm and a close Pelosi ally, said in response to the framework. “The details deserve and must get a vote by the U.S. Congress.”

Rep. Nita Lowey (N.Y.), the Democrats’ top appropriator, has also voiced skepticism about the framework deal and suggested Congress should play a role in its final approval.

“Congress was the driving force in enacting the crippling sanctions that brought Iran to the negotiating table, and Rep. Lowey believes Congress continues to have an indispensable role in shaping an agreement that verifiably prevents Iran from developing nuclear weapons,” spokesman Matt Dennis said Tuesday, stopping short of endorsing legislation.

Sponsored by Corker, who is chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, the Senate bill would grant Congress 60 days to debate the Iran agreement before allowing lawmakers to vote on its final approval. …

Corker and the Republicans recently got a big boost when Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the third-ranking Senate Democrat who is likely to become Senate Democratic leader in 2017, endorsed the proposal.

“I strongly believe Congress should have the right to disapprove any agreement and I support the Corker bill which would allow that to occur,” Schumer said in a statement.

Sure to bolster such beliefs is President Obama’s troubling admission that after the administration-negotiated framework expires, Iran would have the capabilities to build a nuclear bomb almost immediately.

As Speaker Boehner noted yesterday, President Obama “confirmed exactly what critics of the deal have argued: his ‘deal’ would pave the way for a nuclear-armed Iran in the near future. … It is clear that this ‘deal’ is a direct threat to peace and security of the region and the world.”  

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Incentives to Save, Work Hard, and Invest in the Future

2015/04/08

As part of our focus on the people’s priorities, Republicans are committed to creating more incentives for Americans to save, work hard, and invest in the future.

One example of our approach is the ABLE Act.  Signed into law in December, this initiative will allow millions of Americans with disabilities to create savings accounts of their own.  Nebraska’s Beatrice Daily Sun reports:

Special accounts would allow disabled adults to save for future.  Spencer Mitchell likes to work ‘in a way,’ he says wryly, grinning and shooting a sideways glance. … But Spencer Mitchell can't save much. He isn't allowed to.

“A bill gaining support in the Legislature would allow adults with intellectual disabilities and their families to place as much as $100,000 into special saving accounts, similar to 529 college savings plans, to use for qualified expenses without counting against the $2,000 limit. …

“Spencer Mitchell is a perfect example of someone who could benefit … said David Rowe, a Lincoln attorney who specializes in estate planning for families of disabled people. ‘Where it's going to be ideal is where you have an individual who earns some money and has a real strong drive to be independent,’ he said. ‘There’s a sense of self dignity … that I think is an important value that will be served by the ABLE account.’

“Congress passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience, or ABLE, Act last year, allowing states to set up their own ABLE account systems.

These accounts are indeed similar to 529 plans, which we’ve also proposed expanding to help middle-class families.  More from USA TODAY:

“H.R. 529, passed recently by the House, would allow families to use 529s to pay for more educational expenses with their 529 savings, most importantly, computers, according to Betty Lochner, chair of the College Savings Plans Network, which advocates for legislation that would positively affect 529 plans. When 529s were introduced as a savings option over 20 years ago, computers weren't necessary for college students. Now that they are, the bill aims to update the savings plan.  The bill would also allow for money used for tuition not to be taxed if a student has to leave partway through a semester because of illness or other serious personal reasons. Currently, that money would be taxed once it's no longer used for a full semester's tuition.”

You may recall that in January the president proposed taxing 529 plans, taking that money from hardworking families to pay for more government.  This is a good example of his approach, one that has left middle-class families “doing even worse than you think.

From ABLE accounts to 529 plans, we’re focused on encouraging success and helping middle-class families plan ahead for the future.

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Speaker Boehner on President Obama's Admission Regarding Iran's Nuclear Weapon Capabilities

2015/04/07

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today responded to President Obama's admission to NPR News that after the administration-negotiated framework expires, Iran would have the capabilities to build a nuclear bomb almost immediately.  This, of course, assumes that Iran, one of the world’s foremost state sponsors of terror, actually complies with the agreement.  Speaker Boehner issued the following statement in response:

"President Obama himself today confirmed exactly what critics of the deal have argued: his ‘deal’ would pave the way for a nuclear-armed Iran in the near future.  The Iranian regime has consistently taken a long-view on its regional – indeed global – ambitions of exporting its revolution.  After multiple evasions of international inspections to date, no one should believe that the proposed inspections and verification are bullet-proof.  It is clear that this ‘deal’ is a direct threat to peace and security of the region and the world."

President Obama himself today confirmed exactly what critics of the #IranDeal have argued: http://t.co/b0Tt6n2hEK #Iran

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) April 7, 2015
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Why Did Secretary Clinton Keep Her Benghazi Emails Hidden?

2015/04/03

In the wake of new revelations last month that President Obama’s first Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, used only a personal email account hosted on a private server to conduct official government business, Speaker Boehner and Select Committee on Benghazi Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) called for Secretary Clinton to turn over her server to an independent, neutral, third-party arbiter who could determine which emails belonged to U.S. taxpayers and should be maintained as public records according to the law. Many members of the news media agreed that this would be a fair way to ensure transparency and accountability.

Last Friday, however, Secretary Clinton’s lawyer informed Chairman Gowdy that there was no need to turn over the server, because all of her emails from her time as Secretary of State had been erased. In other words, any Benghazi-related emails or documents she unilaterally chose not to give to the State Department have been deleted.

“[I]t appears she made the decision [to wipe her server] after October 28, 2014, when the Department of State for the first time asked the Secretary to return her public record to the Department,” Chairman Gowdy said.

As the Washington Examiner has detailed, this is the latest example of Secretary Clinton and the Obama State Department obstructing and delaying appropriate congressional oversight. From just after the September 2012 attack in Libya, all the way to August 2014, the administration defied multiple subpoenas and requests, never providing Congress with “a single email to or from Clinton” regarding Benghazi. It was only after the Benghazi Select Committee forced the State Department to obtain her emails that less than 10 were turned over. These revealed her private email account. It took yet another committee request to receive an additional 850 pages of relevant emails in February this year – meaning that she withheld important information for nearly two and a half years.

To recap: Secretary Clinton took unprecedented steps to set up a private email account and ensure her employer, the U.S. government, did not have possession of any of her work-related emails. When Congress issued a subpoena for Benghazi-related documents, she did not comply.  When the State Department, at the request of the Benghazi Select Committee, asked her late last year to turn over all of her work emails – public records according to the law – she and her lawyers alone decided which emails to provide. Then they destroyed everything – including roughly 30,000 other messages.

You would never guess, but this is the same Secretary Clinton who tweeted last month, “I want the public to see my email.” That’s an absurd statement given the facts.

This is also the same Secretary Clinton who:

  • Still has not said whether she signed a routine form certifying that she turned over all official records and emails to the federal government at the end of her employment, as required. A State Department spokeswoman said they’re “fairly certain she did not.” What’s Secretary Clinton’s side of the story?
  • Claimed she used a single, personal email address for work because she didn’t want to carry more than one device. The Associated Press reported this week that she “e-mailed her staff on an iPad as well as a BlackBerry while secretary of state.”
  • Assured the public in a news conference that she “did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material.” This week, Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), a member of the Benghazi Select Committee, contradicted Secretary Clinton, saying, “All of her official emails should be released to the American people. ... There are going to be some that are classified and those that are classified—then show those to a bipartisan group of members of Congress.”
  • Justified her actions by noting that “the vast majority of my work emails went to government employees at their government addresses, which meant they were captured and preserved immediately on the system at the State Department.” We now know that she knew this was never true, because at least four of her top aides also used private Clinton-provided email accounts to correspond with her.

So what’s next in the search for the truth about Benghazi?

The subpoena for Secretary Clinton’s emails issued last month by the Select Committee still stands, and as Chairman Gowdy reiterated in a letter to her lawyer this week, she should still allow a neutral, independent third-party to inspect the server and identify information relevant to the investigation.

“[E]xperts,” according to Politico, “say the messages she deleted from it — or at least portions of them — can almost certainly be recovered” since “permanent deletion is extremely difficult to achieve[.]”

Gowdy also requested that she appear before the Select Committee by May 1 “for a transcribed interview to better understand decisions the Secretary made relevant to the creation, maintenance, retention, and ultimately deletion of public records.”

Secretary Clinton’s extreme secrecy, inaccurate and misleading statements, and the fact that she has gone so far out of her way to hide information from investigators and the public begs the question: why?

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Nice Try

2015/04/03

President Obama wants to cover his own backside if Americans refuse to support his emerging nuclear deal with Iran. So what does he do? Try to blame any objections on partisan politics. 

“If Congress kills this deal -- not based on expert analysis, and without offering any reasonable alternative -- then it’s the United States that will be blamed for the failure of diplomacy,” the president said. “International unity will collapse, and the path to conflict will widen.”

In reality, if a final agreement isn’t reached, it will be because:

  • The White House abandoned its initial goals for the negotiations and struck a deal that lifted sanctions while allowing Iran to keep its nuclear program. The administration entered negotiations claiming that a final deal could be completed that affirms Iran does not have a right to enrich and permanently and irreversibly dismantles the infrastructure of its uranium and plutonium nuclear programs. Instead the White House eased its demands again and again.
  • Bipartisan members of Congress – and the American people – don’t believe the emerging deal will prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. “Democrats… say they fear the deal will leave Iran with nuclear weapons capabilities, thereby threatening allies like Israel and further destabilizing the region,” reports The Hill.  A recent Washington Post/ABC News survey found that 59 percent of Americans don’t believe the emerging agreement will prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon. And at least 11 Senate Democrats have signaled they will join Republicans in supporting legislation that would give Congress 60 days to review – and ultimately approve or reject – any agreement. 

The American people and bipartisan members of Congress have real, substantive concerns about the administration’s emerging nuclear deal with Iran.

If the president was truly confident he's on the path to a good agreement, he wouldn’t be presenting false choices, questioning people’s personal motives, or playing the blame game. He’d be making a clear, detailed case for the emerging agreement, and encouraging Congress and the American people to fully review it.  

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Boehner Delegation Completes Meetings With Key Partners in the Middle East and Europe

2015/04/03

WASHINGTON, DC – After a visit to Naval Station Rota in Spain, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and a delegation of senior lawmakers have completed a week of meetings with key partners in the Middle East and Europe.  The spread of radical Islam and Iran’s rising influence were the focus of the delegation’s discussions.   “The United States is fortunate to have allies that recognize the importance of our partnerships and the gravity of the threats we face.  We owe it to our allies, and our people, to articulate a real, overarching strategy to defeat this enemy.   This problem is growing faster than we can solve it, and American leadership is vital to closing the gap.  For now, on behalf of our delegation and our constituents, let me thank all those who took the time to warmly welcome us.”

The Speaker’s delegation included Reps. Ken Calvert (R-CA), Tom Cole (R-OK), Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), George Holding (R-NC), John Kline (R-MN), Devin Nunes (R-CA), Martha Roby (R-AL), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and Mike Simpson (R-ID).

Visit Speaker.gov for additional background on the delegation, and releases on its discussions: 

  • United Kingdom“Right now, as has so often been the case, it isn’t just American leadership that the world needs – it’s Western leadership, too.”
  • Jordan“America’s ability to lead in the world depends on Jordan’s ability to lead in the Middle East, and we could not ask for a more solid partner.”
  • Iraq“Iraq is a young democracy, but the United States was a young democracy once too, and we know that it takes vigilance and leadership to make it work and endure.”
  • Saudi Arabia“The Saudis live in a tough neighborhood, but they have strong leaders who are giving no quarter to violent extremists and the states that back them.”
  • Israel: “We came here to express Congress’s unwavering commitment to our friendship with Israel.  We leave with a renewed commitment to make the strong bonds between our countries even stronger.”

Go behind the scenes with the delegation by following Speaker Boehner on Medium.

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“This bill is a big deal”

2015/04/03

Last week, the House passed legislation that permanently replaces Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula with a more stable payment system that will ensure seniors’ access to their doctor and save taxpayers billions.  The measure also represents the first major entitlement reform in decades, with two structural changes – means testing and Medigap reform – that will strengthen the Medicare program and put it on a more sustainable path. 

“The bill is a big deal” Valley News writes, along with numerous other editorial boards that are praising the measure:

  • Akron Beacon Journal: “Involves Actual Problem-Solving” “This isn’t compromise legislation that merely splits differences. The bill involves actual problem-solving. … Speaker Boehner described the legislation as the end of ‘one of Washington’s most infamous budget gimmicks.’  It is that, and much more, in particular, the changes to Medicare, including modest premium increases for higher-income recipients, pointing to responsible entitlement reform. Mostly, this is about sound legislating, the give and take that finds both sides gaining, along with the country as a whole.”
  • Valley News: “The Bill Is a Big Deal” “The bill is a big deal, especially because it fixes a perplexing problem that has bedeviled Congress for years. It replaces the current broken system of Medicare physician payments with one that rewards quality of care instead of the volume of services provided. This has long been a goal of health care reformers who seek to encourage better care at lower costs, and provides a measure of much-needed predictability to the provider payment system.”
  • Tampa Bay Times: “Would Put the Program on More Solid Ground” “The sweeping Medicare bill the U.S. House approved last week accomplished two big things: It would put the program on more solid ground, and it demonstrated what Congress can achieve when it works in a bipartisan fashion. … These reforms will bring a level of certainty to doctors and patients, and they create a better path to preventive health care. They also will focus the health care industry on quality instead of volume, which is important for Medicare as the nation's population ages.”
  • Miami Herald: “Holy Grail in the Realm of Healthcare” “The bill, which passed the House by a vote of 392-37, is a kind of Holy Grail in the realm of healthcare. It changes the way doctors are paid for treating Medicare patients, permanently blocking payment cuts that, all sides agree, are unfair to everyone involved.”
  • San Jose Mercury News: “Crucial Health Care Legislation” “House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi compromised on crucial health care legislation last week for the good of all Americans, and the deal actually passed by a resounding 392-37 vote.”
  • Tampa Bay Tribune: “Will Result in Better Outcomes for Millions of Patients” “Known as the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, the bill ends the game Congress played each year when calculating the fees doctors are paid under Medicare. … eliminating the flawed formula that caused the annual short-term fix, and putting in place some guarantees for doctors, health associations and hospitals, will result in better outcomes for millions of patients.”

In remarks on the House floor last week, Boehner touted the measure as part of a larger effort to address the major drivers of our debt, saying “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.”  And while the bill makes some critical, substantive reforms, Boehner also reiterated the need for further action: “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.

Learn more:

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Speaker Boehner on the March 2015 Unemployment Report

2015/04/03

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

“While it’s welcome news that more Americans found jobs last month, millions remain out of work and middle-class families continue to struggle.  Economic growth is uneven at best, and the number of Americans in the labor market is hovering near 30-year lows.  What’s worse, the president’s own budget would raise taxes on millions of working families and make it even harder for small businesses to grow.

“The House continues focusing on Americans’ top priorities, passing bill after bill to fuel stronger growth and help the economy create more jobs.  President Obama has done nothing but stand in the way, most recently vetoing a measure that would protect the rights of small businesses and workers.  Americans expect their leaders to work together to advance solutions to the problems they face.  We will continue to do so, and I once again urge the president to do the same.”

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Putting Medicare on a Sounder Financial Footing – Part 2

2015/04/02

Yesterday in this space we highlighted one of the structural entitlement reforms to Medicare that would strengthen the program and put it on a sounder financial footing.  This reform was included in legislation passed overwhelmingly by the House last week to permanently fix the Medicare payment formula for doctors, strengthen Medicare for seniors, and save money for taxpayers – “a big win for the American people.”

Today we’re highlighting the second structural Medicare reform in the bill – a reform to private insurance plans (often called “Medigap” plans) that help pay for costs Medicare doesn’t cover, like co-payments and deductibles.  This reform would limit first dollar coverage for certain Medigap plans to encourage beneficiaries to think more like consumers when it comes to their health care and discourage unnecessary doctor visits – all of which will reduce health costs over the long term.

This reform has long received bipartisan support, and just like the means-testing reforms we discussed yesterday, it has been the subject of discussion in multiple bipartisan negotiations since 2011.  Here’s what some Washington, D.C.-based groups have said in the past about Medigap reform:

  • The Heritage Foundation’s Robert Moffit and Alyene Senger: “Congress should rearrange the relationship between Medigap or supplemental coverage and traditional Medicare to limit supplemental coverage of ‘first-dollar’ coverage. This would reduce excessive utilization among beneficiaries that drives up Medicare costs and adds to premium costs for both taxpayers and beneficiaries. Such a structural change should also add protection from catastrophic costs for seniors, which traditional Medicare does not currently provide.” (1/21/15)
  • American Enterprise Institute’s Thomas P. Miller: “The cleaner and less complicated way to deal with the distortions of supplemental insurance for traditional Medicare enrollees is to set regulatory boundaries on what either individual Medigap plans or employer-sponsored retiree plans can cover.” (3/28/13)
  • The Brookings Institution’s Mark B. McClellan, Keith Fontenot, Alice M. Rivlin & Erica Socker:  “Reform Medicare supplemental insurance (Medigap) to eliminate first-dollar coverage. Supplemental Medigap coverage that eliminates all Medicare cost sharing (say, below 10 percent up to an out-of-pocket limit) could be prohibited, or alternatively, beneficiaries who choose such coverage could pay a fee that reflects the impact of their ‘first-dollar’ coverage on overall Medicare costs. If implemented immediately, this reform could save over $50 billion or more over 10 years, though we recommend phasing it in. This reform would also significantly reduce Medigap premiums paid by the average beneficiary by more than their out-of-pocket payments would increase. Thus, it would lower the overall amount the average beneficiary pays for health care and continue to protect beneficiaries against high out-of-pocket costs.” (2/14/14)
  • Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget: “These policies, particularly the Medigap reform, would discourage over-utilization of health care, therefore producing federal savings. An analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that such a proposal would also make beneficiaries, on average, better off.” (4/9/14)

The legislation represents the first real entitlement reform in decades.  Together, the means testing and Medigap reforms, along with the permanent fix to the Medicare payment formula for doctors, will bring more competition to the program, reduce Medicare spending, and bend the cost curve over the long term.  At we noted yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) confirmed that the House bill will save taxpayers money and put the Medicare program on a more sustainable path.  Notably, it said that savings from the structural reforms “would increase rapidly in the [second] decade.”  Everyone knows that additional reforms are necessary to save the Medicare program over the long term, but this House-passed measure is an essential first step, and it sets the stage for further reforms in the future to help seniors and taxpayers.

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Speaker Boehner Statement on Iran Nuclear Talks

2015/04/02

WASHINGTON, DC - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement in response to the president’s remarks on the Iran nuclear talks: 

“The president says negotiators have cleared the basic threshold needed to continue talks, but the parameters for a final deal represent an alarming departure from the White House’s initial goals. My longtime concerns about the parameters of this potential agreement remain, but my immediate concern is the administration signaling it will provide near-term sanctions relief.  Congress must be allowed to fully review the details of any agreement before any sanctions are lifted.

“After visiting with our partners on the ground in the Middle East this week, my concerns about Iran’s efforts to foment unrest, brutal violence and terror have only grown. It would be naïve to suggest the Iranian regime will not continue to use its nuclear program, and any economic relief, to further destabilize the region.  

“In the weeks ahead, Republicans and Democrats in Congress will continue to press this administration on the details of these parameters and the tough questions that remain unanswered. We will stand strong on behalf of the American people and everyone in the Middle East who values freedom, security, and peace.”  

The parameters for a final #Iran deal represent an alarming departure from the White House’s initial goals http://t.co/lzUfTEzGUk #IranTalks

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) April 2, 2015
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In Israel, Boehner Delegation Underscores Cooperation & Common Threats

2015/04/02

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Appreciated the opportunity to visit Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - בנימין נתניהו in Israel yesterday. As he said...

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Thursday, April 2, 2015

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and a delegation of senior lawmakers have completed a visit to Israel, where they stressed the common bonds between the United States and Israel and the common threats the two countries face.

The delegation began the day with a tour of Hamas terror tunnels on the Gaza border with Gen. Sami Turgeman, commander of the IDF Southern Command.  After a working lunch with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, lawmakers met with U.S. Ambassador Daniel Shapiro and Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon.

Similar to the delegation’s visits to Iraq, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, discussions here focused on the threat of violent extremism and Iran’s rising influence in the region. 

Speaker Boehner issued the following statement on the delegation’s visit to Israel: 

“The United States and Israel share the same values and the same interests, none more pressing than defending ourselves against grave and growing threats.  In our talks here, we delved into the increasing polarization in the region and the spread of radical Islam.  At the Hamas tunnels in Gaza, we saw the security challenges the Israeli people face every day, and the importance of backing missile defense.  In our discussions about the Palestinians’ entry into the International Criminal Court, we saw how Israels right to defend itself faces yet another challenge.  We came here to express Congress’s unwavering commitment to our friendship with Israel.  We leave with a renewed commitment to make the strong bonds between our countries even stronger.”

The delegation joining Speaker Boehner in the Middle East is made up of senior lawmakers charged with oversight of the United States’ efforts to defeat the terrorist threat and support our partners in the region:

  • Rep. John Kline (R-MN) is chairman of the House Education & the Workforce Committee and a member of the House Armed Services Committee.
  • Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) is chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
  • Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) is chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East & North Africa and a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. 
  • Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) is chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.
  • Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) is chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, & Human Services, and a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.
  • Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) is chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.
  • Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) is chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy & Water.
  • Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) is a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction & Veterans Affairs.
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Meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - בנימין נתניהו in Israel this week and visited the Gaza border with Israel Defense Forces.

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday, April 1, 2015
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Top 12 Photos from March

2015/04/01

1. Welcoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to the U.S. Capitol.

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2. Signing bipartisan legislation awarding a Congressional Gold Medal to the foot soldiers of the Selma to Montgomery marches of 1965. 

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3.  Greeting the president and vice president before the annual, non-partisan Friends of Ireland luncheon at the U.S. Capitol.

 

This #StPatricksDay, in the spirit of the Irish, it was an honor to welcome the President, @VP and Prime Minister Kenny of #Ireland to the @uscapitol. We are all #FriendsOfIreland

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

Mar 17, 2015 at 2:23pm PDT

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4.  Chatting with cadets from the West Point Military Academy.

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Appreciate the cadets of West Point - The U.S. Military Academy and their service to our nation.

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday, March 24, 2015

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5.  Marking the 25th anniversary of Václav Havel's address to Congress in Freedom Foyer of the U.S. Capitol.

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6. Presenting legendary golfer and philanthropist Jack Nicklaus with a Congressional Gold Medal.

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7.  Filling out a March Madness basketball bracket.

The bracket is complete. Looking forward to a great #MarchMadness.

A photo posted by Speaker John Boehner (@speakerboehner) on Mar 18, 2015 at 4:47pm PDT

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8.  Approving legislation that would protect American workers from union bosses that try to conduct ambush elections and collect personal information without consent.

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9.  Hosting President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan for a joint meeting of Congress.

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10.  Talking with Dana Bash of CNN about the passage of legislation to strengthen Medicare, foreign policy and the threat posed by Iran, and more.

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11.  Traveling abroad in England.

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12.  Taking a selfie with students from the University of Florida. 

 

#SelfieSunday with #UF students

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

Mar 29, 2015 at 6:00am PDT

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Putting Medicare on a Sounder Financial Footing – Part 1

2015/04/01

Last week, the House overwhelmingly passed common-sense legislation to permanently fix the Medicare payment formula for doctors, strengthen Medicare for seniors, and save money for taxpayers – “a big win for the American people.”

Notably, the legislation represents the first real entitlement reform in decades.  One of the structural Medicare reforms in the bill would ask higher-income seniors to pay a little more for their premiums for Parts B and D.   As Ways & Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) noted in his Washington Examiner op-ed, “we’d ask the wealthy to contribute more to their care – something we have called for in the House Republican budget for years.  Starting in 2018, seniors who make more than $133,000 a year would pay a higher premium for their doctor and prescription-drug coverage.”

This reform has long received bipartisan support, and indeed it has been the subject of discussion in multiple bipartisan negotiations since 2011.  Here’s what some Washington, D.C.-based groups have said in the past about this means-testing reform:

  • CATO Institute’s Michael F. Cannon: “Bill Gates can and should be required to pay more than 36 percent of the cost of his future Medicare coverage.  Mere millionaires can and should pay more than 13 percent. Because seniors are already getting far more than their fair share from Medicare, broader means-testing would be more equitable than raising taxes on current workers.” (undated)
  • The Brookings Institution’s Kavita Patel & The Heritage Foundation’s Robert E. Moffit: “Exactly what constitutes a reasonable income threshold for wealthy seniors to begin paying more for Medicare benefits, thus easing the burden on taxpayers, is a prudent question. But a lower threshold, depending on its design, could result in significant and permanent Medicare savings.” (12/4/14)
  • The Heritage Foundation’s Robert E. Moffit and Alyene Senger: “Today’s upper-income thresholds for Medicare premium increases are very high, and will be indexed to inflation beginning in 2020. There is an emerging bipartisan consensus that taxpayers’ subsidies should be reduced for the wealthiest Medicare recipients and that upper-income recipients should be required to pay more for their health benefits, though there remain differences on where the income threshold should be set.  Depending on the design of the reform, such a policy change could result in significant, and permanent, Medicare savings.” (1/21/15)
  • Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget: “Currently, most Medicare beneficiaries pay an annual premium equal to about a quarter of the costs of Medicare Part B and Part D – with higher earners paying more. These premiums could be increased across-the-board or could be further ‘means-tested’ so that higher earners would contribute a larger share than they do today.” (6/27/12)

This reform, along with the permanent fix to the Medicare payment formula for doctors, will bring more competition to the program, reduce Medicare spending, and bend the cost curve over the long term.  Indeed, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) confirmed that the House bill will save taxpayers money and put the Medicare program on a more sustainable path.  Notably, it said that savings from the reform “would increase rapidly in the [second] decade.”  Yes, more reforms are necessary to save the Medicare program over the long term, but this House-passed measure is an essential first step, and it sets the stage for further reforms in the future to help seniors and taxpayers.

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Boehner in Israel: "The Bonds Between Our Two Nations Are Strong"

2015/04/01

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL -- House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) delivered the following remarks today at a media availability with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “Mr. Prime Minister, let me just say how happy I am to be in Israel.  Our delegation has spent the last five days throughout the Middle East. Regardless of where in the Middle East we've been, the message has been the same: you can't continue to turn your eye away from the threats that face all of us.  As you said, the bonds between the United States and Israel are as strong as ever.

“Our two countries cooperate on many different levels. And while we may have political disagreements from time to time, the bonds between our two nations are strong, and they're going to continue to be strong. It's been an historic trip, and frankly, it’s an historic opportunity to be here in Israel at this time. And, let me take a moment to say congratulations on your re-election.” NOTE: Speaker Boehner and a delegation of senior lawmakers are meeting with key allies in the Middle East to discuss the threats posed by violent extremism and Iran's rising influence in the region.

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Appreciated the opportunity to visit Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - בנימין נתניהו in Israel yesterday. As he said...

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Thursday, April 2, 2015
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Boehner Delegation Meets With Saudi Leaders on ISIL & Iranian-Backed Violence

2015/03/31

RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and a delegation of senior committee leaders were in Saudi Arabia’s capital on Tuesday to continue a series of visits with key allies in the Middle East.  

In meetings with Saudi Interior Minister Mohammad bin Naif and Saudi Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman, lawmakers expressed appreciation for the historic partnership between the two countries.  Talks focused on our efforts to address the threats posed by ISIL and Iran’s rising influence in the region.  Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition of Arab states in a campaign against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. 

ISIL and Iran were also the top topics of discussion during the delegation’s meetings in Jordan and Iraq.

Speaker Boehner issued the following statement on Tuesday’s meetings in Saudi Arabia:

“Our friendly and historic partnership with Saudi Arabia is the linchpin of America’s interests in the Middle East.  Today, we expressed our appreciation and full support for the campaign the Saudis are leading to defeat the Houthis in Yemen.  Looking at the trends of instability and violence in the region, we also discussed the need for an overarching strategy to defeat the terrorist threat.  The Saudis live in a tough neighborhood, but they have strong leaders who are giving no quarter to violent extremists and the states that back them.  We are grateful for the opportunity to meet amid the tumult of events.”

Speaker Boehner’s delegation in the Middle East is made up of senior lawmakers charged with oversight of the United States’ efforts to defeat the terrorist threat and support our partners in the region:

  • Rep. John Kline (R-MN) is chairman of the House Education & the Workforce Committee and a member of the House Armed Services Committee.
  • Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) is chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
  • Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) is chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East & North Africa and a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. 
  • Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) is chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.
  • Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) is chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, & Human Services, and a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.
  • Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) is chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.
  • Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) is chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy & Water.
  • Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) is a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction & Veterans Affairs.
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The Payday Loan President

2015/03/31

To hear President Obama tell it, if workers and families just give more of their money to the federal government to spend, bureaucrats and politicians will be able to make “investments” and improve the future. Trains will run faster and college will be free. The only thing standing in the way of utopia, the president says, is Republicans.

This was his message last Thursday in Alabama, where he touted what he calls “middle-class economics” and objected to students being “burdened with debt.” He also criticized predatory lenders, saying, “you don’t need to be a math genius to know that it’s a pretty bad deal if you’re borrowing $500 and you have to pay back $1,000 in interest.” He went on to equate “not spending beyond your means” with being “responsible,” and said “we need to be teaching young people the dangers of taking out too much consumer debt.”

All good sentiments. But why then has he proposed a debt-heavy, tax-and-spend budget that has more in common with the payday lending he criticized than fiscal responsibility?

Simply put, President Obama’s budget would spend more than it takes in – forever. It would never balance, and the increased spending and higher interest costs would further trap Americans “in a cycle of debt,” which is exactly what he warned against in Alabama. Already, each citizen’s share of the national debt stands at more than $56,000, and his plan would increase it.  Just the interest on the national debt alone would cost nearly $1 trillion in his second term, and $5.4 trillion over the next 10 years. That’s way more than the federal government spends on everything in just one year now. Of course, President Obama says we must continue running deficits and spending on “investments” because they “pay off many times over.” And he dismisses Republicans’ balanced budget because it wouldn’t “invest” enough.

But that’s not what he thought in 2006:

“[T]he cost of our debt is one of the fastest growing expenses in the Federal budget. This rising debt is a hidden domestic enemy, robbing our cities and states of critical investments in infrastructure … robbing our families and our children of critical investments …. Every dollar we pay in interest is a dollar that is not going to investment in America’s priorities. Instead, interest payments are a significant tax on all Americans—a debt tax that Washington doesn’t want to talk about.”

Or what he said as president in 2011:

“We have to live within our means. We have to reduce our deficit, and we have to get back on a path that will allow us to pay down our debt. … Ultimately, all this rising debt will cost us jobs and damage our economy. It will prevent us from making the investments we need to win the future. We won’t be able to afford good schools, new research, or the repair of roads – all the things that create new jobs and businesses here in America. Businesses will be less likely to invest and open shop in a country that seems unwilling or unable to balance its books.”

So as Senator Obama might inform President Obama, you don’t need to be a math genius to know his budget is a pretty bad deal. In Alabama he criticized businesses who encourage people to “borrow money to pay for the money you already borrowed,” but that’s his budget in a nutshell.

In contrast, the budget passed by Republicans actually balances, giving more Americans the opportunity to succeed without being burdened by massive debt. It would boost American energy and private sector job creation, while repealing ObamaCare and preventing tax hikes. That’s what real “middle-class economics” looks like

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Reforming the Flawed DOD Acquisitions System

2015/03/31

In remarks at the Center for Strategic & International Studies last week, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) outlined a framework for defense acquisition reform focused on ensuring our military has the agility and the technological edge it needs to respond to the evolving security threats we face.  Drawing from several hearings and extensive stakeholder input, Chairman Thornberry’s proposals target four key areas for reform.  Here’s more from his remarks:

  • People: “We would remove some of the obstacles that make it more difficult for top military talent to serve in acquisition and make permanent the Defense Acquisition Workforce Development Fund to help it be used more effectively. We would also require training on the commercial market including commercial market research to help close the gap between government and industry. And we require specific ethics training for acquisition.”
  • Acquisition Strategy: “We would require every program start out with an acquisition strategy. It has to be in writing, and it has to be done up front then updated as needed. This strategy would consolidate at least six other requirements and must include the most appropriate type of contract for that acquisition.”
  • Streamline the Chain of Command: “A number of requirements on Milestone A and B would move from legal certifications to simple decisions. … The draft will raise the dollar thresholds on a number of authorities, such as simplified acquisition, to make it easier for service chiefs, base commanders, and others to get things done. And we make clear that the role of the testing community is to test and advise, not to decide.”
  • Thin Out Regulations & Paperwork: “In fact there will be dozens of reporting requirements that would be eliminated.”

“The legislation is the product of lengthy committee study of the Pentagon acquisition system, which officials and lawmakers of both parties agree too often churns out weapons far over budget and behind schedule — or leads the services to cancel them,” Defense News reports.  Responding to the challenges of a constrained fiscal environment, and recognizing the need to make every taxpayer dollar count, Thornberry’s proposal “seeks to consolidate complicated processes and train an acquisition workforce that can be held more accountable,” according to the Washington Times.  “These factors—more threats and tighter budgets—make it more important than ever that we squeeze greater value out of existing defense spending,” says Concerned Veterans for America CEO Pete Hegseth, calling the measure “a very important step in the right direction.”

“The broken acquisition system is contributing to the loss of our military’s technological edge. I hope that by streamlining the process, improving accountability, and eliminating outdated regulations, we can start to get some of that edge back,” says Thornberry. “Ultimately, this acquisition reform must make the system more proactive, agile, transparent, and innovative.”

Learn more about the Agile Acquisition to Retain Technological Edge Act (H.R. 1597) here, and follow the House Armed Services Committee on Facebook and Twitter for more updates.

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Boehner: President’s Ambush Elections Veto an Assault on Worker Rights

2015/03/31

WASHINGTON, DC – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio), Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.) and Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) denounced President Obama’s veto today of their Congressional Review Act joint resolution to stop the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from implementing its “ambush election” rule.

Under the Congressional Review Act, the House and Senate can vote on a joint resolution of disapproval to stop, with the full force of law, a federal agency from implementing a rule or regulation or issuing a substantially similar regulation without congressional authorization. The resolution passed the House on March 19 by a vote of 232 to 186, after passing the Senate last month by a vote of 53-46.

“The President’s partisan veto will further empower powerful political bosses at the expense of the rights of middle-class workers,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “Republicans believe workers have the right to make their own, informed choices when casting a ballot in the workplace; we don’t think powerful political bosses should rush or force that decision on them, as the ambush rule proposes. We’ll continue to stand strong against Obama Administration attempts to weaken workers’ rights in order to enrich its powerful political friends.”

“The NLRB’s ambush election rule is an assault on the rights and privacy protections of American workers,” said Speaker of the House John Boehner. “With his veto, the president has once again put the interests of his political allies ahead of the small business owners and hardworking Americans who create jobs and build a stronger economy.”

“The NLRB’s new ambush election rule forces a union election in as little as 11 days—before an employer and most employees even have a chance to figure out what is going on,” said Alexander, chairman of the Senate labor committee. “I’m disappointed the president wasted this opportunity to prevent the board’s rule from infringing on every employee’s right to privacy and every employer’s right to free speech.”

“It’s disappointing that President Obama chose to side with big labor over the rights of employees and employers,” said Enzi, Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. “With this rule the National Labor Relations Board has taken it upon itself to impose new regulations that would hurt businesses and undermine a process that is already providing fair and timely elections. The NLRB needs to know that this rule is out of bounds.”

“President Obama has decided to stand with his powerful friends in Big Labor, rather than America’s workers and job creators,” said Kline, chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee. “With his veto, the president has endorsed an ambush election rule that will stifle employer free speech, cripple worker free choice, and jeopardize the privacy of working families. This fight isn’t over. Congress will continue to oppose this radical assault on workers and employers, and we will continue to demand a fair union election process.”  

“With this veto, President Obama has further proved his administration is more concerned with supporting union bosses than ensuring a fair and impartial process that respects workers’ privacy and right to make decisions that are best for them,” said Roe, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions. “For far too long, we’ve seen the Obama administration’s activist NLRB – which should ensure fair and transparent union elections – put the interests of labor unions before those of job creators and American workers. This latest rule is nothing more than an attempt to speed up union elections, violating the rights of workers to make an informed decision and employers to communicate openly with their employees during a union organizing campaign.”

The NLRB’s rule was finalized in December and would shorten the length of time in which a labor union certification election is held to as little as 11 days. In 2014, more than 95 percent of union certification elections occurred within 56 days. In addition, the median number of days from petition to election was 38 days. These numbers surpass the performance goals set by the NLRB itself. The rule gives employers no time to communicate with their employees before a union election and undermines the ability of workers to make an informed decision. In addition, it forces employers to provide employees’ personal information to union organizers without employees’ consent. The ambush election rule will go into effect April 14, 2015. 

 

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ISIL & Iranian Influence Are Focus of Boehner Delegation Visit to Iraq

2015/03/31

KUWAIT CITY, KUWAIT – During a visit to Iraq on Monday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and senior lawmakers met with the country’s leaders and our ambassador and commanders on the ground to assess efforts to defeat ISIL and combat Iran’s rising influence.  

In Baghdad, the delegation met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Speaker of the Council of Representatives of Iraq Salim al-Jabouri.  Lawmakers also met with U.S. Ambassador Stuart Jones and Lt. General James L. Terry, commander, Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve.

Similar to the delegation’s visit to Jordan, discussions in Baghdad focused on Iran’s rising influence and the spreading of the terrorist threat. 

Speaker Boehner, who last visited Iraq in 2011, issued the following statement on the delegation’s visit to Iraq:

“A stable, democratic, and independent Iraq remains vital to America’s national security interests.  The United States must carefully manage the mission to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL to ensure it does not come at the expense of ceding Iraq’s strategic independence to Iran, which does not seek to keep the country whole.  To that end, we appreciated the opportunity to have candid exchanges with Prime Minister al-Abadi and Speaker al-Jabouri.  We hope to see passage of legislation soon, especially in the areas of reconciliation, as a tangible step forward for the political solution needed in Iraq.  We also expressed strong support for increasing logistical and materiel support to the tribes in al Anbar province and hope to see additional deliveries as an immediate confidence-building move.  Iraq is a young democracy, but the United States was a young democracy once too, and we know that it takes vigilance and leadership to make it work and endure.”

 The delegation joining Speaker Boehner in the Middle East is made up of senior lawmakers charged with oversight of the United States’ efforts to defeat the terrorist threat and support our partners in the region:

  • Rep. John Kline (R-MN) is chairman of the House Education & the Workforce Committee and a member of the House Armed Services Committee.
  • Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) is chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
  • Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) is chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East & North Africa and a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. 
  • Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) is chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.
  • Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) is chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, & Human Services, and a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.
  • Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) is chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.
  • Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) is chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy & Water.
  • Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) is a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction & Veterans Affairs.
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The White House’s Dangerous Game of False Choices

2015/03/30

America needs to have a serious debate about the grave threats posed by Iran and Islamic extremism, but the White House continues to play a dangerous game of false choices. 

Appearing yesterday on CNN’s State of the Union, Speaker Boehner talked about the Obama administration’s attacks on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s recent address to Congress and growing bipartisan concerns with the administration’s approach in the Middle East:

“I have one goal. That goal is to make sure that the American people heard and the Congress heard about the serious threat that Iran poses not only to the Middle East but for the rest of the world including the United States… The president doesn't want to talk about it. Doesn't want to talk about the threat of radical Islam and the fact that he has no strategy to deal with it.”

That prompted the following response from White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest:

"I will simply say that if John Boehner thinks that U.S. troops should be on the ground in Yemen fighting the Houthis, or that we should re-occupy Iraq, or that the United States should bomb Iran to prevent them from obtaining a nuclear weapon, then he should have the courage of his convictions to actually say so.”

The White House has attempted to construct this false choice again and again. It would have Americans believe that anyone who questions the president wants war with Iran and hundreds of thousands of American troops on the ground in places like Iraq and Yemen.

This is not only ridiculous, it’s dangerous at a time when everyone but the White House understands the president’s policies are failing. Over the course of the last week alone, the administration’s foreign policy has been described as “a total mess” by VOX.com, “incoherent” and “convoluted” by NBC’s Richard Engel, and “willful ignorance” by the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

And let’s add another word to the discussion: “delusional.” Webster’s defines it as “a persistent false… belief… that is maintained despite indisputable evidence to the contrary.” That’s about the only way to describe a White House that insists:

  • Yemen is a model for counterterrorism, even after its president was forced to flee by boat as Iranian-backed Houthi’s advanced on the capital.
  • It will stick to arbitrary political deadlines in Afghanistan, though everyone knows the administration is pushing for a drawdown faster than conditions on the ground warrant. 
  • It can strike a good deal with Iran, even though the emerging agreement does nothing to address Iran’s missile program, its appalling human rights record, and its sponsorship of terror across the Middle East and the world. 

It’s not too late to change course and have a serious conversation about a comprehensive strategy to protect the American people, our allies, and our interests abroad. But the White House is going to have to stop playing games and admit its failed approach isn’t working.  

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In Jordan, Boehner Delegation Discussions Focus on Iranian-Backed Violence, Growing Terrorist Threat

2015/03/30

Photo: His Majesty, accompanied by Her Majesty @QueenRania receives the Speaker of the House of Representatives #JO pic.twitter.com/fe3VI7MiYH

— RHC (@RHCJO) March 29, 2015

AMMAN, JORDAN – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and a delegation of senior lawmakers met with His Majesty King Abdullah II on Sunday during a visit to Jordan where talks focused on Iranian-backed violence in the region and the growing terrorist threat.  

King Abdullah hosted the delegation for a luncheon at Beit al-Urdun Palace.  Lawmakers also met with U.S. Ambassador Alice Wells, Nasser Judeh, Jordan’s Foreign Minister, as well as senior embassy officials.

Discussions focused on two major trends in the region: the violence caused by Iran’s allies and proxies, and the spreading of the terrorist threat.  There was also shared concern regarding how the negotiations over Iran's nuclear program fit in the larger context of the security challenges in the region.

Speaker Boehner, who last met with King Abdullah at the U.S. Capitol in December 2014, issued the following statement on the delegation’s visit to Jordan:

“America’s ability to lead in the world depends on Jordan’s ability to remain a stabilizing force in the Middle East, and we could not ask for a more solid partner.  Every issue we addressed – and there were many – was underlined by mutual trust and respect.  We share the belief that defeating ISIL and stopping the spread of the terrorist threat will require a comprehensive approach. That means, in addition to security responses to the instability and violence, we have to improve our strategies to counter the economic and social drivers of radicalization. King Abdullah is a good friend to the Congress and the American people, and we are grateful to him and his people for welcoming us at such a critical hour.”

The delegation joining Speaker Boehner in the Middle East is made up of senior lawmakers charged with oversight of the United States’ efforts to defeat the terrorist threat and support our partners in the region:

  • Rep. John Kline (R-MN) is chairman of the House Education & the Workforce Committee and a member of the House Armed Services Committee. 
  • Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) is chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
  • Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) is chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East & North Africa and a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.  
  • Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) is chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.
  • Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) is chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, & Human Services, and a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.
  • Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) is chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.
  • Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) is chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy & Water.
  • Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) is a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction & Veterans Affairs.
  • Rep. George Holding (R-NC) is a member of the House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Oversight.
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On CNN, Boehner Talks Medicare, U.S.-Israel Relationship, Iran Nuclear Talks, & More

2015/03/29

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There’s a strong relationship between America and Israel. They are an important ally, and we will continue to work towards strengthening that relationship.

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Monday, March 30, 2015

In an interview with Dana Bash airing on CNN’s “State of the Union” this morning, House Speaker John Boehner discussed a range of issues, including this week’s House-passed bill to strengthen Medicare and protect seniors’ access to care, the strength of the U.S.-Israel relationship, the national security challenges we face, and more.  Following are a few key excerpts from the interview:

On this Week’s Bipartisan, House-Passed Legislation to Strengthen Medicare, Protect Seniors Access to Their Doctors & Save Taxpayers Billions:

“Over the last several months, we’ve been trying to find a way to change the way we pay doctors for Medicare patients.  And when you look at the agreement that we came to, it’ll strengthen Medicare, make it easier for patients to find doctors, and a fairer way of paying doctors for the services that they render.  And I was happy that my Democrat colleagues and I were able to come to an agreement to strengthen Medicare, extend the children’s health plan, extend the authorization for community health centers, and make a bunch of other changes that, frankly, in the long run, will be good for our country.”

On the Strength of the U.S.-Israel Relationship, & the Common Security Threats We Face:

There are serious issues and activities going on in the Middle East and I think it’s really, really important for Members of Congress to hear from foreign leaders, other governments, other parts of their government, to get a real handle on the challenges that we face there. … There’s a strong relationship between America and Israel.  A very strong relationship between the United States Congress and Israel.  And I think over the last several months that relationship has been strengthened, and frankly, part of my goal in going to Israel is to continue to strengthen the relationship that we have between America and Israel.  They’re an important ally.”

On the Challenges Facing a Two-State Solution in the Middle East:

Boehner: “How do you have a two-state solution when you don’t have a partner in that solution?  When you don’t have a partner for peace?  When you’ve got – when the other state is vowing to wipe you off the face of the earth.  And so until, until there’s a willing partner willing to sit down and have peace talks, I think it’s irrelevant whether we’re talking about a two-state solution. …  I think it’s an aspirational goal.  I think when the Prime Minister kind of walked back his comments he realized it’s an aspirational goal, but we’re nowhere close to having anything like it because you’ve got Hamas controlling what goes on on Gaza, and they don’t seem to be interested in peace.”  CNN’s Dana Bash: “But, you still believe in a two-state solution, correct?  You believe in a Palestinian state?” Boehner: “Yeah, as long as you’ve got a willing partner willing to hold up their end of the deal.”

On Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Address to Congress & the Threat Posed by Iran:

“I had one goal, and that goal was to make sure that the American people heard, and the Congress heard, about the serious threat that Iran poses not only to the Middle East, but for the rest of the world, including the United States.  And there’s nobody who can talk more clearly about this.  The president doesn’t want to talk about it.  Doesn’t want to talk about the threat of radical Islam and the fact that he has no strategy to deal with it.  And when you begin to see all these leaks that probably came out of the White House in terms of what the Iranian deal was starting to shape up to be, there’s a lot of concern in Congress on a bipartisan basis, and I’m glad that he was here and frankly, the speech he gave was the clearest speech I’ve heard in 25 years about the real threats that face our country.”

On the Iran Nuclear Talks & the Prospect for Further Sanctions:

“Well, let’s wait and see if there’s an agreement.  I’ve got serious doubts – I had serious doubts over the last year whether there could be an agreement and I still have serious doubts.  We’ve got a regime that’s never quite kept their word about anything.  I just don’t understand why we would sign an agreement with a group of people who, in my opinion, have no intention of keeping their word. …. Listen, the sanctions were working.  They would have never come to the table, and frankly we should have kept the sanctions in place so that we could have gotten to a real agreement.  And, the sanctions are going to come, and they’re going to come quick.”

On Applying the Skills Learned Growing Up in a Large Family to the Job of Speaker:

“Listen, it’s a big job, somebody has to do this.  And you know, all the skills I learned growing up are the skills I’ve needed to do my job.  Grew up in a big family – 11 brothers and sisters – you have to learn to get along with each other, get things done together.  And you know, today’s political environment’s a little different than it was when I first got here.  So that the job that I have is far more challenging than what I think some of my predecessors have had, but I enjoy it every day.”

On @CNNsotu this morning, talked House-passed bill to strengthen #Medicare, #Israel, #Iran negotiations & more http://t.co/c8qF7Y4OX2

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) March 29, 2015
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Weekly Address: First Major Entitlement Reform in Decades

2015/03/28

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In this week’s Republican address, Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN) highlights bipartisan legislation passed by the House this week (H.R. 2) that permanently replaces one of Washington’s most infamous budget gimmicks – the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula – with a more stable system that ensures seniors’ access to their doctors.  The measure also represents the first major entitlement reform in decades, strengthening the Medicare program for current and future generations and, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), saving taxpayers billions of dollars over time.     

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

ABC News Radio: “Rep. Phil Roe Touts Bipartisan Legislation to Strengthen Medicare in GOP Weekly Address” “Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., gave the weekly Republican address, highlighting the benefits of bipartisan legislation passed this week by the House to strengthen Medicare.  Roe, a physician by trade, begins by explaining the unsustainability of Medicare. ‘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,’ he notes. …The House-passed legislation would replace Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate formula, meaning in Roe’s words, ‘a more stable Medicare program.’”

The Hill: “GOP Rep Hails Bipartisan Medicare Deal” “Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) on Saturday touted Congress’ ‘progress’ in ‘delivering the first real entitlement reform in nearly two decades.’  The House voted Thursday to end the practice of annually cutting Medicare reimbursements paid to doctors.  ‘For seniors, this will end years of needless concern and frustration that care will suffer from arbitrary cuts,’ Roe said.”

NewsMax: “Rep. Roe: Bipartisan Bill Will Strengthen Medicare” “Bipartisan legislation to repeal Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate formula will strengthen Medicare so it works better for everyone, Rep. Phil Roe, a Tennessee physician for more than 31 years, said in Saturday’s GOP address. … This plan means an end of concern and frustration for seniors that their care will suffer from arbitrary cuts, and for families, it means a more stable Medicare program for their elderly loved ones, Roe said.  Taxpayers will also enjoy a huge amount of savings for decades to come, he continued.”

Washington Examiner: “Medicare Reform Moves Forward with Bipartisan Efforts” “Republicans are calling Thursday’s House vote to end annual cuts to Medicare reimbursements paid to doctors ‘progress’ in ‘delivering the first real entitlement reform in nearly two decades.’  ‘For seniors, this will end years of needless concern and frustration that care will suffer from arbitrary cuts,’ Rep. Phil Roe, a retired physician from Tennessee, said in the Republican weekly address.”

CBS News: “GOP Passes Bipartisan Medicare Reform, Still Wants to Repeal Obamacare”

 

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Speaker Boehner & Senior Lawmakers Visit UK to Discuss Economic & Security Ties

2015/03/28

MANCHESTER, UK – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and a delegation of senior House lawmakers visited the North of England on Friday to meet with Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and discuss opportunities to deepen the economic and security ties between the US and the UK.

Chancellor Osborne hosted the delegation for a working lunch at Peover Hall, which General George Patton and the Third Army used during World War II to plan and train for the Normandy breakout.  There, participants had a fruitful discussion on the state of the British economy, our shared efforts to defeat ISIL, and the importance of Western leadership in the world. 

The lunch was followed by a tour of the Wilmslow headquarters of the Waters Corporation, a US-based company that specializes in mass spectrometry systems. 

Speaker Boehner issued the following statement on the delegation’s visit:

“We are grateful to Chancellor Osborne for welcoming us to his constituency and giving us a chance to see up close the turnaround going on in the region, where American-based companies and British workers are teaming up every day.   It is a testament to the power – and potential – of our economic partnership, and whether it’s trade, energy, or manufacturing, there is no shortage of opportunities to deepen those ties.  Another vital concern our constituents know all too well is the threat of terrorism, and we discussed our shared efforts to support our allies and defeat ISIL.  Right now, as has so often been the case, it isn’t just American leadership that the world needs – it’s Western leadership, too.”

Speaker Boehner’s delegation in Manchester included the following lawmakers:

  • Rep. John Kline (R-MN) is chairman of the House Education & the Workforce Committee and a member of the House Armed Services Committee. 
  • Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) is chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
  • Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) is chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa and a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. 
  • Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) is chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.
  • Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) is chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, & Human Services, and a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.
  • Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) is chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.
  • Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) is chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy & Water.
  • Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) is a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction & Veterans Affairs.
  • Rep. George Holding (R-NC) is a member of the House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Oversight.
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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.”  

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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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Contact Information

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www.speaker.gov

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

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