Speaker of the House

John Boehner

Weekly Republican Address: Rep. Mike Kelly on American Energy & Our Nation of Builders

2014/12/20

WASHINGTON, DC – Delivering the Weekly Republican Address, Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) highlights the importance of developing all forms of American energy for the sake of spurring job creation and robust economic growth. Key quote: “Instead of forcing our workers to live with less, the president should let us use our God-given resources and talents to help Americans get back to work and make our nation the energy superpower it can be.” The audio of the weekly address is available here.  The video will be available tomorrow morning at 6:00 am ET on Speaker.gov and GOP.gov.

Remarks of Representative Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania Weekly Republican Address Pittsburgh, PA December 20, 2014

Good morning, I’m Mike Kelly, and I have the tremendous privilege of representing Pennsylvania’s Third Congressional District.

Today I’m offering President Obama a lump of coal for Christmas.

Not because he’s been bad this year – though I’ll get to that.

No, I’m offering the president a lump of coal because this product right here holds the potential for a 21st-century economic revival. 

You see, coal is our most abundant and valuable resource.  It lights our homes, keeps our electric bills low, and puts food on the table for countless families.  More than 40,000 jobs in my state alone are tied to coal.

But this isn’t just about coal country – no, it’s about our whole country.

Because no other nation in the world has been blessed with such abundant, affordable, and accessible resources. 

And with all that God has given us, we shouldn’t be just trying to keep up with the pack.  My goodness, we should be leading the world.

Now if only we had a president willing to seize this opportunity. 

He tells us he’s for ‘all of the above’ but then he leaves out everything that’s below.

The president said he would bankrupt the coal industry and he’s spent his presidency trying to do just that.  Federal regulations have already forced two coal-fired power plants in my district to close over the past two years.  Hundreds more are set to shut down around the country. 

He’s put up so many roadblocks to American energy that all our production is coming from state and private lands.

Now even when the president’s own party stopped him from imposing his cap-and-trade tax, he said it was ‘just one way of skinning the cat’ and then he directed the EPA to do his bidding for him.

Instead of forcing our workers to live with less, the president should let us use our God-given resources and talents to help Americans get back to work and make our nation the energy superpower it can be – and quite frankly, that it needs to be. 

So whether it’s stopping these regulations, expediting infrastructure, or expanding production, there’s so much we can do to encourage the development of all forms of American energy. 

These aren’t just Republican solutions – these are common-sense American ideas that have support in both parties.  You’re going to see them again in the new Congress, starting with a vote to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

Because manufacturing things, making things – and doing it better than anyone else in the world – that’s what America’s always been about.  That’s how we’ve built such a robust and dynamic economy.  If we  all pull together, we can make 2015 the year we restore our nation of builders.  

But that’s next year.  Right now, we are getting ready to celebrate Christmas.  And as we do, I hope you’ll set aside a moment to remember all those who gave their lives this year for the cause of freedom, and pray for those spending this holiday season away from their families and loved ones.

Merry Christmas everyone, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.  

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President Signs Defense Authorization Bill Barring Terrorists from U.S. Soil

2014/12/19

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement after President Obama signed into law the bipartisan FY2015 Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 3979):

“The bipartisan bill the president signed today helps keep Americans safe by providing our military the resources and authorities it needs to confront the threats we, and our allies, face at home and abroad.  It also prevents terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay from being transported to U.S. soil, a move that would be both dangerous and deeply unpopular with the American people.  House Republicans will continue to do all we can to protect our national security and support our men and women in uniform, and look forward to working with the president to do the same.”

 

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Rep. Mike Kelly to Deliver the Weekly Republican Address

2014/12/19

WASHINGTON, DC — House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has selected Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) to deliver the Weekly Republican Address on Saturday, December 20, 2014.  Kelly represents Pennsylvania’s Third Congressional District, and his message will focus on the importance of developing all forms of American energy for the sake of spurring job creation and robust economic growth.

“I am sincerely honored to be selected by Speaker Boehner to deliver this week’s national address on behalf of our colleagues,” said Rep. Kelly. “My message will echo the American people’s strong support for unleashing our nation’s vast energy potential in order to usher in new jobs, lower energy costs, and a much stronger economy.  Especially as Americans gather with loved ones during this season of hope, it’s crucial that we chart an optimistic course for the future that seizes all of the abundant, affordable, and accessible energy resources that we’ve been blessed with. From coal production to the Keystone Pipeline construction, it’s time for President Obama to work with Republicans to give the American people the energy future they want and deserve.”

Learn more about Rep. Kelly by visiting his official website or by following him on Facebook and Twitter.

The Weekly Republican Address will be available starting tomorrow, Saturday, December 20, 2014, at 6:00 am ET on Speaker.gov and GOP.gov.

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State of the Union 2015

2014/12/19

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today sent a letter to President Obama formally inviting him to fulfill his duty under the Constitution to report to Congress on the state of the union.  A Joint Session of Congress will be held to receive the president’s address on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 9:00 pm ET.

The full text of the letter is below.  Read a signed copy here.

December 19, 2014

The President The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

The new year will bring a new American Congress, and with it, the opportunity to continue our work to build a stronger economy and secure a better future for our country.  In that spirit, it is my honor to invite you to address a Joint Session of Congress on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 so that you may fulfill your duty under the Constitution to report on the state of the union and recommend measures for our consideration.  Your report will inform our efforts to address the people’s priorities.

I look forward to your response, and Merry Christmas.

Sincerely,

John A. Boehner Speaker

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President Obama’s Keystone Explanations Not Fooling Anyone

2014/12/18

It’s been a tough year for President Obama. Chuck Todd said his administration often “looks like they’re struggling to run the government.” Fred Hiatt used phrases like “besieged and befuddled” and “image of haplessness.” Peggy Noonan described the president as “unserious,” writing that “he seems disinterested, disengaged almost to the point of disembodied.” Even some Democrats were shaking their heads.

In this context, it was heartening to see President Obama do well at something last week, when he delivered a comedic monologue on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” that lasted nearly six minutes.

In the interview portion of the show that followed, however, things went off the rails. When asked whether he’d sign into law a bill approving construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, his answer was full of disingenuous, debunked talking points. Compare President Obama’s words to the actual facts:

“Keystone is going through an evaluation process.”

  • It’s been six years and three months (2,281 days) since the application to build the pipeline was filed with the State Department. Both World War II and the construction of the Hoover Dam spanned less time.
  • President Obama announced in November 2011 that his administration would not make a decision until after the 2012 election. Forced by legislation passed by the House and Senate to issue a decision, President Obama rejected the pipeline in January 2012. Within months, another application to build the pipeline was submitted to the Obama administration, which again delayed the evaluation process in 2013 and earlier this year.

“Right now, it’s being held up by a court in Nebraska[.]”

  • This has been roundly mocked as an “excuse” by newspaper editorial boards around the country, from the Chicago Tribune to The Washington Post to The Dallas Morning News. The latter called the court case “a side issue, and the White House knows it’s not a legitimate reason to delay a decision.”

“And in the first instance, I don’t make the initial decision, the State Department evaluates it.”

  • True – in the same way it’s true that the Defense Department made the initial decision to launch a raid on Osama bin Laden’s hideout.
  • Every State Department evaluation of the project has effectively given it a green light (see below). Keystone sits unapproved for lack of a “Presidential Permit” – it’s called that for a reason.

“I’m going to make sure that if we look at this objectively, we’ve got to make sure that it’s not adding to the problem of carbon and climate change. … Keystone is a potential contributor of that.”

  • According to data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the “annual increase [in carbon emissions] from Keystone would amount to less than three-tenths of one percent of our total annual CO2-e emissions — [or] 0.286546 percent,” The Washington Post’s Wonkblog reported, also noting that “more than 10 times that much CO2-e gets released into the atmosphere each year from methane produced by cows.”
  • The government’s two environmental analyses of the project both concluded it would have little impact on the environment.
  • Looked at objectively, there is no scientific reason for blocking the pipeline.

“We have to examine that, and we have to weigh that against the amount of jobs it’s actually going to create, which aren’t a lot. … It could create a couple thousand jobs in the initial construction of the pipeline.”

  • The president earned a pair of Pinocchios from The Washington Post’s Fact Checker for a similar claim in 2013. PolitiFact rated it “False.” The Associated Press piled on with the headline “Obama understates Keystone XL jobs.”
  • According to the U.S. State Department, a “total of 42,100 jobs throughout the United States would be supported by construction of the proposed Project,” and it “would contribute approximately $3.4 billion to GDP[.]”
  • James Hoffa, president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, wrote last week that “Completing the final segment of the pipeline from Nebraska to the Canadian border would employ upwards of 2,500 Teamsters and would infuse millions of dollars into local economies. … It is like a private sector economic stimulus that could fuel improvements in small towns across the Midwest.”
  • Remember when President Obama thought temporary construction jobs were great? In 2009, one of his very first priorities was a massive stimulus package with nearly $1 trillion in new government spending, partly aimed at “rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, repairing our faulty dams and levees … upgrading mass transit, building high-speed rail lines[.]”

“Essentially there’s Canadian oil passing through the United States to be sold on the world market. … It’s good for Canada.”

  • President Obama made a similar claim in November that earned him a rating of “Mostly False” and three Pinocchios from fact checkers. “Most Keystone oil would stay in North America,” PolitiFact concluded.
  • According to the U.S. State Department, “Construction of the proposed Project would contribute approximately $3.4 billion to GDP[.]” It’s beyond dispute that Keystone is good for American workers and families.
  • President Obama is blocking Keystone because doing so is good for big campaign donations courtesy of a liberal, billionaire super-donor. The president’s stance is also very good for China.
  • “The connection between Canada and the United States should not be underestimated,” Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) has said. “This is a pipeline that will connect two of the strongest allies in the world. They are an essential economic ally to the United States, and the partnership between Canada, the United States, and Mexico is absolutely critical to the safe and secure development of the United States.”

January marks the start of the new American Congress, and Republicans will have new majorities in both the House and the Senate. A strong majority of the American people support Keystone, and a bill approving the project will arrive on President Obama’s desk very soon. “Vetoing an overwhelmingly popular bill would be a clear indication that he doesn’t care about the American peoples’ priorities,” Speaker Boehner has said. “It would be [the] equivalent of calling the American people ‘stupid.’”

It would also be another indication that President Obama is hopelessly out of touch.

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VIDEO: A Christmas Poem

2014/12/18

 

Twas the end of the 113th when the countdown began.

The new American Congress would soon be at hand.

 

Time to take on the tough issues, like taxes and spending.

The gridlock in the Senate may finally be ending.

 

Reform is needed, from home in Ohio to here on Capitol Hill, 

But not by executive order.  But instead, by bill.

 

The American people have spoken.  They expect real solutions:

More freedom and less Washington, as defined by the Constitution.

 

For now, we celebrate God’s gift to us: His glory and Light.

So Happy Christmas to all, And to all a good night.

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Speaker Boehner on Changes in U.S. Policy Toward Cuba

2014/12/17

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement regarding President Obama’s announcement of changes in U.S. policy toward Cuba:

“Relations with the Castro regime should not be revisited, let alone normalized, until the Cuban people enjoy freedom – and not one second sooner.  There is no ‘new course’ here, only another in a long line of mindless concessions to a dictatorship that brutalizes its people and schemes with our enemies.  If anything, this emboldens all state sponsors of terrorism, as they now have an even better idea of what the president meant when he once told Russian leaders he would have ‘more flexibility’ after his re-election.  We have seen this before, and I fear we will see it again.  Despite these reservations about the president’s changes in our policy toward this communist regime, we all feel great joy and relief for Alan Gross and his family.  Americans do not forget our own, and we speak out today because we have a moral responsibility not to forget anyone anywhere who longs for liberty and dignity.”

 

 

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Boehner on Senate Democrats’ Failure to Renew Terrorism Risk Insurance Act

2014/12/17

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement after Senate Democrats failed to pass S. 2244, legislation that renews and reforms the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA):

"We are disappointed that Senate Democrats chose to prioritize controversial nominations over the bipartisan, House-passed TRIA bill that should be on its way to the president’s desk for his signature.  We expect the House will act very quickly in the new Congress to reauthorize this program."

NOTE: The House passed S. 2244 by a vote of 417-7 on December 10th.

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Bipartisan Bill Helping Disabled Heads to President’s Desk

2014/12/17

WASHINGTON, DC -  House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement after the Senate passed H.R. 647, the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, which allows individuals with disabilities to set up tax-free savings accounts for qualified expenses: 

“This important bill marks the biggest step forward in 25 years toward helping millions of Americans with disabilities build stronger lives and secure a better future.  This would not have been possible without those who have devoted so much to this effort, including Representatives Ander Crenshaw, Pete Sessions, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers.  I look forward to the President signing this bill into law.” 

NOTE: Representatives Crenshaw, Sessions, and McMorris Rodgers recently delivered the weekly GOP address on the ABLE Act and how it will give Americans with disabilities the opportunity to have a better life.

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President Obama’s Immigration Explanations Not Fooling Anyone

2014/12/16

President Obama attempted to defend his unilateral action on immigration in two interviews last week, and in each case, reporters pressed him on why he had previously told them many times that he did not have the legal authority to act on his own. Caught in a clear flip-flop, the president’s rhetorical acrobatics were a sight to behold.

“[In a 2011 town hall] you told us, and I quote, ‘With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case,’” Univision’s Jorge Ramos pointed out, setting up his point: “That’s exactly what you did.” President Obama denied this, claiming, “I can run back the tape on your questions and some of the questions of that town hall, [and prove] the notion [I was responding to] was that we could just stop deportations, period[.]”

But the president doesn’t have to “run back the tape” – objective observers already have:

  • “It’s clear from the interviews that the president was … [asked] about specific actions that ended deportations of a subset of illegal immigrants—precisely the type of action he” took. (The Washington Post, 11/18/14)
  • “[T]he questions posed to Obama earlier were very specific. They asked the president whether he had the authority to do the very kinds of things he” did. (FactCheck.org, 11/18/14)
  • “In fact, most of the questions that were posed to the president over the past several years were about the very thing” he announced. (The New York Times, 11/17/14)

In the second of the president’s interviews last week, a similar question was raised by Telemundo’s Jose Diaz-Balart: “You said you didn't have the authority to expand, for example, mitigation of deportations. Removing the issue of politics aside, what legally changed?” President Obama again attempted to rewrite history, saying, “What I think changed is that having done what we did with DACA, with the DREAM kids, my argument was not that we did not have some additional authority, my argument was that I did not have the authority to simply not deport.”

But his argument was that he did not have additional authority. On two separate occasions after his June 2012 announcement of DACA, President Obama said that he’d “done everything that I can on my own” (10/16/12) and “stretched our administrative flexibility as much as we can” (2/14/13).

Notably, the president used virtually the same phrase last week when Diaz-Balart asked him if he was considering “further executive actions” on immigration, in addition to the one he announced in November. No, President Obama indicated, “I asked the Office of Legal Counsel to give me their best ruling on how much legal authority I had. And we stretched as far as we could.”

As PolitiFact concluded regarding the first flip-flop, “Obama’s position has clearly changed. Whereas he used to say his ability to take action ended at deferring action on DREAMers, he now is saying there are at least some things he can do[.]” Last week – for the second time – the president claimed he’s reached the real limit of his legal authority. How long until he moves the goalposts again?

Also in last week’s Univision interview, President Obama asserted that his unilateral action “is of the same type of action that was taken by every Democratic and Republican president over the last 20, 30 years.”

“In fact,” The Washington Post editorialized, “it is increasingly clear that the sweeping magnitude of Mr. Obama’s order is unprecedented. … [T]he scale of Mr. Obama’s move goes far beyond anything his predecessors attempted.” The same paper’s Fact Checker had already awarded several Pinocchios to President Obama and White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest for invoking President George H. W. Bush.

Amidst all these untruths last week, President Obama did let one truthful statement slip as he reprimanded Jorge Ramos for not letting him off the hook:

And those, like you sometimes, Jorge, who suggests that there are simple quick answers to these problems, I think …. when you present it in that way, it does a disservice, because it makes the assumption that the political process is one that can easily be moved around, depending on the will of one person, and that’s not how things work.

He’s right that our nation’s laws are not determined by a single ruler’s will – just as he was 22 times before – and that’s what makes his unilateral action on immigration so wrong – and the real disservice. 

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More Support for Helping the Disabled Build a Stronger Future

2014/12/15

As CNN reports, H.R. 647, the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE Act), will give millions of Americans with disabilities the opportunity to build a stronger, more independent future. The ABLE Act, introduced by Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL) and passed by the House in December, allows Americans with disabilities to put away money in a tax-free savings account for education, medical expenses, retirement savings, and job training.  The bill will create new opportunities for the disabled and give them the security of knowing they can plan and save for their future.

“As parents of special needs kids, we want to provide for our children as long as possible.  The ABLE Act goes a long way into making this a reality.” - Bryan Osterday, father, Cincinnati, OH

“I’ve got a dynamic Down Syndrome son. We don’t know what the future holds, but I’m not going to sit back and allow anything – especially any law – to prevent our children from fulfilling their potential. Every one of these accounts will be a new ladder of opportunity.  And a new source of the one thing every parent loves: peace of mind.” – House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX)

“[The ABLE Act] puts a stake in the ground so people can live independently, work, go to college.  It’s time to move into the 21st century and allow individuals with disabilities to be self-determined, and not let these laws hold them back.” – Sara Wolff, woman with Down Syndrome and ABLE Act advocate

“As the mom of a seven-year old son with Down syndrome, today my heart is full – because I know firsthand how federal policies can limit the opportunities for those with disabilities. The ABLE Act will change that.” – House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)

“People with disabilities deserve true independence and the ability to maintain a decent lifestyle. The Achieving a Better Life Experience Act would help many attain fuller, more independent lives.” – Editorial, Lohud Journal News

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President Obama Should Sign New Support for Ukraine Immediately

2014/12/15

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today called on President Obama to sign H.R. 5859, legislation unanimously passed by the House and Senate to impose new sanctions on Russia and provide more support to the Ukrainian people:

“It was my honor to invite President Poroshenko to address a Joint Meeting of Congress in September.  As I said at the time, he managed to do the near impossible in Washington: unite Republicans and Democrats in common cause and common purpose, even in an election season.  Our unity is reflected in the measure the House and Senate have unanimously passed to provide more tangible support to the people of Ukraine.  I commend the efforts of Representatives Jim Gerlach, Marcy Kaptur, and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who have worked together on this legislation.

“With this support, we underline our strong moral commitment to the cause of the Ukrainian people.   In the face of aggression and intimidation, they have had two successful elections.  In the face of subterfuge, they have shown restraint.  And in the face of cynicism from those who are not immediately facing the threat, they have defied expectations.  On behalf of the people’s House, I urge President Obama to sign this bipartisan legislation immediately.

“Of course, there is much more to do.  The House will continue to work to ensure that tangible assistance is provided not just to Ukraine but other partners and friends in the region.   We also continue to work on increasing energy supplies to Europe, which will create American jobs and break the political manipulation of access to energy in Europe.  After all, President Poroshenko’s message to the Congress could not have been clearer: for those who do not have to fight to gain or fight to keep freedom, the situation in Ukraine is viewed as an academic exercise.  For those Americans, at home and abroad, who fight every day to preserve our freedom, and for our friends and allies in central and eastern Europe, and in the Baltics and the southern Caucasus, who are grappling with physical invasion, economic coercion, and interference in domestic political affairs, this is an existential fight.  There is no greater force on Earth than the power of people banning together to demand liberty, economic opportunity and human dignity   God be with all Ukrainians seeking freedom and peace.”

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House Passes Responsible Spending Bill, Sets Up Challenge on Immigration

2014/12/12

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after the House passed responsible legislation to keep the government running:

“With a bipartisan vote, the House has passed a responsible bill to keep the government running and address the American people’s priorities.  This measure puts us on track to save taxpayers more than $2.1 trillion while protecting jobs and supporting our national defense.   In addition, by the House’s action, we are setting up a direct challenge to the president’s unilateral actions on immigration next month, when there will be new Republican majorities in both chambers.  The Senate should act on this bipartisan legislation in short order.”  

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Boehner: House on Track to Save Taxpayers $2.1 Trillion

2014/12/11

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House will vote on a responsible bill to keep the government running, support our national defense, prevent a taxpayer bailout of ObamaCare, and protect jobs.  Speaker Boehner urged passage of the measure at his weekly press briefing earlier today: 

“Today I expect the House will pass a responsible bill to keep the government running.  It protects jobs, it stops wasteful spending.  In fact, we’ve now reduced overall discretionary spending some $176 billion since the 2010 fiscal year.  And over the 10-year window, we’re on track to save taxpayers nearly $2.1 trillion.

“This bill also supports our national defense, particularly our efforts to defeat and destroy ISIL.  It prevents a taxpayer bailout of ObamaCare’s risk corridor program while cutting funding for the IRS and the EPA.   And it continues our work to deliver a 21st-century health care system for our veterans and their families.  It’s a good bill and I think it reflects the people’s priorities, and I’m asking the House to support it.

“Now ideally, we’d have been able to do this work one bill at a time, and the House tried to do just that, we’ve passed seven of our appropriation bills.  And not only that, but we considered these bills under a more open process, allowing the minority to offer as many amendments as they wanted to offer.  Unfortunately, the Democrat majority in the Senate passed no appropriations measures – none, zero, nada.  Dozens of House-passed bills also met the same fate, sitting in the Senate gathering dust.” 

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PHOTOS: Service in the Skies

2014/12/11

It was a special moment yesterday when leaders from the U.S. House and Senate came together to present a Congressional Gold Medal in honor of the members of the Civil Air Patrol, who served selflessly during World War II.  As Speaker Boehner said to the more than 600 gathered in Emancipation Hall of the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center, "These were just private citizens who wanted to lend a hand...they were clerks, bus drivers, doctors, mechanics, salesmen, and plumbers...and we were lucky to have them up there."

Betty Strohfus is one of those private citizens who served in the skies when her country needed her most.  During WWII, she worked as a Women Airforce Service Pilot (W.A.S.P), flying the biggest bomber planes and testing those aircrafts that had been damaged in combat.  Betty, along with the thousands of others whose service is recognized by this Congressional Gold Medal, could not have been more proud.

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Boehner on Immigration & the New American Congress

2014/12/11

WASHINGTON, DC – At his weekly press briefing today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) outlined the priorities for the new American Congress, including more action on jobs, the Keystone pipeline, protecting workers from ObamaCare, supporting veterans’ hiring, and fighting the president’s unilateral executive amnesty. Following are Boehner’s remarks:

In January, the new American Congress will bring us an opportunity to begin anew.  And as Senator McConnell and I have pledged, the people’s priorities will be our priorities.  We’ve pointed to the Keystone pipeline, the Hire More Heroes Act, restoring the 40-hour workweek as examples of bipartisan bills that we’ll take up early next year.

“We’ve also made clear that early on we’ll make a direct challenge to the president’s unilateral actions on immigration.  You can expect that challenge to the president to include real action on border security.  The House has already begun work on this issue, and we’ll restart that work again next month.  We’ll take this fight to the president on the strongest possible ground – with new majorities that the American people elected.

“Of course, the opportunity to serve the American people is always humbling; it’s even more so at a time when our country faces such great challenges.  We’re ready and eager to get to work.” 

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A Gold Medal for WWII Civil Air Patrol Heroes

2014/12/10

WASHINGTON, DC – Leaders of the U.S. House and Senate today presented a Congressional Gold Medal in honor of members of the Civil Air Patrol who, with extraordinary gallantry and dedication, saved countless lives during World War II.  Prior to the presentation of the medal, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) made the following remarks, as prepared for delivery:

“Listening to these stories, it is easy to forget that these were just private citizens who wanted to lend a hand.  They also lent their planes, their two-way radios, even their own spare parts.  They had no salary, only a stipend that came in such fits and starts that they nearly lost their housing.

“It’s easy to forget there was a time when flying 100 miles offshore was daunting.  But there was, and these pilots braved the elements – and the U-boats for that matter – with only a special tin can to stay afloat should they go down.  ‘If we could see half the runway … we flew,’ is how one pilot put it.

“They downright insisted on doing these things.  They weren’t pressed into service.  The government was pressed into letting them serve.  Well thank God it was.

“It’s easy to forget, and some day, someone skimming the manifest of Gold Medals may ask, ‘just who were these men and women?’  But really, who weren’t they?  They were clerks, bus drivers, doctors, mechanics, salesmen, and plumbers.  They came from more than 1,000 cities and whistle stops.  They flew with the unbounded determination of America.

“And we were lucky to have them up there.

“And so: for the World War II members of the Civil Air Patrol, the United States Mint has a struck a Congressional Gold Medal, which we present now with full hearts and no small amount of wonder.”

 

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Speaker Boehner Meets with Prime Minister of Estonia

2014/12/10

Speaker John Boehner meets with the Prime Minister of Estonia, Taavi Roivas, in the U.S. Capitol.  They discussed a number of critical issues, including the freedom agenda, Russian aggression, free trade, and energy supply diversification in Europe.

Click HERE for the high-res photo on Flickr

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Speaker Boehner: Senate Must Act on TRIA Reform

2014/12/10

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today urged the Democratic-run Senate to pass S. 2244, legislation that extends the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) for six years with reforms to protect taxpayer dollars, and corrects a provision of the Dodd-Frank law that puts American jobs at risk:

“This bill reauthorizes and reforms the terrorism reinsurance program, and it does so in a way that protects taxpayers and their hard-earned money.  It also shields manufactures, ranchers, and small businesses from a harmful provision in the Dodd-Frank law that puts more than 100,000 jobs at risk.  These responsible reforms are a credit to Chairman Hensarling’s determination to safeguard the interests of taxpayers and hold Washington accountable.  I call on Senate Democrats to pass this bill immediately.”

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Leading Dems For Dodd-Frank Reform Before They Were Against It

2014/12/10

Some Democrats are decrying the inclusion of a common-sense Dodd-Frank reform in the FY 2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill – a bipartisan, House-passed reform that would protect manufacturers, farmers, ranchers, and Main Street businesses from onerous regulations that will hurt our economy.  Yet those same members, including former Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) and current Committee Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA) once supported the very same provision.  Here’s what they said in 2012, in the “minority views” section of the committee report for this same bill:

The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act requires, for the first time, the regulation of over-the-counter derivatives, previously opaque transactions that helped bring our financial system to the brink of disaster. The vast majority of derivatives must now be centrally cleared and publicly reported, and be backed by margin and capital to ensure that swap dealers and major swap users can honor their commitments. In addition, the reform law also prohibits banks from placing bets with federally insured deposits through the `Volcker Rule'. Both measures serve as important safeguards as we rebuild trust in our financial system.

As amended, H.R. 1838 would repeal portions of Section 716 of the financial reform law, also known as the `push-out provision.' Section 716 prohibits banks from engaging in several types of derivatives. Questions have been raised about this provision by economists and regulators including FDIC's Sheila Bair, who are concerned that it might interfere with a bank's ability to use derivatives to diminish risk. Section 716 was not part of the original House-passed version of the financial reform law.

During the Full Committee markup, Democrats worked with the Majority to amend H.R. 1838 to continue the prohibition of complex swaps employed by AIG with devastating effect. H.R. 1838, as amended, addresses the valid criticisms of Section 716 without weakening the financial reform law's important derivative safeguards or prohibitions on bank proprietary trading. 

Barney Frank

Wm. Lacy Clay

Gwen Moore

James A. Himes 

Ruben Hinojosa 

Andre Carson

Gary L. Ackerman 

Al Green

Stephen F. Lynch 

David Scott

Maxine Waters 

Carolyn B. Maloney

Melvin L. Watt

Luis V. Gutierrez

Gary C. Peters

Ed Perlmutter

Michael E. Capuano

Gregory W. Meeks

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10 Things You Should Know About The Omnibus Appropriations Bill

2014/12/10

The House Appropriations Committee has released the FY 2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill.  You can read the text here.  The bill contains a number of important measures to fulfill the people’s priorities, including protecting jobs, stopping wasteful spending, reining in government overreach, and funding our national security.

1. The bill abides by last year’s bipartisan budget agreement.  As a result, overall discretionary spending has been reduced by $176 billion since FY 2010.  When projected out over 10 years, that adds up to saving taxpayers $2.13 trillion. 

2. The bill addresses a number of national security priorities, including $64 billion for overseas contingency operations to combat the threat of ISIL, train our Iraqi allies, and reinforce European countries facing Russian aggression.  Notably, the bill stops the transfer or release of Guantanamo detainees into the United States.

3. The bill includes several provisions to protect jobs and rein in regulatory overreach, including a provision amending the Dodd-Frank law to protect farmers and other commodity producers from having to put down excessive collateral to get a loan, expand their businesses, and hedge production.

4. The bill protects jobs and advances a number of energy priorities, including a measure prohibiting funds for the Army Corps of Engineers to change the definition of “fill material,” a maneuver that would hurt many industries.  The bill also blocks an administration proposal to impose new fees on onshore oil and gas producers while providing additional resources to expedite domestic onshore, offshore energy, and minerals development.  Notably, the bill cuts funding for the EPA for the fifth consecutive year, and reduces its staffing to the lowest level since 1989. 

5. The bill includes no new funding for ObamaCare, prevents a taxpayer bailout of ObamaCare’s risk corridor program, and cuts the Independent Payment Advisory Board by $10 million.

6. The bill slashes funding for the IRS by $345 million, to below its FY 2008 level.  Notably, the bill prohibits funds for the IRS to target groups for scrutiny based on their political beliefs or to target citizens for exercising their First Amendment rights.  It also prohibits funds for the White House to order the IRS to determine the tax-exempt status of an organization.

7. The bill maintains all existing pro-life policy and funding provisions, including the Hyde Amendment and a ban on public funding of abortions in the District of Columbia.  Notably, the bill includes new measures requiring ObamaCare plans to tell customers if they provide abortion services and directing HHS to quickly respond to complaints regarding conscience protection violations.

8. The bill continues our work to deliver a 21st-century health care system for our veterans and their families, including provisions to address the VA goal of ending the disability claims backlog by the end of 2015, ensure the Department of Defense and the VA are developing electronic health care records that seamlessly transfer information between the two departments, and rescind $41 million from VA performance bonuses. 

9. The bill increases funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  Notably, the bill increases funding to boost Alzheimer’s, cancer, and brain research, funds the Gabriella Miller Kids First Act pediatric research initiative, and includes $2.7 billion in emergency funding to address the Ebola crisis.

10. The bill reflects the careful work of the House Appropriations Committee, which approved 11 appropriations bills in committee and seven on the floor of the House, despite the fact that the Democratic-run Senate passed no appropriations bills.  

More resources are available through the House Appropriations Committee.  

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House Plan Sets Up GOP to Fight Obama Executive Amnesty with Dual Majorities

2014/12/10

WASHINGTON, DC – At a press conference with Republican leaders today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) discussed this week’s House action to help support economic growth and private-sector job creation, and to position the House and Senate majority in the new American Congress for further action challenging the president’s unilateral move on immigration.  Following are Speaker Boehner’s remarks: 

“The House this week continues to do its work and focus on the people’s priorities, especially the economy.  Today, we’ll pass a terrorism risk insurance bill that protects jobs and taxpayers, and removes uncertainty that could tie up new projects and infrastructure.  And tomorrow, we’ll pass a responsible bill that keeps the government running.

“Without a threat of a government shutdown, this sets up a direct challenge to the president’s unilateral actions on immigration when we have new majorities in both chambers of Congress.  This is all part of preparing for a new American Congress, which will bring new opportunities to help middle class families and get our economy moving again.”

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House Passes Bipartisan Bill to Prevent Veteran Suicides

2014/12/09

Today, Speaker Boehner meet with Clay Hunt’s parents, Susan Selke and Richard Selke, thanking them for their hard work to get the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act passed. 

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after the House passed the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act (H.R. 5059):

The men and women who serve and protect this nation deserve timely, high-quality care from our VA health care system, especially in the area of mental health.  Today, I had the honor of meeting Clay Hunt’s parents.  Clay served his country in Iraq & Afghanistan, earning a Purple Heart.  After returning home, he continued to selflessly help others, participating in humanitarian work and advocating to improve the lives of fellow veterans.  Tragically, after suffering from PTSD, Clay’s life ended far too soon.  The bill we passed today in his honor will help ensure that resources are available to help prevent the all-too-common tragedy of our veterans committing suicide while waiting for crucial care.  I commend Clay’s parents and the Veterans' Affairs Committee for their hard work and urge the Senate to take swift action on this bill.”

 

 

 

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Boehner Urges Senate to Pass Emergency California Drought Relief

2014/12/09

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement after the House passed H.R. 5781, the California Emergency Drought Relief Act:

“The people in the Central Valley are living through a disaster, and this measure provides the temporary relief they need.  This relief doesn’t just help Californians – it helps every business and every household that counts on California agriculture.  I commend and fully support Leader McCarthy, Rep. Valadao, and Rep. Nunes in their ongoing efforts to restore an abundant supply of water and ease the strain on Central Valley farmers and workers.  Now that the House has again acted to alleviate this crisis, I hope the Senate will pass this measure without delay.”

 

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Behind-the-scenes video: the 9/11 Congressional Gold Medals

2014/12/09

Earlier this year, leaders of the House and Senate gathered – along with more than 700 Americans — in Emancipation Hall in the U.S. Capitol to honor the Fallen Heroes of 9/11 with the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor that Congress can bestow.  In this short, behind-the-scenes video, you can learn more about the rich history of the Congressional Gold Medal and watch the production of the 9/11 medals in never-before-seen footage at the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia.

The video features Speaker Boehner, along with Matthew Wasniewski, Historian of the U.S. House, and Richard Peterson, Deputy Director of the U.S. Mint.  

Also, here are a few facts you may not have previously known about the Congressional Gold Medal:

  • The first gold medal was awarded to George Washington for his military courage during the Revolutionary War. 
  • Congressional Gold Medals require broad bipartisan support. At least two-thirds (290) Members of the House must cosponsor (not just vote in favor of) the legislation for it to be successful; in the Senate, at least 67 Senators must cosponsor any Congressional Gold Medal legislation before it can even be considered.
  • In more recent decades, recipients have included actors, musicians, athletes, as well as foreign-born individuals who have contributed greatly to global society. 
  • The next Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony actually takes place tomorrow, in honor of members of the Civil Air Patrol whose valor and dedication saved countless lives during World War II.  
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Obama Administration Releases More Terrorists as Other Former Detainees Suspected of Joining ISIL

2014/12/08

Last week, the House passed the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which again included language prohibiting the Obama administration from transferring terrorists held at the prison in Guantanamo Bay to American soil. The Associated Press reported:

President Barack Obama's 5-year-old campaign to close the federal prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, suffered a major setback as lawmakers finalizing the annual defense policy bill rejected steps toward shuttering the facility. …

The president has pushed to close the post-9/11 prison since his inauguration in January 2009. He has faced strong resistance from Republicans and some Democrats in Congress who don't want terror suspects housed in U.S. facilities and have warned of suspects returning to the fight when they are transferred back to their home countries.

This bipartisan opposition to closing Gitmo stems from the fact that President Obama’s goal is wildly unpopular with the American people. But he doesn’t seem to care, even though he admits these prisoners could “absolutely” return to plotting terrorist attacks on Americans. He’s raising the issue of closing Gitmo with his staff on a weekly basis, and recently told a questioner he’s “working on it.”

The Wall Street Journal reported in October that President Obama is considering unilaterally overriding the law so that he can bring Gitmo prisoners to the United States. “Not only is this scheme dangerous,” Speaker Boehner said, “it is yet another example of what will be this administration’s legacy of lawlessness.”

For now, the Obama administration continues to release prisoners to other countries. In May, it negotiated with terrorists and set free five top Taliban commanders to Qatarbreaking the law by not giving Congress proper notification. Last month, another five were transferred to Slovakia and the Democratic Republic of Georgia, one was returned to Saudi Arabia, and one was sent home to Kuwait. This past weekend, six detainees were transferred to Uruguay. Noted The New York Times:

There have now been 30 transfers under Mr. Hagel’s watch as defense secretary; by comparison, only four were transferred under his predecessor, Leon Panetta, who ran the Pentagon from July 2011 to February 2013.

Still, even if the military were to transfer all the other detainees recommended for such a move, some 69 detainees would remain. They are either facing charges before a military commission or deemed unable to be tried but too dangerous to release.

Recently, Fox News reported that “As many as 20 to 30 former Guantanamo Bay detainees -- some of whom were released within the last three years -- are suspected by intelligence and Defense officials of having joined forces with the Islamic State [ISIL] and other militant groups inside Syria.”

At a time when the United States and our allies are trying to reverse ISIL’s momentum, closing Gitmo and setting terrorists free is a bad idea. Republicans will continue to oppose President Obama’s misguided and naïve attempts to bring them into the United States or release them abroad. 

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Bipartisan Reforms to Prevent Veteran Suicides

2014/12/08

This week, we’re taking up bipartisan legislation to help prevent veteran suicides, which according to the VA, are occurring at a rate of 22 deaths per day.

H.R. 5059 is named in honor of Clay Hunt, a Marine veteran who earned a Purple Heart in Iraq before redeploying to Afghanistan.   After being diagnosed with PTSD, Clay sought to help others and raise awareness about depression.  Then, on March 31, 2011, he took his own life.  Clay was 28. 

Clay’s mother, Susan Selke, has detailed the problems Clay encountered at the VA.  They sound all too common.  He waited months to see a psychiatrist.  The appeal of his disability rating took 18 months – it finally came through five weeks after his death. 

“Clay’s story details the urgency needed in addressing this issue,” Susan recently said in testimony before Congress. “Not one more veteran should have to go through what Clay went through with the VA after returning home from war.”

That’s why we’re moving the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act.  Introduced by Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN), House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL), and Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), here are some of the things this bill will do to help prevent veteran suicides:

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

This measure has the backing of a number of veterans groups, including the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans for America (IAVA) and the VFW.  When it was introduced, Chairman Miller said:

“This slow-motion national tragedy is likely to continue as long as the Department of Veterans Affairs sticks to its normal, business-as-usual approach of treating veterans where and how VA wants as opposed to where and how veterans want.  The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act will help create a greater accounting of available services and an enhanced community approach to delivering veterans suicide prevention and mental health care treatment, which is why I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting it.” 

This bill would help many families, and it continues our work to improve access and accountability at the VA so our veterans have the 21st-century health care system they deserve.

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Weekly Address: The Stories Behind The ABLE Act

2014/12/06

On Wednesday, the House passed the ABLE Act, bipartisan legislation that would allow individuals with disabilities to open tax-free savings accounts for important expenses.  In this week’s Republican address, three of the measure’s champions, Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), and House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX) talk about what the ABLE Act means to them and how it will empower millions of Americans with disabilities to lead better, more independent lives.

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The Hill: “GOP lawmakers: Give Americans with disabilities a better life” “A trio of senior GOP lawmakers talked up legislation the House passed this week to help people with disabilities, saying the measure was just one way Republicans were working to improve the life of working people. … The legislation is intensely personal for both McMorris Rodgers and Sessions, who both have sons with Down syndrome.  ‘I can’t thank all of the people enough, all the families out there who have helped us get the ABLE Act to this point,’ said Sessions, the House Rules chairman, whose son Alex turns 21 next month.  … McMorris Rodgers, the No. 4 Republican in the House, said the current set-up only encourages people like her seven-year old son Cole ‘to resign themselves to a life of dependence.’  ‘This is why we’re here: to advance solutions that make people’s lives better,’ added McMorris Rodgers.”

CBS News: “In the weekly Republican address, several lawmakers touted a proposal known as the 'ABLE Act,' which would allow Americans with disabilities to set up tax-free savings accounts to pay for health care, retirement, job training, and other expenses. ... McMorris Rodgers and Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, said their push for the new law has been informed by their own experience raising children with disabilities.”

Newsmax: “ABLE Act Personal for McMorris Rodgers, Sessions” “‘Right now, people with disabilities aren't given the chance to save much of what they earn,’ said McMorris Rodgers, of Washington. ‘It's an outdated law that only encourages them to resign themselves to a life of dependence. The ABLE Act will change that.’  …  ‘We’re not just talking about dollars and cents here,’ said Sessions. ‘Every one of these accounts will be a new ladder of opportunity, and a new source of the one thing every parent loves: peace of mind.’ … Listening to McMorris Rodgers and Sessions, Crenshaw said, makes it ‘easy to see why the ABLE Act will open the door to a brighter future for millions of Americans.’” 

ABC News Radio: “In this week’s GOP address, Reps. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), and Pete Sessions (R-TX) talk about the ABLE Act, or the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act, which passed in the House this week. … Crenshaw adds, ‘This allows individuals with disabilities a better chance to help themselves, to be less dependent on government and more independent in their daily lives.  It allows them to achieve their full potential and to realize their hopes and their dreams.’” 

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Weekly Republican Address: More Opportunity & A Better Life for Americans With Disabilities

2014/12/05

WASHINGTON, DC – Delivering the Weekly Republican Address, Reps. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), and Pete Sessions (R-TX) highlight the ABLE Act, landmark legislation the House passed this week that will allow individuals with disabilities to open tax-free savings accounts for qualified expenses such as education, retirement, and job training. 

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

Weekly Republican Address Speaker’s Ceremonial Office United States Capitol December 6, 2014

House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA): 

Today I’d like to tell you the story of a little boy who was diagnosed with Down Syndrome just three days after he was born.  His diagnosis came with a list of future complications: endless doctors’ appointments, heart defects, even early Alzheimer’s.  Seven years later, as the mom of that little boy, Cole, nothing has given me greater joy than watching the impact he has had on the world – and dreaming of the difference he will make when he grows up. 

This week, the House spoke for Cole and millions of Americans with disabilities by passing H.R. 647, the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act.  Known for short as the ABLE Act, this bill will empower individuals with disabilities – through tax-free savings accounts – to save for college, retirement, job training and other future expenses. 

Right now, people with disabilities aren’t given the chance to save much of what they earn.  It’s an outdated law that only encourages them to resign themselves to a life of dependence.

The ABLE Act will change that.

House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX):

You know, most of us become who we are because of our parents. But for me, it’s been the other way around.

I’ve got a dynamic Down Syndrome son.  Alex Sessions turns 21 next month, and let me tell you, he’s got every wish and desire to succeed just like his big brother does.  We don’t know what the future holds, but I’m not going to sit back and allow anything – especially any law – to prevent our children from fulfilling their potential.

In America, the sky’s the limit, no matter where you start. 

And I can’t thank enough all the people, all the families out there who have helped us get theABLE Act to this point.  It’s one of those ideas really where you ask yourself,  "why aren’t we doing this already?"

Because we’re not just talking about dollars and cents here.  Every one of these accounts will be a new ladder of opportunity.  And a new source of the one thing every parent loves: peace of mind.

Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL):

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

The legislation is fairly simple, and straightforward.  It allows individuals with disabilities to set up a tax-free savings account as long you use the proceeds for qualified expenses like medical bills or transportation bills.

This allows individuals with disabilities a better chance to help themselves, to be less dependent on government and more independent in their daily lives.  It allows them to achieve their full potential and to realize their hopes and their dreams.

And when you listen to Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Pete Sessions and their stories, it’s easy to see why the ABLE Act will open the door to a brighter future for millions of Americans.

I can’t think of a greater privilege than to speak out with legislation for people that can’t often speak for themselves.  And I know the ABLE Act will bring justice and peace of mind to millions of American families who deal with disabilities every day.

McMorris Rodgers

This is why we’re here: to advance solutions that make people’s lives better.  Solutions that empower all Americans—no matter where they come from, how much money they make, or what challenges they face.

The ABLE Act is one of the many ways we’re doing that.  It’ll empower millions – like my son Cole and so many others – with the opportunity to have a better life. 

From my family to yours, Merry Christmas.

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Stories from Ohio - The ABLE Act

2014/12/05

On Wednesday, the House passed the ABLE Act, a bill that provides tax-exempt savings accounts for individuals with disabilities.  After the passage of H.R. 647 in the House, Speaker Boehner said, “The ABLE Act is a simple but powerful idea: give individuals with disabilities the same opportunity to put away tax-free money for things like school, retirement, and job training that any American has.”

Indeed, this bill will help many families around the country.  That includes folks like Chip Gerhardt, a Cincinnati government affairs executive.  Chip, whose 17-year old daughter Anne has Down Syndrome, was one of many to back this legislation.  In an interview, Speaker Boehner talked about the many effective advocates for this issue, and the personal impact it has on parents like Chip:

“We allow Americans to save for colleges for their kids. We allow Americans to save for their retirement, but for parents … of those with disabilities, there's no legal way for them to save for those individuals," Boehner said. "The whole concept here is helping people to be independent and give them a vehicle to save for themselves." (USA TODAY, 12/3/14)

In addition, families and advocates around the region are speaking out in support of the ABLE Act.  This is from Boehner’s OH-08 blog:

·         “America represents opportunity.  Opportunity to achieve more than your parents and more than you would have ever imagined – this is the American dream.  People with disabilities deserve to have the same chance to achieve this dream, and the ABLE Act is a step in the right direction in providing that opportunity.”

Bill McCloy, father, Liberty Twp., OH

 ·         "For years, we have treated our daughter Anne like she is no different than anyone else and that a disability does not define who you are," said Cincinnati father and NDSS board member Chip Gerhardt. "With the passage of the ABLE act, thousands of Ohioans like Anne will have the same kind of financial independence that everyone else has. We cannot thank Speaker Boehner, his staff and the rest of the House of Representatives for getting this done."

Chip Gerhardt, father and NDSS board member, Cincinnati, OH

·         “I am so grateful that Speaker Boehner has provided the skilled leadership to get the ABLE Act through the House. This legislation will help families impacted by autism and other disabilities help themselves."

– Marci Ingram, community volunteer and Autism Speaks advocate, Columbus, OH

 ·         “The ABLE Act will help to ensure that my son, and many other children with special needs like him, will be taken care of for years to come.  Having the ability to deposit funds that can be used to care for him in the future is a HUGE weight lifted off of our shoulders.  There is presently no alternative plan.  This leaves families desperate.  As parents of special needs kids, we want to provide for our children as long as possible.  The ABLE Act goes a long way into making this a reality.” 

- Bryan Osterday, father, Cincinnati, OH

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ABLE Act Champions to Deliver the Weekly Republican Address

2014/12/05

WASHINGTON, DC – Days after the House passed landmark legislation to help individuals with disabilities, three of its champions in the House will team up to deliver the Weekly Republican Address. The ABLE Act, which passed the House on Wednesday with 404 votes, amends the Internal Revenue Service code to create tax-free savings accounts for individuals with disabilities.  Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL) first introduced this bipartisan legislation in 2006, and will appear in the weekly address along with House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX). McMorris Rodgers previewed the address on Facebook:

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

The House took a simple, but powerful step to help individuals with disabilities across the country,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said yesterday.  “It’s been a long time in the making and I want to thank Ander Crenshaw, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and Pete Sessions – three of our members who’ve dedicated an awful lot of time and effort to this project.” The Weekly Republican Address will be available starting tomorrow, Saturday, December 6, 2014 at 6:00 am ET on Speaker.gov and GOP.gov

 

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Speaker Boehner on the November 2014 Unemployment Report

2014/12/05

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

“The holiday season is a time for all of us to reflect on our blessings, but it’s also a time to consider the many families that are still having a tough time.  While it's welcome news that more people found work last month, millions still remain out of work, and middle-class families across the country, including my home state of Ohio, are struggling to get by on wages that haven’t kept pace with rising costs.  The president’s response has been more of the same: the same massive regulations, the same rising premiums, and the same uncertainty for manufacturers and small businesses.  The House has continued to put the people’s priorities first, passing two more bills this week to help families and make it easier for businesses to hire.  The new year and the new American Congress will bring the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of working families, and we’re eager to get to work.”

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House Rejects President’s Immigration Actions; Senate Should Follow Suit

2014/12/04

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. House of Representatives today passed H.R. 5759, the Preventing Executive Overreach on Immigration Act, rejecting the president’s unilateral actions on immigration.  Shortly before the vote, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) urged the outgoing Democratic majority in the Senate to take up and pass the bill: “The president thumbed his nose at the American people with his actions on immigration, and the House will make clear today that we are rejecting his unilateral actions.  And then the United States Senate should take this bill up and pass it.   For the outgoing Senate Democrat majority to do anything less would be an act of monumental arrogance.  The American people elected us to heed their will and not bow to the whims of the White House that regards the legislative process established by the Constitution as little more than a nuisance.”

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House Passes Bipartisan, Bicameral Defense Authorization Agreement

2014/12/04

WASHINGTON, DC - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement today praising House passage of the FY 2015 National Defense Authorization Act:

“The security threats our nation faces are as grave as they are prolific, and it is imperative that we provide our military men and women the tools they need to keep America safe.  The House has done so today, passing a bipartisan agreement that provides the resources necessary to support military readiness, authorizes funding for counter-terrorism operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), prevents the administration from transferring prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to the United States, and implements reforms to help ensure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely.  This bill is both a product of, and a tribute to, the hard work of Buck McKeon, a good man and great patriot who has continued the bipartisan tradition of the House Armed Services Committee.”

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Boehner: More Robust Strategy Needed to Defeat ISIL

2014/12/04

At his weekly press briefing today, Speaker Boehner continued to express the need for a more robust and comprehensive strategy to defeat and destroy ISIL:

“In the new Congress, I would urge the president to submit a new Authorization for Use of Military Force regarding our efforts to defeat and to destroy ISIL.  I reminded the president last month that historically the Commander-in-Chief has identified the need for the use of military force, written a new AUMF, sent it to Capitol Hill, and worked to build bipartisan support for its passage.

“I told him that if he does, House Republicans will be ready to work with him to get it approved, and thus far, we’ve seen no urgency on the part of this White House.  The White House needs to show some urgency, because its strategy isn’t reversing the terrorists’ momentum on the ground.  I’ve got grave concerns that the plan the president has put in place will not accomplish the goal of defeating and destroying ISIL. 

“We need a more robust, comprehensive strategy, and that should start with a new authorization of the use of military force.”

 

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House Passes Two More Bills to Help Families, Small Businesses

2014/12/04

WASHINGTON, DC – At his weekly press briefing today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) discussed the House’s continuing focus on helping hardworking families with passage of two bills – the ABLE Act, which allows people with disabilities to save more money without being penalized, and legislation to stop tax hikes on families and job creators.  Following are Speaker Boehner’s remarks: 

“Yesterday, the House took a simple, but powerful step to help individuals with disabilities across the country.  The ABLE Act won’t just help people with disabilities save more of what they earn, it will help them build stronger lives and a better future. 

“I think this is a wonderful step that we took yesterday.  It’s been a long time in the making and I want to thank Ander Crenshaw, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and Pete Sessions – three of our members who’ve dedicated an awful lot of time and effort to this project.   

“We had another opportunity this week to help our economy to grow and increase hiring.  Unfortunately, the president blocked a bipartisan solution.  But instead the House acted yesterday to prevent tax hikes on small businesses, manufacturers, and hardworking Americans.”

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A 10-Year-Old’s Wish

2014/12/04

CBS This Morning highlighted a special moment at the Capitol this week.  Ten-year-old Aaron Urban, who is fighting a brave battle against brain cancer, flipped the switch on this year’s Capitol Christmas tree, lighting up the 88-foot tall white spruce from Minnesota. 

Aaron’s wish to light the Capitol Christmas tree was made possible with the help of Make-A-Wish® Mid-Atlantic.  Aaron’s excitement captures what the holiday season is really about: reflecting on the blessings we have and sharing joy with friends and family.

For a behind-the-scenes look at Aaron’s trip to the Capitol, check out this photo of Speaker Boehner giving Aaron, whose hobby is cooking, an apron and framed version of his Thanksgiving brine recipe.

For more photos of the Capitol Christmas tree lighting click here.  And in case you missed it, or would like to relive the special moment, watch the video of the 2014 Christmas tree lighting here

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The ABLE Act: A Simple But Powerful Idea

2014/12/03

WASHINGTON, DC – On a strong bipartisan vote, the U.S. House of Representatives today passed H.R. 647, the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, which allows individuals with disabilities to set up tax-free savings accounts for qualified expenses.  House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement:

“The ABLE Act is a simple but powerful idea: give individuals with disabilities the same opportunity to put away money tax-free for things like school, retirement, and job training that any American has.  This won’t just make it easier for individuals with disabilities to save – it will help build a stronger economy and secure a better future for our country.  After all, the principle that anyone can succeed no matter where they start is what gives the American Dream its staying power.  The problem is, we’re letting outdated laws place arbitrary limits on the very people who show us what can be done with perseverance.  The ABLE Act will help many families, and I hope we’ll be talking about it as the law of the land soon.  On behalf of the whole House, I thank Ander Crenshaw, who first introduced this legislation in 2006, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Pete Sessions, and all those who have devoted so much to this effort.”

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House Approves Bill to Prevent Tax Hike on Americans

2014/12/03

WASHINGTON, DC - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after the House passed the Tax Increase Prevention Act:

“Today the House acted to prevent tax hikes on small businesses, manufacturers, and hardworking Americans across the country.  I am disappointed the White House blocked a bipartisan, permanent solution that would have given businesses and their employees the certainty they need to grow and hire.  However, I am hopeful today’s bill will help lay the groundwork for the House and Senate to continue their work to fix our broken tax code through tax reform, which will encourage robust economic growth and create more American jobs.  I appreciate the hard work and leadership of Chairman Camp on this and other critical issues during his tenure at the committee.”

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Four Things President Obama Hid from Americans until after the Election

2014/12/03

The Obama administration has a history of hiding the truth and misleading the public. From missing hard drives at multiple agencies to empty promises about ObamaCare to keeping the American people in the dark about various immigration actions, deception and cover-ups seem to be standard operating procedure.

Who can forget the Obama administration’s attempts to blame the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack on Americans in Benghazi, Libya, on a spontaneous protest caused by a YouTube video?

It shouldn’t surprise anyone, then, that the Obama administration hid these four things from Americans until after the most recent election:

  • Higher ObamaCare insurance rates. In 2013, ObamaCare’s open enrollment period began October 1st. This year, the Obama administration pushed the start date back to November 15th, 11 days after the election. That’s when Americans were finally told they will “face substantial price increases next year — in some cases as much as 20 percent,” according to The New York Times. Next year there are no federal elections, and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has proposed returning the start of open enrollment to – surprise! – October 1st.
  • Government control of the Internet. Not even a week after the election results were in, President Obama announced his support for net neutrality – new regulatory authority the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering that would “destroy innovation and entrepreneurship,” as Speaker Boehner said. According to an analysis by the Progressive Policy Institute, “regulat[ing] broadband Internet service like a public utility would lead to a $17 billion tax hit for people in the United States.”
  • Unilateral action on immigration. President Obama denied to NBC News’ Chuck Todd in early September that he was delaying his unilateral action until after the election because of politics, but White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest admitted that was not true just a few weeks later. After all, the president’s action was opposed by most Americans – a fact that hasn’t changed even after he announced it on November 20th, just two weeks after the election. It’s widely recognized that President Obama flip-flopped and did exactly what he repeatedly said he did not have the legal authority to do, and that his action sets the stage for another surge of illegal immigration at our southern border.
  • The most expensive environmental regulation ever. It’s baaack. In late 2011, as the 2012 presidential campaign was getting started, President Obama forced the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to scrap its proposed swarm of red tape on power plants, factories, and other economic development. But now that his last midterm election is behind him, he’s reopened the regulatory floodgates, reviving a rule the National Association of Manufacturers calls “the most expensive regulation ever imposed.” Speaker Boehner said it “could slash family budgets by more than $1500 per year, reduce GDP by trillions, and cost our economy millions of jobs.” If you like the sound of that, there’s 3,414 other regulations the Obama administration has proposed for this fall that you can look forward to, too.
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PHOTOS: A Capitol Christmas

2014/12/03

It is a tradition dating all the way back to 1964, when the first Capitol Christmas Tree stood at just 24 feet tall.  Fastforward 50 years, (or simply keep scrolling down), and you will see this year’s tree, hailing from the Chippewa National Forest in Minnesota, proudly rises 88 feet from trunk to top.  Last night, the Architect of the Capitol, members of Congress, the Forest Service, and one very special, 10-year-old guest all gathered on the west terrace of the U.S. Capitol to light the massive white spruce and rejoice in the reason for the season

Click HERE to watch the video of the lighting.

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Your 2014 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree

2014/12/02

WASHINGTON, DC – The 2014 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, an 88-foot tall white spruce from Minnesota’s Chippewa National Forest, was lit tonight during a ceremony on the building’s West Front.  Helping House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) do the honors was 10-year old Aaron Urban from Linthicum, Maryland.  Architect of the Capitol Stephen Ayers served as master of ceremonies.

Boehner delivered the following remarks prior to the lighting of the tree, as prepared for delivery:

“Thank you, Stephen, and let me thank everyone involved in making this possible.  From the Architect’s team, to the Forest Service, to the people of Minnesota and the students who made decorations, this tree truly embodies the Christmas spirit.

“Tonight, just as our great Dome is in a season of restoration, we are here to begin one of our own.  The scene was much humbler that first Christmas – just a group of shepherds keeping watch on a quiet night. But it is to these simple men that the angel suddenly appears, announcing that ‘unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.’

“The shepherds don’t just rejoice at this gift, they go to catch a glimpse of it for themselves.  ‘Let us now go to Bethlehem,’ they say to one another, ‘and see this thing which is come to pass.’  And once they get there, they share these good tidings with the world.

“That’s what makes Christmas so magical.  It’s a time to rediscover for ourselves the glory of God’s love, to see with fresh eyes the beauty of simple things and traditions, and to rekindle the hope of peace and goodwill to all – just as the lights on the tree shine together to overcome the darkness.

“So on behalf of my family and the people’s House, I wish a ‘happy Christmas to all and to all a good night.’

“We’ve now reached the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the chance to go back inside.  To help us light the tree this year, we have a special guest from just up the road in Maryland.  He and his family are here with the help of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  He’ll be spending Christmas in New York City, so we asked him to come down here to help us kick off the holiday season in our nation’s capital.  Please join me in giving a warm welcome to Aaron Urban.”

NOTE: Visit Speaker.gov to learn more about Aaron Urban’s Christmas wish.

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PHOTO: The King

2014/12/02

His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan paid another visit to the U.S. Capitol today to meet with Speaker Boehner.  They spoke about the strategic partnership between the U.S. and Jordan and the need to strengthen those ties in the ongoing effort to bring peace to the region.

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More Opportunities for People With Disabilities

2014/12/02

This week, the House will vote on a great bipartisan bill that will help many families.   It is H.R. 647, the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act.  Known for short as the ABLE Act, this bill allows people with disabilities to establish savings accounts for both daily and long-term expenses.  Interest earned on these savings would be tax-free, much like 529 college savings accounts. 

Under the status quo, which dates back to 1974, people with disabilities can only save $2,000 in assets.  This makes it nearly impossible for them to plan for the future just as any family would.

The ABLE Act is so much more to people with Down Syndrome and other disabilities than just a savings account,” Sara Wolff, a woman with Down Syndrome, said earlier this year.  “It puts a stake in the ground so people can live independently, work, go to college.  It’s time to move into the 21st century and allow individuals with disabilities to be self-determined, and not let these laws hold them back.”

Introduced by Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), the ABLE Act has overwhelming bipartisan support in the House and the Senate:

“With 381 House and 74 Senate sponsors … the ABLE Act boasts 85% of Congress as a co-sponsor.  … Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., is a co-sponsor, and her son Cole, 7, who was born with Down syndrome, would qualify for an ABLE account.  ‘Cole has helped me understand how too many times federal policies limit — not expand — opportunities for those with disabilities,” she said. ‘A vote on the ABLE Act brings us another step closer to empowering people with disabilities to reach their full potential.’”

The ABLE Act also has the backing of a number of grassroots organizations.  Bob Wright, the co-founder of Autism Speaks, says, “Families are looking for ways to finance things like an apartment, or a ride to work, or additional educational opportunities after high school that don't jeopardize other necessary services provided by federal programs.  This bill creates a tool for families that could lead to a more independent and fulfilling life.

To learn more, read the text of the ABLE Act, check out this fact sheet from Rep. Crenshaw, and stay tuned for more updates. 

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Boehner: President’s Unilateral Action on Immigration Undermines Americans’ Trust

2014/12/02

WASHINGTON, DC – At a press briefing with Republican leaders today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) took President Obama to task for his recent unilateral action on immigration, saying the president’s overreach has made “it harder for the American people and their elected representatives to trust his word on any issue.”  Following are Boehner’s remarks: 

“The American people want both parties to focus on solutions to our still-struggling economy.  This week we’ll pass important legislation to help families with special needs and to prevent tax hikes on millions of families and small businesses.

“The president, on the other hand, has ignored the will of the American people and he’s refused to listen. … His decision to take unilateral action on immigration – action he himself said exceeded his authority – makes it harder for the American people and their elected representatives to trust his word on any issue.

“I said before Thanksgiving that Republicans would fight his unilateral actions.  We’re looking at a variety of options, both for right now and when Republicans control both Houses of the Congress next year.  And we’ll continue to discuss with our members a number of options, in terms of how we will deal with this, in consultation, again, with the members - but no decisions have been made at this point.”

President Obama’s unilateral action on #immigration undermines Americans’ trust http://t.co/Yu6eqAR2d4

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) December 2, 2014
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Aaron’s Christmas Wish

2014/12/01

It is that time of year again.  Tomorrow, the Capitol Christmas Tree will be lit, marking the beginning of the season of giving and a time to reflect on all our blessings.  It is a special time of year, and this year it will be just a little more special.  Helping Speaker Boehner do the honors this year will be 10-year-old Aaron Urban from Linthicum, Maryland.  Aaron, who is fighting a brave battle against brain cancer, serves as an example of what the holiday season is really about: spending time with loved ones, giving to others, and taking part in special Christmas traditions. 

As the kickoff for his one-true-wish, being granted by Make-A-Wish® Mid-Atlantic, to spend Christmas in New York City – Aaron will light this year’s Capitol Christmas tree.  Following this special experience, he will continue to spread the holiday spirit during his trip in New York City filled with holiday activities.  We would love for you to share in this moment, you can tune into www.c-span.org to see the Christmas tree ceremony and help us usher in the holiday season.  For now, you can watch a hyperlapse of this year’s tree arrival here.

The 2014 Capitol Christmas Tree is an 88-foot-tall white spruce from the Chippewa National Forest in Cass Lake, Minnesota. The tree traveled from Minnesota to the U.S. Capitol, making stops in about 30 communities along the way. The tree arrived November 21 and is being decorated with thousands of ornaments handcrafted by children and others from Minnesota communities.

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November in Photos

2014/12/01

As the holiday season gets into full swing, November always brings with it a reminder of some wonderful traditions.  From Thanksgiving food prep, to the arrival of the national Christmas Tree – here are some of the memorable moments of last month, as caught on camera. 

1.  Kids at the Capitol

Middle schoolers from Hamilton, Ohio, visit the U.S. Capitol to learn more about our Constitutional republic

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2.  Affordable Child Care 

Speaker Boehner signs bipartisan legislation to improve and reauthorize the Child Care & Development Block Grant Act.

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3.  The Birthday Boy

Speaker Boehner celebrates his 65th birthday, complete with a gavel cake.

 

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

 

Nov 11, 2014 at 1:40pm PST

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4. The Gershwin Prize Recipient

Speaker Boehner and Gershwin Prize recipient Billy Joel swap stories.

 

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

Nov 11, 2014 at 2:11pm PST

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5.  From Playwright to President

Speaker Boehner and other leaders of the House dedicate a bust of the former Czech President Václav Havel

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6.  ZZ Top 

Speaker Boehner and Billy F Gibbons from ZZ Top visit with each other before Mr. Gibbons plays at the ceremony honoring  Václav Havel.

 

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

Nov 11, 2014 at 7:12am PST

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7.  New Portraits

Speaker Boehner accepts the portrait of Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa into the House collection.  The Speaker also accepted a portrait of Rep. Doc Hastings, Chairman of the Natural Resources Committee since 2011.

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8.  The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree

The 2014 Capitol Christmas Tree arrives after its 2,000 mile journey from Minnesota.  It will be lit during a ceremony on December 2nd. 

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BONUS Veterans Day Slideshow: 

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The Business of Small Business

2014/11/26

Small businesses are the core of America's economy, and Small Business Saturday offers a special reminder each year about the importance of supporting local businesses in your home community.  As a former small business owner himself, Speaker Boehner reflects on the role of government in helping small businesses succeed in this new, 28 second video. (Spoiler alert: it's to get out of the way.)

Fun fact: the video features nine (9) different small businesses from Speaker Boehner's home of Southwest Ohio, including his favorite lawn and garden store. Read More

Obama Administration’s Massive New Rule Puts Millions of American Jobs at Risk

2014/11/26

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement today on the Obama administration’s costly new draft Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation:

“The Obama administration’s massive new regulation - the most expensive rule ever proposed by the EPA - could slash family budgets by more than $1500 per year, reduce GDP by trillions, and cost our economy millions of jobs.  If implemented, it would also undercut our ability to use America’s energy boom to reset our country’s economic foundation, revitalize manufacturing, and put more Americans back to work.  The president signaled his own concern with this costly proposed regulation - which is even more damaging than his national energy tax - when he delayed the rule three years ago, citing ‘the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty.’   Those concerns are no less valid today, as millions remain unemployed and middle-class families continue struggling with higher costs and stagnant wages.  Americans have made clear to the president that his priorities are not theirs, and this is precisely the kind of misguided policy they rejected earlier this month.  The new American Congress will continue listening to the American people, and take action to protect middle-class families, and our economy, from the Obama administration’s regulatory onslaught.”

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My Favorite Thanksgiving Recipe

2014/11/25

What’s not to love about Thanksgiving?  It’s a time to gather together, catch up with our loved ones, and of course, try to impress them with our cooking skills.

If, like me, you’re responsible for the turkey, then you’ve probably got some special ingredient or some way you make it that you’ve perfected.  For me, it’s brining the turkey.  From my kitchen at home in West Chester, Ohio, you can see exactly what I mean.

If you end up giving this a try, let me know how it goes.  As for side dishes, I’d recommend my grandmother’s creamed spinach.  You can’t beat it.  

No matter what you make, or how you make it, Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours.  This is the day our forefathers set aside to reflect on how blessed we are to live in this great nation under God.  It's a beautiful thing. 

The Boehner Brine

Ingredients: 

  • 8 quarts water
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 2 cups Kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp peppercorns
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 16 oz pure maple syrup

Bring the brine close to a boil, then let it cool.  Put a bag in a five-gallon bucket.  Wash the turkey and remove the insides.  Put the turkey in the bucket.  Pour the brine over to cover the turkey.  Keep the turkey submerged.  Let it stand overnight in the refrigerator or outside if it is cool enough.  After 24 hours, take it out and rinse it off.  At that point, it’s ready to be cooked. 

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President’s Unilateral Action Sets Stage for Another Surge of Illegal Immigration

2014/11/25

On Wednesday last week, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson delivered a blunt warning. “I’m concerned about the possibility of another rise in illegal migration,” he said, referring to the flood of unaccompanied minors that overwhelmed Border Patrol agents and caused a humanitarian crisis over the summer.

Just one day later, President Obama announced he was unilaterally granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants who are already in the country – a move that will almost certainly “encourage more people to come here illegally, putting their lives at risk,” Speaker Boehner noted.

Indeed, according to The New York TimesRoss Douthat, “Obama has implicitly strengthened the incentives to attempt to smuggle in minor children, to send those same children across the border on their own, and to bear children while in the United States illegally.”

Even President Obama once agreed. When illegal immigration activists urged him to unilaterally grant them legal status or “ignore the laws” and suspend deportations, he said in July 2010 that he did not have the legal authority to do so. He warned that “such an indiscriminate approach would be both unwise and unfair. It would suggest to those thinking about coming here illegally that there will be no repercussions for such a decision. And this could lead to a surge in more illegal immigration.”

What President Obama said then was correct. In June 2012, he unilaterally granted deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA), and the number of apprehensions at our southern border in the Rio Grande Valley increased sharply. Democratic Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (IL-04) confirmed that many of the minors crossing the border were encouraged to make the journey because of DACA.

Sadly, many were taken advantage of, or worse. “We don't even know how many of these kids don't make it, and may have been waylaid into sex trafficking or killed because they fell off a train,” President Obama told ABC News in June this year, at the height of the influx.

Immigrants that did not lose their lives faced “horrific conditions” in overcrowded detention centers that were never intended or equipped to handle tens of thousands of people at once.

To address this humanitarian crisis, House Republicans passed a bill to speed up the process of safely returning unaccompanied children to their home countries – a solution supported by a majority of Americans. Senate Democrats failed to pass anything after President Obama reversed his initial position and opposed the measure.

Ultimately, the vast majority of the illegal immigrants who crossed the border this summer were released into communities across the United States. The Associated Press revealed in September that “about 70 percent of immigrant families the Obama administration had released into the U.S. never showed up weeks later for follow up appointments” with federal immigration agents. It previously reported that “children who make the dangerous trip can effectively remain in the U.S. for years before facing even a moderate risk of deportation.”

Indeed, with the backlog of court cases standing at roughly 400,000, some hearings are being scheduled four years from now, in 2018. After President Obama’s unilateral action last week, the stage is set for things to get even worse, just as he once predicted.

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Gold Medal Ceremony for WWII Civil Air Patrol Members Announced

2014/11/25

On Wednesday, December 10, 2014, leaders of the U.S. House and Senate will present a Congressional Gold Medal in honor of members of the Civil Air Patrol whose valor and dedication saved countless lives during World War II.

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

A tradition dating back to the American Revolution, the Gold Medal is the highest civilian honor the United States Congress can bestow.   Pursuant to S. 309, enacted on May 30, 2014, a single medal has been struck to honor collectively the World War II members of the Civil Air Patrol in recognition of their military service and exemplary record.  Founded just six days before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Civil Air Patrol – which was comprised of civilian volunteer pilot and aviators – logged 500,000 flying hours during World War II, performing such duties as sinking U-Boats and saving crash victims.  On May 26, 1948, the Civil Air Patrol officially became an auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force.

The ceremony will take place on Wednesday, December 10, 2014 at 3:00 pm ET in National Statuary Hall of the United States Capitol.  

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Boehner Reappoints Gowdy to Head Benghazi Panel

2014/11/24

Will reappoint @TGowdySC to lead @HouseBenghazi #SelectCommittee in the 114th Congress. http://t.co/hcUXiSdrLY

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) November 24, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today announced that Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) will continue his work as chairman of the Select Committee on the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya in the 114th Congress: “On September 11, 2012, four Americans were killed in a brutal terrorist attack in Libya.  Two years later, the American people still have far too many questions about what happened that night – and why.  That’s why I will reappoint Rep. Trey Gowdy and the Republican members of the House Select Committee to investigate the events in Benghazi in the 114th Congress.  I look forward to the definitive report Chairman Gowdy and the Select Committee will present to the American people.” 

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Speaker Boehner on Iran Nuclear Talks

2014/11/24

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement after talks over Iran’s nuclear program were extended by another seven months: 

“At this point, all an extension does is leave open the possibility this administration will make additional concessions to an Iranian regime that has not agreed to abandon its nuclear weapons program.  Every day these negotiations go on is another day this administration fails to address Iran’s role as lead state sponsor of terrorism with an abysmal human rights record and no interest in a strong, stable Iraq.  Instead of giving Iran more flexibility, we should be holding this regime accountable for the threat it poses to the region and our allies.”

 

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Speaker Boehner on Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel

2014/11/24

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement on Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s resignation:

“I want to thank Chuck Hagel for his service to this country – as a soldier in Vietnam, as a United States Senator, and most recently, as Secretary of Defense. 

“This personnel change must be part of a larger re-thinking of our strategy to confront the threats we face abroad, especially the threat posed by the rise of ISIL.  We cannot defeat this enemy without a broad, coordinated, well-thought-out effort that has the strong support of the American people.  Thus far, this administration has fallen well short.”

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It’s Here!

2014/11/21

The Capitol Christmas Tree has finally arrived.  The 88-foot-tall spruce completed its 2,000 mile journey from Minnesota’s Chippewa National Forest and is ready for trimming on the West Front Lawn of the Capitol.  To learn more about the tree and its journey check out posts here and here.  Don’t forget, you’re invited to attend the tree-lighting ceremony on Tuesday, December 2, and visit the tree, which will be lit nightly from dusk until 11 p.m. throughout the holiday season.  

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Capitol Dome Restoration Update

2014/11/21

Earlier this week, Stephen Ayers, the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) provided an update on the ongoing restoration project of the U.S. Capitol Dome.  NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell reported from atop the Dome about the completed scaffolding and the progress made so far.  The next phase of this project is the exterior restoration: making the necessary repairs to the cast iron and stone shell of the Dome and removing 14 layers of paint, some of which date back 150 years.  This process will be carried out in sections, courtesy of the expansive scaffolding, and then the Dome will be entirely repainted.  The project is on budget and on time to be completed before the next inaugural ceremonies here on the West Front of the Capitol – a credit to the Architect and his team.

Last December, shortly before the project began, CBS’ 60 Minutes looked at the Dome’s history and future, with a cameo by Speaker Boehner talking about how humbling it is to work just steps from the Capitol Rotunda. 

While the scaffolding has covered up the Dome, the protective canopy and coverings over the artwork inside the building have allowed the Rotunda to stay open and accessible for the thousands of visitors, staff, and Members of Congress who walk through every day.  To learn more about the ongoing restoration and to see photos of the progress, visit http://www.aoc.gov/dome/project-updates.

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The Havel Bust, In The Sculptor’s Own Words

2014/11/21

On Wednesday, House leaders dedicated a bust of Václav Havel, the Czech playwright who led the Velvet Revolution and became president of his country after three stays in prison.  At the ceremony, Speaker Boehner paid tribute to Havel’s humility and “the great things ordinary people can achieve.”

Indeed, just as Havel’s story is compelling, so is that of Lubomir Janecka, the sculptor of the bust.   According to the Václav Havel Library Foundation, Janecka was born in Czechoslovakia, but because of his art, was forced into exile after years of harassment by the communist party.  He fled to the United States in 1984, and has lived here ever since.

What follows, in Janecka’s own moving words, is a description of the Capitol’s newest bust and the process behind its creation:   

I started working on the portrait of Vaclav Havel in the summer 2012. As I was reading his books and plays and going through hundreds of his photographs, I became interested in him not only as a politician but as a human being. I searched how to best express his personality, and in that process, I created several portraits, each from a different stage of his life. I covered the years of his youth spent in dissent, the time when he was repeatedly imprisoned, the Velvet Revolution, his presidency, as well as the last years of his life when he was fighting a serious illness.

I ended up with nine sketches in clay or plaster. All of them had a potential to be fully developed and become legitimate portraits of this extraordinary man, but I had to pick one. I chose the portrait from the time shortly after the Velvet Revolution. While working on its version for the Capitol, I realized that this was also the time when Vaclav Havel came to Washington DC to give the speech to the U.S. Congress. I called the portrait Vaclav Havel Victorious, and I hope that this is how American people remember him: full of life and full of hope – for his country and for the world.

Modeling of Havel’s bust is expressive. My goal was to capture his clear and open nature, unwavering firmness of his convictions, and his kindness to people.  The bust is cast in bronze and gilded with gold. I finished it with some patina applied over the gold. The whole bust should evoke an image of a nugget of gold.

The pedestal is made of magpie granite from Canada. When I was working on it, I used very little polishing. My approach to carving of the pedestal needed to correspond with my approach to modeling of the portrait. On the surface of the pedestal, I did not suppress the chisel marks completely because I wanted to preserve certain drama of the stone’s surface. The bust and pedestal together form a monolithic object. My goal was to create a sculpture that gives an impression of a living (not a static) artefact.

The bronze and the gold of the letters, Czech lion, and Czech coat of arms echo the bronze and the gold of the bust.

The Czech lion on the left side of the pedestal refers to the history of the Czech statehood. The double – tailed lion appears as a symbol of the Czech ruling dynasty already in the 13th century.

The coat of arms on the front of the pedestal is the current official symbol of the Czech Republic, which displays Czech lion, Moravian Eagle, and Silesian eagle – symbols of the three historical regions of Czech lands.

There are three small stones inserted into the granite. All three of them come from the Czech Republic.

Agate, placed by the quotation, comes from the region of Cesky raj (Czech Paradise). Agate was one of the native semiprecious stones that the Emperor Charles IV used to decorate the walls of the Chapel of Saint Wenceslas, the Czech Patron Saint, in the Saint Vitus Cathedral at the Prague Castle. The Prague Castle is a very strong symbol of the statehood and the independence of the Czech nation.

Vltavin, or moldavite, is a gemstone that can be found almost exclusively in the watershed of the Vltava River, and its name is derived from the name of the river. Vltava runs through Prague, and it is a legendary river to all Czechs. Vaclav Havel used to live in the house on the right bank of this river in Prague.

The third small stone is an ordinary rock from the garden of a summer house of Vaclav Havel at Hradecek. He spent a lot of time in this modest house already during his dissident years. He used to meet his friends there, he worked there and rested there. In December 2011, he peacefully passed away in this house.

I have inserted the three stones into the Vaclav Havel bust pedestal as a gentle reminder of his country and its people, who loved him and respected him, and who miss him now not only as a politician but as a good and courageous man.

Currently on display in National Statuary Hall, the bust will soon move to Freedom Foyer, joining Winston Churchill, Lajos Kossuth, Abraham Lincoln, and George Washington. 

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Boehner: We Will Listen to the People & Protect the Constitution

2014/11/21

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today responded to President Obama’s unilateral action on immigration, saying that the president has not only refused to listen to the American people, but in doing so has sabotaged efforts to enact immigration legislation, punished those who have obeyed the law, and encouraged others to come here illegally, putting their lives at risk.  Boehner pledged that the House would take action to protect the rule of law and the Constitution in the face of what the president himself has described as the actions of an “emperor.”  Following are Boehner’s remarks:

“Our nation’s immigration system is broken, and I think we need to work together to fix it.  But fixing it starts with a commitment to working through the democratic process and enforcing the laws that the president is sworn faithfully to execute.

“All year long, I warned the president that by taking unilateral action on matters such as his health care law -- or by threatening action repeatedly on immigration -- he was making it impossible to build the trust necessary to work together.  As I warned the president: you can’t ask the elected representatives of the people to trust you to enforce the law if you’re constantly demonstrating that you can’t be trusted to enforce the law.  The president never listened. And with this action, he has refused to listen to the American people.

“The president has taken actions that he himself has said are those of a ‘king’ or an ‘emperor’ – not an American president.  And he’s doing this at a time when Americans want nothing more than both parties to focus on solving the biggest problems in our country, starting with our still-struggling economy.

“And the action by the president yesterday will only encourage more people to come here illegally, and putting their lives at risk.  We saw the humanitarian crisis at our border last summer, how horrific it was.  Well, next summer it could be worse.  And this action also punishes those who have obeyed the law and have waited their turn.

“With this action, the president has chosen to deliberately sabotage any chance of enacting bipartisan reforms that he claims to seek.  And, as I told the president yesterday, he’s damaging the presidency itself.

“President Obama has turned a deaf ear to the people that he was elected, and we were elected, to serve. But we will not do that.  In the days ahead, the People's House will rise to this challenge.  We will not stand idle as the president undermines the rule of law in our country and places lives at risk.  We’ll listen to the American people, we’ll work with our members, and we will work to protect the Constitution of the United States.”

A reminder on #immigration FROM President Obama, TO President Obama → pic.twitter.com/Yp4McLYpw8

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) November 21, 2014
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House Files Litigation Over President's Unilateral Actions on Health Care Law

2014/11/21

WASHINGTON, DC -- House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today announced that the House of Representatives – consistent with the House-passed resolution H.Res. 676 – has filed litigation over President Obama’s unilateral actions on his health care law:

“Time after time, the president has chosen to ignore the will of the American people and re-write federal law on his own without a vote of Congress.  That’s not the way our system of government was designed to work.   If this president can get away with making his own laws, future presidents will have the ability to as well.  The House has an obligation to stand up for the Constitution, and that is exactly why we are pursuing this course of action.”

NOTE:  On July 30, 2014, the House of Representatives passed a resolution authorizing the House of Representatives to initiate litigation to challenge President Obama’s decision to unilaterally change various provisions of the health care law.  The suit filed today against the Health & Human Services (HHS) and Treasury Secretaries – a copy of which can be downloaded here – will address two Executive Branch actions:  

  • Unlawfully Waiving the Employer Mandate.  The House is challenging the president’s unilateral decision to twice waive the health care law’s employer mandate and the penalties for failing to comply with it without going through Congress.  The president’s actions delaying the employer mandate directly contradict the clear and plain language of the health care law. 
  • Illegally Transferring Funds to Insurance Companies.  The House is also challenging the administration’s unlawful giveaway of approximately $175 billion to insurance companies under ObamaCare.  According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the administration will pay approximately $3 billion to insurance companies in FY 2014, and is scheduled to make payments of some $175 billion over the next 10 years to insurance companies under an HHS-based, ObamaCare cost-sharing program even though Congress has never appropriated funds for the program.  The administration is instead unlawfully and unconstitutionally using funds from a separate Treasury Department account – authorized for other purposes – to pay insurance companies and thereby unilaterally altering the structure of the health care law.
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Speaker Boehner to President Obama: This is Not How American Democracy Works

2014/11/21

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement today regarding President Obama’s unilateral action on immigration:

“The American people want both parties to focus on solving problems together; they don’t support unilateral action from a president who is more interested in partisan politics than working with the people’s elected representatives. That is not how American democracy works. Not long ago, President Obama said the unilateral action he just announced was ‘not an option’ and claimed he’d already ‘done everything that I can on my own.’ He said it would lead to a ‘surge in more illegal immigration.’ He said he was ‘not a king’ and ‘not the emperor’ and that he was ‘bound by the Constitution.’  He said an action like this would exceed his authority and be ‘difficult to justify legally.’ He may have changed his position, but that doesn’t change the Constitution.

“By ignoring the will of the American people, President Obama has cemented his legacy of lawlessness and squandered what little credibility he had left.  His ‘my way or the highway’ approach makes it harder to build the trust with the American people that is necessary to get things done on behalf of the country. Republicans are left with the serious responsibility of upholding our oath of office. We will not shrink from this duty, because our allegiance lies with the American people.  We will listen to them, work with our members, and protect the Constitution.”

NOTE: Before he changed his position, President Obama said at least 22 times that he could not make his own law without Congress, ignore current laws, or expand his 2012 executive action. He said doing so “would be both unwise and unfair” and “could lead to a surge in more illegal immigration.” According to several surveys, a majority of Americans oppose his unilateral action. The administration has also gone to great lengths to hide the truth about its immigration policies from the American people.

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A Message Before The President's Immigration's Speech

2014/11/20

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Speaker Boehner has just released this short message ahead of the president’s immigration speech tonight:

“Instead of working together to fix our broken immigration system, the president says he’s acting on his own.  That’s just not how our democracy works.   The president has said before that ‘he’s not king’ and he’s ‘not an emperor,’ but he’s sure acting like one.  And he’s doing it a time when the American people want nothing more than for us to work together.”   Visit speaker.gov/email to sign up for more updates from Speaker Boehner. 

The president says he’s acting on his own. But that is just NOT how our democracy works. http://t.co/Lcxwb2pctb

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) November 20, 2014
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PHOTOS: From Playwright to President

2014/11/20

On Wednesday, Speaker John Boehner and other leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives held a bust dedication ceremony to honor the former Czech President Václav Havel.  In speaking about the Czech playwright who led a national revolution for freedom, Speaker Boehner noted, “you just can’t write a play like this."   

They were joined by Jan Hamáček, the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, and Bohuslav Sobotka, the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic.  The ceremony took place in National Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol and also featured a musical performance by ZZ TOP bandleader and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Billy F Gibbons.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHG7gw4jlWg Read More

Servant Leadership

2014/11/20

Speaker Boehner welcomed House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings’ (R-WA) portrait into the House collection last night.  Hastings has served as the committee’s chairman since 2011.  When Hastings announced his retirement, Speaker Boehner said:

“For nearly two decades, Doc Hastings has served in the House with honor, humility and distinction.  In addition to being a skilled legislator and leader, he's the epitome of grace and class, and he's a very dear friend.  I'm grateful for Doc's service to our institution and our nation, and for his friendship and support throughout our many years together in the House.  I wish him the very best of luck, and thank him for all he's done for the House, his constituents and our country.”

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Harnessing Our Energy Boom to Boost Manufacturing & Create Jobs

2014/11/20

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement today praising House passage of the Promoting New Manufacturing Act (H.R. 4795), legislation introduced by House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) that would help expedite the permitting process for new plants and factories:

“Thanks to our energy boom, we have the opportunity to unleash a new era of American manufacturing, put millions back to work, and become a nation of builders again.  To realize that opportunity, we need new plants and factories, but this infrastructure is often delayed by Washington’s lengthy and inefficient permitting process.  Steve Scalise’s bill will help promote more jobs and manufacturing by requiring a more efficient, timely, and transparent process.  It’s exactly the type of common-sense jobs bill we need to get the economy moving again, and Senate Democrats should pass it immediately.” 

NOTE:  In a speech at the American Enterprise Institute earlier this year, Speaker Boehner laid out his five-point, long-term vision for taking advantage of America’s energy boom to reset our economic foundation, including a focus on reining in red tape to make it easier to invest and create jobs. The full text of the speech is available here.

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House Condemns Iran Human Rights Violations

2014/11/19

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after the House passed H. Res. 754, a resolution condemning Iran’s gross human rights violations:

“The Iranian government’s widespread – and well-documented - violations of the basic human rights of its citizens is nothing short of horrific.  Iranian women are subject to despicable attacks condoned, and even supported by, its rulers.  Executions are on the rise under President Rouhani, most recently claiming the life of a woman who killed her assailant in the course of a sexual assault.   And religious minorities and political activists continue to be subject to abuse and detention, despite civil liberty protections enshrined in numerous international treaties and covenants.  

“Formally condemning these actions is an important step on the part of the House, but it remains incumbent upon the president to use all the tools at his disposal, including sanctions, to hold accountable those responsible for these heinous acts.  It would also be a mistake for the administration to bypass Congress and strike a nuclear agreement that eases restrictions on a regime that has proven itself not only an enemy to many of its own people, but to America and our closest allies as well.”

NOTE: In September, Speaker Boehner cautioned the administration against striking a deal with Iran that would ease restrictions on its nuclear program, saying: “The country has a deplorable human rights record, and it still has American hostages.  Furthermore, there is no evidence that Iran intends to comply with honest transparency and accountability measures over its nuclear ambitions.”  Read the full statement here.

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Scenes From a Meeting With The Gershwin Prize Honoree

2014/11/19

 

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

Nov 11, 2014 at 2:11pm PST

Speaker Boehner today welcomed to his office Billy Joel, the sixth recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.  They were joined by Dr. James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress. Awarded by the nation’s oldest cultural institution, the Gershwin Prize recognizes artists whose work has left a lasting impact on audiences and inspired generations of entertainers.  In July, when Joel was named this year’s honoree, Boehner said,

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

At the end of their meeting, Boehner presented Joel with a letter marking his visit to the Capitol and congratulating him on receiving the Gershwin Prize.

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PHOTO: Fellow Speakers

2014/11/19

Speaker Boehner welcomed his counterpart from the Czech Republic to the U.S. Capitol earlier today.  Jan Hamáček, the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, attended the Bust Dedication Ceremony honoring the former president Václav Havel.  The fellow speakers discussed the long, friendly relationship between the United States and the Czech Republic, and the importance of the Czech Republic’s role in the economic development of Eastern Europe.

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House Honors Vaclav Havel at Bust Dedication Ceremony

2014/11/19

WASHINGTON, DC – Leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives today dedicated a bust of former Czech president Vaclav Havel during a ceremony at the United States Capitol.  The ceremony included remarks by Jan Hamáček, the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, and Bohuslav Sobotka, the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, as well as a musical performance by Billy F Gibbons of ZZ TOP. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) presided over today’s ceremony and made the following remarks, as prepared for delivery: “Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon and welcome to National Statuary Hall.   Today, pursuant to House Resolution 506, we will dedicate a bust of the late Vaclav Havel for permanent display here in the United States Capitol. 

“It is a poetic but also paradoxical honor for a man who, in his own words, lived ‘a paradoxical life.’  Here was a writer who exposed the communists using one weapon they could not match: the truth.  For this, he received three stays in prison, countless interrogations, and constant surveillance. 

“But he kept on writing, hiding pages of his manuscripts throughout his home.  Offered a chance to flee to the West, he’d refuse, saying, ‘I’m simply a Czech bumpkin through and through.’  Treated like a hero wherever he went, he’d beg off, saying, ‘I’m simply a playwright and it’s irrelevant whether I’m a dissident.’  When one of his friends joked that one day he’d lead a revolution and become president, he responded, ‘That would be the worst thing that could happen to me.’

“So can you imagine what Havel would have said if told his bust would not only stand in the United States Capitol, but go right alongside the likes of Lincoln, Churchill, and Washington?  You just can’t write a play like this.

“Today we celebrate the struggle on the part of Havel and so many others in his time.  In Poland, an electrician who climbed up on a crate in a shipyard, said to his fellow workers ‘you know me,’ and the Solidarity movement was born.  And in East Germany, there was a priest who opened the doors of his 800-year old church every Monday for meetings that started out with no more than a dozen people and turned into the epicenter of a national protest.

“It takes guts to do these things.  Especially when you don’t know how long it will take or how it will end.  These men and women proved that the thirst for liberty never dies and that, with drive and sacrifice, it can transform the fortunes of a whole continent. 

“With this ceremony, we give a curtain call to this cast of unwitting heroes and the playwright at the center of the drama.  And with this bust, we pay tribute to the great things ordinary people can achieve. 

“So let me thank all of you for being here, especially our honored guests from Havel’s family and native land.  None of this would have been possible without the partnership between the Vaclav Havel Library Foundation and the American Friends of the Czech Republic.  We’re particularly grateful to Fred Malek and Craig Stapleton, our former Ambassador to the Czech Republic.  Finally, let me welcome our nation’s 64th Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright.  Your presence means so much to us. Thank you.”

 

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Speaker Boehner Hails Signing of Child Care Reforms

2014/11/19

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement after President Obama signed S. 1086, a bipartisan measure to improve and reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act, part of a package of solutions Republicans have offered to help working families:

“Affordable and reliable child care makes life and work easier for working families.  With these bipartisan reforms, we’re bringing this program into the 21st century to meet the needs of a changing workforce and give parents more choices.  This is another step in keeping our commitment to help get people back to work, lower costs at home, and restore opportunity for everyone.  I appreciate all the hard work on the part of Chairman Kline, Subcommittee Chairman Rokita, and the members of the Education and the Workforce Committee.”

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22 Times President Obama Said He Couldn’t Ignore or Create His Own Immigration Law

2014/11/19

22 times President Obama said he couldn’t do what he’s about to do → http://t.co/tNxxDHoc4B #immigration #amnesty

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) November 19, 2014

With the White House poised to grant executive amnesty any day now despite the American people’s staunch opposition, on Sunday President Obama was asked about the many, many statements he made in the past about his inability to unilaterally change or ignore immigration law. His response was astonishingly brazen: “Actually, my position hasn’t changed. When I was talking to the advocates, their interest was in me, through executive action, duplicating the legislation that was stalled in Congress.”

This is a flagrant untruth: “In fact, most of the questions that were posed to the president over the past several years were about the very thing that he is expected to announce within a matter of days,” reported The New York Times. “[T]he questions actually specifically addressed the sorts of actions that he is contemplating now,” The Washington Post’s Fact Checker agreed, awarding President Obama the rare “Upside-Down Pinocchio,” which signifies “a major-league flip-flop.” Even FactCheck.org piled on.

President Obama is once again trying to mislead Americans, but he can’t run from what he’s said over and over (and over) again. Not only are Americans not stupid – they can read:

  1. “I take the Constitution very seriously. The biggest problems that we’re facing right now have to do with [the president] trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all. And that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m President of the United States of America.” (3/31/08)
  2. “We’ve got a government designed by the Founders so that there’d be checks and balances. You don’t want a president who’s too powerful or a Congress that’s too powerful or a court that’s too powerful. Everybody’s got their own role. Congress’s job is to pass legislation. The president can veto it or he can sign it. … I believe in the Constitution and I will obey the Constitution of the United States. We're not going to use signing statements as a way of doing an end-run around Congress.” (5/19/08)
  3. “Comprehensive reform, that's how we're going to solve this problem. … Anybody who tells you it's going to be easy or that I can wave a magic wand and make it happen hasn't been paying attention to how this town works.” (5/5/10)
  4. “[T]here are those in the immigrants’ rights community who have argued passionately that we should simply provide those who are [here] illegally with legal status, or at least ignore the laws on the books and put an end to deportation until we have better laws. ... I believe such an indiscriminate approach would be both unwise and unfair. It would suggest to those thinking about coming here illegally that there will be no repercussions for such a decision. And this could lead to a surge in more illegal immigration. And it would also ignore the millions of people around the world who are waiting in line to come here legally. Ultimately, our nation, like all nations, has the right and obligation to control its borders and set laws for residency and citizenship.  And no matter how decent they are, no matter their reasons, the 11 million who broke these laws should be held accountable.” (7/1/10)
  5. “I do have an obligation to make sure that I am following some of the rules. I can't simply ignore laws that are out there. I've got to work to make sure that they are changed.” (10/14/10)
  6. I am president, I am not king. I can't do these things just by myself. We have a system of government that requires the Congress to work with the Executive Branch to make it happen. I'm committed to making it happen, but I've got to have some partners to do it. … The main thing we have to do to stop deportations is to change the laws. … [T]he most important thing that we can do is to change the law because the way the system works – again, I just want to repeat, I'm president, I'm not king. If Congress has laws on the books that says that people who are here who are not documented have to be deported, then I can exercise some flexibility in terms of where we deploy our resources, to focus on people who are really causing problems as a opposed to families who are just trying to work and support themselves. But there's a limit to the discretion that I can show because I am obliged to execute the law. That's what the Executive Branch means. I can't just make the laws up by myself. So the most important thing that we can do is focus on changing the underlying laws.” (10/25/10)
  7. “America is a nation of laws, which means I, as the President, am obligated to enforce the law. I don't have a choice about that. That's part of my job. But I can advocate for changes in the law so that we have a country that is both respectful of the law but also continues to be a great nation of immigrants. … With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case, because there are laws on the books that Congress has passed …. [W]e’ve got three branches of government. Congress passes the law. The executive branch’s job is to enforce and implement those laws. And then the judiciary has to interpret the laws. There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply through executive order ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as President.” (3/28/11)
  8. “I can't solve this problem by myself. … [W]e're going to have to have bipartisan support in order to make it happen. … I can't do it by myself. We're going to have to change the laws in Congress, but I'm confident we can make it happen.” (4/20/11)
  9. “I know some here wish that I could just bypass Congress and change the law myself.  But that’s not how democracy works.  See, democracy is hard.  But it’s right. Changing our laws means doing the hard work of changing minds and changing votes, one by one.” (4/29/11)
  10. “Sometimes when I talk to immigration advocates, they wish I could just bypass Congress and change the law myself. But that’s not how a democracy works. What we really need to do is to keep up the fight to pass genuine, comprehensive reform. That is the ultimate solution to this problem. That's what I’m committed to doing.” (5/10/11)
  11. “I swore an oath to uphold the laws on the books …. Now, I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own. Believe me, the idea of doing things on my own is very tempting. I promise you. Not just on immigration reform. But that's not how our system works. That’s not how our democracy functions. That's not how our Constitution is written.” (7/25/11)
  12. “So what we’ve tried to do is within the constraints of the laws on the books, we’ve tried to be as fair, humane, just as we can, recognizing, though, that the laws themselves need to be changed. … The most important thing for your viewers and listeners and readers to understand is that in order to change our laws, we’ve got to get it through the House of Representatives, which is currently controlled by Republicans, and we’ve got to get 60 votes in the Senate. … Administratively, we can't ignore the law. … I just have to continue to say this notion that somehow I can just change the laws unilaterally is just not true.  We are doing everything we can administratively.  But the fact of the matter is there are laws on the books that I have to enforce.  And I think there’s been a great disservice done to the cause of getting the DREAM Act passed and getting comprehensive immigration passed by perpetrating the notion that somehow, by myself, I can go and do these things.  It’s just not true. … We live in a democracy.  You have to pass bills through the legislature, and then I can sign it.  And if all the attention is focused away from the legislative process, then that is going to lead to a constant dead-end. We have to recognize how the system works, and then apply pressure to those places where votes can be gotten and, ultimately, we can get this thing solved.” (9/28/11)

In June 2012, President Obama unilaterally granted deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA), allowing “eligible individuals who do not present a risk to national security or public safety … to request temporary relief from deportation proceedings and apply for work authorization.” He then argued that he had already done everything he could legally do on his own:

  1. “Now, what I’ve always said is, as the head of the executive branch, there’s a limit to what I can do. Part of the reason that deportations went up was Congress put a whole lot of money into it, and when you have a lot of resources and a lot more agents involved, then there are going to be higher numbers. What we’ve said is, let’s make sure that you’re not misdirecting those resources. But we’re still going to, ultimately, have to change the laws in order to avoid some of the heartbreaking stories that you see coming up occasionally. And that’s why this continues to be a top priority of mine. … And we will continue to make sure that how we enforce is done as fairly and justly as possible. But until we have a law in place that provides a pathway for legalization and/or citizenship for the folks in question, we’re going to continue to be bound by the law. … And so part of the challenge as President is constantly saying, ‘what authorities do I have?’” (9/20/12)
  2. “We are a nation of immigrants. … But we're also a nation of laws. So what I've said is, we need to fix a broken immigration system. And I've done everything that I can on my own[.]” (10/16/12)
  3. I'm not a king. I am the head of the executive branch of government. I'm required to follow the law. And that's what we've done. But what I've also said is, let's make sure that we're applying the law in a way that takes into account people's humanity. That's the reason that we moved forward on deferred action. Within the confines of the law we said, we have some discretion in terms of how we apply this law.” (1/30/13)
  4. I’m not a king. You know, my job as the head of the executive branch ultimately is to carry out the law.  And, you know, when it comes to enforcement of our immigration laws, we’ve got some discretion. We can prioritize what we do. But we can’t simply ignore the law. When it comes to the dreamers, we were able to identify that group and say, ‘These folks are generally not a risk. They’re not involved in crime. … And so let’s prioritize our enforcement resources.’ But to sort through all the possible cases of everybody who might have a sympathetic story to tell is very difficult to do. This is why we need comprehensive immigration reform. To make sure that once and for all, in a way that is, you know, ratified by Congress, we can say that there is a pathway to citizenship for people who are staying out of trouble, who are trying to do the right thing, who’ve put down roots here. … My job is to carry out the law. And so Congress gives us a whole bunch of resources. They give us an order that we’ve got to go out there and enforce the laws that are on the books.  … If this was an issue that I could do unilaterally I would have done it a long time ago. … The way our system works is Congress has to pass legislation. I then get an opportunity to sign it and implement it.” (1/30/13)
  5. “This is something I’ve struggled with throughout my presidency. The problem is that I’m the president of the United States, I’m not the emperor of the United States. My job is to execute laws that are passed. And Congress right now has not changed what I consider to be a broken immigration system. And what that means is that we have certain obligations to enforce the laws that are in place even if we think that in many cases the results may be tragic. ... [W]e've kind of stretched our administrative flexibility as much as we can[.]” (2/14/13)
  6. “I think that it is very important for us to recognize that the way to solve this problem has to be legislative. I can do some things and have done some things that make a difference in the lives of people by determining how our enforcement should focus. … And we’ve been able to provide help through deferred action for young people …. But this is a problem that needs to be fixed legislatively.” (7/16/13)
  7. My job in the executive branch is supposed to be to carry out the laws that are passed. Congress has said ‘here is the law’ when it comes to those who are undocumented, and they've allocated a whole bunch of money for enforcement. And, what I have been able to do is to make a legal argument that I think is absolutely right, which is that given the resources that we have, we can't do everything that Congress has asked us to do. What we can do is then carve out the DREAM Act folks, saying young people who have basically grown up here are Americans that we should welcome. … But if we start broadening that, then essentially I would be ignoring the law in a way that I think would be very difficult to defend legally. So that's not an option. … What I've said is there is a there's a path to get this done, and that's through Congress.” (9/17/13)
  8. [I]f, in fact, I could solve all these problems without passing laws in Congress, then I would do so. But we’re also a nation of laws. That’s part of our tradition. And so the easy way out is to try to yell and pretend like I can do something by violating our laws. And what I’m proposing is the harder path, which is to use our democratic processes to achieve the same goal that you want to achieve. … It is not simply a matter of us just saying we’re going to violate the law. That’s not our tradition. The great thing about this country is we have this wonderful process of democracy, and sometimes it is messy, and sometimes it is hard, but ultimately, justice and truth win out.” (11/25/13)
  9. “I am the Champion-in-Chief of comprehensive immigration reform. But what I’ve said in the past remains true, which is until Congress passes a new law, then I am constrained in terms of what I am able to do. What I’ve done is to use my prosecutorial discretion, because you can’t enforce the laws across the board for 11 or 12 million people, there aren’t the resources there.  What we’ve said is focus on folks who are engaged in criminal activity, focus on people who are engaged in gang activity. Do not focus on young people, who we’re calling DREAMers …. That already stretched my administrative capacity very far. But I was confident that that was the right thing to do. But at a certain point the reason that these deportations are taking place is, Congress said, ‘you have to enforce these laws.’ They fund the hiring of officials at the department that’s charged with enforcing.  And I cannot ignore those laws any more than I could ignore, you know, any of the other laws that are on the books. That’s why it’s so important for us to get comprehensive immigration reform done this year.” (3/6/14)
  10. “I think that I never have a green light [to push the limits of executive power].  I’m bound by the Constitution; I’m bound by separation of powers.  There are some things we can’t do. Congress has the power of the purse, for example. … Congress has to pass a budget and authorize spending. So I don’t have a green light. … My preference in all these instances is to work with Congress, because not only can Congress do more, but it’s going to be longer-lasting.” (8/6/14)

President Obama should listen to President Obama, drop his plan to “expand the authority of the executive branch into murky, uncharted territory,” and work with Congress rather than insisting on his stubborn, “my way or the highway” approach.

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Republican Steering Committee Recommends House Committee Chairs for 114th Congress

2014/11/18

WASHINGTON, DC – The House Republican Steering Committee today recommended the following lawmakers to serve as committee chairs in the 114th Congress:

Agriculture – Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX)Appropriations – Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY)Armed Services – Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX)Budget – Rep. Tom Price (R-GA)Education & the Workforce – Rep. John Kline (R-MN)Energy & Commerce – Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI)Financial Services – Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)Foreign Affairs – Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA)Homeland Security – Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX)Judiciary – Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)Natural Resources – Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT)Oversight & Government Reform – Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)Science, Space, and Technology – Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX)Small Business – Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH)Transportation & Infrastructure – Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA)Veterans’ Affairs – Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL)Ways & Means – Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)

Let me offer my heartfelt congratulations to my colleagues, all of whom have my utmost trust and confidence,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said.  “These lawmakers understand that we have big challenges ahead, and the opportunity to do some great things in the new American Congress.  I know they will set high standards of oversight, foster input and contributions from both the majority and the minority, and produce solutions worthy of the people we serve.”

Speaker Boehner has previously announced the following committee chair appointments:

Administration – Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI)Ethics – Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA)Intelligence – Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA)Rules – Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX)

These recommendations will be presented to the full House Republican Conference for ratification.

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Rep. Devin Nunes to Serve as Intelligence Committee Chairman in the 114th Congress

2014/11/18

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today announced that Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) will chair the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in the 114th Congress:

“Today we face a sophisticated and determined terrorist enemy that is intent on killing more and more Americans, not to mention innocents around the globe.  We also face rogue states like Iran and North Korea that continue to thumb their noses at the United States.  The world is becoming increasingly dangerous and the Intelligence Committee is vital to our efforts to protect the American people.  Over the past four years, Devin has been instrumental in ensuring that our intelligence professionals have the resources they need to keep America safe.  He has asked tough questions and conducted serious oversight to hold the Obama administration accountable.  I look forward to working with him as the next chairman of the Intelligence Committee.”

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Rep. Charlie Dent to Serve as Ethics Committee Chairman in the 114th Congress

2014/11/18

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today announced that Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) has agreed to serve as Chairman of the House Ethics Committee for the 114th Congress:

“Charlie Dent is the epitome of what an Ethics Committee chairman should be: he is thoughtful and well-respected on both sides of the aisle for his integrity and good judgment.  The American people expect the highest standards of conduct from their elected officials, and I’m confident that under Charlie’s leadership, the Ethics Committee will continue to ensure accountability and protect the public trust.”

 

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President Still Misleading Americans Over ObamaCare

2014/11/18

Is this a joke? RT @politico: Obama: We didn't mislead on health care http://t.co/vd5dpyw0La

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) November 17, 2014

Much attention has been paid to President Obama’s disowning of ObamaCare’s designer and architect, Jonathan Gruber, who, on numerous occasions, called Americans “stupid” and openly bragged about the number of ways in which he worked closely with the Obama administration to mislead and deceive the public about ObamaCare in order to get it passed.

The president referred to Gruber a couple days ago as just “some adviser who was never on our staff.” Video then surfaced of Obama mentioning Gruber by name in 2006 as one of the “brightest minds … I have stolen ideas from liberally.” Ultimately, the Obama administration and state governments paid Gruber nearly 6 million dollars to help write and sell ObamaCare and consult on health care.

When asked this week by a reporter if Gruber was correct in saying that President Obama misled Americans about ObamaCare, the president piled another untruth on top of untruths, saying, “No, I did not.” This is the same president who promised at least 36 times that if you liked your health care plan, you could keep it, even though – according to NBC Newshe knew that was not true. In 2009, the Associated Press reported that “White House officials suggest the president’s rhetoric shouldn’t be taken literally.” In 2010, the president admitted on camera that eight to nine million Americans “might have to change their coverage.”

President Obama also said premiums would fall by 3,000 percent, allowing employers to give raises. He said patients could keep their doctors. He said the individual mandate was not a tax. He said ObamaCare wouldn’t add to the deficit. He said it wouldn’t fund abortions. He said it wouldn’t benefit illegal immigrants. And on and on.

But insisting these misleading claims never crossed his lips wasn’t enough this week. President Obama also issued a challenge: “I would just advise every press outlet here, go back and pull up every clip, every story, and I think it's fair to say there was not a provision in the health care law that was not extensively debated and was fully transparent.”

First, let’s get the obvious out of the way: the two-year delay of ObamaCare’s employer mandate was not part of the law and it was not “extensively debated” – it was unilaterally created by the White House. The provision making subsidies available through federal exchanges – the legality of which the Supreme Court will decide – was not part of the law and it was not “extensively debated.” It was unilaterally created by the Obama IRS, a fact confirmed by Gruber’s past statements about the very intentional decision to deny subsidies to states that do not establish their own exchanges.

Second, let’s go back and pull all those clips and stories celebrating the transparency of ObamaCare:

  • “Obama promised televised negotiations for the health care law, but that didn’t happen. Instead, his administration reached agreements behind closed doors with the drug industry and hospitals. In Congress, some of the committee bill writing sessions were open, but the most substantial negotiations took place privately, before bills came to committee or the House or Senate floor. We rated this Promise Broken.” (PolitiFact, 10/2/13)
  • “Throughout this year's negotiations, however, the big deals have been struck in secret. With tax increases and limits on what's covered among the possible ways of offsetting perhaps $1 trillion over a decade in expenses, neither the administration nor [the Democratic] Congress is willing to give up its right to do the most sensitive talking in private[.]” (McClatchy, 7/9/09)
  • “In cutting deals with hospitals and drug makers, President Barack Obama is giving a private inside track to special interests that's at odds with his promise to make policy in the open.” (Associated Press, 7/21/09)
  • Behind the scenes, however, Mr. Obama and his advisers have been quite active, sometimes negotiating deals with a degree of cold-eyed political realism potentially at odds with the president’s rhetoric. … Hospital industry lobbyists, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of alienating the White House, say they negotiated their $155 billion in concessions with Mr. Baucus and the administration in tandem.” (The New York Times, 8/13/09)
  • President Obama's top aides met frequently with lobbyists and health care industry heavyweights as his administration pieced together a national health care overhaul, according to White House visitor records …. The records do not identify the visitors' employers, say on whose behalf they were there or give any specifics of what was discussed.” (Associated Press, 11/25/09)
  • “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has set the stage for a major vote Monday morning at 1:00 AM …. That would … set up a late-night Christmas Eve vote on final passage. … [T]hey will have had less than 38 hours to understand a 383-page amendment that introduces several new concepts into the health care debate.” (The Daily Signal, 12/19/09)
  • “Looks like the Dem leadership’s plan to quickly pass health care reform by skipping House-Senate conference negotiations has further alienated House liberals …. A top House progressive … [is] claiming it will make it even tougher to improve the bill and slamming it for stifling real debate. … Rep Raul Grijalva, the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, criticized the scheme and complained he hadn’t even been consulted yet: ‘...I and other progressives saw a conference as a means to improve the bill and have a real debate, and now with this behind-the-scenes approach, we’re concerned even more.’” (The Plum Line, 1/4/10)
  • “MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, one of the leading academic defenders of health care reform, is taking heat for failing to disclose consistently that he was under contract with the Department of Health and Human Services while he was touting the Democrats' health proposals in the media.” (Fox News, 1/8/10)
  • “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” (Nancy Pelosi, 3/9/10)
  • “[T]he Caribou Coffee across the street from the White House has become a favorite meeting spot to conduct Obama administration business. … White House officials have met hundreds of times over the last 18 months with prominent K Street lobbyists …. [to discuss] front-burner issues like Wall Street regulation, health care rules, federal stimulus money, energy policy and climate control …. But because the discussions are not taking place at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, they are not subject to disclosure on the visitors’ log that the White House releases[.]” (The New York Times, 6/24/10)
  • “President Barack Obama’s aides often steer meetings with lobbyists to a complex just off the White House grounds — and several of the lobbyists involved say they believe the choice of venue is no accident. It allows the Obama administration to keep these lobbyist meetings shielded from public view — and out of Secret Service logs kept on visitors to the White House and later released to the public.” (Politico, 2/24/11)
  • “Republican congressional investigators got the brush-off this past week after pressing for details of meetings between White House officials and interest groups, including drug companies and hospitals that provided critical backing for Obama’s health insurance expansion.” (Associated Press, 3/12/11)
  • “[T]he [White House visitor] logs are missing the names of thousands of other visitors to the White House, including lobbyists, government employees, campaign donors, policy experts and friends of the first family, according to an investigation[.]” (Center for Public Integrity, 4/13/11)
  • “Eager to dismantle barriers to the legislation’s passage, Rahm Emanuel and Jim Messina, a deputy chief of staff, had cut a quiet deal with pharmaceutical industry lobbyists[.]” (The Obamas by Jodi Kantor, 1/10/12)
  • Secrecy shrouds President Obama's $2 billion program to launch 24 new co-ops designed to compete with private insurance companies under the chief executive's landmark health care reform.” (Washington Examiner, 2/5/13)
  • “The head of the agency responsible for overseeing the troubled HealthCare.gov repeatedly refused to disclose how many people have enrolled in ObamaCare -- during a hearing where she did not deny that officials have that information.” (Fox News, 10/29/13)

The American people can see right through “the most transparent administration in history,” and House Republicans have led the effort to demand true transparency in ObamaCare. President Obama, on the other hand, is still set on misleading.

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Boehner Signs Child Care Reforms to Help Working Families

2014/11/18

Speaker Boehner today signed S. 1086, bipartisan legislation to improve and reauthorize the Child Care & Development Block Grant Act.  When this measure passed the House in September, Boehner said:

“The Child Care & Development Block Grant program has, for decades, helped millions of men and women meet the needs of work and family by providing low-income parents access to safe and affordable child care while they work or pursue education and job training opportunities.  The bill we passed today continues this vital initiative, maintaining parents’ ability to choose the environment that’s best for their children while making critical reforms to enhance the accountability and effectiveness of the program.“

The bill now goes to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law.

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Boehner: A Keystone Veto “Equivalent of Calling the American People ‘Stupid’”

2014/11/18

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) kept the focus on jobs in his weekly press conference with Republican leaders today, discussing the upcoming House vote on a manufacturing jobs bill and keeping the heat on President Obama and Senate Democrats to approve the Keystone pipeline.  Following are Boehner’s remarks:

“We’re back at work this week and continuing to make the American people’s priorities our priorities, and clearly that means a focus on jobs.  With another bill to promote manufacturing, the House this week will add to its total of jobs bills that are awaiting action in the United States Senate.

“Tonight, the Senate has an important opportunity to send a bill to build the Keystone pipeline to the president’s desk.  And let’s be clear about this: A Keystone pipeline veto would send the signal that this president has no interest in listening to the American people.

“Vetoing an overwhelmingly popular bill would be a clear indication that he doesn’t care about the American peoples’ priorities.  It would be [the] equivalent of calling the American people ‘stupid.’”

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Majority of Americans Oppose President Obama’s Executive Amnesty

2014/11/18

“This is the wrong way to govern. This is exactly what the American people said on Election Day they didn’t want,” Speaker Boehner said last week as President Obama vowed to follow through on his threat of executive amnesty.

Indeed, recent polls show that a strong majority of Americans oppose President Obama’s stubborn, “my way or the highway” approach:

  • Of 806 actual voters surveyed, only 20 percent support President Obama changing immigration policy on his own, while 74 percent say he should work with Congress. (The Polling Company, 11/4/14)
  • Of 2,118 likely voters surveyed, 67 percent said President Obama should work with Congress on immigration reform rather than taking executive action, including 49 percent of Democrats, 69 percent of independents, and 58 percent of those 18-29 years old. (Paragon Insights, 8/28/14)
  • Of those surveyed, 73 percent say President Obama should work with Congress on immigration reform rather than on his own using executive orders, including 54 percent of Democrats, 78 percent of independents, and 80 percent of those 18-24 years old. (IBD/TIPP, 9/2/14)
  • Of 1,000 likely voters surveyed, 62 percent “oppose the president granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants without the approval of Congress,” including 65 percent of independents. (Rasmussen Reports, 9/4/14)
  • Of 1,000 adults surveyed, 46 percent say President Obama should wait for Congress to pass immigration legislation rather than taking executive action, which only 42 percent support. (USA TODAY, 11/17/14)

So it’s fair to ask: Is President Obama listening?

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Rep. Candice Miller to Continue as House Administration Chairman

2014/11/17

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today announced that Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI) will continue as chairman of the House Administration Committee in the 114th Congress.

“We wouldn’t be where we are today in making the people’s House less costly and more accountable without Candice Miller,” Speaker Boehner said.  “As Administration chairman, she consistently puts taxpayers first, even and especially when it means making tough calls and asking the institution to do more with less.  Chairman Miller should take much pride in what she and her team have accomplished and will accomplish on behalf of the American people.”

“I thank Speaker Boehner for his confidence in me and the opportunity to continue my service as the Chairman of the Committee on House Administration for the 114th Congress,” Chairman Miller said.  “Over the past two years, the Committee has worked to ensure that America continues to have open, free and fair elections.  Additionally, the Committee works to improve the way the House operates by saving taxpayer dollars, and improving communication with constituents by using low-cost digital tools. Over the next two years as Chairman I look forward to continuing our oversight over House operations and facilities, as well as making certain that this House remains open and accessible to the people we are here to serve.”

This year, under Chairman Miller’s stewardship, the House received another clean financial audit.  The House also continued holding the line on its own budget, putting us on track to save taxpayers $594 million

 

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House to Honor Vaclav Havel Wednesday in Ceremony Featuring Billy Gibbons

2014/11/17

The U.S. House of Representatives will honor the late Czech leader Václav Havel Wednesday with a bipartisan ceremony featuring a musical tribute performed by ZZ TOP bandleader and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Billy F Gibbons, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced today. 

“America admired Václav Havel, and he admired America – and his affection wasn’t limited to his appreciation of our country’s system of government.  He was also a fan of American music, including the blues – and nobody does the blues quite like Mr. Billy Gibbons,” said Speaker Boehner.  “We’re honored Billy will join us later this week as we unveil a bust of President Havel that will reside permanently in the United States Capitol.”

The Havel bust dedication ceremony will be held at 1:00pm ET on Wednesday, November 19, 2014 in National Statuary Hall, and can be seen live at speaker.gov/live.  The event coincides with the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, which led to Havel’s election as president of the new – and free – Czech Republic.  A short time after the dedication, the bust will be added to the Capitol’s Freedom Foyer, joining Winston Churchill, Lajos Kossuth, Abraham Lincoln, and George Washington.

Throughout the year, Speaker Boehner has been highlighting the freedom fighters whose sacrifices brought down the Iron Curtain.  Perhaps the most unlikely of all those heroes was Havel, the Czech playwright who was imprisoned three times for promoting democracy in defiance of the communist regime that ruled his country.  

“President Havel was fond of blues and rock music, and there is a very close relationship between Texas and my country,” said Ambassador Petr Gandalovič, the Czech ambassador to the United States.  “More than one million U.S. citizens claim their ancestry as being Czech or Czechoslovak.  Prime Minister Sobotka this week will travel to West, Texas, where a gift from the Czech Republic is helping to rebuild the community.  And the Czech Center Museum Houston is located in the same neighborhood Mr. Gibbons comes from.  I think President Havel would have appreciated Mr. Gibbons performing at this event.”

Billy Gibbons commented: “It’s quite an honor to have been called upon to participate in this tribute to a world leader who had an enduring affinity for the American art form known as the blues. We’ve always found audiences at our performance dates in the Czech Republic to be enthusiastic, knowledgeable and very much 'down with the sound.’  We can only conclude that this is a continuing reflection of President Havel’s leadership, good nature and enduring spirit."

Also performing at the ceremony will be the United States Army Band and Chorus and the United States Armed Forces Color Guard, Speaker Boehner announced. 

On March 11, 2014, the House unanimously approved H. Res. 506, which states “that to honor the life and legacy of Václav Havel, the House of Representatives Fine Arts Board shall provide for the display of an appropriate bust of Václav Havel in the House of Representatives wing of the United States Capitol.”

A preview of the ceremony, featuring a clip from Havel’s address to a joint meeting of Congress on February 21, 1990, can be seen here.

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Cold Open: ObamaCare Hype Machine Can’t Hide Higher Premiums

2014/11/17

Remember how the new HealthCare.gov wasn’t going to display premiums until the second week of November?  At the time, federal officials “downplayed” the possibility of more sticker shock.

Well lo and behold, the information has come out – in “a Friday data dump,” naturally – and what do you know?

  • ObamaCare costs to increase for many. A trove of data released Friday by the Obama administration shows premiums on the exchanges will tick up by mostly single digits next year, though changes vary widely by geography and plan.” (The Hill)
  • Cost of Coverage Under Affordable Care Act to Increase in 2015.  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 next year — 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)
  • “…options usually will be costlier.  Twenty-five states using the federal enrollment portal on average have higher premiums this year for the most popular level of health insurance plans — called ‘silver’ plans — while nine states on average have lower prices this year for that level of coverage… New plans are typically slightly more expensive than existing ones, the analysis showed.” (The Washington Post)

The kicker: “In releasing the information,” the Post says, “federal health officials did not comment on the shift in prices.”  No, of course not.  Go ahead, pretend as if the word ‘affordable’ isn’t in the law’s title, or that the president didn’t promise that the typical family would see their costs go down by $2,500.  We’re “too stupid to know” the difference, right?

In this economy, there’s little comfort in trends or ‘modest’ or ‘slight’ increases.  Every ounce of sticker stock amplifies the squeeze middle class families are already feeling.  “It seems like the price of everything is going up” is a common refrain these days, right next to “where are the jobs?”  And things only stand to get worse if you lump in things like the president’s plan to make electricity prices “skyrocket.” 

Today – before this all sets in – Gallup reports that approval of ObamaCare has hit a new low.  That means it’s even less popular now than it was after “the lie of the year” came out.   

We’ll take on ObamaCare,” Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) says in this week’s Republican address, from making sure employers don’t face penalties for hiring veterans to restoring the 40-hour workweek.  Watch it here, and check out this piece about how our oversight efforts continue to expose the need to repeal this law in its entirety

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Weekly Address: More Jobs, Lower Costs, and Real Accountability

2014/11/16

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In this week’s Republican address, Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) highlighted the steps Republicans are taking to help get people back to work, ease the squeeze on middle-class families, and make the federal government more accountable.   This week’s address followed a bipartisan vote in the House to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

The Hill: GOP lawmaker: Senate Dems, Obama need to pass Keystone” “Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R­Ohio) called on Senate Democrats to pass a bill approving the Keystone XL pipeline — and urged President Obama to sign it — in the party's weekly radio address Saturday. … Wenstrup said that by passing the bill, the House GOP ‘have begun to make good on our vow to honor [the voters’] trust by focusing first on jobs and the economy.’ …House Republicans have wasted no time presenting their agenda beyond Keystone to the American people.   Wenstrup said that they will pursue changes to ObamaCare and seek to pass a bill they say would boost veteran hiring.  Both were priorities also mentioned one week ago by Speaker John Boehner in the first weekly address following the election.”

Newsmax: “Rep. Wenstrup: American Priorities Should Come First” “Americans deserve a government that put their priorities first, Ohio Republican Rep. Brad Wenstrup said in Saturday's GOP address, promising that Republicans are taking steps to help people get back to work.  ‘You deserve a government that doesn’t just ‘hear you,’ but actually listens to you and puts your priorities first – that focuses on securing more jobs and a better future for our children,’ Wenstrup said. ‘This is what you can expect from the new Republican majority.’”

ABC News Radio: “Rep. Wenstrup on What to ‘Expect From The New Republican Majority’” “In this week’s GOP address, Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) outlines steps Republicans are taking in Congress.  Wenstrup looks at specific cases, including the Keystone XL pipeline, the Hire More Heroes Act, and ObamaCare.  ‘You deserve a government that doesn’t just ‘hear you,’ but actually listens to you and puts your priorities first – that focuses on securing more jobs and a better future for our children,’ Wenstrup says.  ‘That’s what you can expect from the new Republican majority.’”

Breitbart: “GOP Hits Obama for Exec Amnesty, Gruber” “Representative Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) slammed the Obama administration for its planned executive action on immigration and recent revelations regarding remarks made by Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber during the GOP’s Weekly Address on Saturday.”

McClatchy: “Republicans came out swinging at Democrats in their weekly radio address Saturday, sharply criticizing President Barack Obama. … ‘Now, after the election, the president may have said ‘I hear you,’ but by the looks of things, it’s just the opposite,’ said Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio.”

CBS News: “Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, says MIT economist Jonathan Gruber's remarks demonstrate the all-too-common ‘arrogance’ of President Obama's administration and its allies.”

Investor’s Business Daily: “GOP: Obama claims he 'hears' Americans; But Republicans actually listen -- and act”

 

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Weekly Republican Address: Putting Jobs & The Economy First

2014/11/14

WASHINGTON, DC – Delivering the Weekly Republican Address, Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) highlights the House’s vote to approve the Keystone XL pipeline and other steps Republicans are taking to help get people back to work and hold the Obama administration accountable. 

Key quote: “You deserve a government that doesn’t just ‘hear you,’ but actually listens to you and puts your priorities first – that focuses on securing more jobs and a better future for our children.  This is what you can expect from the new Republican majority.”

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

Remarks of Representative Brad Wenstrup of Ohio Weekly Republican Address Washington, DC November 15, 2014

Good morning, I’m Dr. Brad Wenstrup, and I have the honor of representing Ohio’s Second Congressional District.

In the days since the election, Republicans have begun to make good on our vow to honor your trust by focusing first on jobs and the economy.

On Friday, the House voted to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which will help lower energy costs and get people back to work.  We ask President Obama and Senate Democrats to finally give this project the green light that the American people have been waiting for.

We’ll also work to pass the Hire More Heroes Act, which will encourage businesses large and small to hire America’s veterans - the very Americans to which we owe our security and freedom. 

We’ll take on ObamaCare... and we’ll propose that Congress – not the bureaucrats – has the final say on all new major regulations.

This is just a start on getting some important things done in the months ahead. 

Now, after the election, the president may have said “I hear you,” but by the looks of things, it’s just the opposite.

On Monday, he proposed a new set of rules to regulate – of all things – the Internet, one of the few places innovation has thrived, even in a struggling economy.

Then he agreed with the Chinese government on rules that continue his misguided crusade against affordable, reliable energy.  In this economy, we need relief from the EPA’s grip, not more heavy-handed mandates that take away American jobs and squeeze middle-class families.

The president also continues to raise the possibility of taking unilateral action on executive amnesty.  We've warned him that such action would make it that much harder to pass immigration reform and find common ground.

Sadly, there’s even more.

We’ve now come to learn that one of ObamaCare’s architects said the law passed because Americans were “too stupid to know” what was happening.

This is the same arrogance we’ve seen time and time again from this administration and its allies. This is insulting to all of us.

They say one thing and do another.  They spend money we don’t have - with little to show for it but more debt and broken promises.  And they stay off course - even when hardworking people are stuck earning less and paying more for just about everything.  

Americans deserve far better.

You deserve a government that doesn’t just “hear you,” but actually listens to you and puts your priorities first – that focuses on securing more jobs and a better future for our children.

That’s what you can expect from the new Republican majority.

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

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“You Really Can’t Quite Write A Play Like This”

2014/11/14

Throughout the year, Speaker Boehner has been highlighting the freedom fighters whose sacrifices brought down the Iron Curtain.  Perhaps the most unlikely of all those heroes was Václav Havel, the Czech playwright who was imprisoned three times for promoting democracy in defiance of the communist regime that ruled his country.  

This Wednesday, November 19, House leaders will dedicate a bust in Havel’s honor at a 1:00 pm ET ceremony in the United States Capitol.  This event coincides with the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, which led to Havel’s election as the first president of the new – and free –Czech Republic.  You’ll be able to watch it all at speaker.gov/live

For now, here is a preview from Speaker Boehner featuring a clip from Havel’s address to a joint meeting of Congress on February 21, 1990. 

 

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A Job Well Done

2014/11/14

Last night, Speaker Boehner had the honor of accepting the portrait of Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) into the House collection.  Issa has served as the committee's top Republican since 2009. Boehner praised Issa for his stewardship of the committee, particularly his commitment to good government: 

“Six years ago, I gave Darrell a big job, and he has done it well. You know all the high-profile work, but there’s also the less-recognized work he has done to improve public oversight of the government. He’s seen through the DATA Act, the Whistleblower Protection Act, and there are more than 20 good government bills that maybe now we’ll have a chance of passing in the Senate. It can be tedious work, but the House is now considered a model of openness and transparency – and Darrell is a big part of the reason why. The whole House – and, quite frankly, the country – owes Chairman Issa a debt of gratitude."

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House Approves Keystone, Raises Pressure on the President to Act

2014/11/14

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WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement praising House passage of H.R. 5682, legislation introduced by Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) that would immediately approve the Keystone pipeline:

“Thousands more Americans would be working today if President Obama had put their priorities ahead of his political interests and approved the Keystone pipeline.  Instead, he continues to block the project, and the new jobs, lower costs, and increased energy security it would provide.  The House has voted numerous times to end the Obama administration’s needless delays, only to see those bills blocked by the outgoing Democratic majority in the Senate.  The president doesn’t have any more elections to win, and he has no other excuse for standing in the way.  It’s time he start listening to the vast majority of Americans who support Keystone and help get more people back to work.”

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Boehner Selects Sessions to Continue as Rules Chairman

2014/11/14

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today announced that he has selected Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) to continue as Chairman of the House Committee on Rules in the 114th Congress:

“No one has worked harder to make the people’s House more open and accountable than Pete Sessions.  As Rules Chairman, he has seen to it that members of both parties have a genuine opportunity to contribute to the legislative process.  In this Congress, nearly 1,500 amendments have been offered on the House floor, nearly half of which were offered by the minority.  Greater openness and more scrutiny means better legislation, which is why Pete’s leadership will be even more vital in the months ahead as we work to address the people’s priorities.  Beyond all that, it remains a privilege to call Pete a friend and advisor.  He brings good cheer and resolve to his work, and enjoys the trust and confidence of his colleagues.”

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Rep. Brad Wenstrup to Deliver the Weekly Republican Address

2014/11/14

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has selected Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) to deliver the Weekly Republican Address on Saturday, November 15.  Wenstrup represents Ohio’s Second District, and his address will focus on Republicans’ commitment to honor the American people’s trust by focusing first on jobs and the economy. 

“Anytime you get the chance to address your countrymen, it’s a great honor, especially at such a critical time,” Rep. Wenstrup said. “Our country faces serious challenges right now, starting with the uncertainty families and small businesses are feeling in this struggling economy.  I’ll be talking about what we’re doing to help get people back to work, lower energy costs, and make government more accountable.”

Learn more about Rep. Wenstrup by going to http://wenstrup.house.gov, or by following him on Facebook and Twitter.

The Weekly Republican Address will be available starting tomorrow, Saturday, November 15, 2014, at 6:00 am ET on Speaker.gov and GOP.gov

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House Republicans Elect Leaders For The 114th Congress

2014/11/13

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, House Republicans – including newly elected and returning lawmakers – elected their leadership team for the 114th Congress.   House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement:

“Americans have entrusted Republicans with the responsibility of leading both the House and Senate.  We are humbled by this opportunity and take it seriously.  Together, our focus will continue to be listening to the people and making their priorities our priorities.  We have an opportunity to do some important things in the months ahead.  We have made clear that we’ll start with the jobs bills the outgoing Senate majority ignored for too long.  We’ve decided not to wait on one of them: the Keystone pipeline.  The House will vote tomorrow to build the Keystone pipeline, and we’re hopeful the Senate will approve it as well.  This is a vote to lower energy costs for families and create more American jobs.  Finding common ground won’t always be easy, but for the sake of America’s workers, we hope the president will sign this bipartisan bill without any further delay.”

NOTE: House Republicans today elected the following members of their leadership team for the 114th Congress:

Speaker of the House: Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) | @SpeakerBoehner Majority Leader: Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) | @GOPLeader Majority Whip: Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) | @SteveScalise Conference Chair: Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) | @cathymcmorris NRCC Chairman: Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) | @repgregwalden Policy Committee Chairman: Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN) | @RepLukeMesser Conference Vice-Chair: Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) | @RepLynnJenkins Conference Secretary: Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) | @virginiafoxx Sophomore Representative: Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO)| @RepAnnWagner Freshman Representative: Rep.-elect Mimi Walters (R-CA)

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House Oversight Efforts Expose Another ObamaCare Failure

2014/11/13

While the White House is busy attempting to clean up one mess about its deceptive tactics to enact the president’s health care law, a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, requested by the House Small Business Committee, brings even more bad news.  According to the committee, the GAO report finds enrollment for the state-operated Small Business Health Options Program [SHOP] “was significantly lower than expected, and, at its current pace, is unlikely to reach expectations by the end of 2014.”  Why the weak numbers?  On top of the technical issues that plagued many of the exchanges, “the primary incentive for many small businesses to enroll in SHOPs was to utilize the small business health care tax credit.  But the credit is so narrow, complex and temporary that it has been an insufficient incentive to enroll,” the committee explains.  

Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) says the report is just the latest evidence that the president’s health care law is wreaking havoc on small business owners and their employees:

“Obamacare’s SHOPs have been fraught with errors and high costs from the very beginning. … The administration touted the SHOP as a way for small companies and their employees to benefit from more health insurance competition and choice, and ultimately lower prices. Instead, we have seen that costs are increasing for nearly two-thirds of small businesses that provide health insurance to their employees and the majority of small business owners paid more per employee for health insurance in 2013 than in 2012.”

As Graves notes, a separate report by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released in February found that an estimated 11 million small business employees will see higher premiums under the president’s health care law – taking another bite out of family budgets already strained by fewer hours and stubbornly flat wages.

The House will continue holding the administration accountable and exposing the president’s health care law for the disaster it is – but we won’t stop there.  Delivering Saturday’s Weekly Republican Address, Boehner said, “we’ll take on ObamaCare regulations that threaten the 40-hour workweek and the pay and peace of mind of so many Americans,” referring to a House vote in the coming year on legislation along the lines of the Save American Workers Act, one of the many common-sense, House-passed jobs bills blocked by the outgoing Senate Democratic majority. 

As Boehner has made clear many times, most recently in a joint op-ed with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), ObamaCare is a trainwreck for families and small businesses alike, and the goal remains to scrap the law in its entirety.

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Real ‘Stupidity’: Higher Costs that Hurt Middle-Class Families

2014/11/13

If there was ever any doubt that ObamaCare was rammed through Congress with a heavy dose of arrogance, duplicity, and contempt for the will of the American people, recent comments made by one of the law’s chief architects, Jonathan Gruber, put that to rest.  As National Journal reports:

“Appearing on an academic panel a year ago, this key Obamacare adviser argued that the law never would have passed if the administration had been honest about the fact that the so-called penalty for noncompliance with the mandate was actually a tax. ‘And, basically, call it ‘the stupidity of the American voter,’ or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass,’ Gruber said.”

This isn’t the first time Gruber acknowledged that the Obama administration deliberately misled Americans.  Last year, after a wave of cancellation notices upended the president’s promise that workers could keep the plans they liked and could afford, Gruber admitted, “you present the facts in a way that’s ultimately not 100 percent accurate for every person.”  There is one fact that remains ‘100 percent accurate’: ObamaCare is a disaster for the economy, a disaster for jobs and small businesses, and a disaster, especially, for middle-class families:

“Obamacare 2015: Higher Costs, Higher Penalties” “[A] number of low-priced Obamacare plans will raise their rates in 2015, making those options less affordable. On top of that, penalties for failing to secure a health-insurance plan will rise steeply next year, which could take a big bite out of some families’ pocketbooks. … That flat-rate penalty ‘will affect lower-income or middle-income households,’ [InsuranceQuotes.com’s Laura] Adams said. Some middle-class families ‘may be making enough that they don’t qualify for a subsidy, so they won’t get a break if they are getting health coverage. It’s a big penalty for the middle class for not having insurance.’” (MoneyWatch)

The American people are anything but ‘stupid.’  They’re the ones bearing the consequences of the president’s health care law and, unsurprisingly, they continue to oppose it.  That’s why Speaker Boehner made clear, in a joint op-ed with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) last week: “We will honor the voters’ trust by focusing, first, on jobs and the economy,” including “renewing our commitment to repeal ObamaCare, which is hurting the job market along with Americans’ health care.”

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Same Bad Policy, Same Old Excuse

2014/11/12

According to presidential scholar Martha Joynt Kumar, as of July 2014, President Obama had done more than 800 interviews. At the same point in their presidencies, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton had done less than 300 and Ronald Reagan had done less than 400.

It’s fair to say, then, that Obama has probably defended his policies more than any other president in American history. And in the run-up to November, he reiterated that his policies were on the ballot, even if his name was not. But on Sunday, President Obama told CBS News:

“When you start governing, there is a tendency sometimes for me to start thinking, ‘As long as I get the policy right, then that's what should matter.’ … And I think that one thing that I do need to constantly remind myself and my team of is it's not enough just to build a better mousetrap. … We've got to sell it.”

President Obama has deployed this excuse at least five times before:

  • “[W]e probably spent much more time trying to get the policy right than trying to get the politics right. … And I think anybody who’s occupied this office has to remember that success is determined by an intersection in policy and politics and that you can’t be neglecting of marketing and P.R. and public opinion.” (The New York Times, 10/12/10)
  • “[O]ur attitude was we just had to get the policy right, and we did not always think about making sure we were advertising properly what was going on.” (CNN, 10/21/10)
  • “[O]ver the first two years I was so focused on policy and getting the policy right, that sometimes I forgot part of my job is explaining to the American people why we’re doing this policy and where we’re going. … And so I think that was something that I could have done better.” (ABC News, 7/22/11)
  • “The area in my presidency where I think my management and understanding of the presidency evolved most, and where I think we made the most mistakes, was less on the policy front and more on the communications front. ... I think I was so consumed with the problems in front of me that I didn’t step back and remember, what is the particular requirement of the president that no one else can do? And what the president can do, that nobody else can do, is tell a story to the American people about where we are and where we are going.” (Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President by Ron Suskind, 9/20/11)
  • “The mistake of my first term – couple of years – was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right. And that’s important. But the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people …. It’s funny – when I ran everybody said, ‘well, he can give a good speech, but can he actually manage the job?’ And in my first two years, I think the notion was, ‘well, he’s been juggling and managing a lot of stuff, but where’s the story that tells us where he’s going?’ And I think that was a legitimate criticism. … I need to do a better job of that in my second term.” (CBS News, 7/12/12)

For someone who claims to be overly focused on getting the policy right, the president gets an awful lot wrong. From the economy to the mismanagement at the Veterans Administration (VA), to underestimating everything from the terrorist threat to the problems with ObamaCare, it’s been said that “overseas and at home, the administration seems besieged and befuddled” and “looks like they’re struggling to run the government.”

President Obama once said that “elections have consequences,” but instead of acknowledging that the American people want a course correction, he’s vowed to change nothing. He’s doubling down on his plans to grant amnesty by executive action, impose federal regulation on the Internet, and eliminate affordable, reliable energy. His chief of staff says Americans are only “going to see Washington working better if this president has his way.”

But that’s not what Americans want, and it’s not how our system of government works. “Finding common ground is going to be hard work,” Speaker Boehner said last week, “but it will be even harder if the president isn’t willing to work with us.”

Republicans are committed to getting our economy moving again and advancing real solutions. We hope President Obama will change his mind and join us.

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Speaker Boehner on President Obama’s China Announcement

2014/11/12

WASHINGTON, DC - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement on the president’s crusade against affordable energy:

“This announcement is yet another sign that the president intends to double down on his job-crushing policies no matter how devastating the impact for America’s heartland and the country as a whole.  And it is the latest example of the president’s crusade against affordable, reliable energy that is already hurting jobs and squeezing middle-class families.  Republicans have consistently passed legislation to rein in the EPA and stop these harmful policies from taking effect, and we will continue to make this a priority in the new Congress.”

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Giving Thanks for America's Veterans

2014/11/11

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“This is the time of year when we pause to pay tribute to America’s veterans – the ones who gave all a person can give so that we may live free.  As we consider their sacrifices, let us vow to live up to the promises that we’ve made to them and their families.  We cannot rest until our veterans have the 21st-century health care system they deserve.  It is the least a grateful nation can do.” -House Speaker John Boehner, November 2014

Here is a look at some of the work the House has done recently on behalf of America’s veterans and their families: 

VA Accountability.  In April, more than 60 veterans from the American Legion and Concerned Veterans for America joined with Republican leaders to call for reforms in the wake of reports that senior officials at VA facilities associated with mismanagement and preventable deaths continued to receive positive performance reviews, bonuses, and promotions.  Throughout the spring, Boehner highlighted stories from veterans in his district, including one in Fairfield, Ohio who said “a change has to be made.”  

Hire More Heroes Act.  In May, Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL) used the Weekly Republican Address to urge the Senate to pass H.R. 3474, the Hire More Heroes Act, which would encourage employers to hire more of America’s veterans.  Boehner and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have cited the measure as one of the House-passed jobs bills the new majority will take up in January.  

Access to Better Care.  In August, Speaker Boehner signed H.R. 3230, the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act, which begins to address the problems at the VA by making sure veterans have timely access to care and making it easier to hold senior managers accountable.  A month later, Boehner sent a letter to VA Secretary Bob McDonald seeking action on a real, independent audit of the department’s health care system. 

Remembering Sacrifice.  Finally, perhaps one of Speaker Boehner’s most poignant meetings this year was with Roy Coleman, a member of the Greatest Generation from Springfield, Ohio.  During World War II, Roy was stationed in Anzio, Italy, where he lost most of his left leg in a shell accident.  “Many, of course, lost much more,” Boehner said later that week in a Memorial Day tribute.

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Boehner: Net Neutrality Hurts Private-Sector Job Creation

2014/11/10

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

“It’s disappointing, but not surprising, that the Obama administration continues to disregard the people’s will and push for more mandates on our economy.   An open, vibrant Internet is essential to a growing economy, and net neutrality is a textbook example of the kind of Washington regulations that destroy innovation and entrepreneurship.  Federal bureaucrats should not be in the business of regulating the Internet – not now, not ever.  In the new Congress, Republicans will continue our efforts to stop this misguided scheme to regulate the Internet, and we’ll work to encourage private-sector job creation, starting with many of the House-passed jobs bills that the outgoing Senate majority ignored.”

NOTE: In May, House GOP leaders sent a letter urging the FCC to drop consideration of federal net neutrality regulations.  To read the letter, click here.

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Weekly Address: Solutions To Get Our Economy Moving Again

2014/11/08

“This is a time for solutions to get our economy moving again,” Speaker Boehner says in this week’s Republican address, where he lays out the new majority’s commitment to focus on jobs, beginning with proposals to lower energy costs, boost veterans’ hiring, and protect the pay and peace of mind of hardworking Americans.

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The Hill: “Boehner: Build Keystone, change O-Care” “Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) signaled the House would start off the next term with legislation approving the Keystone XL pipeline and making changes to the healthcare law. … ‘These types of common-sense solutions, so long ignored by the outgoing Senate majority, offer a good starting point,’ he said.  ‘They’ll help break the logjam here in Washington, and establish a foundation of certainty and stability that both parties can build on.’’ ABC News Radio: “Boehner Outlines Goals After Republicans Take Control of Senate” “Boehner quoted Scripture, saying that ‘to whom much is given, much is expected,’ and adding that ‘Republicans are humbled by the trust the American people have placed in us.’ … Boehner says his party will focus on helping middle-class families, vote on numerous jobs bills passed by the House, work to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, advance the hiring of veterans and ‘take on ObamaCare regulations that threaten the 40-hour workweek and the pay and peace of mind of so many Americans.’” Business Insider: “Boehner: ‘To Whom Much Is Given, Much Is Expected’” “Boehner said those priorities included curtailing President Barack Obama's signature healthcare reform law, modernizing the healthcare system for veterans, and approving the Keystone XL pipeline.   ‘This is also a time to consider the line in Scripture that says, 'To whom much is given, much is expected,'" Boehner said.” Newsmax: “Republicans will honor the trust Americans showed with their votes in the Nov. 4 midterm election by focusing on jobs and the economy, as well as renewing efforts to advance proposals that the House passed but the Democrat-controlled Senate would not bring to a vote, House Speaker John Boehner said in Saturday's weekly GOP address.  … That will mean lawmakers will focus first on helping the nation's middle-class families who struggle to pay their bills and find well-paying jobs, Boehner said.  Further, the Republican-controlled Congress will start ‘by debating and voting on the many jobs bills the House has acted on with bipartisan support.’” VOA News: “In the Republican Party's address Saturday, Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner also paid tribute to the nation's veterans, saying ‘as we consider their sacrifices, let us vow to live up to the promises that we've made to them and their families.’

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Weekly Republican Address: “Your Priorities Will Be Our Priorities”

2014/11/07

WASHINGTON, DC – Delivering the Weekly Republican Address, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) says Republicans will honor Americans’ trust by focusing on jobs and the economy, beginning with a renewed effort to advance House-passed proposals that were never brought to a vote by the outgoing Senate majority – including the Keystone XL pipeline, the Hire More Heroes Act, and restoring the 40-hour workweek.

Key quote: “This is a time for solutions to get our economy moving again, and we are eager to get to work.  Your priorities will be our priorities.  That’s our pledge to you, the people we serve.”

The audio of the weekly address is available here.  The video will be available tomorrow morning at 6:00 am ET on Speaker.gov, Facebook, YouTube, and Google+

Remarks of House Speaker John Boehner Weekly Republican Address November 8, 2014 United States Capitol

This is the time of year when we pause to pay tribute to America’s veterans – the ones who gave all a person can give so that we may live free.

As we consider their sacrifices, let us vow to live up to the promises that we’ve made to them and their families. 

We cannot rest until our veterans have the 21st-century health care system they deserve. 

It is the least a grateful nation can do.

This is also a time to consider the line in Scripture that says, “to whom much is given, much is expected.” 

Republicans are humbled by the trust the American people have placed in us. 

We’ll honor that trust by listening to you, by making your priorities our priorities. 

That means focusing first on helping middle-class families still struggling to pay the bills and find good-paying jobs. 

We’ll start by debating and voting on the many jobs bills the House has acted on with bipartisan support.

We’ll work to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which will mean lower energy costs for families and more jobs for American workers. 

We’ll advance the Hire More Heroes Act, which will encourage employers to hire more of our nation’s veterans.

And we’ll take on ObamaCare regulations that threaten the 40-hour workweek and the pay and peace of mind of so many Americans.

These types of common-sense solutions, so long ignored by the outgoing Senate majority, offer a good starting point. 

They’ll help break the logjam here in Washington, and establish a foundation of certainty and stability that both parties can build on.

From there, more good ideas will follow, and with them, a chance to address some of the most pressing challenges that we face, whether it’s a broken tax code that’s driving jobs overseas, health care costs that continue to rise, or an education system that leaves too many of our young people unprepared for the future.

This is a time for solutions to get our economy moving again, and we’re eager to get to work. 

Your priorities will be our priorities.  That’s our pledge to you, the people we serve.

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Readout of the Speaker’s Meeting with President Obama & Congressional Leaders

2014/11/07

Readout from today’s meeting w/ Pres Obama & Congressional leaders re: #jobs, #immigration, #Iraq & more http://t.co/LjzTIEpaov

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) November 7, 2014

At the White House today, Speaker Boehner met with President Obama, Vice President Biden and the bicameral, bipartisan leadership of the House and Senate to discuss a range of topics, including the economy, immigration, and our efforts to degrade and destroy the terrorist threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).  

The Speaker made clear that the American people’s top priority remains jobs and the economy.  He reminded the president that there are more than 40 House-passed jobs bills that represent a great place to start on immediate, bipartisan action to help create more private-sector jobs.  He has previously said that building the Keystone pipeline, restoring the 40-hour work week, encouraging our businesses to hire more veterans, and supporting innovative charter schools are examples of the types of common-sense solutions that offer a good starting point in January.

The Speaker warned that unilateral action by the president on executive amnesty will erase any chances of doing immigration reform and will also make it harder for Congress and the White House to work together successfully on other areas where there might otherwise be common ground. 

Lastly, the Speaker welcomed President Obama’s decision regarding a new Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) for the effort to defeat and destroy ISIL, but reminded him that historically the Commander-in-Chief has identified the need for the use of military force, written a new AUMF, sent it to Capitol Hill, and worked to build bipartisan support for its passage.  The Speaker urged the president to do so in this case, and said that if he does, House Republicans will be ready to work with him to get it approved.

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Boehner Marks Berlin Wall Anniversary In Letter to Merkel

2014/11/07

WASHINGTON, DC – As the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall nears, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has sent a letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany conveying the House’s respect and appreciation for the sacrifices made by Germans seeking a better life.  “Here in the United States,” Boehner writes, “we are aware of the debt we owe to ordinary German citizens who longed for freedom and risked everything they had for it.”  Read the full letter here or below.

Dear Chancellor Merkel,

As the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall nears, I have been reflecting on how captivating those events were and what they all meant.

That night demonstrated for our children what the human spirit can achieve.  It showed them that the desire for liberty never dies.  This is the great thread that links all of us, no matter where we’re from, no matter how dire our situation.  Even here in the United States, we are aware of the debt we owe to ordinary German citizens who longed for freedom and risked everything they had for it.  You could retrace their steps to the peaceful protests in Leipzig, where you studied, or go all the way back to the uprisings of 1953, and strikes that included Templin, your hometown.

Not long after that, President Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote a letter to the German chancellor, the last paragraph of which reads: “No one can foretell what the unfolding months will bring, but it can certainly be said that the workers of Berlin's Soviet Sector and the workers of East Germany, with the workers of Czechoslovakia, have started something that will have an important place on the pages of history.  May the concluding chapter of that history record the reemergence of freedom, of peace, and of happiness.”

What a story it turned out to be, and on this proud occasion for your country, allow me to express the gratitude and appreciation of the U.S. House of Representatives for the enduring friendship between our peoples.

Sincerely,

John A. Boehner

Throughout the year, Speaker Boehner has been marking the events that led up to the fall of the Berlin Wall:

June 4: 25 Years of Freedom in Poland “If 1989 was the year the world shook, the Polish elections of June 4th were the initial tremor.”

August 19: 25th Anniversary of the Pan-European Picnic “Another dent in the Iron Curtain was made when roughly 600 East Germans fled to the West.  ‘We didn’t feel like we were making history,’ one of the organizers said, but that they were.”

September 10: 25th Anniversary of the Opening of Hungary's Border “Thousands of East Germans who had been allowed into Hungary as tourists simply refused to go back.  Their courage led to a fear among government officials that Hungary would become ‘a nation of refugee camps.’”

October 9: 25th Anniversary of the Peaceful Revolution “The potential for a crackdown was very real.  In many homes, one parent stayed behind in case the worst came to pass.  But when the day came, and the crowd swelled to at least 70,000, the police stepped aside.”

·         November 4: 25th Anniversary of the Alexanderplatz Demonstration “There was no violence, only demands for the basic rights we are exercising today.  ‘We’re taking the liberty to which we’re entitled,’ one protester declared.”

The House’s commemoration of the Revolutions of 1989 will continue on Wednesday, November 19, when Speaker Boehner will dedicate a bust of Vaclav Havel, the first president of a free Czech Republic. 

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Speaker Boehner on the October 2014 Unemployment Report

2014/11/07

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

“While it’s welcome news that more people found work last month, wages remain stubbornly flat while costs continue to rise, squeezing middle class families and putting the American Dream further out of reach.  We’re listening, and we’ll continue making Americans’ priorities our priorities by advancing solutions to strengthen the economy, lower costs, and expand opportunity. 

“The House has acted on many common-sense, bipartisan jobs bills only to see them stalled in the Democratic-led Senate.  Those days are over.  January will bring the opportunity to start making a real difference in the lives of struggling families.  It is up to President Obama to start listening, and work with the new Congress to get things done.”

NOTE: Speaker Boehner and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) authored an op-ed earlier this week signaling Republicans’ continued focus on jobs and the economy in the new Congress, and highlighting several bills that represent a starting point for bipartisan action on the part of Congress and the White House. Read it here.  In addition, Speaker Boehner has put forth a five-point roadmap for harnessing America’s energy boom and resetting the foundation of our economy by fixing our tax code, solving our spending problem, reforming our legal system, reforming our regulatory system, and improving our children’s education.

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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.