Speaker of the House

John Boehner

Weekly Address: A Plan for Middle-Class Jobs & Savings

2015/02/01

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With the new Congress advancing real solutions to help middle-class families, Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) uses the Weekly Republican Address to urge President Obama to back her plan to protect college savings and reconsider his threat to veto common-sense jobs bills, including the Keystone XL pipeline.    Watch the address here and below, check out news coverage that may interest you:

CBS News: “GOP: Expand 529 tax-deductible college savings accounts” “Just days after bipartisan opposition forced President Obama to drop a proposal to hike taxes on 529 college savings accounts, Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kansas, called on Congress to expand those accounts in the weekly Republican address Saturday.”

Topeka Capital Journal:Jenkins touches on pipeline, 529s in GOP address” “U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins of Kansas said in a Republican address Saturday that President Barack Obama ought to reconsider possible veto of a Keystone XL pipeline bill and work to upgrade college savings opportunities.  Jenkins, who serves Topeka and the 2nd District in Congress, said in the ‘Weekly Republican Address’ continued development of the pipeline stretching from Canada into the United States would create 42,000 jobs.”

Newsmax: “Rep. Lynn Jenkins Calls on Obama to Protect College Savings Accounts” “Rep. Lynn Jenkins, in Saturday's GOP address, called on the president to protect college savings accounts, not go through with a now-abandoned plan to raise taxes on them. … Jenkins also called on Obama to reconsider his threats to veto the House's common-sense jobs bills.  ‘We’ve voted to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which would create 42,000 American jobs,’ she said.”

Associated Press: “Republicans insisted they are the champions of the middle class.  ‘Expanding opportunity, protecting middle-class savings, holding government accountable: These are your priorities, which means they are Republicans’ priorities,’ said Kansas Rep. Lynn Jenkins said in the GOP response to the president’s radio address.”

Washington Times: “Meanwhile, Republicans are countering Mr. Obama’s message of so-called ‘middle-class economics’ by pushing their own measures aimed at helping working families. House GOP leaders have proposed a plan to expand the 529 college savings accounts, which allow families to save for college and withdraw the money tax-free. … Ms. Jenkins also urged the president to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline.  A measure approving the project cleared the Senate this week but Mr. Obama has vowed to veto it.”

ABC News Radio: “In this week's Republican Address, Rep. Lynn Jenkins of Kansas spoke about ways to lower costs and expand opportunity for middle-class families, including planning to protect college savings. … Jenkins also spoke of President Obama’s threat to veto the bill that approved the construction the Keystone XL pipeline, which was approved by the Senate on Thursday.”

The Hill: “Jenkins also pushed the president to ‘reconsider threats to veto our common-sense jobs bills,’ like the Keystone XL pipeline authorization. The Senate passed that bill this week, sending it to the president’s desk to set up a probable veto.”

Washington Examiner: "Lynn Jenkins calls for expansion of college savings plans"

Breitbart: “Jenkins Touts Expanding 529s In GOP Weekly Address”

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PHOTOS from January: Just Getting Started

2015/01/31

The beginning of a new Congress always brings with it some big moments, like the swearing-in of new members and the time-honored tradition of the State of the Union.  It also sparks a renewed determination to focus on the people’s priorities, which is why the House of Representatives has already passed 27 different pieces of common-sense legislation in 13 legislative days.  There is a lot more work to be done in the days ahead, but the pace is set, and the new Republican Congress is just getting started.

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Thanks for coming #InsideSOTU with us!

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Jan 20, 2015 at 7:48pm PST

 

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Every child in America deserves access to a decent education & #SchoolChoice is an answer to help make that happen.

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Jan 31, 2015 at 6:19am PST

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Weekly Republican Address: Solutions to Protect College Savings & Expand Opportunity

2015/01/30

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WASHINGTON, DC – In this week’s Republican address, Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) highlights Republicans’ focus on lowering costs and expanding opportunity for middle-class families.  Specifically, she calls on President Obama back her plan to protect college savings and reconsider this threat to veto common-sense jobs bills. 

Key quote:  “In the new Congress, Republicans are working to lower costs for middle-class families and empower folks with bottom up solutions that help prepare you for the future.”

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

Remarks of House Republican Conference Vice Chair Lynn Jenkins of Kansas Weekly Republican Address House Agriculture Committee Hearing Room January 31, 2015

Good morning.  I’m Lynn Jenkins, Congresswoman from the Second District of Kansas and Vice-Chair of the House Republican Conference.

This is the time of year when high school seniors are putting the final touches on their college applications.  That means it’s also the time when families are preparing to start paying for that education – whether it’s a 4-year college, community college, or a technical school.

As a parent with two children in college, I know this can be one of the most rewarding, and at the same time challenging, aspects of being a parent – particularly at a time when costs are going up while wages stay about the same.  All told, Americans now owe more than $1 trillion in student loan debt.

And so in the new Congress, Republicans are working to lower costs for middle-class families and empower folks with bottom-up solutions that help prepare you for the future.

That’s why, this week, I introduced a bipartisan plan to expand popular 529 college savings accounts.

As you know, these 529 plans were created to help middle-class families save and plan for college.  Many parents open them not long after their children are born.  And ever since Congress allowed folks to withdraw from these accounts tax-free for college expenses, 1 million account holders have turned into 12 million.

Unfortunately, instead of expanding 529s, the president recently proposed raising taxes on college savings.  If implemented his scheme would have turned back the clock on middle-class families, and taken money from your savings to pay for more government.  This would have discouraged families from using 529s, meaning less savings, more debt, and more government dependence.

It was a terribly misguided idea, but it took a public outcry for the president to realize it.  Just days after proposing this tax on 529s, he agreed to drop it from his budget.

But with hardworking families struggling, abandoning his proposal is not enough.

First, the president should put his full weight behind our plan to expand and strengthen 529 accounts.  We can remove common paperwork problems, empower students to use the money to pay for computers, and make it easier for families to send their kids to the college of their choice.  Because we should be rewarding people who work hard and play by the rules – not punishing them.

Second, the president should reconsider his threats to veto our common-sense jobs bills.  We’ve voted to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which would create 42,000 American jobs.  We’re ready to restore the 40-hour workweek so we can get people working full-time again. And we think bureaucrats should have to regulate with more transparency and less cost.  That’s just common sense.

Expanding opportunity, protecting middle-class savings, holding government accountable: these are your priorities, which means they are Republicans’ priorities.

As we saw this week, when the people speak out, government has to listen.  Now we need President Obama to keep listening.  It’s the best thing he can do for our families and our future.

Thank you for listening, and enjoy the Super Bowl.

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The Civil Right of the 21st Century

2015/01/30

For more than 30 years, Speaker Boehner has been working to ensure that every child in America has access to a decent education.  In fact, on Wednesday, before hundreds of elementary and middle school students at a National School Choice Week rally, he proclaimed that

“Education ought to be the civil right of the 21st century."

As the second oldest of 12 children — all of whom attended Catholic schools because of their parents’ sacrifice —  school choice is personal for Speaker Boehner.

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The simple fact is school choice is not just an alternative.  It is an answer to improving our children’s education.  But educational opportunity shouldn’t end with a high school diploma.  That’s why Speaker Boehner, the former chair of the Education & the Workforce Committee, called on the president this week to drop his tax assault on middle class families saving for college, and instead expand tax benefits for the more than 12 million Americans with 529 savings plans.  

"Education is the great equalizer in America,” says Speaker Boehner.  And these common-sense ideas are just some of the practical components of the Speaker's Five Points roadmap for resetting America’s economic foundation.

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Rep. Lynn Jenkins to Deliver the Weekly Republican Address

2015/01/30

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has selected Republican Conference Vice Chair Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) to deliver the Weekly Republican Address on Saturday, January 31.  Jenkins will discuss common-sense solutions to lower costs and expand opportunity for middle-class families, including a plan she introduced this week to protect college savings.

"As a former State Treasurer and a mother of two college kids, I know how critical saving for higher education can be, and how important 529s have become for middle-class families,” Rep. Jenkins said. “If the president is serious about helping middle-class families afford higher education then he should work with Congress and publicly support my bipartisan legislation to empower hardworking families by expanding and strengthening 529 college savings plans, and keeping them tax-free.  America’s new Congress is committed to making your priorities our priorities.”

Learn more about Rep. Jenkins, now in her fourth term representing the Second District of Kansas, by visiting her official website or by following her on Facebook and Twitter

The Weekly Republican Address will be available nationwide starting Saturday, January 31, 2015, at 6:00 am ET on Speaker.gov and GOP.gov.

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Four Facts to Remember About the President’s Sequester

2015/01/29

Tonight President Obama will announce that his budget will break his sequester’s caps with tax hikes and new spending.  It’s just the administration’s latest attempt to move the goal posts on the automatic cuts the president proposed in 2011, and avoid dealing with our government’s spending problem in a serious way.  Here are a few key points to remember:

  1. The sequester was President Obama’s idea.

    As has been well-documented by Bob Woodward’s book The Price of Politics, the White House first proposed the ‘sequester’ – a plan they devised because the president didn’t want to deal with another debt limit debate before his re-election campaign in 2012.

  2. Replacing the sequester with tax hikes is not the deal President Obama made. 

    “In fact, the final deal reached between Vice President Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in 2011 included an agreement that there would be no tax increases in the sequester in exchange for what the president was insisting on: an agreement that the nation’s debt ceiling would be increased for 18 months, so Obama would not have to go through another such negotiation in 2012, when he was running for reelection. So when the president asks that a substitute for the sequester include not just spending cuts but also new revenue, he is moving the goal posts.” (Bob Woodward, Washington Post)

  3. Republicans have twice passed legislation to replace the president’s sequester with common-sense cuts and reforms.  The Democrat-controlled Senate never responded with a plan of its own, and the president chose not to work with Republicans at the time.

    The House passed the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act (HR. 5652) in May 2012. The bill replaces the president’s sequester with common-sense reforms that would reduce spending, and preserve and strengthen our safety net for future generations.

    The House also passed the Spending Reduction Act (H.R. 6684) in December 2012. Just like H.R. 5652, this bill doesn’t raise taxes on families – it has common-sense reforms that stop waste, fraud, and abuse in government programs, eliminate slush funds, and more.

  4. Democrats often howled in protest when Republicans proposed to spend less than the caps.

    “Democrats have maintained that Republicans are reneging on the budget agreement by announcing that they will cut total spending on the bills to fund government agencies by $19 billion. ‘Until the House of Representatives indicates that it will abide by last summer’s agreement, the president will not be able to sign any appropriations bills,’ [Acting White House Budget Office Director Jeffrey Zients said.] (Bloomberg)

    "’The Budget Control Act was a compromise that forced both Democrats and Republicans to accept things they didn't like - this is the very nature of compromise,’ said Representative Chris Van Hollen, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee who helped negotiate the budget deal last summer. ‘If House Republicans turn around and violate our agreement, it makes the process much more difficult,’ he said.”(Huffington Post)

    "I'm really disappointed that they're considering a budget - violating the budget agreement that is now the law of this country.” [Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said.] (Reuters)

Republicans believe there are smarter ways to cut spending than the sequester and have passed legislation to replace it multiple times, only to see the president continue to demand tax hikes. Until he gets serious about solving our long-term spending problem it’s hard to take him seriously.

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Speaker Boehner Applauds Senate Passage of the Keystone Energy Jobs Bill

2015/01/29

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement applauding Senate passage of the bipartisan Keystone energy jobs bill:

“I'd like to congratulate Leader McConnell for passing this bill in an open, inclusive and bipartisan way.  After dropping his scheme to tax middle-class college savings, we hope President Obama will now drop his threat to veto this common-sense bill that would strengthen our energy security and create thousands and thousands of new, good-paying American jobs.”

NOTE: President Obama’s own State Department has estimated that building the Keystone XL pipeline would create at least 42,000 jobs.  Speaker Boehner discussed a number of common-sense jobs bills Republicans have passed early this Congress - including the Keystone pipeline - during his interview yesterday on Fox News’ Special Report.  

 

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A Plan to Protect & Expand College Savings

2015/01/29

While the White House still thinks taxing college savings is a good idea, Republicans are committed to expanding 529 plans and rewarding responsibility.

As The Wall Street Journal notes, “attention now shifts to legislation aiming to enhance the plans,” including the bipartisan proposal recently introduced by Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS).  Her plan will:

  • Modernize 529 plans by adding computers to the list of qualified expenses.
  • Allow funds to be re-deposited without taxes or penalties if a student withdraws early for medical reasons and obtains a refund from the school. 
  • Removes unnecessary paperwork burdens that date back to before withdrawals from 529 plans became tax-free.

These reforms – which the House will vote on next month – mean more incentives and peace of mind for middle-class families who work hard and play by the rules.  Learn more about the aptly-numbered H.R. 529 here.

“The idea we ought to tax college savings plans was bizarre, and I’m glad the president changed his mind,” Speaker Boehner said last night on Fox News’ Special Report.  “Frankly, he ought to come out and support the bill that was introduced yesterday that would expand college savings accounts for middle-class families.

At a time when Americans owe more than $1 trillion in student loan debt, President Obama and his party are obsessed with finding ways to raise taxes on hardworking Americans.  That top-down approach hasn’t worked, and won’t work.  Only Republicans are offering common-sense solutions to lower costs and boost wages for middle-class families.  

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Background on Invitation to Prime Minister Netanyahu

2015/01/29

Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepted Speaker Boehner’s invitation to address a joint meeting of Congress.  In the days since, there have been questions regarding the nature and origin of the Speaker’s invitation.

A handful of media reports have claimed that the Israelis “orchestrated” the invitation.  This is flat-out wrong.  As Speaker Boehner has said, the Congress is a separate and co-equal branch of government.  It was the Speaker’s right to invite the Prime Minister of Israel, and he did so for one reason and one reason only: so the Prime Minister could speak about one of the most important issues facing the Middle East and the world – the stakes regarding Iran. 

In the interests of transparency, here is relevant background information that the Office of the Speaker has provided to the media:

  • The process of inviting the Prime Minister was a coordinated effort between Speaker Boehner’s office and Senate Majority Leader McConnell’s  office.  Discussions began on the staff level late last year.
  • On January 8, Speaker Boehner called Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer to gauge the Prime Minister’s interest in an invitation – and we were informed that the Prime Minister was open in principle to an invitation.   The Speaker made it clear that it was his prerogative to inform the White House.  We then went about identifying potential dates for an address. 
  • On the afternoon of January 20, the day of the State of the Union, we informed Ambassador Dermer of our intent to issue the invitation and our intent to notify the administration of the invitation.  He accepted and acknowledged our intent to do so.
  • On the morning of January 21, after notifying the administration, the Speaker issued the invitation to the Prime Minister and announced it to the public.  “In this time of challenge,” Boehner said, “I am asking the Prime Minister to address Congress on the grave threats radical Islam and Iran pose to our security and way of life.”
  • The Prime Minister graciously accepted the invitation and asked to speak on March 3, when he will already be in Washington for the AIPAC conference.

The Speaker and his team enjoy a strong working relationship with the Prime Minister, Ambassador, and their team, and we will continue to work together in the interests of peace and security. 

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Boehner’s Interview on Fox News’ Special Report

2015/01/29

“The focus needs to be on the economy and jobs,” Speaker Boehner said tonight during an interview with Fox News’ Special Report that covered a number of topics, including common-sense jobs bills, the president’s unilateral action on immigration, and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s address to Congress. Watch the full interview on Fox News, and below, check out excerpts that may interest you:

Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com Jobs and the people’s priorities: “House Republicans have committed that the American people’s priorities are going to be our priorities.  While the economy seems to be going a little bit better, the average American family isn’t seeing much improvement in their daily lives.  Their prices are going up, and yet their salaries aren’t going up, and they’re being squeezed.  The focus needs to be on the economy and jobs.”

Jobs bills: “That’s why we’ve passed the Keystone pipeline bill that would create 42,000 new jobs. That’s why we passed the LNG … exporting bill, would create 45,000 jobs over the coming years.  That’s why we passed the Hire More Heroes Act to make sure more of our veterans get a chance at a good job.  And we’ve changed the 40-hour workweek in ObamaCare that’s been causing employers to cut employees’ hours.  All of these would help create more jobs, a better economy, and higher wages for the American people.” A plan to protect college savings: “The idea that we ought to tax college savings plans was bizarre, and I’m glad the president changed his mind.  Frankly, he ought to come out and support the bill that was introduced yesterday that would expand college savings accounts for middle-class families.” The president’s unilateral action on immigration:  “I said in December we were going to do everything to try to stop it.  That’s why when we passed the DHS appropriations bill a couple of weeks ago, we took the president’s ability to do what he did away from him.  That bill’s awaiting action over in the United States Senate.  …  The president said 22 times that he did not have the authority to do what he did.  I read all 22 of those statements on the House floor during this debate – 22 times over six years he said he didn’t have the authority to do it, yet he decided to do it anyway. … This isn’t about immigration. This is the president violating the Constitution, violating his oath of office, and frankly, not upholding the rule of law.” ObamaCare is hurting our economy: “We have 47 new members of Congress on the Republican side who have never had the chance to cast their vote to repeal ObamaCare.  ObamaCare is hurting our economy, it’s hurting the job prospects for millions of Americans, and it’s hurting our whole health care delivery system, while at the same time driving up costs for the average American.  It’s not good for our economy, and it’s not good for our country.” Opportunities for bipartisan progress: “I think getting trade promotion authority for the president that he’s asked for is certainly likely.  An authorization for the use of military force when it comes to dealing with ISIS and other terrorist threats around the world.  I think a long-term infrastructure bill is certainly possible.  And I think the issue of cybersecurity is another place where we can in fact work with the president.” Prime Minister Netanyahu’s address to Congress: “I believe that the Prime Minister of Israel has a strong voice.  He believes that the threat of the Iranians having a nuclear weapon is a very serious threat.  The Israeli prime minister can also talk with some expertise about the growing threat of radical Islam.  We’ve got a serious problem in the world, and the president just wants to act like it’s going to just disappear."

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Speaker Boehner Meets with Colombian Minister of Defense

2015/01/28

This afternoon, Speaker Boehner met with the Minister of Defense of Colombia, Juan Carlos Pinzon, in the U.S. Capitol.  They discussed a number of issues of mutual concern, including economic growth and national security.

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“Sure.” WH Says Tax Hike on Middle-Class College Savings Is Good Policy

2015/01/28

You can’t make this up. The White House believes “middle-class economics” means squeezing the very families it says it’s trying to help.  

Q: You call it a distraction, do you still think this is a good policy? There was so much backlash, particularly from middle-class Americans who said we really value these plans. So do you still behind that as a good policy?

WH: Sure. 

Republicans are listening to the American people, and will continue to push for better solutions to increase access to quality, affordable education.  Just this week, House Republican Conference Vice Chair Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) introduced bipartisan legislation to preserve and modernize the current tax-free treatment of 529s.  

In a statement yesterday evening, Speaker Boehner urged President Obama to support this common-sense legislation to “help give our children the best opportunities to succeed.” 

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TONIGHT: Speaker Boehner to Appear on Fox News’ Special Report

2015/01/28

Speaker Boehner sat down with Fox News’ Bret Baier earlier to discuss a number of priorities, including  creating jobs, approving the Keystone XL pipeline, and protecting the college savings of hardworking Americans.  The interview airs tonight at 6:00 p.m. ET. 

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Five Policies that Undercut the White House’s Pledge to “Put the Middle Class First”

2015/01/28

Appearing on Fox News Sunday this weekend, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough claimed that the president, in his recent State of the Union Address, offered “a plan to say, ‘Hey, let’s put the middle class first in this country.’”  But that so-called plan is entirely at odds with the president’s policies which, as Speaker Boehner pointed out in a 60 Minutes interview, are making things worse for middle-class families: driving down wages, threatening jobs, and putting the American Dream further out of reach.  Here are just a few examples:

  • Thwarting Efforts to Improve Education & Expand School Choice:  Delivering the Keynote address at a rally in support of National School Choice Week this morning, Speaker Boehner underscored the importance of ensuring that every child has access to quality schools that best fit their needs “because education is the great equalizer in America.”   The president and his administration have taken a much different tack, threatening to veto the Student Success Act (H.R. 5), legislation passed in the previous Congress to restore local control, support effective teachers, and empower parents.  The president also failed to call on Senate Democrats to pass bipartisan, House passed legislation (H.R. 10) expanding access to quality charter schools, preventing that measure from being enacted last year. 
  • Standing by a Health Care Law that Is Raising Costs & Hurting Wages:  A new Gallup survey finds that “healthcare costs and lack of money or low wages rank as the most important financial problems facing American families.”  The president’s health care law is at the center of both issues, driving up health premiums and cutting back hours, especially for part-time, low-income workers.  The House has passed legislation to protect American workers by restoring the traditional 40-hour work week, but the president has threatened to veto the measure.
  • Pressing for a Minimum Wage Hike That Puts Up to a Million Jobs at Risk:  In his State of the Union Address, President Obama renewed his call for a minimum wage hike that the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says would cost the economy up to 1,000,000 jobs, with a median estimate of 500,000 jobs lost. “It’s a bad idea,” Speaker Boehner said on 60 Minutes, “I’ve had every kind of rotten job you can imagine growing up and getting myself through school. And I wouldn’t have had a chance at half those jobs if the federal government had kept imposing higher minimum wage. You take the bottom rungs off the economic ladder.”
  • Blocking Energy Production to Drive Up Gas Prices:  After years of struggling with sky-high gas prices, middle-class families are seeing some relief at the pump, but that is no thanks to the administration’s policies.  The president has plainly stated his preference for higher gas prices, and done all he can to drive them up by blocking energy production on federal land and, most recently, renewing his ban on energy development – and the thousands of jobs it would create - in some of our most resource-rich offshore areas.  Republicans, on the other hand, have passed bill after bill after bill (and then some) to open new areas to energy production and cut back red tape to lower costs and enhance our energy security.
  • Refusing to Work with Congress on Americans’ Top Priorities: Jobs & the Economy: President Obama “set a record for most veto threats” in his State of the Union last week, adding to what the New York Times recently described as “a stark dissonance…between President Obama’s rhetoric of consensus and compromise and his confrontational actions.”   The president has already refused to work with Republicans on several measures that would help create jobs and increase wages for middle-class families.  He has threatened to veto a bill approving the Keystone pipeline and the 42,000 jobs that come with it, and has not offered his support for a House-passed bill that would end the de facto ban on liquefied natural gas [LNG] exports, helping to create an additional 45,000 jobs.  However, as Speaker Boehner has made clear, “veto threats and fantasyland proposals from the White House will not distract the people’s House from the people’s priorities.” 

“These just aren’t the wrong policies, they’re the wrong priorities,” Speaker Boehner said last week, “growing Washington’s bureaucracy here instead of helping to grow our economy and…helping to grow opportunities for middle-class families.”  House Republicans will continue following through on our commitment to advance solutions to help middle-class families, passing another energy and jobs bill this week.  If the president is serious about ‘putting the middle class first,’ he should reconsider his opposition to these measures and work with Republicans to get them signed into law.

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Natural Gas Exports to Advance Our Interests

2015/01/28

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement applauding House passage of the LNG Permitting Certainty & Transparency Act (H.R. 351), bipartisan legislation introduced by Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) that would expedite the approval of liquefied natural gas [LNG] exports:

“America’s vast energy resources are a critical tool in our arsenal that we can, and must, use to advance our economic and national security interests.  Exporting more of our natural gas would create an estimated 45,000 jobs in America, while reducing Europe’s dependence on Vladimir Putin’s hostile regime. In the face of Russia’s continued aggression, there is no excuse for the administration to continue its de facto ban on natural gas exports, and the president ought to get behind this bill to help our economy and support the cause of freedom across the globe.” 

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“You Can Change The Face Of Education”

2015/01/28

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) spoke this morning at a rally on Capitol Hill for National School Choice Week.  A former chairman of the House Education & the Workforce Committee, Boehner has been an advocate for school choice and the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program throughout his time in Congress.  Following are Boehner’s remarks, as prepared for delivery:

“Good morning, everyone.  Welcome to the nation's capital.  I hope the teachers don’t mind, but I have some homework for you all – it’s the good kind, I think.

“My story is pretty simple: I’m a regular guy with a big job.  I’ve got 11 brothers and sisters, grew up working at my dad’s bar.  And my parents sent all 12 of us to Catholic schools – I don’t know how they managed it, but I owe everything to that opportunity.

“When I got here in 1991, I wanted to help make sure every student had the same chance that I did.  Because education is the great equalizer in America – it can lift up kids who would slip through the cracks.

“But let me tell you, this has been a long struggle.  We haven’t always had reasons to hold rallies.  You see, the education establishment decided a long time ago that the answer to every problem was more money and more government control.  And no matter how much money they poured into that hole, things just got worse.

“So a few of us got together – including Anthony Williams, our mayor here in DC at the time.  We said ‘let’s try something different,’ and we were shouted down.  We said ‘let’s have parents make these decisions’ – we may as well have been talking about life on Mars.  That’s how alien the idea of school choice was – and still is – to the people in power.

“This struggle won’t be won by my generation, but it will be won by yours.  Through the Opportunity Scholarship Program, you’ve shown that students thrive when parents are empowered to pick the best schools.  You’ve shown how great charter schools are – and how we need more of them.   Because of you, we know that school choice can make anything possible.

“That knowledge is worth more than any power Washington has – and this is where your assignment comes in.  If you share YOUR story, you can change hearts and minds.   And if you can change hearts and minds, you can change the laws.  And if you can change the laws, you can change the face of education in this country.

“Education ought to be the civil right of the 21st century – and you have the power to make it happen.  Believe it.  I have faith in you, and frankly, I’m counting on all of you.   So good luck, God bless all of you, and God bless the United States of America.”

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WH Calls Tax Hike on College Savings A “Distraction”

2015/01/28

It’s official. Confronted with “widespread criticism” and “angry reprisals from parents, and from lawmakers of both parties” the administration relented and said it would scrap President Obama’s plan to tax 529 college savings plans that middle-class families use to send their kids to college. 

“It’s not often you see a proposal talked about in the State of the Union Address abandoned a week later, but that’s what has happened” reports Atlanta Journal Constitution

Did the President suddenly realize it’s a bad idea to raise taxes on middle-class families already struggling to get ahead? Did he listen to the families and the local financial planners and officials who oversee these savings accounts?

Of course not.  That’s because the White House didn’t want to drop the tax hike at all.  It had simply become an inconvenience.

A White House official called the proposed change a ‘distraction’ and said there are plenty of other ways to raise revenue as part of their budget. (CNBC)

Ultimately, regardless of the White House’s reasoning, we’re glad the President is withdrawing the 529 tax. It’s the right thing to do. But we’re also left to wonder what’s coming next. 

Because the truth is – as the Wall Street Journal notes today – that Democrats are going to have to try and propose new tax hikes on middle-class families. Their big spending agenda depends on it. So, what’s it going to be?

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No Tax Hikes on College Savings

2015/01/27

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement in response to reports that President Obama will withdraw his proposed tax on 529 college savings plans.  

“I’m glad President Obama has decided to listen to the American people and withdraw his tax hike on college savings.  This tax would have hurt middle-class families already struggling to get ahead.  I urge President Obama to support Rep. Lynn Jenkins’ bipartisan bill to expand, not tax 529 college savings plans.  This is also an opportunity for the president to  reconsider his threats to veto common-sense jobs bills, like the Keystone XL pipeline and restoring the 40-hour workweek.  Together, by listening to the people, we can get our economy moving, create jobs, and help give our children the best opportunities to succeed.”

BREAKING: Americans spoke out. Now, #middleclass families won't have college savings taxed. Let’s keep up the fight. http://t.co/6NfhCtsvDj

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) January 27, 2015

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Sex Trafficking is a Horrific Crime, Must Be Ended

2015/01/27

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) made the following statement after the House passed a series of bipartisan bills to combat the growing crime of sex trafficking:

"Sex trafficking is a horrific crime committed by cowardly monsters.  Its victims are among the most vulnerable in this country - children who have run away from home, are part of the child welfare system, or have been victims of abuse or assault growing up.  We must do everything we can to protect our innocent youth, ensure victims of these crimes have the support they need to rebuild their lives, and boost law enforcement resources to target criminals in the sex trafficking trade.  The House has advanced a number of common-sense, bipartisan bills to stop these horrific crimes, and I hope President Obama and the Senate will join us.”

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Speaker Boehner Meets With Mayor Bowser of Washington, DC

2015/01/27

Speaker Boehner welcomed Muriel Bowser, Washington DC’s new mayor, to his office in the U.S. Capitol today.  They discussed a range of issues, including the Speaker’s continued support for the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program. 

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Boehner Calls On President Obama to Drop Tax on 529 Plans

2015/01/27

WASHINGTON, DC – At his weekly press briefing with Republican leaders today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) called on the president to withdraw his proposed tax on college savings accounts, highlighting new legislation in the House to protect and expand 529 plans.  Boehner also discussed the upcoming House vote on an energy and jobs bill that will end the administration’s de facto ban on liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports.  Following are Boehner’s remarks:

“You know, the middle class is struggling, and this week the House will continue to focus on important jobs bills. 

“We’ll vote to end the administration’s de facto ban on exporting LNG – liquid natural gas.  There’s an energy boom going on in America, and this bill will help create 45,000 jobs while supporting our allies abroad and keeping Vladimir Putin in check.

“In addition, Lynn Jenkins has introduced a plan, bipartisan plan, to expand 529 savings plans for college and keeping them tax-free.  529 plans help middle-class families save for college, but now the president wants to tax those plans.  It’s another example of his outdated, top-down approach – when our focus ought to be on providing opportunity for all Americans.  And so, for the sake of middle-class families, the president ought to withdraw this tax increase from his budget when he submits it soon.” 

 

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Increasing Natural Gas Exports Vital for Jobs & Security

2015/01/27

The violent, Russian-backed assault on the east Ukraine city of Mariupol this weekend – the latest flashpoint in Vladimir Putin’s nearly year-long aggression against Ukraine – makes it all the more urgent that we do everything we can to support our allies and isolate Russia.  At the top of the House’s agenda this week is a vote on the LNG Permitting Certainty & Transparency Act (H.R. 351), bipartisan legislation to expedite the approval of liquefied natural gas [LNG] exports – a boon for both jobs and national security:

  • 45,000 New American Jobs: “By 2018, the construction of new LNG export projects is estimated to create up to 45,000 American jobs,” says the House Energy & Commerce Committee, citing an independent study by NERA Economic Consulting.  According to the study, “In addition to these on-site jobs, manufacturing of machinery and equipment for the LNG plant, including compressors, pipes, and compressor vessels, will also provide employment, and exploration and production for natural gas will need additional workers over the life of the facility to support the required net increase in U.S. natural gas production.”
  • Increased Security: Our European allies rely on Russia for about 30 percent of their energy needs, leaving them vulnerable to the whims of a hostile regime.  “Energy security is not only a day-to-day issue for millions of citizens in our region, but it is one of the most important security challenges that America’s allies face in Central and Eastern Europe today,” ambassadors from four Central European nations wrote in a letter to Speaker Boehner last year, urging more LNG exports.  As Stephen A. Cheney, chief executive of the American Security Project, writes in Wall Street Journal, “Beyond the economic and environmental benefits, boosting America’s LNG exports would send a clear signal to Europe, Russia and the rest of the world about Washington’s commitment to global energy markets freed from the influence of any one country that would use its dominance for strategic ends.”

Yet while the benefits are clear, the Obama administration has consistently stood in the way by imposing a de facto ban on LNG exports.  The administration is currently sitting on a backlog of nearly 30 export applications, many of which have languished for years.  Rep. Bill Johnson’s (R-OH) bill will hold bureaucrats accountable for approving these applications in a timely fashion to speed exports, helping to bolster our allies and create more American jobs.  The House passed similar legislation, H.R. 6, with the support of 46 Democrats in the previous Congress, only to have it blocked by Senate Democrats. 

Boehner addressed the issue from Turkey last year, saying, “If we’re serious about reaching out to our friends we’ll export more liquefied natural gas to our allies here in the region.”  He added in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, “America not only has a right to develop and market its natural resources. In the face of rising danger, it has an obligation to do so.”

Learn more about H.R. 351 here, and see what the House has already done in the new American Congress to support energy jobs and infrastructure:

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An End to Sex Trafficking

2015/01/26

Human trafficking is a horrific crime that happens around the world, and each year more than 300,000 American children are at risk of becoming victims of sex trafficking.  According to the FBI, sex trafficking is the fastest-growing business of organized crime and the third-largest criminal enterprise in the world.  Tragically, most of the victims of this crime are vulnerable youth who have run away from home, are part of the child welfare system, or have been victims of abuse and assault growing up.  

This week, the House will take up a series of bipartisan bills to protect our children and combat this growing problem – providing support and services to the victims of this crime and boosting resources for law enforcement.  These bills will build on the bipartisan efforts that became law last year to reduce child sex trafficking and increase adoptions of foster care youth.   Follow the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #EndTrafficking

Human Trafficking Prioritization Act  (H.R. 514), sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), prioritizes the fight against human trafficking within the Department of State according to congressional intent in the 2000 Trafficking Victims Protection Act without increasing the size of the federal government.

International Megan’s Law to Prevent Demand for Child Sex Trafficking (H.R. 515), sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), increases communication between the U.S. and other countries regarding sex offenders’ travel and allows the Secretary of State to restrict the passports of people convicted of sex crimes in other countries.

Human Trafficking Prevention Act (H.R. 357), sponsored by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), increases training for State Department employees so they are better equipped to identify victims of severe forms of trafficking and providing for the protection of such victims.

Enhancing Services for Runaway and Homeless Victims for Youth Trafficking Act  (H.R. 468), sponsored by Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV), improves support provided specifically to run away and homeless youth who are victims of sex trafficking. 

Strengthening Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act  (H.R. 469), sponsored by Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), improves practices within state child welfare systems to identify and document sex trafficking cases.

To improve the response to victims of child sex trafficking (H.R. 246), sponsored by Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH), updates the statute to use the term “child sex trafficking, including child prostitution” for cybertipline reporting to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Trafficking Awareness Training for Health Care Act  (H.R. 398), sponsored by Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC), develops evidence-based best practices for health care workers to identify and assist victims of human trafficking.

Human Trafficking Detection Act (H.R. 460), sponsored by Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC), directs the Homeland Security Secretary to train Department of Homeland Security personnel how to effectively deter, detect, disrupt, and prevent human trafficking during the course of their primary roles and responsibilities.

Human Trafficking Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery Act (H.R. 350), sponsored by Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD), directs the existing Interagency Task Force established under the 2000 Trafficking Victims Protection Act to review federal and state activities to prevent children from becoming trafficking victims, survey academic research on the topic, and propose best practices.  The bill also directs the Government Accountability Office to review federal and state efforts, including federal grants, to combat human trafficking, and clarifies that existing grants may be used to provide shelter services to trafficking victims.

Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act (H.R. 159), sponsored by Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN), encourages states to establish safe harbor laws so that trafficked minors can seek protective services and counseling as victims, without fear of facing jail and being targeted as part of the problem.

Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (H.R. 181), sponsored by Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX), boosts support and protection for domestic human trafficking victims.  The bill also makes improvements to current law, such as increasing and streamlining law enforcement resources, enhancing victims’ services, and holding both sellers and buyers engaged in sex trafficking accountable.

Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation Act (H.R. 285), sponsored by Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO), criminalizes those who knowingly advertise for the commercial exploitation of children and trafficking victims. 

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Outcry Over President’s 529 Tax Intensifies

2015/01/26

State Treasurers & Local Financial Planners Agree: Taxing College Savings Is A Bad Idea

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President Obama’s budget is scheduled to be released a week from today – but will it include his proposal to raise taxes on college savings?  That's a fair question now that the White House find itself “on defense” for taxing the popular 529 plans that middle-class families use  to send their kids to college. The White House wants you to think 529s are “ineffective” and skewed to the rich, but the people who know best – the state treasurers who oversee these plans and the local financial planners who advise families on how to use them – disagree.  STATE TREASURERS

  • Iowa: “The plan has drawn skepticism from the state treasurer and concern from families.  ‘Paying for it with the people who have saved with 529’s is not the way to go about it. There can be some tightening up in certain areas, but 529’s have great success, especially in Iowa and I’ll be out there working as hard as I can to make sure we keep it here in Iowa,’ said state treasurer Michael Fitzgerald.”  (WHOtv)
  • Kansas: “[Kansas Treasurer Ron] Estes, who has responsibility for administering Kansas’ 529 accounts in his role as state treasurer, said taxing account earnings as ordinary income would discourage participation. …  ‘Why would you ever have 529s anymore?’ said Estes, a Republican.  ‘If I have to pay taxes on my earnings, why don’t I keep it in my own individual investment account?’” (Garden City Telegram)
  • Missouri: “Missouri Democrat chides Obama over college savings.  ‘I do not believe raising taxes on families saving for college is the right way to go,’ said Missouri State Treasurer Clint Zweifel, who runs the state's college savings plan, called MOST.’” (STLToday)
  •  Nebraska:  “Those aren’t college savings plans of the multi-rich,’ State Treasurer Don Stenberg tells Nebraska Radio Network. ‘Those are the college savings plans of middle income Nebraskans who are able to put a little bit of money away for college for their kids.’ … ‘I think it’s really moving in the wrong direction to discourage people from saving for college through a 529 plan, which the president’s tax would do,’ Stenberg says.”  (Nebraska Radio Network)

LOCAL FINANCIAL PLANNERS

  • Indiana: “It's part of a package designed to reduce taxes on the middle class, but Kurt Supe with Indy College Funding thinks it will have the opposite effect. …  ‘Just the thought that he is proposing this scares you, and you have to ask yourself do you want to keep shoving money into those savings plans,’ Supe said.” (WIBC)
  • Michigan: “Dennis Prout, owner of Prout Financial Design … says that tax break is why people decide to start these saving plans.  ‘It would help with college education, but if that incentive is removed-- these kids are not going to be incentivized to save for college education,’ said Prout.” (9&10 News)
  • Nevada: “‘The president's speech is supposed to be to help the middle class. Realistically this is a plan that smacks them right across the face,’ says local financial planner Jon Sanchez…  ‘But if God forbid it does pass, this could be a disaster for colleges and the middle class because by far this is the most superior plan that's out there.” (KOLO)
  • Ohio:Financial advisor Doug Vaclav says it will make college more expensive for families trying to save.  … ‘It is going to be harder for them to go. They will probably have to borrow money and come out with student debt,’ Vaclav said.” (WKBN-TV)
  • Texas: “Houston CPA Bob Martin says there are 12 million such accounts in the U-S, with an average balance of $21,000.  ‘That tells me it's a program used by middle class parents who want to send their children to college. This would not help the middle class.’  Martin predicts the savings plan would be abandoned without the tax incentive, forcing more people to turn to student loans.”  (KTRK)

INDEPENDENT EXPERTS

  • “‘I was very surprised by the Obama 529 proposal because in many ways it is anti-­middle class for families trying to afford college,’ said Joe Hurley, founder of the SavingforCollege.com website.” (The New York Times)
  •  “Erik Bruvold of National University's Think Tank said the President is sending two adverse messages.  ‘One is I think it will discourage savings for college which is a problem. … The second thing is it further, sort of, encourages the real cynical view that people can't rely upon promises made by the feds," he said.” (KUSI, San Diego, CA)
  •  “‘This would eliminate all new investment in 529 plans,’ said Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of Edvisors.com, a financial aid Web site. He noted that Obama’s proposal would treat the earnings on 529 plans as student income, which would hurt a child’s chances of receiving financial aid.” (The Washington Post)

This week, House Republican Conference Vice Chair Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) will introduce bipartisan legislation to preserve and modernize the current tax-free treatment of 529s.  

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Watch Speaker Boehner’s Interview on 60 Minutes

2015/01/26

Speaker Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sat down for an interview with 60 Minutes to discuss the State of the Union and the new Congress’s focus on the people’s priorities.

Watch the full video of the interview on CBSNews.com and below, check out excerpts that may interest you.

Income inequality: “Frankly the president's policies have made income inequality worse. All the regulations that are coming out of Washington make it more difficult for employers to hire more people, chief amongst those, I would argue is Obamacare – which basically puts a penalty or a tax on employers for every new job they create.”

Imposing a higher minimum wage: “It’s a bad idea.  I've had every kinda rotten job you can imagine growing up and getting myself through school. And I wouldn't have had a chance at half those jobs if the federal government had kept imposing higher minimum wage. You take the bottom rungs off the economic ladder.”

Israel PM Netanyahu’s address to Congress: “There's nobody in the world who can talk about the threat of radical terrorism, nobody can talk about the threat that the Iranians pose, not just to the Middle East and to and to Israel, our longest ally but to the entire world, but Bibi Netanyahu.”

The terrorist threat: “This problem is growing all over the world. And you know, the president is trying to act like it's not there. But it is there. And it’s going to be a threat to our homeland if we don't address it in a bigger way.”

The State of the Union: “I stare at the back of the president's head. And my goal is to make no news. … Although, inside, I've got a lotta things rollin' through my mind.”

The full transcript of the interview is available from CBS News.  In separate web extra segments, Boehner discussed:

The president’s Cuba policy: “Why would you want to reward two brothers who have run Cuba for the last 60 years and have one of the worst human rights record throughout the whole world? We’ve got freedom fighters who have been trying to bring democracy to Cuba – we ought to be supporting them.”

ObamaCare: “ObamaCare is costing jobs in America.  It’s raising costs for American families, and it’s destroying the doctor-patient relationship. …Moving towards a more patient-centered system would be in the nation’s best interest.” 

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SUNDAY: Speaker Boehner to Appear on CBS' 60 Minutes

2015/01/24

This Sunday, January 25, CBS News’ 60 Minutes will feature the first joint interview with House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).  The leaders will talk about the new Congress’s focus on the people’s priorities, including better-paying jobs and a stronger economy.     Check out this preview from 60 Minutes, which airs this Sunday at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT. Read More

President’s College Savings Tax Hike Hits the Middle Class

2015/01/23

No doubt about it: middle class will be hit by president’s new tax on college savings http://t.co/k26txQK4YO #529plans

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

The president’s plan to raise taxes on college savings accounts – known as 529 plans – hits middle-class Americans directly and undermines their ability to save for their children’s college education.  Taking heat, the White House is deflecting criticism by arguing that the current, tax-free withdrawal system “unfairly benefits high-income people.”  Hardworking, middle-class Americans who are sacrificing to save for their children’s education beg to differ, and they’re not the only ones who aren’t buying the White House’s spin:

  • “529 Holders Are Middle Class Americans: According to SI [Strategic Insight] as of March 2014, close to 10 percent of 529 accounts are owned by households with income below $50,000, over 70 percent are owned by households with income below $150,000, and almost 95 percent of 529 accounts are in households with income below $250,000.” (College Savings Foundation)
  • “Anti-Middle Class for Families Trying to Afford College” “‘I was very surprised by the Obama 529 proposal because in many ways it is anti-middle class for families trying to afford college,’ said Joe Hurley, founder of the SavingforCollege.com website.” (The New York Times)
  • “Those Who Stand to Lose Aren’t the 1%”  “The White House goal seems to be to discourage private thrift, and encourage greater use of government benefits, when paying for college.  If the plans are closed to new investments and savers, those who stand to lose aren’t the 1%.  … The average account balance was $20,671. That sounds like ‘the middle class.’” (Wall Street Journal Editorial)
  • “A Direct & Clear Tax Increase on Middle Class Families Sacrificing to Save for College” “The Obama plan aims to turn back the clock, once again taxing earnings growth in 529 plans as ordinary income. This is a direct and clear tax increase on middle class families sacrificing to save for college, and it’s likely to result in a mass divestment from this type of savings. … Raising taxes on the middle class is both bad politics and bad tax policy, and this tax hike should remain dead on arrival.” (Forbes Op-Ed)
  • “Directly Impacts the Middle-Class” “But while it went unmentioned in his speech, the White House also is proposing rolling back a vital tax break for college savings plans that directly impacts the middle class.” (Fox News)
  • “Held By Families Who Otherwise Would Have Trouble Paying Their Kids’ Way” “There are 11.8 million 529 accounts, many I can attest held by families who otherwise would have trouble paying their kids’ way through a public four-year university, much less a high-end private school. … Tax college savings, and people save less. Why this is considered a good policy objective, I do not know.” (The Wenatchee World Editorial)

The White House’s college savings tax hike is “running into opposition from Republicans in Congress who say they have no intention of raising taxes on families trying to save money for their children’s education,” The Associated Press reports.  Republicans will continue standing pat against the president’s proposal, and that’s not all we’re doing to help middle-class families.

Just weeks into the new American Congress, the House has already passed several bills to help struggling families, such as approving the Keystone pipeline, restoring the 40-hour work week, making it easier for small businesses to hire more veterans, and expanding our energy infrastructure.  That effort will continue, giving the president ample opportunity to show that “middle class economics” is more than just a catchphrase and sign these bills to help more Americans secure good jobs, higher wages, and a better future.

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SOTU Rapid Response: By the Numbers

2015/01/23

House Republicans led an aggressive and coordinated rapid response campaign in the hours leading up to, during, and immediately following the president’s State of the Union address on Tuesday.  While it is old news that House Republicans consistently use video and social media “more effectively than Democrats,” this year’s numbers – barely 48 hours old – raise the bar for Congressional communication in the digital age.

Facebook
  • 80% of House Republicans used Facebook to preview, talk about, and respond to SOTU.  
  • In fact, Republican members uploaded more than 60 videos directly to Facebook yesterday (from pre-buttal videos like this one from Chair McMorris Rodgers to a behind-the-scenes look at the kinds of conversations that happen just before SOTU begins).
  • On average, these videos received more than 3,700 views.  
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  • During the peak hours of 8pm to 11pm ET on Tuesday, 98% of House Republicans tweeted about SOTU.
  • House Republicans tweeted 37% more than House Democrats (709 vs. 519)
  • One of the Speaker’s most popular tweets, with more than 640 retweets and 315 favorites, featured this simple fact: the national debt has increased $7.5 trillion under President Obama.

National debt = $18.1 trillion, an increase of $7.5 trillion under Pres Obama http://t.co/lGBhtgl1h4 pic.twitter.com/pe5nZfPHdt

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) January 21, 2015
YouTube
  • House Republicans posted more than 50 SOTU-related videos on YouTube.
  • The total watch time of those videos exceeds 1,113,000 minutes (a bit more than two years).
  • In total, those videos have received more than 250,000 views.

To execute this strategy, House Republicans worked from a centralized rapid response room, where communications staff could easily coordinate together and pull from a collection of more than 140 different graphics, covering a whole range of issues that the president addressed (or ignored) in his speech.  A satellite recording studio was also available to members near Statuary Hall, so they could record their responses immediately following SOTU. 

The Republican Address to the Nation

More than 176,000 people tuned in to watch Senator Joni Ernst deliver the Republican Address to the Nation live on House Republicans’ enhanced webcast, located at gop.gov/sotu.  Since first airing, the video has received an additional 67,000 cumulative views on Facebook and YouTube – for a grand total of approximately 243,200 views (a 584% increase over last year’s enhanced webcast of the Republican Address).

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Statue of Sen. Barry Goldwater To Be Dedicated Next Month

2015/01/22

WASHINGTON, DC - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced today that they will dedicate a statue of the late Barry M. Goldwater at a ceremony to be held on Wednesday, February 11 in National Statuary Hall of the United States Capitol.  Goldwater represented Arizona in the United States Senate for five terms.

The Goldwater statue was chosen by the Arizona legislature to become part of the National Statuary Hall Collection, which is comprised of statues donated by the states to honor notable individuals in their history.

Additional details regarding the dedication of the statue will be announced closer to the day of the ceremony.

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Why I Am Pro-Life

2015/01/22

Following House passage today of H.R. 7, No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act, Speaker Boehner posted the following update on his Facebook pageWhy I am Pro-Life

Growing up with 11 brothers and sisters, I didn’t need to be told or taught that every child is a gift from God. Respect for the sanctity of innocent life has made me who I am, and it is what has made America, America. This morning, I had the honor of welcoming to the Capitol constituents taking part in the 42nd March For Life.  They’re good, hardworking people from Clark County, Ohio. They’re taking time from their jobs and families to join in that most revolutionary ritual: banding together to demand liberty and human dignity. This march is part of a longer one, and our destination is clear: to secure and protect the rights of every unborn child. When there is disagreement, we should pause and listen closely. When there is movement, we should rejoice, and the House’s vote to ban taxpayer funding of abortion is cause for doing so. Now we march forward, and with purpose. For I have never felt a more precious responsibility than to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, and I will never back down from that duty.  

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The President’s Plan to Tax a College Education

2015/01/22

More and more families are working to make the dream of a college education for their children a reality.  Middle-class families, already struggling under slow economic growth and stagnant wages, are faced with the rising cost of tuition, making it harder for Americans to plan for and afford a higher education.

So, what is the president’s solution?  Increase taxes on 529 college savings accounts to pay for more Washington spending.

In his State of the Union address, the president proposed more than $320 billion in tax hikes on the American people – including a new tax on families saving for their children’s college education through a 529 savings plan. 

Currently, families are encouraged to invest in their children’s future by saving away in a tax-free account called a 529 plan.   According to the College Savings Foundation, there are more than 12 million accounts used by families who invest their hard-earned money in a tax-free account for their children’s education.  And, currently over one million middle-class students are enrolled in college and benefiting from 529s. 

Not only will the president’s proposal increase taxes on these plans, it will only increase the student-loan debt burden on middle-class families

Chair of the College Savings Foundation, Mary Morris, says the President’s plan would, “have a chilling effect on contributions by middle-income Americans.”   And current 529 savings plans are “helping millions to attend college, and reducing the amount of student loan debt students must incur.”

Betty Lochner, head of the College Savings Plans Network, adds, “Most families who use 529 plans to save for college are middle-income.  The loss of the tax benefits could lead more families to turn to loans to cover college costs.”

If the president truly wanted to work across the aisle to help more Americans realize the dream of a college education, he should look at the commonsense, bipartisan bills passed in the House.  One such solution, the Student and Family Tax Simplification Act, reforms 15 education tax credits into 4 credits that make it simpler and easier to afford the cost of an education. 

Republicans will continue to fight for better solutions to put the dream of higher education within the reach of more American families.  Later this month, House Republican Conference Vice Chair Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) will introduce bipartisan legislation to preserve and modernize the current tax-free treatment of 529s.  As Rep. Jenkins points out, “Middle income families that have worked hard and saved to send their children to college should receive our support, not a new tax bill to pay for his agenda.”

 

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Speaker Boehner Welcomes March for Life Participants

2015/01/22

Today is the 42nd annual March for Life, and this morning Speaker Boehner had the honor of greeting participants from Clark County, Ohio. 

In 2012, Boehner became the first Speaker to address the March for Life.  “When we affirm the dignity of life, we affirm our commitment to freedom,” Boehner said that day.  “When we don’t affirm life, when life is cheapened or weakened, here or abroad, freedom itself is diminished. … America is an idea, and our duty is to preserve its blessings, the first and dearest of which is life.”  Watch Boehner’s remarks here.

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Top 10 Omissions from the State of the Union

2015/01/22

The president did plenty of talking Tuesday night – so much so that we found at least 18 facts worth checking – but it’s clear he hasn’t been listening.  A number of the people’s priorities went unmentioned in the State of the Union, including:

1. A pledge to sign bipartisan jobs bills, including the Keystone XL pipeline, a project that enjoys popular and bipartisan support.  And while the president talked about hiring veterans, he failed to mention the Hire More Heroes Act, a bipartisan bill the House recently passed to help address this problem.  If anything, it was the number of veto threats that garnered notice.

2. A plan to fix our tax code.  Middle-class families and small business owners received no assurance the president is committed to fixing our entire tax code – only platitudes and proposals to make the code even more complex .  “What we really need is to make our tax code simpler, flatter, and fairer, so we can create more jobs,” Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) said.

3. A plan to balance the budget.  The president did nothing to reassure parents concerned about all the debt we’re piling on our kids and grandkids.  In fact, there was no discussion at all about protecting the unsustainable entitlement programs that are driving our debt.   The president has never proposed a budget that balances – ever.

4. A plan to lower health care costs. The president made “only passing reference” to ObamaCare, which is stunning when you consider how much havoc it is causing for middle-class families and small business owners.  

5. A plan to expand educational opportunity.  Next week is National School Choice Week, but the president failed to mention the challenges underprivileged families face in gaining access to good schools and great teachers. 

6. A plan to open new areas to American energy development.  President Obama was quick to take credit for lower gas prices and America being “number one in oil and gas,” but conveniently left out the fact that our energy boom is happening in spite of his policies, not because of them.  The president has put 85 percent of our most resource-rich offshore areas off limits and suppressed oil and gas production in areas under his control. 

7. A plan to deliver 21st-century health care for our veterans.   Instead of offering  a comprehensive, long-term plan to address the problems at the VA, the president made a vague pronouncement about “making strides” on the issue.  Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL) said, “Unless he addresses these problems head on, many in the veterans community will be left wondering.”

8. A plan to secure our borders.  The president made no mention of a plan – or even the need for a plan – to secure our borders.  Meanwhile, his unilateral actions encourage more illegal immigration.

9. A plan to win in Afghanistan.  The president turned the page on Afghanistan, saying our combat mission is “over” at a time when ISIL is now operating in parts of Afghanistan, and our top commander there is ‘worried’ that if we do not keep the pressure on our enemies, al Qaeda’s capability ‘will be able to grow very quickly.’

10. A plan to protect America and our allies by preventing a nuclear-armed Iran.  The president said “our diplomacy is at work with respect to Iran,” when in fact Iran is ‘at work’ on two new nuclear plants after more than a year of negotiations with the administration.  “One thing that could change Tehran’s resistance to accepting a meaningful and effective agreement to keep it from developing a nuclear weapons capability is the threat of more economic pressure,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) said.  Instead, the president once again threatened to veto new bipartisan sanctions.

To be fair, we had a hunch the speech was going to be pretty light on serious solutions to the challenges our country faces, but nothing like this.  It all goes to show the president is stuck on the same outdated, top-down ideas that haven’t worked.  Only Republicans are offering bold reforms and solutions to build a stronger economy and a better future for our country.  

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Expanding Energy Infrastructure to Boost Jobs & Economic Growth

2015/01/21

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today applauded House passage of the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act (H.R. 161), legislation introduced by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) to help expedite the expansion of America’s energy infrastructure:

“America’s energy boom has the potential to reset our economic foundation, lowering costs, creating jobs and raising wages for middle-class families.  Thanks to smart policies and advances in technology, production is up more than 30 percent in areas outside of the administration’s control.  To keep that momentum going, we need the infrastructure in place to move more energy from point A to point B: the consumers, manufacturers, and industries that drive economic growth.  This bill will help by eliminating bureaucratic delays that can hold up construction of new pipelines for years.   It’s another example of what we can get done when we work in a bipartisan way to advance solutions that reflect Americans’ top priorities: jobs and the economy.  And, it represents another opportunity for President Obama to stop standing in the way of American energy.”

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Boehner: Veto Threats & Fantasyland Proposals Will Not Distract Us from the People’s Priorities

2015/01/21

WASHINGTON, DC – At his weekly press briefing with Republican leaders today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) took the president to task for offering “more of the same approach that has failed the middle class for decades” in yesterday’s State of the Union Address.  Boehner also discussed his invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to address a joint meeting of Congress next month.  Following are Boehner’s remarks:  

“All the president really offered last night was more taxes, more government, more of the same approach that has failed the middle class for decades.  These just aren’t the wrong policies, they’re the wrong priorities: growing Washington’s bureaucracy here instead of helping to grow our economy and to helping to grow opportunities for middle-class families.

“There’s a better way.  We need to fix our broken tax code, balance our budget, replace the broken health care law with solutions that lower costs and protect jobs.  Veto threats and fantasyland proposals from the White House will not distract the people’s House from the people’s priorities. 

“Another priority is protecting the United States and our allies overseas.  That’s why I have invited Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress on the grave threats of radical Islam and the threat that Iran poses to not only the Middle East, but frankly, to the world.  America and Israel have always stood together.  We have a shared cause, we have common ideals, and now we must rise to that moment once again.”

 

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Speaker Boehner Invites Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to Address Congress

2015/01/21

At his request, PM @Netanyahu of #Israel will now address joint mtg of Congress on March 3 so he can attend @AIPAC conference in DC.

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) January 22, 2015  

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to address a joint meeting of Congress:

“Prime Minister Netanyahu is a great friend of our country, and this invitation carries with it our unwavering commitment to the security and well-being of his people,” Boehner said.  “In this time of challenge, I am asking the Prime Minister to address Congress on the grave threats radical Islam and Iran pose to our security and way of life.  Americans and Israelis have always stood together in shared cause and common ideals, and now we must rise to the moment again.” This would be Prime Minister Netanyahu’s third appearance before a joint meeting of Congress, and his second during Boehner’s speakership.  His previous addresses were on July 10, 1996 and May 24, 2011.  Other Israeli prime ministers to address Congress include Ehud Olmert, Shimon Peres, and Yitzhak Rabin.

Read Boehner's formal letter of invitation here

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Watch the Republican Address to the Nation

2015/01/21

Tonight, Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) delivered the Republican Address to the Nation, highlighting common sense solutions to create more jobs by passing the Keystone XL pipeline, expanding trade, boosting manufacturing in the United States, strengthening cyber security, and reforming the tax code for all hardworking Americans.

Please watch this enhanced version of the address to hear more from a veteran, hard-working mother, respected new Senator, and a truly great American: The Honorable Joni Ernst.

NOTE: The enhanced version of the House Republican’s version of President’s State of the Union address, aired earlier this evening, can be viewed here.

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Boehner Statement on the State of the Union Address

2015/01/21

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement in response to the president’s State of the Union Address and the Republican Address to the Nation:

“The State of the Union is a chance to start anew, but all the president offered tonight is more taxes, more government, and more of the same approach that has failed middle-class families.  These aren’t just the wrong policies, they’re the wrong priorities: growing Washington’s bureaucracy instead of America’s economy. 

“To Americans looking for the real reform and bold solutions they voted for in November, I would point them to Joni Ernst’s address, in which she talked about the need to fix our tax code, balance our budget, and replace the health care law with solutions that will lower costs and protect jobs.   To lay the foundation for this work, we have already advanced several jobs bills based on areas of bipartisan agreement, including building the Keystone XL pipeline. 

“Finding common ground is what the American people sent us here to do, but you wouldn’t know it from the president’s speech tonight.  While veto threats and unserious proposals may make for good political theater, they will not distract this new American Congress from our focus on the people's priorities.” 

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FULL TEXT: Sen. Joni Ernst Delivers the Republican Address to the Nation

2015/01/21

WASHINGTON, DC – Following is the full text of the Republican Address to the Nation by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), as prepared for delivery:

“Good evening.

“I’m Joni Ernst. As a mother, a soldier, and a newly elected senator from the great State of Iowa, I am proud to speak with you tonight.

“A few moments ago, we heard the President lay out his vision for the year to come. Even if we may not always agree, it’s important to hear different points of view in this great country. We appreciate the President sharing his.

“Tonight though, rather than respond to a speech, I’d like to talk about your priorities. I’d like to have a conversation about the new Republican Congress you just elected, and how we plan to make Washington focus on your concerns again.

“We heard the message you sent in November — loud and clear. And now we’re getting to work to change the direction Washington has been taking our country.

“The new Republican Congress also understands how difficult these past six years have been. For many of us, the sting of the economy and the frustration with Washington’s dysfunction, weren’t things we had to read about. We felt them every day.

“We felt them in Red Oak — the little town in southwestern Iowa where I grew up, and am still proud to call home today.

“As a young girl, I plowed the fields of our family farm. I worked construction with my dad. To save for college, I worked the morning biscuit line at Hardees.

“We were raised to live simply, not to waste. It was a lesson my mother taught me every rainy morning.

“You see, growing up, I had only one good pair of shoes. So on rainy school days, my mom would slip plastic bread bags over them to keep them dry.

“But I was never embarrassed. Because the school bus would be filled with rows and rows of young Iowans with bread bags slipped over their feet.

“Our parents may not have had much, but they worked hard for what they did have.

“These days though, many families feel like they’re working harder and harder, with less and less to show for it.

“Not just in Red Oak, but across the country.

“We see our neighbors agonize over stagnant wages and lost jobs. We see the hurt caused by canceled healthcare plans and higher monthly insurance bills. We see too many moms and dads put their own dreams on hold while growing more fearful about the kind of future they’ll be able to leave to their children.

“Americans have been hurting, but when we demanded solutions, too often Washington responded with the same stale mindset that led to failed policies like Obamacare. It’s a mindset that gave us political talking points, not serious solutions.

“That’s why the new Republican majority you elected started by reforming Congress to make it function again. And now, we’re working hard to pass the kind of serious job-creation ideas you deserve.

“One you’ve probably heard about is the Keystone jobs bill. President Obama has been delaying this bipartisan infrastructure project for years, even though many members of his party, unions, and a strong majority of Americans support it. The President’s own State Department has said Keystone’s construction could support thousands of jobs and pump billions into our economy, and do it with minimal environmental impact.

“We worked with Democrats to pass this bill through the House. We’re doing the same now in the Senate.

“President Obama will soon have a decision to make: will he sign the bill, or block good American jobs?

“There’s a lot we can achieve if we work together.

“Let’s tear down trade barriers in places like Europe and the Pacific. Let’s sell more of what we make and grow in America over there so we can boost manufacturing, wages, and jobs right here, at home.

“Let’s simplify America’s outdated and loophole-ridden tax code. Republicans think tax filing should be easier for you, not just the well-connected. So let’s iron out loopholes to lower rates — and create jobs, not pay for more government spending.

“The President has already expressed some support for these kinds of ideas. We’re calling on him now to cooperate to pass them.

“You’ll see a lot of serious work in this new Congress.

“Some of it will occur where I stand tonight, in the Armed Services Committee room. This is where I’ll join committee colleagues — Republicans and Democrats — to discuss ways to support our exceptional military and its mission. This is where we’ll debate strategies to confront terrorism and the threats posed by Al Qaeda, ISIL, and those radicalized by them.

“We know threats like these can’t just be wished away. We've been reminded of terrorism’s reach both at home and abroad; most recently in France and Nigeria, but also in places like Canada and Australia. Our hearts go out to all the innocent victims of terrorism and their loved ones. We can only imagine the depth of their grief.

“For two decades, I’ve proudly worn our nation’s uniform: today, as a Lt. Colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard. While deployed overseas with some of America’s finest men and women, I’ve seen just how dangerous these kinds of threats can be.

“The forces of violence and oppression don’t care about the innocent. We need a comprehensive plan to defeat them.

“We must also honor America’s veterans. These men and women have sacrificed so much in defense of our freedoms, and our way of life. They deserve nothing less than the benefits they were promised and a quality of care we can be all be proud of.

“These are important issues the new Congress plans to address.

“We’ll also keep fighting to repeal and replace a health care law that’s hurt so many hardworking families.

“We’ll work to correct executive overreach.

“We’ll propose ideas that aim to cut wasteful spending and balance the budget — with meaningful reforms, not higher taxes like the President has proposed.

“We’ll advance solutions to prevent the kind of cyberattacks we’ve seen recently.

“We’ll work to confront Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

“And we’ll defend life, because protecting our most vulnerable is an important measure of any society.

“Congress is back to work on your behalf, ready to make Washington focus on your concerns again.

“We know America faces big challenges. But history has shown there’s nothing our nation, and our people, can’t accomplish.

“Just look at my parents and grandparents.

“They had very little to call their own except the sweat on their brow and the dirt on their hands. But they worked, they sacrificed, and they dreamed big dreams for their children and grandchildren.

“And because they did, an ordinary Iowan like me has had some truly extraordinary opportunities because they showed me that you don’t need to come from wealth or privilege to make a difference. You just need the freedom to dream big, and a whole lot of hard work.

“The new Republican Congress you elected is working to make Washington understand that too. And with a little cooperation from the President, we can get Washington working again.

“Thank you for allowing me to speak with you tonight.

“May God bless this great country of ours, the brave Americans serving in uniform on our behalf, and you, the hardworking men and women who make the United States of America the greatest nation the world has ever known.”

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SOTU FACT: “Better Politics"? President Blocks Middle-Class Jobs

2015/01/21

CLAIM: “Imagine if we broke out of these tired old patterns.  Imagine if we did something different.” (President Obama, State of the Union address, January 20, 2015) 

SOTU FACT: Tonight, the president called for a better, more collaborative politics, and yet he has already threatened to veto four jobs bills that have passed the House with bipartisan support, including:  

  • H.R. 3, the Keystone XL Pipeline Act, which would approve this overwhelmingly popular project and the more than 42,000 jobs it would create.
  • H.R. 30, the Save American Workers Act, which would restore the 40-hour definition of the workweek.
  • H.R. 37, the Promoting Job Creation and Reducing Small Business Burdens Act, which would reduce the regulatory burden on Main Street workers and businesses.
  • H.R. 185, the Regulatory Accountability Act, which would force bureaucrats to regulate with maximum transparency and the least possible cost.

Just today, the administration also threatened to veto H.R. 161, the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act, which aims to expedite the federal review process for natural gas pipeline permit applications.

As Speaker Boehner and Leader McConnell wrote in November, shortly after the election, “Enacting such measures early in the new session will signal that the logjam in Washington has been broken, and help to establish a foundation of certainty and stability that both parties can build upon.”  It's good to talk about achieving a better politics, but Republicans are offering a path forward for making it happen. 

READ MORE:Boehner/McConnell Op-Ed: "Now We Can Get Congress Going"  A Good Start & A Good Idea For JobsFive Points for Resetting America’s Economic Foundation

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SOTU FACT: President Obama’s Unilateral Action on Immigration is Unprecedented and Outside of His Authority

2015/01/21

CLAIM: "[I]t’s possible to shape a law that upholds our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants." (President Obama, State of the Union Address, January 20, 2015) 

FACT: President Obama’s unilateral action on immigration has no precedent, and on at least 22 occasions he himself said he did not have the power to do what he eventually did.

READ MORE:

The President's Immigration Announcement

Americans Deserve Honesty, Transparency, & Accountability

Another Obama Policy on the Ballot: Amnesty

Boehner and Goodlatte: It’s Never Acceptable for the President to Re-Write Our Laws

Obama Administration Hiding the Truth about Immigration Actions

Majority of Americans Oppose President Obama’s Executive Amnesty

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

A Message Before The President's Immigration's Speech

Speaker Boehner to President Obama: This is Not How American Democracy Works

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

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

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

Four Things President Obama Hid from Americans until after the Election

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

Boehner on Immigration & the New American Congress

President Obama’s Immigration Explanations Not Fooling Anyone

The President’s Year in Pinocchios

Proof President Obama is Not Interested in Enforcing Immigration Law

Action Soon to Stop President Obama on Immigration

Proof President Obama is Not Interested in Enforcing Immigration Law

Five Ways Homeland Security Bill Bolsters Border Security & Law Enforcement

“An Affront to the Rule of Law and to the Constitution Itself”

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SOTU FACT: President Obama’s Actions Undermine Border Security, Let Criminals Go Free

2015/01/21

CLAIM: "[I]t’s possible to shape a law that upholds our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants." (President Obama, State of the Union Address, January 20, 2015) 

FACT: President Obama is not interested in securing the border or enforcing immigration law, and his unilateral action encourages more illegal immigration.

  • In July 2010, President Obama said: “[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.”
  • After President Obama unilaterally granted deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) in June 2012, 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 last summer were encouraged to make the journey because of DACA.
  • The New York Times’ Ross Douthat wrote that the unilateral action President Obama announced in November 2014 “implicitly strengthened the incentives to attempt to smuggle in minor children, [and] to send those same children across the border on their own[.]”
  • In November, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said, “I’m concerned about the possibility of another rise in illegal migration.”
  • In fiscal year 2014, despite an increase in illegal immigration, deportations were down five percent from the previous year, and those from the interior of the U.S. fell a whopping 24 percent.
  • President Obama has consistently played games with these numbers, and whatever he says about who may or may not qualify for his unilateral amnesty, his administration isn’t enforcing the law and has been purposely failing to do so for quite some time. His administration has changed how deportations are counted in order to conceal what The New York Times described as a “pronounced shift away from removals of immigrants living in the interior of the country.”
  • “If you are a run-of-the-mill immigrant here illegally, your odds of getting deported are close to zero,” a former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, John Sandweg, told the Los Angeles Times in April 2014.
  • President Obama says he wants to target enforcement against criminals, but in 2013 his administration set free more than 2,000 undocumented immigrants with criminal records, “including people charged with kidnapping, sexual assault, drug trafficking and homicide,” according to USA Today.

READ MORE:

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SOTU FACT: House GOP Has Led the Charge and Passed Bipartisan Reforms to Bolster Cybersecurity

2015/01/21

CLAIM: “I urge this Congress to finally pass the legislation we need to better meet the evolving threat of cyber-attacks, combat identity theft, and protect our children’s information.” (President Obama, State of the Union Address, January 20, 2015)

FACT: For two consecutive Congresses, Republicans have led the charge and passed bipartisan reforms to bolster cybersecurity while protecting people’s privacy. 

  • U.S. businesses – like Target, Home Depot, and most recently Sony – have been targeted by foreign nations and criminal organizations for cyber-attack and theft for years, resulting in huge losses of sensitive customer information and valuable trade secrets.  
  • Though these attacks only continue to grow, our government still lacks clear legal authority to share classified information it gains about hackers, and potential threats with businesses.  And, according to the House Intelligence Committee, “too often, companies that would like to share cyber threat information with other parts of the private sector or the government are prevented or deterred from doing so by a range of policy and legal barriers.”
  • Understanding the need for reform, Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor formed a Cybersecurity Task Force in the first months of the new GOP House majority, led by Rep. Thornberry, to evaluate what the House could do to help secure America’s technology infrastructures. 
  • Recommendations from the Cybersecurity Task Force were incorporated into four bills designed to allow for information-sharing and public-private partnerships to help stop cyber threats.   The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (H.R. 3523), the Federal Information Security Amendments (H.R. 4257), the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act (H.R. 2096), and the Advancing America’s Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Act (H.R. 3834) all passed the House with bipartisan support in the 112th Congress, but the Democratic-controlled Senate refused to act. 
  • In the 113th Congress, the House again passed a series of common-sense cybersecurity reforms in a bipartisan way.  Two bills – versions of H.R. 2096 and H.R. 4257 – were eventually included in legislation signed into law by President Obama on December 18, 2014. However the most important measure – a re-introduced version of  H.R. 3523, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (H.R. 624) – died once more in the Democratic-controlled Senate despite passing the House with a veto-proof bipartisan majority of 288 to 127 in April of 2013. 
  • Republicans are again ready to work with both parties to address this important issue and put some common-sense measures to the president’s desk.   

READ MORE:

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SOTU FACT: President Faces Bipartisan Opposition on Iran Sanctions Veto Threat

2015/01/21

CLAIM: “New sanctions passed by this Congress, at this moment in time, will all but guarantee that diplomacy fails – alienating America from its allies...and ensuring that Iran starts up its nuclear program again.” (President Obama, State of the Union Address, January 20, 2015)

FACT: There is bipartisan support for Iran sanctions legislation, and bipartisan opposition to the president’s veto threats.

  • Speaker Boehner responded to the president’s recent threat to veto Iran sanctions legislation by pledging that “no White House threat will stop us from doing the right thing to protect the United States and its allies.”
  • The president’s veto threat prompted a bipartisan backlash in Congress, with one Democratic Senator saying he has a “‘fundamental disagreement,’ with the White House on the issue,” Reuters reports. “Arguing that Iran did not yet seem willing to make significant concessions after 18 months of negotiations, he [Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ)] suggested that new sanctions legislation might help convince them.” 
  • According to Politico, “a dozen returning Senate Democrats” have “officially signed on in support of” Iran sanctions legislation.
  • Far from making concessions, Iran announced the construction of two new nuclear plants just one day before Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart resumed talks in Geneva earlier this month, according to a Washington Free Beacon report. 
  • As the Washington Post editorial board notes, “by announcing the construction, the regime is making clear its intention to continue expanding, rather than dismantling, its nuclear infrastructure. It’s also demonstrating that it’s not constrained from taking provocative steps during the course of the negotiations — even as the Obama administration argues that countervailing pressure would somehow be a deal breaker.
  • “The failure to agree even on the framework for a comprehensive deal” has already forced the White House to extend negotiations twice, “but with no clear indication of why they think they can ultimately overcome the political obstacles that have so far blocked a deal,” according to the New York Times
  • In the previous Congress, the House passed the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act (H.R. 850), legislation curbing Iran’s oil exports, with a broad, bipartisan vote of 400-20, only to see it die in the then-Democratic-led Senate. 

READ MORE:

 

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SOTU FACT: President Obama’s Policies Have Made Iraq Worse and Americans Less Safe

2015/01/21

CLAIM: "Instead of sending large ground forces overseas, we’re partnering with nations from South Asia to North Africa to deny safe haven to terrorists who threaten America. In Iraq and Syria, American leadership – including our military power – is stopping ISIL’s advance. Instead of getting dragged into another ground war in the Middle East, we are leading a broad coalition, including Arab nations, to degrade and ultimately destroy this terrorist group." (President Obama, State of the Union Address, January 20, 2015)

FACT: President Obama’s decision to withdraw from Iraq paved the way for ISIL’s rise and a terrorist resurgence in Iraq, which caught the administration off guard.

  • In his 2012 State of the Union address, President Obama said, “Ending the Iraq war has allowed us to strike decisive blows against our enemies. From Pakistan to Yemen, the al Qaeda operatives who remain are scrambling[.]” He frequently said al Qaeda was “on the run” and “the tide of war is receding.”
  • Thousands of American troops are on the ground in Iraq, and President Obama just sent hundreds to train Syrian rebels.
  • Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has described in detail how the White House put a higher priority on getting out of Iraq than preserving the hard-won gains of American troops.
  • When major signs of trouble were evident in Iraq in January 2014, Speaker Boehner urged the administration to get engaged and take action. But President Obama insisted ISIL was just a “jayvee team.”
  • In June, President Obama admitted terrorists were “gaining strength in some places.” By August, ISIL had seized control of large swaths of Iraq and Syria. In one shocking moment, President Obama conceded in a press conference that “we don’t have a strategy yet.”
  • Refusing to accept responsibility during the crisis, President Obama blamed the intelligence community. But NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell refuted that, saying, “The fact is there was intelligence. … The White House wasn't listening.” A “former senior Pentagon official” told The Daily Beast that “Either the president doesn’t read the intelligence he’s getting or he’s bullshitting.” 
  • Tim Arango, The New York Times’ Baghdad Bureau Chief, wrote: “after 2011 the administration basically ignored the country [Iraq]. and when officials spoke about what was happening there they were often ignorant of the reality. they did not want to see what was really happening because it conflicted with their narrative that they left iraq in reasonably good shape. … so there was a concerted effort by the administration to not acknowledge the obvious[.]”
  • The president’s rosy talk contrasts sharply with the facts on the ground. “Five months after the president launched military operations against the Islamic State, fighting in Iraq and Syria appears stalemated,” The Washington Post editorialized last week. As our “troops continue to see fire,” Iraq says America is not doing enough to defeat the Islamic State forces that control large parts of the country.
  • As the Speaker said in June, “Allowing terrorists to gain a safe haven in Iraq from which to plan and launch attacks on Americans and our allies is a serious problem. We’ve got to be engaged in Iraq; it’s in our national interest to help reverse the momentum and the spread of terrorism. Retreating from the world stage, in my view, is not an option. It only undermines our allies and leads to more chaos that puts Americans at risk.”

READ MORE:

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SOTU FACT: President Has Repeatedly Stood in the Way of Energy Jobs & Independence

2015/01/21

CLAIM: “So let’s set our sights higher than a single oil pipeline.” (President Obama, State of the Union Address, January 20, 2015)

FACT: The president has repeatedly stood in the way of more American energy production and plans to continue doing so through new regulations.

READ MORE:

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SOTU FACT: President Opposes True Educational Opportunity

2015/01/21

CLAIM: “We still live in a country where too many bright, striving Americans are priced out of the education they need.  It’s not fair to them, and it’s not smart for our future.” (President Obama, State of the Union Address, January 20, 2015)

SOTU FACT: The president opposes true educational opportunity, and has passed up opportunities to work with Republicans on making college more affordable. 

  • The administration has failed to work with Congress to expand charter school programs.  Last year, the House passed bipartisan legislation to strengthen the Charter School Program and allow successful charter school models to be replicated nationwide.  President Obama and Senate Democrats failed to act.
  • The House also took steps last Congress through the Student Success Act to restore local control, support effective teachers, and empower parents, but President Obama and Senate Democrats failed to act. Instead of proceeding with a go-it-alone strategy, the President should work with Congress to reform our current elementary and secondary education policies. 
  • From early childhood education to college, the cost of education continues to rise across the board.  Last year, the House passed three bipartisan bills to address the cost of college: H.R. 3136, H.R. 4983, and H.R. 4984.  The House also passed legislation that would make it easier for families to utilize tax credits to save and pay for college. President Obama and Senate Democrats failed to act. 
  • The Obama administration has tried to shut down the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program, the only program in America where the federal government allows parents from lower-income families to choose the schools that are best for their children.  The program continues to be both popular and successful.

Too many disadvantaged kids are stuck in a poor education system simply because they don’t have any choice.  When parents have a choice and great teachers have more flexibility, students have a better shot at an education that will help them succeed and pursue their dreams.

READ MORE:  Five Points Roadmap: Improving Our Children’s EducationPresident Obama & Senate Democrats Play HookyBoehner Joins GOP Leaders, Charter School Families to Rally Support for Education Opportunity

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SOTU FACT: The President Has Failed to Put Forth a Long-Term Plan for Addressing the Problems at the VA

2015/01/21

CLAIM: “Already, we’ve made strides towards ensuring that every veteran has access to the highest quality care.” (President Obama, State of the Union Address, January 20, 2015)

FACT: The president has failed to offer a long-term, comprehensive plan to address the problems at the VA.

  • On his recent trip to Phoenix, President Obama signaled his lack of focus on veterans issues by skipping a visit to the VA facility where at least 40 veterans lost their lives awaiting care. 
  • Meanwhile, “More than 600,000 veterans — 10 percent of all the Veterans Affairs patients — continue to wait a month or more for appointments at VA hospitals and clinics,” according to a recent USA Today report.
  • The White House has been on notice for years that “VA medical facilities were reporting inaccurate waiting times and experiencing scheduling failures that threatened to deny veterans timely health care,” says the Washington Times.
  • Last year, House Republicans joined forces with several veterans groups to pass a bicameral, bipartisan agreement (H.R. 3230) to bring real accountability to the Veterans Administration, following reports of widespread, systemic problems at the VA, including secret waiting lists at several VA facilities.  
  • Speaker Boehner has repeatedly pressed the VA on issues affecting veterans in Ohio and across the nation (see here, here, here and here), most recently sending a letter to VA Secretary Bob McDonald seeking action on the independent audit of veterans’ health care as required under H.R. 3230.
  • Boehner has also consistently called on the president to offer a comprehensive, long-term plan for resolving the problems at the VA, saying earlier this month, “the system is still broken, and needs to be fundamentally transformed in a way that puts the needs of veterans before the needs of the bureaucracy.  We call on the president to offer a long-term vision for reforming the systemic problems at the VA.  We’ve yet to see it.

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SOTU FACT: President’s Regulatory Onslaught Squeezes Middle-Class Families

2015/01/21

CLAIM: “Middle-class economics means helping working families feel more secure in a world of constant change." (President Obama, State of the Union Address, January 20, 2015)

SOTU FACT: The president’s regulatory onslaught squeezes the very middle-class families he claims to be trying to help. 

  • Regulatory costs are passed on directly to middle-class families.  American Action Forum research found that “36 regulations issued during the Obama Administration will increase consumer prices by more than $11,000.”  For example, regulations will increase the cost of household products – including fluorescent lamps, microwaves, air conditioners, and dishwashers – by up to $1,600.
  • Regulatory costs disproportionately hit small manufacturers. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, small manufacturers incur regulatory costs of $34,671 per employee per year – more than three times that of the average American company.
  • ObamaCare alone has small businesses drowning in red tape.  In its first four years, ObamaCare’s effect on small businesses amounts to $1.9 billion in regulatory costs and 11.3 million hours of compliance.  This amounts to a “regulatory tax” of 3 to 5 percent.  Again, this is just the cost of one law’s regulations.

With small businesses expecting “an even more aggressive regulatory agenda,” the House has already passed bipartisan legislation that would flip the script on Washington bureaucrats by forcing them to regulate with maximum transparency and the least possible cost. 

More common-sense solutions to reduce burdensome regulations and help small businesses grow and hire will follow.  Our focus should be on growing America’s economy, not Washington’s bureaucracy. 

READ MORE: Five Points Roadmap: Fixing Our Regulatory SystemOh, The Irony: President Criticizes “Endless Regulations”A Good Start & A Good Idea For Jobs

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SOTU FACT: President Obama’s Minimum Wage Proposal Will Hurt the Most Vulnerable

2015/01/21

CLAIM: "[T]hings like lower mortgage premiums and a higher minimum wage – these ideas will make a meaningful difference in the lives of millions of families. That is a fact." (President Obama, State of the Union Address, January 20, 2015)

FACT: President Obama’s minimum wage proposal would cost the economy up to one million jobs and hurt the most vulnerable.

  • “[F]or the middle class the scars of the recession still run deep,” Reuters reported. “Federal Reserve survey data show families in the middle fifth of the income scale now earn less and their net worth is lower than when Obama took office.”
  • ObamaCare has reduced wages for hourly workers. They’ve seen their paychecks reduced thanks to the law’s arbitrary definition of a full-time job — which is why House Republicans passed legislation to help increase wages by repealing ObamaCare’s 30-hour rule.
  • The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that the president’s plan to increase the federal minimum wage would cost the economy up to one million jobs, with a median estimate of 500,000 jobs lost. Many who need work the most “would be jobless— either because they lost a job or because they could not find a job — as a result of the increase in the minimum wage,” the report concluded.
  • President Obama’s pick to chair the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, supported the CBO’s findings, saying that “almost all economists” agree “there would be some amount of negative impact on employment.”
  • Labor economists David Neumark and William Wascher surveyed more than 100 academic studies on the minimum wage and its effect on employment. They found that two-thirds of researchers reported a negative effect on employment resulting from a minimum wage hike.
  • In 1998, Senator Ted Kennedy proposed increasing the minimum wage by roughly 40 percent (President Obama’s proposal is nearly identical). In a memo at the time, Gene Sperling (who later served as President Obama’s National Economic Council director) advised President Clinton against the legislation, writing: “Your entire economic team believes that this approach is too aggressive and are concerned that Senator Kennedy's proposal could prove damaging to the employment prospects of low-skilled workers, as well as to the general macroeconomic performance of the economy.”
  • Experts like former CBO Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin and AEI’s Arthur Brooks have pointed out that increasing the minimum wage will provide pay raises for teenagers and young adults from affluent families at the expense of urban, minority youth and the least-educated and low-skilled.
  • The key to better paychecks is increasing opportunity for all Americans and growing good-paying jobs. Speaker Boehner has put forward five points for resetting America’s economic foundation, which include simplifying our tax code, reforming our regulatory system, and improving education so that families, workers and small businesses are empowered to succeed.

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SOTU FACT: ObamaCare Is Slashing Hours & Wages, & Destroying Jobs

2015/01/21

CLAIM: “We know that more small business owners plan to raise their employees’ pay than at any time since 2007.” (President Obama, State of the Union Address, January 20, 2015)

FACT: ObamaCare is cutting hours and wages for middle-class families, making it harder to hire, and will cost the economy the equivalent of 2.3 million jobs.

  • At last year’s State of the Union Address, Speaker Boehner hosted several Ohio small business owners who said they are facing higher costs and difficulty growing under ObamaCare.  Throughout the year, Boehner, along with other members of the Ohio delegation, continued to share similar stories from small business owners who are struggling under the president’s healthcare law (see: here and here).
  • Less than one month after the 2014 State of the Union Address, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office released a devastating report that found that the president’s health care law will “reduce the total number of hours Americans work by the equivalent of 2.3 million full-time jobs,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
  • Thousands of workers across America have already seen their hours and wages slashed thanks to ObamaCare’s 30-hour employer mandate.  A survey conducted by Duke University found that “nearly half of U.S. companies are reluctant to hire full-time employees” because of ObamaCare.
  • A report by the American Action Forum finds ObamaCare “regulations are reducing small business (20 to 99 workers) pay by at least $22.6 billion annually.” And a separate analysis by the Hoover Institution found that 2.6 million Americans earning less than $30,000 a year are at risk of having their hours and wages cut.  Of that 2.6 million, 63 percent are women, nearly 90 percent do not have a college degree, and 60 percent are young Americans ages 19 to 34.
  • In the first week of the new American Congress, the House has passed the Save American Workers Act to restore the 40-hour workweek, and the Hire More Heroes Act to encourage small businesses to hire more veterans under the president’s health care law.

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SOTU FACT: ObamaCare Is Driving Up Costs for Middle-Class Families

2015/01/21

CLAIM: “Middle-class economics means helping working families feel more secure in a world of constant change.  That means helping folks afford...health care.” (President Obama, State of the Union Address, January 20, 2015)

FACTFar from lowering premiums as promised, ObamaCare is driving up costs for middle-class families.

  • While the president promised to “bring down health care costs by $2,500 for the typical family” under his health care law, middle-class families across the United States face another round of premium hikes in 2015 – with prices up double digits in some states – a double whammy on top of last year’s sticker shock.  
  • Small business employees are particularly hard hit by ObamaCare, according to a report by the Chief Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which found that two-thirds of Americans who work at small businesses – around 11 million people - will see premiums increase under Obamacare.
  • The administration postponed the start of open enrollment last year, delaying news of “potential rate increases until after the election,” The Washington Post reported at that time. Indeed, bad news did follow as the administration recently announced “premiums for the most popular type of plan will go up an average of 5 percent in the 35 states where the federal government is running the health insurance exchanges,” says AP
  • The president’s promise that families could keep the plans they liked and could afford didn’t hold up against reality either, with cancellation notices hitting mailboxes in a dozen states last October, adding to the millions of Americans who lost their plans in 2013.
  • For families who have lost their plans or been priced out of affordable options, matters get even worse.  “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,” MoneyWatch reports. “That flat-rate penalty ‘will affect lower-income or middle-income households,’ [Insurancerate.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.’”

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SOTU FACT: President’s Policies Have Failed the Middle Class

2015/01/21

CLAIM: “Today, thanks to a growing economy, the recovery is touching more and more lives.  Wages are finally starting to rise again.” (President Obama, State of the Union Address, January 20, 2015)

SOTU FACT: All the growth the president is taking credit for tonight has done nothing to boost middle-class families.  Income equality has gotten worse on his watch.

  • On the president’s watch, only the top 10 percent have seen their incomes rise.  Data from the Federal Reserve shows that “even though real gross domestic product grew by 2.1 percent … only families at ‘the very top of the income distribution saw widespread income gains.”
  • Middle-class families are actually making less than they did in 2009. A recent study found that “in June 2014 … the median household income was $53,891, down from $55,589 in inflation­adjusted dollars when the economic expansion began in June 2009.”
  • Middle-class families have also seen their net worth decline on the president’s watch.  Fed data also found that “families in the bottom three income quintiles saw their average net worth drop anywhere from -13% to -21% from 2010 to 2013 … while the net worth of upper income families increased anywhere from 2% to 14%.”
  • Wages have stayed flat, up to and including the most recent jobs report. Average hourly earnings actually declined in December, capping off a year in which wages rose by less than 2 percent. 
  • Job growth has not come “from the middle out,” as the president promised. According to a Reuters analysis of labor data, “jobs have been added at the top and bottom of the wage scale” but “in the middle, the economy has shed positions - whether in traditional trades like machining or electrical work, white-collar jobs in human resources, or technical ones like computer operators.

The House has already passed several proposals to boost middle-class jobs, including building the Keystone XL pipeline and restoring the 40-hour workweek. 

READ MORE:When Does Washington Get Squeezed?Boehner Discusses GOP Solutions for Middle-Class FamiliesReal ‘Stupidity’: Higher Costs that Hurt Middle-Class Families

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SOTU FACT: President Obama’s Rosy Budget Talk is Completely Unwarranted

2015/01/21

National debt = $18.1 trillion, an increase of $7.5 trillion under Pres Obama http://t.co/lGBhtgl1h4 pic.twitter.com/pe5nZfPHdt

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

CLAIM: "[W]ith a growing economy, shrinking deficits ... we have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth. ... [W]e’ve seen ... our deficits cut by two-thirds." (President Obama, State of the Union Address, January 20, 2015)

FACT: The current budget deficit is smaller because of Republicans’ efforts to cut and restrain spending – efforts President Obama strongly opposed at virtually every juncture.

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SOTU FACT: Energy Production Is Up and Gas Prices are Down Despite the President’s Policies, Not Because of Them

2015/01/21

CLAIM: “Today, America is number one in oil and gas. ... And thanks to lower gas prices and higher fuel standards, the typical family this year should save $750 at the pump.” (President Obama, State of the Union Address, January 20, 2015)

FACT: The Obama administration has suppressed energy production on federal lands, while Republicans have consistently pressed for a true all-of-the-above energy policy to help create jobs and address costs for working families. 

  • Republicans have consistently supported increasing American energy production as a way to lower gas prices, while President Obama is on record supporting increasing gas prices in order to reduce Americans’ dependence on oil. And when the foundations for today’s lower prices were being laid a few years ago by the private sector in states like North Dakota and Texas, President Obama was insisting that increased production would never result in lower prices.
  • President Obama’s pick for Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, said, “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” At the time, that meant $7-9 per gallon.
  • From 2009 to 2013, oil production on non-federal lands increased 61 percent while falling six percent on federal lands. Similarly, natural gas production has seen a 33 percent increase on non-federal lands, but a 28 percent drop on federal lands, according to the non-partisan Congressional Research Service
  • According to the Institute for Energy Research, “In 2013, even though the federal government is the largest landowner in the country, federal lands produced 25 percent of the fossil fuels produced in America, down from 36 percent a decade ago.”
  • Factcheck.org challenged a similar claim made by the president in last year’s State of the Union Address, determining that “the remarkable boom in U.S. oil production is chiefly the result of new drilling technology…and not of any government policy.
  • President Obama’s five-year leasing plan bans energy development on 85 percent of America’s offshore areas and provides for the fewest number of new lease sales ever offered in a plan since the process began in 1980, says the House Natural Resources Committee.  The committee also notes that “onshore, the Obama Administration has had the four lowest years of federal acres leased for energy production – going back to 1988.”
  • Speaker Boehner’s five-point vision for resetting America’s economic foundation calls for a true-all-of-the-above energy policy, as Republicans have advocated for for years.  As Boehner notes, America’s energy boom is “driving real growth” in areas that have embraced increased oil and gas production, like Youngstown, Ohio, resulting in lower unemployment rates and higher wages for middle-class workers.

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SOTU FACT: President Obama Preparing to Repeat His Iraq Mistake in Afghanistan

2015/01/21

CLAIM: "Tonight, for the first time since 9/11, our combat mission in Afghanistan is over. Six years ago, nearly 180,000 American troops served in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Today, fewer than 15,000 remain. ... Instead of Americans patrolling the valleys of Afghanistan, we’ve trained their security forces, who’ve now taken the lead, and we’ve honored our troops’ sacrifice by supporting that country’s first democratic transition." (President Obama, State of the Union Address, January 20, 2015)

FACT: President Obama is more interested in keeping arbitrary, political deadlines than defeating the terrorist threat in Afghanistan.

  • Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has described in detail how the White House put a higher priority on getting out of Iraq than preserving the hard-won gains of American troops.
  • The Islamic State (ISIL) is now operating in parts of Afghanistan, and America’s top commander there is “worried” that if we do not keep the pressure on our enemies, al Qaeda’s capability “will be able to grow very quickly.”
  • “Nationwide, Afghanistan has lost more than 5,000 police and soldiers in the fighting this year, more than any previous year,” The New York Times reported. This is in addition to the “new high for civilian deaths in the fighting, which the United Nations estimates will exceed 10,000 by the end of 2014.” Said one Afghan policeman, “It was better when the Americans were here.”
  • In April last year, Speaker Boehner visited Afghanistan to assess the security situation. In May, he wrote that “It's essential that we do not repeat the same mistakes in Afghanistan that we made in Iraq.”
  • In September, after a bilateral security agreement was signed with Afghanistan to keep U.S. troops in the country beyond the end of 2014, Speaker Boehner said, “the administration should reconsider its plans to draw down U.S. forces completely over the next two years. … We must ensure that Afghanistan can never again be used a safe haven for terrorists to attack the United States.”

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SOTU FACT: Too Many Americans Remain Out of Work

2015/01/21

CLAIM: “Our economy is growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999.” (President Obama, State of the Union Address, January 20, 2015)

FACT: Too many Americans are still out of work, and middle-class families are struggling with fewer hours and smaller paychecks.

  • According to the most recent Department of Labor unemployment report, 8.7 million Americans remain out of work.  The unemployment rate for those without jobs and those involuntarily working part-time stands at 11.2 percent. 
  • Nearly “seven million Americans want full-time jobs but are stuck in part-time positions,” CNNMoney reports. “About 25% of part-time workers live in poverty and half are low income. Part-time workers also earn less per hour than full-time employees for the same job.”
  • Labor force participation “continued its plummet” last month, “falling to a fresh 36-year low of 62.7 percent,” NBC News reports.
  • Despite recent jobs gains, “the picture for wages, both through 2014 and over the past decade and a half, remains dismal,” Politico reports. “In five-and-a-half years of economic recovery, the median income should have increased. Instead, it is lower.”
  • Speaker Boehner has repeatedly said Americans’ priorities – jobs and the economy – will continue to be Republicans’ priorities in the new American Congress.  The House has already begun by passing legislation to restore the 40-hour workweek and put thousands of Americans to work on the Keystone Pipeline.

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Speaker Boehner Welcomes Jorge Luis García Pérez to the U.S. Capitol

2015/01/21

Tonight, Speaker Boehner hosted a reception for his invited guests for the president’s State of the Union address.  In the photo above, Speaker Boehner greets Jorge Luis García Pérez (Antúnez) and his wife, Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera.  Both are Cuban pro-democracy advocates who lead non-violent movements to bring awareness to the oppressive Castro regime and fight for freedom and human rights in Cuba.

Born in Placetas, Cuba, Antúnez, an Afro-Cuban, was subject to racial discrimination preventing him from attending college, working in management positions, or participating in politics.  After years of experiencing such injustice, Antúnez was arrested in 1990 for publically denouncing the Castro regime (or “vocalizing enemy propaganda”) and was sentenced to five years in prison.  During this time, Antúnez led a movement within the prison to honor his fellow activist, Pedro Luis Boitel, who died from a hunger strike.  Because of his effort to denounce what was happening in Cuban prisons, Antúnez was incarcerated for an additional 12 years, where he endured solitary confinement, torture, hunger, and mental abuse.  After 17 years and 38 days in various Cuban prisons, the torture tactics used on Antúnez only furthered his resolve to stand up for the freedoms and human rights of all Cubans.

At a press conference this afternoon, Antúnez and his wife, Yris, who is a leader of the Rosa Parks Feminist Movement of Civil Rights, joined Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Representative Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), and Representative Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) to talk about the impact of tonight’s State of the Union address on U.S. relations in Cuba.  They were also joined by Rep. Ros-Lehtinen’s special guest, Marlene Alejandre Triana, a Cuban dissident whose father was killed by the Castro regime.                

In an interview with the Washington Examiner last night, Antúnez, through a translator, said this: 

“The Cuban people are hungry, but they are hungry for respect and dignity and full respect for their rights. The future of Cuba should not have been agreed to in secret as these negotiations between the Obama administration and the regime have been carried out.”

For more, watch an enhanced version of the State of the Union and the Republican Address to the Nation at http://www.gop.gov/SOTU/.

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Video: what tonight is about…

2015/01/20

Just a few hours before the State of the Union address begins, Speaker Boehner took a moment to remind the White House what tonight is all about.  Click below to watch the 15 second video or see it here on Facebook.

Click here to tweet the video.

P.S. Be sure to tune in to the Republican Address to the Nation immediately following the State of the Union at gop.gov/sotu.

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Media Madhouse

2015/01/20

 

The @uscapitol is buzzing in preparation for tonight's #SOTU address. #InsideSOTU

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

Jan 20, 2015 at 2:32pm PST

It’s that time of year again when the media takes over the U.S. Capitol.  Nearly 30 network, cable, and local TV cameras find a small section in National Statuary Hall to call home for the evening of the State of the Union Address.  Just steps away from the House Chamber, Statuary Hall is the premiere location for journalists to meet members of Congress for an interview after President Obama and Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) address the nation (watch Senator Ernst’s address at gop.gov/sotu). 

Check out the transformation of the historic room in our time-lapse video above.  For more behind the scenes photos, follow us on Instagram

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SOTU: What They’re Saying About the President’s Speech

2015/01/20

In just a few hours, President Obama will deliver his sixth State of the Union address.  Here’s what various media outlets are saying about what the president has to offer:

  • “[T]here’s really only one thing Obama is trying to get across: He’s still here.” (Politico)
  •  “He wants his speech to keep him relevant and engaged” (CBS News)
  • “Fewer new policies” (CNN)
  • “[A] time machine for liberal dreams” (FOX News)
  • “[A] similar menu to the one Obama has offered in years past.” (AP)
  • “[T]hey aren't the big concrete proposals that come across as doable” (NBC)
  • “Mr. Obama has pointedly made little effort to embrace that of the new Republican Majorities in Congress.” (New York Times)
  • “Key elements… appear to be aimed at driving the debate in the 2016 election… rather than setting a realistic agenda for Congress.” (PBS)
  • “The tone and tenor… have raised doubts about whether the president can — or wants to — break through partisan gridlock.” (Washington Post)
  • “Is this for real?” (CBS)

Reminder: Click over to GOP.gov/SOTU tonight to watch the President’s address alongside graphs, charts and real-time fact-checking and be sure to stay for the Republican address, delivered by Senator Joni Ernst (IA), immediately following the president’s remarks.  

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House Condemns Paris Attacks

2015/01/20

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement after the House passed H.Res. 37, a resolution condemning the recent terrorist attacks in France:

“Today, the United States House of Representatives has condemned in the strongest terms the recent terrorist attacks in Paris.  Over those three days, 17 innocents lost their lives, and this resolution carries our condolences to their loved ones.  With this condemnation also comes a commitment to stand with France and our allies in confronting the grave threat radical Islam poses to our security and way of life.  We must rise to this moment.”

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EXCERPTS: Sen. Joni Ernst Delivers the Republican Address to the Nation

2015/01/20

WASHINGTON, DC – Tonight, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) will deliver the Republican Address to the Nation following the State of the Union.  Following are excerpts from the address:

“I’d like to have a conversation about the new Republican Congress you just elected, and how we plan to make Washington focus on your concerns again. We heard the message you sent in November — loud and clear. And now we’re getting to work to change the direction Washington has been taking our country.”

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“We see our neighbors agonize over stagnant wages and lost jobs. We see the hurt caused by canceled healthcare plans and higher monthly insurance bills. We see too many moms and dads put their own dreams on hold while growing more fearful about the kind of future they’ll be able to leave to their children.  Americans have been hurting, but when we demanded solutions, too often Washington responded with the same stale mindset that led to failed policies like Obamacare. It’s a mindset that gave us political talking points, not serious solutions.”

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“There’s a lot we can achieve if we work together. Let’s tear down trade barriers in places like Europe and the Pacific. Let’s sell more of what we make and grow in America over there so we can boost manufacturing, wages, and jobs right here, at home. Let’s simplify America’s outdated and loophole-ridden tax code. Republicans think tax filing should be easier for you, not just the well-connected. So let’s iron out loopholes to lower rates — and create jobs, not pay for more government spending. The President has already expressed some support for these kinds of ideas. We’re calling on him now to cooperate to pass them.”

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“We've been reminded of terrorism’s reach both at home and abroad; most recently in France and Nigeria, but also in places like Canada and Australia. Our hearts go out to all the innocent victims of terrorism and their loved ones. We can only imagine the depth of their grief. ... The forces of violence and oppression don’t care about the innocent. We need a comprehensive plan to defeat them.”

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“Congress is back to work on your behalf, ready to make Washington focus on your concerns again. We know America faces big challenges. But history has shown there’s nothing our nation, and our people, can’t accomplish.”

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Speaker Boehner to Host Ohio Families, DC Students, and Cuban Dissidents at SOTU

2015/01/20

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today highlighted some of his guests who will sit in the House gallery for tonight’s State of the Union address.

The Speaker’s box will include families and employers from Ohio’s Eighth District whose stories reflect the priorities of Speaker Boehner’s five-point long-term vision for resetting the foundation of our economy.

Fritz Borke, President of Borke Mold Specialists, Inc., Hamilton, Ohio.  Responsible for the new seats in the Great American Ball Park – home of the Cincinnati Reds – Borke Mold Specialists, Inc. manufactures molds for plastics to serve a number of industries.  President Fritz Borke highlights how many of the five points – from reining in excessive regulations to reforming the tax code – will help businesses like his focus on growing and creating jobs in the area.

Aaron and Betsy Ward, owners of The A&B Coffee & Cake Co. in Greenville, Ohio.  Aaron and Betsy Ward own and run a small business in Greenville and they are also raising a family.  With a focus on education, addressing the debt, and reforming the tax code, the five points reflect many of the Ward family’s priorities. 

Jamie McGregor, Vice President, Business Development of McGregor Metalworking in Springfield, Ohio.  A family owned and operated business, McGregor Metalworking got its early start in 1939.  Today, McGregor Metalworking is a prominent local job creator in Springfield, and Jamie McGregor shares how the five points address a number of the issues his company is facing.

Dr. Christopher Grove, M.D., F.A.C.S., from Troy, Ohio.  Dr. Christopher Grove is a board-certified, general surgeon and the current medical director of Miami County Surgeons.  The importance of fixing the legal system by boosting transparency, restoring fairness, and enacting real medical malpractice reform – all to better protect patients, victims, and consumers while giving confidence to doctors, manufacturers,  and small business owners – is told through the lens of this surgeon from Troy, Ohio.

Dr. Jo Blondin, President of Clark State Community College in Springfield, Ohio. Clark State Community College plays a critical role in helping area students match skills to employment needs.  Dr. Blondin’s story showcases the need to address the skills gap in this country and educate more of America’s kids – regardless of their zip code.

Rodney and Gail Burger, owners and operators of Dream Acres Farm in Camden, Ohio. Ohio’s 8th Congressional District is one of the largest agricultural districts in the Buckeye State.  Known for their iconic corn mazes, Rodney and Gail Burger represent the areas of the five points that will help this crucial industry address the skyrocketing costs that families face with every trip to the grocery store.

As he has each year since becoming Speaker, Boehner has invited Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, along with students and faculty with the Consortium of Catholic Academies (CCA). 

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington.  Cardinal Wuerl was installed in June 2006 as the sixth Archbishop of Washington.  He was elevated to the College of Cardinals at the November 20, 2010 Consistory by Pope Benedict XVI and given the Church of Saint Peter in Chains (San Pietro in Vincoli) as his titular church in Rome.

Students and faculty at the Consortium of Catholic Academies (CCA).  CCA is a non-profit organization supporting students of four inner-city Catholic elementary schools in the Archdiocese of Washington.

Kayla Bridgers Maurquice Brown-Thomas Razjae Burton Robbi Burton, Sr. Carlos Carcamo Katherine Conley Teresa Fitzgerald Kenneth Haydock Elizabeth Heil Dylan Knott Martha Mazura Malyk Thomas James Wills, Jr.

In addition, Speaker Boehner will host Jorge Luis García Pérez (Antunez) and Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera, two individuals leading the fight for freedom and human rights in Cuba.

Jorge Luis García Pérez (Antunez), a leader of the Cuban resistance movement.  Antunez is a leader of a non-violent movement for human rights and democracy in Cuba.  He spent over 17 years in jail as a political prisoner, after being arrested for publicly denouncing the oppressive Castro regime.  Since his release from prison in 2007, Antunez has continued to advocate for the freedoms and rights of all Cubans.  In an interview, Antunez stressed his commitment to this movement, “I think that my faith in the ideas for which I fight never ceased and never will cease. I believe that faith in God and in this just cause which I defend is what helped me survive.” 

Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera, Cuban resistance movement and founder and President of the Rosa Parks Feminine Civic Rights Movement.  The wife of Antunez, Yris is a leader in the fight for freedom and human rights in Cuba.  She founded the Rosa Parks Feminine Civic Rights Movement to fight against the human rights violations in the Castro regime. Among other humanitarian activities, the movement also works to help homeless women and children and find them a place to live.

The hub of House Republicans’ digital response is GOP.gov/sotu, where the American people can watch an enhanced version of the President’s address, followed immediately by the Republican Address to the Nation, delivered by Senator Joni Ernst (IA).  This livestream will include charts, graphs, and real-time fact-checking.

 

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Behind-The-Scenes with Senator Ernst

2015/01/20

Senator Joni Ernst from Iowa prepares to deliver the Republican Address to the Nation tonight at 10:15pm ET.  You can watch an enhanced version of tonight's address, complete with exclusive photos and graphics, at gop.gov/sotu.

For more behind-the-scenes photos of today's State of the Union activities in and around the Capitol, follow @SpeakerBoehner on Instagram.  

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VIDEO: Joe Biden's Suit

2015/01/20

Every year, the president pays a visit to the U.S. Capitol to deliver an address on the State of the Union.  And every year, as the House chamber fills to a fever pitch just moments before his arrival, the Vice President and the Speaker of the House have a few minutes alone at the rostrum to make small talk.  So last year, when a picture surfaced of Speaker Boehner straightening out Vice President Biden's attire, we went directly to the source to find out what exactly was going on there.  

Tune into this year's State of the Union address at gop.gov/sotu to see if Speaker Boehner has any more fashion tips for the Vice President.

Like this photo on Instagram.

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Weekly Address: Moving Ahead on Your Priorities

2015/01/19

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In the Weekly Republican Address, Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK) says the new Congress is moving ahead on the people’s priorities, passing bipartisan jobs bills to help middle-class families.  From getting more Americans working again full-time to helping small business hire more of our veterans, these are the kinds of common-sense ideas we hope President Obama will talk about Tuesday night in his State of the Union address.  So be sure to go to http://gop.gov/SOTU to watch an enhanced version of both the State of the Union and the Republican Address to the Nation.

CBS News: “New Congress ‘hard at work,’ freshman GOP rep. says” “Over a week into its first session, the new Republican-led Congress is ‘hard at work,’ Rep. Steve Russell said in the weekly GOP address Saturday.  Russell, a freshman Republican from Oklahoma, cited bills passed by the House that would encourage businesses to hire veterans, adjust Obamacare's definition of a full-time workweek and approve the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.  ‘These measures are only the beginning,’ he vowed.”

Washington Examiner: “GOP to Obama: Listen to the people” “In their weekly address, House Republicans touted a series of just-passed bills that President Obama has threatened to veto.  Rep. Steve Russell, an Oklahoma Republican elected for the first time in November, delivered the address, calling on Obama to ‘listen to the people instead of standing in the way’ of economic progress.”

Christian Science Monitor: “In the Republican weekly address, Rep. Steve Russell of Oklahoma said the GOP plan addresses America’s economic woes more deeply.  Republicans will push ‘to lift the burden on small business,’ and repeal Obamacare’s 30-hour work-week definition ‘so we can get people working again full-time,’ he said. The GOP plan also would include creating the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, and forcing federal agencies to regulate with ‘more honesty, thrift, and transparency.’” 

The Hill“He said the new Republican-controlled Congress has an opportunity to make strides to help the American people.   ‘We have the resources to transform our economy, the talents to work together to solve our problems, and the grit to lead in a dangerous world that looks to us for hope and stability, an American beacon that still shines when others only provide a dim view of the future,’ he said during the address.  Russell said Republicans already are taking steps to do their part.”

Washington Times: “Republicans fired back and charged that it is the president who is stopping progress and playing political. Mr. Obama has issued six veto threats in less than two weeks, including on legislation to build the popular Keystone XL oil pipeline.  ‘Now President Obama doesn’t agree with our direction, the one that you, the voters, asked us to take, and he has threatened to block your progress,’ said Rep. Steve Russell, Oklahoma Republican, in the GOP weekly address. ‘But we challenge him to listen to the people instead of standing in the way of your future.’”

Breitbart: “Representative Steve Russell (R-OK) touted votes that the new Republican Congress had already taken on Obamacare, Keystone XL, and the president’s executive action on immigration during the GOP Weekly Address on Saturday.”

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Will you watch?

2015/01/19

Tomorrow night, President Obama comes to the Capitol to deliver his annual State of the Union address, and you are invited to join.  Let us know what you want to hear from him in this Facebook poll.   

You can watch the address live on your computer or mobile device beginning at 9:00pm ET on gop.gov/sotu.  From there you can: 

  • Tune in for an enhanced version of the State of the Union, with charts, graphs, and real-time fact-checking to hold the President accountable.
  • Watch an enhanced version of the Republican Address to the Nation by Senator Joni Ernst (IA), with exclusive photos and graphics you won’t find anywhere else.
  • Engage on Twitter with Republican Congressional leaders, who will be sharing their thoughts before, during, and after the address.

Even if you are already planning on watching the address on TV, gop.gov/sotu makes a great second screen for keeping the record straight.  

P.S.  You can also check out the photos already being posted on @SpeakerBoehner’s Instagram, for a behind-the-scenes look at how #SOTU all comes together.

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MLK Day: A Time to “Embrace The Newness of Life and Liberty"

2015/01/19

WASHINGTON, DC – Today the House of Representatives joins the nation in celebrating the life and legacy of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.  House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement: 

“From the West Front of the Capitol, you can make out the top of the National Cathedral, where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his last Sunday sermon on March 31, 1968.  Urging the faithful to persevere, he quoted from the Book of Revelation: ‘Behold I make all things new; former things are passed away.’  Rev. King's message, like his life, remains a blaring call to service.  When we show great grace, when we cast aside old fears and quarrels to make room for all that is possible, we can speed up that bright day of justice for all of God’s children.  Together, may we have the wisdom to follow Rev. King’s example and embrace the newness of life and liberty."  

NOTE: Last June, at a ceremony in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol, House and Senate leaders presented a Congressional Gold Medal in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King. 

 

 

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Weekly Republican Address: Restoring Government That Puts The People’s Priorities First

2015/01/16

WASHINGTON, DC – Delivering this week’s Republican address, Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK) highlights the new Congress's work to restore truly representative government that puts the people’s priorities – including more jobs and a stronger economy – first.  Rep. Russell is a new member of the House of Representatives from Oklahoma’s Fifth District. 

Key quote: “Our new Congress has a great opportunity: to restore constitutional government and place the American people and their priorities first.”

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

Remarks of Representative Steve Russell of Oklahoma Weekly Republican Address The Capitol January 17, 2015

Good morning. I’m Steve Russell, a new member of the House of Representatives from Oklahoma’s Fifth District.   Our new Congress has a great opportunity: to restore Constitutional government and place the American people and their priorities first. 

As lawmakers, we must never forget that our government was designed to derive its power from the consent of the people.

Sadly, we’ve seen Washington ignore your concerns about the economy, spending, jobs and making our nation secure.

Republicans and Democrats both care, but we hold different views about the ability of the people to make a bright future or whether the government should stand in your way and define that future for you. 

As Americans, we have not lost our capacity for greatness. We can still overcome the odds.

Take the President’s regulations and obstruction of our energy sector: we have seen hard-working Americans innovate and transform our economy only to have the president try and take credit for it.

We have seen Americans families work together in their communities to make ends meet paycheck to paycheck even while our volunteer armed forces sacrifice to keep us safe in a dangerous and shifting world.

Despite it all, deep in our hearts, Americans still want America to be great.  We still are.

I, like you, refuse to give up on this great country. I'm joined by a wave of colleagues that you sent to Congress who believe the same thing.

We have the resources to transform our economy, the talents to work together to solve our problems, and the grit to lead in a dangerous world that looks to us for hope and stability—an American beacon that still shines when others only provide a dim view of the future.

With your inspiration, this new Congress is hard at work.  Here are four things the House has already voted to do:

  • Lift the burden on small businesses so they can hire more of our veterans without penalties;
  • Repeal ObamaCare’s absurd 30-hour work-week definition so we can get people working again full-time;
  • Build the Keystone XL pipeline, with its more than 42,000 American jobs and safe energy for our children's future, friends and allies;
  • Force bureaucratic agencies to regulate with more honesty, thrift and transparency.

These measures are only the beginning. 

Now President Obama doesn’t agree with our direction, the one that you, the voters, asked us to take, and he has threatened to block your progress. But we challenge him to listen to the people instead of standing in the way of your future.

As we take these steps, we must do it with the guidance and principles that founded our nation. You don’t build a building without a blueprint. You don’t chart your future by taking shortcuts but rather do it with fairness and unity.

That's why the House voted to stop the president’s unilateral action on immigration. It's not about opportunity, it is about the Constitution and being fair to those legal immigrants who follow the law.

On at least 22 separate occasions, the president said he did not have the authority to do what he did, and we are holding him to his word. 

Every time the president makes the playing field uneven and unfair, he tramples on the opportunity for all Americans.

We can and will find solutions to immigration and will be happy to do it, but they will be your solutions through the Congress, not unfair executive actions.

As we look to the future, let us do it together. We have heard your voice, and now we need your support.  Together, we can get it done.

Thanks for listening. Say a prayer for those protecting us and may God bless this great Republic.

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Days Like This Are Why We Must Always Stand With Israel

2015/01/16

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement today after President Obama threatened to veto bipartisan legislation to impose new sanctions on Iran:

“For decades, Republicans and Democrats have stood together to support Israel, and we have done so with days like this in mind.   Iran is a state sponsor of terror with an abysmal human rights record, and yet President Obama is so committed to his negotiations with this regime that he is vowing to veto tougher sanctions.  No White House threat will stop us from doing the right thing to protect the United States and its allies.  The same can be said for the reckless actions taken today by the International Criminal Court.  We will always support Israel’s right to defend itself, especially against terrorist organizations that use human shields and seek to maximize civilian casualties.  Let this Congress’s enduring bipartisan support serve as a reminder that Israel is America’s friend, and Israel’s enemies are our enemies.”

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President Obama, Democrats Proven Wrong on Gas Prices

2015/01/16

“We’ve got an energy boom going on in this country,” Speaker Boehner said in a September 18th speech, when the national average price of a gallon of regular gasoline was $3.39. “North America is on track to be energy independent in the next five years or so. This is going to mean more growth, yes, but it’s also going to mean lower prices.”

He wasn’t kidding. The same gallon of gas is now averaging $2.08, and the price of crude has plummeted by more than half to its lowest point in nearly six years.

Why? “The boom in U.S. shale oil is perhaps the most important factor,” The Washington Post explains. The “roots of the price collapse go back to 2008 near Cotulla, Texas,” states The Wall Street Journal.

The Economist agrees:

“[T]he main culprits are the oilmen of North Dakota and Texas. Over the past four years, as the price hovered around $110 a barrel, they have set about extracting oil from shale formations previously considered unviable. Their manic drilling—they have completed perhaps 20,000 new wells since 2010, more than ten times Saudi Arabia’s tally—has boosted America’s oil production by a third, to nearly 9m barrels a day (b/d). That is just 1m b/d short of Saudi Arabia’s output.”

“[T]he U.S. is now at around a three-decade high in terms of output,” reports Yahoo Finance.

And the other good news? We have more combined oil, coal and natural gas resources than any other nation on Earth.

Not only has this meant thousands of new jobs, but now, according to The Wall Street Journal, “Many of the world’s top policy makers are rewriting their economic forecasts for the U.S., Europe, Japan and elsewhere, betting plummeting oil prices will lead to an overall boost in the global economy by delivering a windfall to consumers and manufacturers.”

The Obama administration apparently shares this view. “[W]e believe that falling gas prices are, as a general matter, pretty good for the economy,” Press Secretary Josh Earnest said last week.

This contrasts, however, with President Obama’s long-held positions. He’s on record supporting increasing gas prices in order to reduce Americans’ dependence on oil. And when the foundations for today’s lower prices were being laid seven and five and three years ago in states like North Dakota, Montana, and Texas, Barack Obama was insisting that increased production would never result in lower prices:

  • “It would be nice if we could produce our way out of this problem, but it's just not possible. … [C]onsumers need to get serious about buying hybrid cars[.]” (2/28/06)
  • “[W]e should just replace the use of oil altogether as America's fuel of choice.” (5/11/06)
  • “[T]he Republican leadership in the Senate believes we can solve our energy problems by just drilling more. That's not only dishonest – it’s a disservice to our constituents …. [The Republicans’] bill continues to lull the American people into thinking that we can drill our way out of our energy problems. We can't[.]” (8/1/06)
  • [M]oving away from an oil economy is a major challenge that will require a sustained national commitment.” (9/20/06)
  • “The hard truth is the only way to, over the long term, reduce gas prices is to reduce demand.” Later, to an audience member: “What kind of car do you drive? An Escalade!? This is what I’m talking about [as the problem] right here.” (3/22/08)
  • “We should also be investing in new technologies so we can replace the internal combustible engine, which has served us well, but it's time for us to move on, because we want to get rid of fossil fuels.” (4/1/08)
  • We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times…” (Agence France-Presse, 5/19/08)
  • “Long-term, though, the only way we're going to deal with these high gas prices is if we change how we consume oil.” Then, when asked if high gas prices could help America to transition to alternatives: “I think that I would have preferred a gradual adjustment.” (CNBC, 6/10/08)
  • “Believe me, if I thought there was any evidence at all that drilling could save people money … by this summer or this year or even the next few years, I would consider it. But it won’t.” (6/20/08)
  • “What I will not do, and this has always been my position, is to support a plan that suggests this drilling is the answer to our energy problems. … It won't drop prices in this administration or in the next administration or in the administration after that.” (CNN, 8/2/08)
  • “[T]hat’s part of the reason you never heard me say, ‘Drill, baby, drill’ – because we can’t drill our way out of the problem.” (5/27/10)
  • “[W]e can’t just drill our way out of the problem.” (5/6/11)
  • “Now, some politicians always see [high gas prices] as a political opportunity. … [T]hey’re already dusting off their three-point plans for $2 gas. I’ll save you the suspense:  Step one is drill, step two is drill, and step three is keep drilling. … Well the American people aren’t stupid. … You know there are no quick fixes to this problem, and you know we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices.” (Tampa Bay Times, 2/23/12)
  • “Anyone who tells you we can drill our way out of this problem doesn't know what they're talking about, or isn't telling you the truth.” (Reuters, 3/1/12)
  • “[W]hy is it that every year we hear the same story about how we’re going to have $2 gas, or $1.50 gas, or whatever price they come up with, if we would just drill for more oil? That’s the solution that you always hear. Prices will immediately come down and all our problems will go away – like magic. … We can't simply drill our way out of the problem.” (3/22/12)

And it wasn’t just our current president. Most leading Democrats have told Americans the same thing:

  • House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): “We cannot drill our way to energy independence.” (The Hill, 5/24/06) And again: “We cannot drill our way out of this.” (Reuters, 6/12/08)
  • Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV): “[W]e cannot drill our way out of this problem.” (6/18/08)
  • President Obama’s Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar: “Almost every day, you have someone putting out a three point plan for two dollar gasoline …. It’s a divide between the real energy world and the imagined energy world. To be sure, the imagined energy world is …. a place where you hear cries of ‘drill, drill, drill[.]’ … The good news is that this imagined energy world is actually very small. I think you can actually find its edge when you walk out of the [Republican-controlled] House of Representatives. … At the end of the day, we all know that we cannot drill our way to energy independence.” (The National Press Club, 4/24/12)

Remember that the next time you buy gas for $1.76 in Missouri or $1.98 in Ohio or $2.00 in Virginia. President Obama was wrong. Democrats were wrong. They were all wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

But they still think they know best, and President Obama is about to unleash a storm of regulations aimed at stifling this progress in its tracks, according to The Wall Street Journal:

"The Obama administration is planning to release in the coming months a series of regulations on the oil and natural gas industry, a response to the nation’s energy boom that also is aimed at burnishing President Barack Obama ’s environmental legacy in his final two years. …

"The repercussions for the industry could be higher operating costs and fewer incentives to drill on public lands. Mr. Obama and his environmental backers say new regulations are needed to address the impacts of the surge in oil and gas drilling and production. …

"Oil and gas production on public [government] lands has declined 16% and 24%, respectively, between 2010 and 2013, according to EIA data."

President Obama is not a friend of cheap, affordable gasoline. His words and his deeds prove it. He says he will veto the Keystone XL pipeline project, and who can forget his pick for Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, openly musing that “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe”? At the time, that meant $7-9 per gallon.

It’s true that the price of gas will always fluctuate based on supply and demand and many other factors. We may see prices go back up. But it’s undeniable that increased American energy production in recent years has resulted in lower gasoline prices now, just as Republicans said it would.

President Obama now says cheap gas won’t last. That certainly may be true – if he has anything to do with it.

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12 Taylor Swift GIFs for you

2015/01/16

1.  Last week, President Obama announced his latest idea to provide "free" community college to millions of Americans. It sounded exciting at first…

2.  But then, we got to thinking…

3.  Free?!  Is he using magic money?  Nothing is free.  So we did a little math.

4.  Turns out…when President Obama said "free" what he meant was "60 Billion dollars over 10 years."  Not even all the Taylor Swift album sales in the world would cover that bill.

5.  Still, 60 billion dollars is a lot of money...you can't just shake it off.

6.   And the president knows full well there’s no blank space in the taxpayers' checkbook.

7.  Does that mean he intends to try to pay for his "free" plan with a tax increase on millions of Americans?

8.  Or does it mean he wants to pile up more debt on the very young people this idea is supposed to help?

9.  Even then: college STILL wouldn’t be free – there are all kinds of other fees and costs – not unlike all the higher costs we’re seeing in this tough economy.

10.  Wait, wouldn’t it be better if we just worked together to lower costs for folks across the board and improve our children’s education?

11. Looks like an apology is in order, Mr. President…

12.  We're not mad.  We're just disappointed

BONUS GIF: Thank you for reading. 

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Boehner Discusses GOP Solutions for Middle-Class Families

2015/01/15

HERSHEY, PA – At the joint House-Senate Republican retreat today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) joined Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in selecting Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) to deliver the Republican Address to the Nation following the State of the Union Address.  At their press event, Speaker Boehner outlined key priorities for the 114th Congress, discussing the need to pass “common-sense solutions that will help expand opportunities for middle-class families and small businesses.”  Following are Boehner’s remarks: 

“Republicans continue to make the American people’s priorities – jobs and the economy – our priorities.  We’ve had a great opportunity this year to make progress for families and small businesses, and we look forward to continuing to make progress.  We’ve already gotten off to a great start by passing a number of common-sense, bipartisan jobs bills to help grow our economy.

“Listen, the president’s focus is on the past.  On the old politics of pitting, you know, one set of Americans against the other.  On the outdated ways of bureaucratic control, all top-down Washington solutions.  And what’s that produced?  Record debt and a shaky economy.  The country, I believe, is eager to move on.

“And we need to start growing America’s economy, not Washington’s economy.  Our challenge – our opportunity – is to pass common-sense solutions that will help expand opportunities for middle-class families and small businesses.  Solutions that simplify our tax code to make it both pro-growth and pro-family.  Solutions that address the true drivers of our debt and begin to balance the budget.  Solutions that repeal ObamaCare and replace it with patient-centered reforms that will help our constituents have better access to high-quality health care in America.

“Listen, our job is to push for conservative reforms, show the American people we can make progress, and show the American people our vision for the future that will help improve their lives.  That’s exactly what we plan to do … I’m very happy today to have the Senate Majority [Leader] Mitch McConnell, my friend, with us here today, Mitch.”

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Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa to Deliver Republican Address to the Nation

2015/01/15

WASHINGTON, DC – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today announced that U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) will deliver the Republican Address to the Nation following the State of the Union address on Tuesday, January 20, 2015.

“Sen. Ernst brings a unique perspective to the Senate. She is a mother, a soldier, and an independent leader who serves in Washington because Americans voted for change in the last election, and Joni understands that middle-class Americans want Congress to get back to work and that they want Washington to get refocused on their concerns, instead of those of the political class,” Majority Leader McConnell said.

“Sen. Ernst’s life is a quintessential ‘only-in-America’ story.  She built a campaign by listening to the people of Iowa and focusing on their priorities, especially jobs and our still-struggling economy.  She knows that our federal government is too big, our spending is too high, and our tax code is broken.  And, she knows first-hand the sacrifices our men and women in uniform make to keep us all safe in a dangerous world,” Speaker Boehner said.

“I am truly honored to deliver the Republican address.  It’s a long way from Red Oak, Iowa to Washington, D.C. But now that I am here, I am excited to get to work in order to craft and implement real solutions as we chart a new path forward for our great nation. During this Congress, we must help grow a vibrant economy, see to it that our veterans receive promised quality care and that our military has the tools to defend our nation's security, and ensure the federal government begins to run more effectively and efficiently,” Senator Ernst said.

In November 2014, Ernst became the first woman elected to federal office from Iowa, and the first female combat veteran to serve in the U.S. Senate. She will now be the first first-year freshman senator to give the Republican Address to the Nation.  Born and raised on a farm in Southwest Iowa, Ernst’s parents instilled in her the values that have been important to generations of Iowans: hard work, service and sacrifice — values she is committed to bringing to Washington, D.C.

Ernst received her undergraduate degree from Iowa State University where she joined the university’s ROTC program. After graduating in 1992, Ernst joined the U.S. Army Reserves and transitioned to the Army National Guard in 2001. In 2003, she served as a company commander in Kuwait and Iraq, leading 150 Iowa Army National Guardsmen during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Ernst continues to serve as a Lt. Colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard. She resides in Red Oak, Iowa, with her husband Gail and their 15-year-old daughter Libby.

NOTE: The Republican Address to the Nation will be live streamed at http://gop.gov/SOTU.

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Gold Medal Ceremony for First Special Service Force

2015/01/15

On Tuesday, February 3, leaders of the U.S. House and Senate will present a Congressional Gold Medal in honor of members of the First Special Service Force whose fearlessness and bravery contributed to the liberation of Europe and end to World War II.

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

The First Special Service Force, dubbed the “Devil’s Brigade” by the German opposition, was a special operations unit formed in July 1942, and was comprised of 1,800 soldiers from the United States and Canada.  It was the only unit formed in WWII with troops from the U.S. and Canada – building on the special bond between the two countries.  The unit was instrumental in targeting military and industrial installations.

The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian honor the United States Congress can bestow.  Pursuant to H.R. 324, a single gold medal has been struck to honor their distinguished service.  For more information on the how a Congressional Gold Medal is struck, watch this behind-the-scenes video featuring Speaker Boehner, along with Matthew Wasniewski, Historian of the U.S. House, and Richard Peterson, Deputy Director of the U.S. Mint.  

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

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Boehner Appoints GOP Members to the House Intelligence Committee

2015/01/14

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement today announcing the Republican appointments to the House Intelligence Committee for the 114th Congress:

“The recent terrorist attack in Paris, France is a stark and tragic reminder of the constant threat America and our allies face from extremists bent on our destruction.  It also gives us pause to recognize the incredible challenges our intelligence community faces in its efforts to keep Americans safe.  Chairman Nunes and our members are committed to ensuring our intelligence professionals have the tools and resources they need to execute their mission, as well as conducting effective oversight of the administration, and I look forward to working with them.”

Following are the Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee for the 114th Congress:

  • Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), Chairman
  • Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL)
  • Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX)
  • Rep. Peter King (R-NY)
  • Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ)
  • Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA)
  • Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL)
  • Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV)
  • Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS)
  • Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
  • Rep. Michael Turner (R-OH)
  • Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH)
  • Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT)
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“An Affront to the Rule of Law and to the Constitution Itself”

2015/01/14

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WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) spoke on the floor today in support of the House’s efforts to stop President Obama’s unilateral actions on immigration.  During his remarks, he directly quoted each of the 22 times the president said he didn’t have the authority to take this action:

“Let me thank all my colleagues who have worked to put this bill together.  Today I rise – and the House rises – to support and defend our Constitution.

“We do not take this action lightly, but simply there is no alternative.  This is not a dispute between the parties, or even between the branches of our government.  This executive overreach is an affront to the rule of law and to the Constitution itself.

“I appreciate all the efforts of those working to fix our broken immigration system, especially since I’m one of them.  But what we are dealing with is a president who has ignored the people, has ignored the Constitution, and even his own past statements.

“In fact, on at least 22 occasions, he said he did not have the authority to do what he has done.

“To think that the president of the United States studied constitutional law is one thing …. he taught it as well.  But now his actions suggest he’s forgotten what these words even mean. 

“Enough is enough.  By their votes last November, the people made clear they want more accountability from this president.  And by our votes here today, we will heed their will, and we will keep our oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.”

22 TIMES PRESIDENT OBAMA SAID HE DID NOT HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO TAKE UNILATERAL ACTION ON IMMIGRATIONVisit Speaker.gov for the full quotes.

March 31, 2008: “I take the Constitution very seriously. The biggest problems that we’re facing right now have to do with [the president] trying to … not go through Congress at all. And that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m President...”

May 19, 2008: “I believe in the Constitution and I will obey the Constitution of the United States.”

May 5, 2010: “Anybody who tells you … that I can wave a magic wand and make it happen hasn't been paying attention to how this town works.”

July 1, 2010: “[T]here are those … who have argued passionately that we should … at least ignore the laws on the books... I believe such an indiscriminate approach would be both unwise and unfair.”

October 14, 2010: “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.”

October 25, 2010: “I am president, I am not king. I can't do these things just by myself. … I can't just make the laws up by myself.”

March 28, 2011: “America is a nation of laws, which means I, as the President, am obligated to enforce the law.”

April 20, 2011: “I can't solve this problem by myself. …  I can't do it by myself.”

April 29, 2011: “Some here wish that I could just bypass Congress and change the law myself.  But that’s not how democracy works”

May 10, 2011: “They wish I could just bypass Congress and change the law myself. But that’s not how a democracy works.”

July 25, 2011: “The idea of doing things on my own is very tempting. … But that's not how our system works. That’s not how our democracy functions. That's not how our Constitution is written.”

September 28, 2011: “We live in a democracy.  You have to pass bills through the legislature, and then I can sign it.”

September 20, 2012: “What I’ve always said is, as the head of the executive branch, there’s a limit to what I can do.”

October 16, 2012: “We're … a nation of laws. … And I've done everything that I can on my own.”

January 30, 2013: “I'm not a king. I am the head of the executive branch of government. I'm required to follow the law.”

January 30, 2013: “I’m not a king. You know, my job as the head of the executive branch ultimately is to carry out the law.”

February 14, 2013: “The problem is that I’m the president of the United States, I’m not the emperor of the United States.”

July 16, 2013: “I think that it is very important for us to recognize that the way to solve this problem has to be legislative.”

September 17, 2013: “My job in the executive branch is supposed to be to carry out the laws that are passed. … But if we start broadening that, then essentially I would be ignoring the law…”

November 25, 2013: “The easy way out is to try to yell and pretend like I can do something by violating our laws. … That’s not our tradition.”

March 6, 2014: “And I cannot ignore those laws any more than I could ignore … any of the other laws that are on the books.”

August 6, 2014: “I’m bound by the Constitution; I’m bound by separation of powers.”

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

2015/01/13

At the White House this morning, Speaker Boehner met with President Obama, Vice President Biden, and the bicameral, bipartisan leadership of the House and Senate to discuss topics including the economy, immigration, Authorization for Use of Military Force, and cybersecurity.

The Speaker opened his remarks highlighting the new Congress’s action on jobs and the economy.  He spoke about the House-passed bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline currently advancing through the Senate, and urged the president to sign it when it reaches his desk.  He also discussed other opportunities to work together to help build a stronger economy by expanding trade and fixing the broken tax code. 

The Speaker made clear that the House would push forward in consideration of the Appropriations Committee’s 2015 Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill, which takes a number of steps to bolster border security and law enforcement efforts.  The bill will include amendments to stop the president’s  unilateral actions on immigration, and the speaker reminded the president that he himself had stated publicly many times in the past that he did not have the power to rewrite immigration law through executive action. 

The leaders also discussed how stopping cyber-attacks is critical to keeping our homeland safe and protecting American jobs.  The Speaker said the House has passed a number of measures to help stop cyber-attacks by arming private-sector companies with government intelligence on cyber threats, while protecting the American people’s privacy.  Unfortunately, some of those measures never went anywhere in the Democratic-controlled Senate.  The Speaker said Republicans are ready to work with both parties to address this important issue and put some common-sense measures on the president’s desk. 

Finally, the Speaker again encouraged the President to draft and send up to the Hill a new Authorization for Use of Military Force to defeat and destroy ISIL, noting that historically the Commander-in-Chief has identified the need for use of military force, written the AUMF, sent it to Capitol Hill, and worked to build a bipartisan coalition to secure its passage.  The Speaker said that if the President takes these steps, Republicans will work with him to build bipartisan support for its enactment.  

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Republicans to Press President Obama on Jobs & the Economy

2015/01/13

WASHINGTON, DC – At his weekly press briefing with Republican leaders, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) discussed today’s White House meeting with the president and congressional leaders, saying House Republicans would continue pressing the president to work together to help address Americans’ top priorities: jobs and the economy.  Boehner also highlighted this week’s House floor action, including Republicans’ response to the president’s unilateral action on immigration.   Following are Boehner’s remarks:

“First, a big congratulations to the Ohio State Buckeyes on a great win last night.  You’ll notice Mr. Zinke, our new member from Montana who happened to play at Oregon, you’ll also see Mr. Walden both wearing Ohio State ties as the day goes on because they lost the game and lost the challenge from Mr. Stivers, and myself, and Mr. Tiberi. 

“This week, the House will act to fully fund the Department of Homeland Security’s appropriation, while blocking the president’s unilateral action with regard to immigration.  We’ll also pass two more common-sense jobs bills.

“Later today at the White House, the leaders will be there and we’re going to make it clear to the president that we’re listening to the American people, who want us to work together on their priorities, and their priorities have to do with the economy and jobs.  We hope he’ll start to listen, too, and reconsider his opposition to some of our jobs bills. 

“We also hope the president will have update for us on the authorization of the use of military force with regard to our fight against ISIL.

“The events in Paris last week remind us just how real that terrorism threat is.  And we offer the French our prayers and our support, and we promise them our vigilance and our resolve.”

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House Passes Bipartisan Bill to Prevent Veteran Suicides

2015/01/12

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after the House passed H.R. 203, the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act:

“Our veterans risked their lives in order to protect the freedoms and liberties of all Americans.  When they return home, they deserve the ultimate support and care from this country and our health care system.  Tragically, veteran suicides have become all too common, occurring at a rate of 22 per day.   We must, and can, do better by our veterans. The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act is an important step forward to address this problem and help ensure that our veterans have access to high-quality mental health care.”

NOTE: The House unanimously passed the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act in the 113th Congress.  In December 2014, Speaker Boehner met with Clay Hunt’s parents, thanking them for their hard work on this important legislation. 

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All In For the Bucks

2015/01/12

On Thursday, the House’s Ohio delegation gathered to show team spirit for their home state team, the Ohio State Buckeyes, who will take on the Oregon Ducks in tonight’s College Football Playoff National Championship.

There’s actually more on the line tonight than football immortality.  Speaker Boehner (OH-08) and his colleagues Pat Tiberi (OH-12) and Steve Stivers (OH-15) took things to the next level today by challenging Rep. Ryan Zinke (MT), an Oregon alum, and Rep. Greg Walden (OR-02) to a friendly wager on the game.  The fans of the defeated team must wear a tie with the victor’s team colors or logo tomorrow and then tweet a congratulatory photo to the winners. 

This wager is no small thing: one thing we know about John Boehner is that he’s very particular when it comes to ties and sartorial choices. So with that in mind:  Go Bucks!

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Photo Time with Speaker Boehner

2015/01/12

Since 1929, Members of the House of Representatives all take the oath of office together on Opening Day – a 'time-saving device’ began by Speaker Nicholas Longworth.  Nowadays, many members also choose to participate in a ceremonial swearing-in with their families and the Speaker of the House – a process that usually takes about 3 hours, but you can now see it in about 30 seconds.  

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Five Ways Homeland Security Bill Bolsters Border Security & Law Enforcement

2015/01/12

On Friday, the House Appropriations Committee released the fiscal year 2015 Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill, which takes a number of steps to bolster bolder security and law enforcement efforts.  Read the bill now at docs.house.gov. 1. The bill provides for the largest operational force levels in the history of the Customs and Border Protection agency, including 21,370 Border Patrol agents and 23,775 CBP officers.  

2. The bill supports several critical border security initiatives, including around-the-clock surveillance of air, land, and sea approaches to the border. 3. The bill boosts internal enforcement efforts, including significant increases above the budget request for Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention programs.

4. The bill strengthens domestic and international investigations, including increases to expand visa vetting capabilities, and enhance our efforts to combat human trafficking, child exploitation, cyber-crime, and drug smuggling.

5. The bill is expected to include amendments to stop the president’s unilateral actions on immigration.  “The president’s unilateral actions were an affront to the rule of law and our system of government,” Speaker Boehner said on Thursday. “I said we’d fight it tooth and nail when we had new majorities in the House and Senate, and I meant it.” Overall, the Homeland Security appropriations bill keeps our commitment to save taxpayers dollars wherever possible while backing high-priority programs, including cybersecurity operations.  The full fact sheet is available from the Appropriations Committee

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A Good Start & A Good Idea For Jobs

2015/01/12

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For people working hard and trying to get ahead, we’ve already acted on three-common sense ideas to make things better,” Speaker Boehner says in a new video recapping the start the new Congress has made on the people’s priorities.  Just to review, those ideas would help grow our economy by encouraging small businesses to hire more veterans, restoring hours and wages for middle-class workers, and approving the Keystone XL pipeline and its 42,000+ American jobs.  

This week, our focus on jobs continues with a vote on H.R. 185, the Regulatory Accountability Act.   Here are five things you should know about this jobs bill:

  • Addresses root problems with our regulatory system.  We know Washington imposes too many regulations and that they cost too much money.  One problem is, the system itself is coercive and combative, with bureaucrats imposing their will and taking from hardworking people without any kind of common-sense restraint and scrutiny. 
  • Makes Washington regulate at the lowest cost possible.  The Regulatory Accountability Act requires bureaucrats to institute regulations based on sound data and at the lowest possible cost to taxpayers.
  • Helps middle-class families.  Reining in regulatory costs is important because these costs are often passed directly on to middle-class families.  For example, regulations will increase the cost of household products – including fluorescent lamps, microwaves, air conditioners, and dishwashers – by up to $1,600
  • Increases transparency and scrutiny.  The Regulatory Accountability Act also requires advance notice of proposed major rulemakings to increase opportunities for input.  This is important because many regulations are issued without any public comment whatsoever
  • Continues our bipartisan efforts on jobs.  The Regulatory Accountability Act was introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN).  Read their joint release here.

Fixing our regulatory system is one of Speaker Boehner’s five points for resetting our economic foundation, and this bill is a smart step in that direction.   It flips the script on Washington bureaucrats and protects middle-class families from the same old overreach and overregulation.

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President Obama Can’t Duck Need for Real, Long-Term VA Reform

2015/01/09

President Obama’s campaign-style stop at a Phoenix high school yesterday afternoon concluded “with a celebration” of the economy, according to the Washington PostThen the president and his crew loaded into the motorcade and left the same way they came, “driving past the VA hospital without stopping.”

For those who may be wondering, yes, this is the same scandal-plagued VA hospital that rocked the nation and led to the uncovering of secret wait lists, gross mismanagement, improper care and even deaths at clinics nationwide. 

Veterans were understandably angered by the snub, and media took note as Speaker Boehner and Republicans renewed calls for President Obama to offer a long-term vision for VA reform.

“Speaker John A. Boehner said the president was bragging about an ‘economy that we all know could be doing better.’ And he criticized the president for not visiting the Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix…

“’The system is still broken, and needs to be fundamentally transformed in a way that puts the needs of veterans before the needs of the bureaucracy,’ Mr. Boehner said. ‘We call on the president to offer a long-term vision for reforming the systemic problems at the V.A. We’ve yet to see it.’” New York Times

Some may say the White House should get a pass on yesterday’s trip. We certainly get that scheduling can be tricky. But this wasn’t the only sign this week to suggest that fundamental VA reform isn’t on the president’s radar.

In an email today ahead of the State of the Union address, the White House asked the American people to offer comments on 16 priorities for the president’s final two years, but VA reform didn’t make the list. 

It should have. In July, the House passed bipartisan legislation – which President Obama went on to sign – to provide the VA with additional resources and the authority to hold senior officials accountable. But as Speaker Boehner made clear at the time, “this agreement is just the start.”

The fact is, the VA is still failing too many veterans. USA TODAY recently reported “more than 600,000 veterans – 10 percent of all the Veterans Affairs patients – continue to wait a month or more for appointments at VA hospitals and clinics.”

H.R. 3230 requires a top-to-bottom audit of the VA by private sector experts, and initial findings are expected later this year.  Now is the time for President Obama to begin laying out a long-term vision to fix the VA and transform it into a 21st century agency that improves quality and access, and puts patients  – not bureaucracy – first.   

America’s veterans are waiting.  

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Oh Schnitt

2015/01/09

On Wednesday, generations of Boehnerland staff gathered to pay tribute to Dave Schnittger, who departs our office today after decades of faithful service dating back to Speaker Boehner’s first campaign for Congress in 1990.

A son of West Chester, Ohio and a proud graduate of the University of Dayton, Dave has served in a number of capacities for Boehner, including communications director for the Education & the Workforce Committee, chief of staff for his congressional office, and deputy chief of staff for the Office of the Speaker. 

In addition, last year we gave Dave two new ‘titles.’  First, we made him ‘Dean of Boehnerland’ in recognition of his standing as the longest-serving member of the team.  Here’s how our chief of staff, Mike Sommers, put it on Wednesday: 

“He is not only the Dean of Boehnerland, but the last staff link to that first campaign where he volunteered to put up signs for a young state rep named John Boehner.  He is truly the heart and soul of Boehnerland.”

To that point about being the ‘soul’ around here, we also appointed Dave ‘Special Liaision to the Music Industry,’ a nod to his instrumental role in bringing major entertainers to the Capitol for special performances, including Roger Daltrey of The Who and Billy F Gibbons of ZZ TOP.  (The Washington Examiner has more on that.)

We always say ‘you never leave Boehnerland,’ but sadly Dave is leaving the people’s House he has served with such grace and integrity, and so Speaker Boehner honored him with a tribute in the Congressional Record.  It concludes:

“On behalf of the people’s House—and on behalf of Boehnerland, from West Chester to Springfield to Troy to Washington, DC—I thank David for his service. I send our love to his wife Stephanie, and their five beautiful children: Ella, Kayla, Julia, Andrew, and Cecilia.  This House, especially this Speaker, owes an immeasurable debt of gratitude to the Schnittger family.”

We do indeed.

 

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House Defies President’s Veto Threat, Approves Job-Creating Keystone Pipeline

2015/01/09

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House once again voted, on a bipartisan basis, to approve the Keystone XL pipeline (H.R. 3), the third jobs bill passed by the House this week as part of Republicans’ continuing commitment to put Americans’ priorities – jobs and the economy – first.  House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement:

“In light of today’s Nebraska Supreme Court ruling, the president should reconsider his threat to veto the Keystone pipeline and the tens of thousands of jobs it will create.  A presidential veto would put his own political interests ahead of the needs and priorities of the American people.  There is no excuse – scientific or otherwise - for the president to continue blocking the pipeline.  An overwhelming majority of Americans support this job-creating energy project and President Obama ought to respect their will and stop standing in the way.”

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"We the People..."

2015/01/09

Earlier today, Members of the people’s House joined together to read the United States Constitution on the House floor.  For his part, Speaker Boehner read the preamble.  The Constitution was first read at the start of the 112th Congress, by request of Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), and was read for the second time in the history of the House to start out the 113th Congress in January 2013.  On continuing this important tradition, Boehner said:

 “Today, I joined my colleagues on the House floor in a reading of the Constitution, and in doing so, we reminded ourselves and the American people that the powers granted to us are provided by the people and for the people.  Our Founding Fathers spent four months debating the text of this document before asking the states to approve their final version.  This opportunity to debate and express opinions is one of the greatest strengths to our democracy. I’m proud we took the opportunity to reflect on the words of the Founding Fathers and the fundamental principles preserved in the Constitution this morning.  As we begin anew in the 114th Congress, the goals ahead are within reach.  It is our duty, and our privilege, to uphold those principles and honor the promises of our oath to the American people and this great nation.”

 

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Speaker Boehner on the December 2014 Unemployment Report

2015/01/09

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

“It’s always welcome news when more Americans find work.  Yet while the economy is showing some signs of improvement, far too many middle-class families are struggling to bridge the gap between rising costs and stubbornly flat paychecks.  Republicans are taking action to help – passing two bills this week that will make it easier for small businesses to hire more veterans and keep their employees working full-time under the president’s health care law.  We’ll also vote to once again approve the Keystone pipeline, and the thousands of jobs and increased energy security that come with it.  Together, these bipartisan, common-sense proposals represent an opportunity for the president to stop waving his veto pen and start working with the new American Congress to make a real difference on behalf of middle-class families.”

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Graves Portrait Joins House Collection

2015/01/08

Last night, the House Committee on Small Business unveiled a portrait of former chairman Sam Graves (R-MO).  Speaker Boehner was on hand to accept the portrait into the House collection.  Graves served as Chairman from 2010-2014.  

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Restoring the 40-Hour Work Week to Help Americans Hit Hardest by ObamaCare

2015/01/08

WASHINGTON, DC –House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement today praising House passage of the Save American Workers Act (H.R. 30), legislation that will help increase hours and wages by eliminating the 30-hour penalty in the president’s health care law and restoring the 40-hour work week:

“When middle-class Americans can’t work a full, 40-hour work week because of the president’s health care law, they can’t provide for their families, pay their bills, or get ahead in a tight economy.  Todd Young’s bill will help the thousands of Americans who either have, or are at risk of having, their wages and hours cut by repealing the 30-hour rule in ObamaCare – a rule that hurts low-income workers and women the most.  The president’s threat to veto this commonsense legislation, rather than work toward bipartisan solutions to help middle-class families, is a sad commentary on where his priorities lie.  House Republicans will continue putting Americans’ priorities first, and the president ought to reconsider his opposition to this bill and start doing the same.”

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President Turns His Back on People’s Priorities with Veto Threat on Bipartisan Jobs Bills

2015/01/08

WASHINGTON, DC – At his weekly press briefing today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) contrasted House Republicans’ immediate action on jobs and the economy in the new American Congress with the president’s decision to stand in the way of solutions to help middle-class families.  Boehner also addressed the ongoing fight against terrorists in Iraq and Syria, and the need for a long-term plan from the White House for reforming the VA.  Following are Boehner’s remarks:

On the House Kicking Off the New American Congress with Immediate Action on Jobs & the Economy:

“Welcome to the new American Congress.  This week, the House is passing common-sense jobs bills that provide an obvious bipartisan starting point, I think, for both parties.  These measures would also provide President Obama a chance to begin the final years of his presidency by taking some steps to build a stronger economy.

“Unfortunately, the president’s been taking steps toward more confrontation, rather than bipartisan cooperation on jobs.  Earlier in the week, literally as we were taking our oaths of office for this new Congress, the White House threatened to veto two of these bipartisan bills.  Given the chance to start with a burst of bipartisan productivity, the president turned his back on the American people’s priorities.”

On the Need for President Obama to Put Forth a Long-Term Vision for Reforming the Problems at the VA:

“Today the president is in Phoenix, talking about the economy that we all know could be doing better.  He won’t be far from the Phoenix VA facility, the epicenter of the VA scandal, where dozens of veterans died while waiting for basic care.

“Last year, the House and Senate took some positive steps in the right direction, but the system is still broken, and needs to be fundamentally transformed in a way that puts the needs of veterans before the needs of the bureaucracy.  We call on the president to offer a long-term vision for reforming the systemic problems at the VA.  We’ve yet to see it.”

Urging the President to Send Congress a New Authorization for the Use of Military Force:

“We’ve also yet to see an Authorization for the Use of Military Force to defeat our terrorist enemies from this White House.  I’ve continued to remind the president that historically the Commander-in-Chief has identified the need for the use of military force, written a new authorization for that force, sent it to the Hill, and typically also worked to build bipartisan support for such [a] resolution.  Once again, I would urge him to do so, if he does, Republicans will be ready to work with him to get it approved.”

 

 

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Action Soon to Stop President Obama on Immigration

2015/01/08

The House will soon act, as promised, to stop the president’s unilateral actions on immigration.  Here’s what Speaker Boehner said on the topic this morning:

“The House will soon take action aimed at stopping the president’s unilateral action when it comes to immigration.  Republicans are in agreement that this is a gravely serious matter.  The President’s unilateral actions were an affront to the rule of law and our system of government.  The American people don’t support it, and as their representatives, cannot let it stand.  I said we’d fight it tooth and nail when we had new majorities in the House and Senate, and I meant it.”

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Scoring Change Puts Focus on Jobs & Growth, Not Government

2015/01/08

Debates in Washington often end up in the weeds, but for the everyday taxpayer out there, the bottom line is, “how is this going to help my family?

With new budget reforms, we’ll be able to better answer that question and make better laws.

Here’s how it works: on every bill, the experts at the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation give us a cost estimate.  That’s important, but it’s just a price tag.  It leaves out the impact new policies will have in the real world, whether they’ll increase jobs, wages and tax revenue, and how they will help – or hurt – the economy as a whole. 

Macroeconomic scoring, approved by the House on Tuesday, will more closely reflect reality.   As its name indicates, this kind of scoring  provides a full and honest accounting of a bill’s effect on the economy.  So instead of focusing on whether a bill is good for the government, we’re putting the focus on whether it’s good for the taxpayer.  Here’s what new Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) says about these new reforms:

“As history has shown and common sense would lead one to believe, laws passed by Congress can have a broad effect on the nation’s economic activity, on job creation and investment decisions.  What we are saying is let us take what the experts at CBO and JCT can measure about the real-world impact of policies and incorporate those more realistic assessments into an honest analysis that policymakers can use to make better informed decisions.

The good news is, the experts already do this type of analysis; we’re just asking them to incorporate it if a bill is significant enough to affect the economy.  Then, lawmakers will be able to look at legislation the same way their constituents do: with an eye on the bottom line.

Learn more by going to http://budget.house.gov/.

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Photos of Opening Day

2015/01/08

Opening Day of a new Congress brings with it a range of experiences and emotions.  It is a day of celebration and reflection.  A day built on faith and a belief in a better future for America.  

This is what Opening Day of the 114th Congress looked like for John Boehner, the 53rd Speaker of the House.

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Proof President Obama is Not Interested in Enforcing Immigration Law

2015/01/08

When President Obama announced his unilateral action on immigration in November, he cloaked his decision to ignore the law in the guise of better enforcement through prioritization.

The legality of the president’s action aside, this argument is just more baloney – and data quietly released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on the Friday before Christmas prove it. In fiscal year 2014, despite an increase in illegal immigration, deportations were down five percent from the previous year, and those from the interior of the U.S. fell a whopping 24 percent, the administration revealed.

Americans want to see our laws enforced, which is why President Obama bragged about his supposedly tougher approach to enforcement for years. But that was when he had re-election campaigns to run, and it was politically useful to do so.

The reality is that President Obama has consistently played games with these numbers, and that whatever he says about who may or may not qualify for his unilateral amnesty, his administration isn’t enforcing the law and has been purposely failing to do so for quite some time.

The president copped to cooking the books in a September 2011 interview. “The statistics are actually a little deceptive because what we’ve been doing is…apprehending folks at the borders and sending them back. That is counted as a deportation, even though they may have only been held for a day or 48 hours,” he admitted.

Testifying to Congress in March 2014, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson confessed the Obama administration had changed how deportations were counted in order to conceal what The New York Times described as a “pronounced shift away from removals of immigrants living in the interior of the country.”

“If you are a run-of-the-mill immigrant here illegally, your odds of getting deported are close to zero — it's just highly unlikely to happen,” a former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, John Sandweg, told the Los Angeles Times all the way back in April. The paper also reported:

A closer examination [of the Obama administration’s statistics] shows that immigrants living illegally in most of the continental U.S. are less likely to be deported today than before Obama came to office, according to immigration data.

Expulsions of people who are settled and working in the United States have fallen steadily since his first year in office, and are down more than 40% since 2009.

Remember, the president claims this is a byproduct of prioritization. So what about new arrivals? Thousands and thousands of migrants arrived this past summer, overwhelming Border Patrol agents. 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.

What about dangerous criminals? USA Today reported in October that “New records contradict the Obama administration's assurances to Congress and the public that the 2,200 people it freed from immigration jails last year to save money had only minor criminal records. The records … show immigration officials released some undocumented immigrants who had faced far more serious criminal charges, including people charged with kidnapping, sexual assault, drug trafficking and homicide.”

This is troubling to say the least – and so is President Obama’s cancellation of the Secure Communities program, which helped to identify illegal immigrants convicted of crimes.

As Speaker Boehner said in August, President Obama is not committed to securing the border, and his policies make it clear that he’s not interested in enforcing the law. “[W]e’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 Speaker said last month.

House Republicans began working on this issue then, and that work has been restarted in the new American Congress. At his weekly press briefing today, Speaker Boehner said:

"The House will soon take action aimed at stopping the president’s unilateral action when it comes to immigration. Republicans are in agreement that this is a gravely serious matter. The President’s unilateral actions were an affront to the rule of law and our system of government. The American people don’t support it, and as their representatives, cannot let it stand. I said we’d fight it tooth and nail when we had new majorities in the House and Senate, and I meant it."

As the president’s actions set the stage for another surge of illegal immigration this year, we’ll continue to stand up for the safety and security of American families.

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PHOTO: Meeting with McConnell

2015/01/08

Earlier today, Speaker Boehner and Leader McConnell met in the U.S. Capitol to discuss how America’s new Congress can immediately begin removing barriers to job creation for middle-class Americans and address the most pressing challenges facing the country, as detailed in their recent joint op-ed.

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Speaker Boehner Appoints Rep. Kevin Brady to Serve as Vice-Chair of the Joint Economic Committee

2015/01/07

WASHINGTON, DC - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today announced the appointment of Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) as Vice-Chair of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC):

“Despite some positive economic signs recently, millions of Americans are still unemployed or are earning far less than they did before the 2008 recession.  These Americans know instinctively the stress that an underperforming economy means for their incomes and family budgets.  Many of them also believe that the policies of bigger bureaucracies and more Washington control pursued by the current administration have done little to help their plight. 

“As a member of the Joint Economic Committee since 2009 and its Chairman in the previous Congress, Kevin Brady has been a consistent advocate of free markets and dramatically less bureaucratic intrusion in the American economy.  He knows the direct impact that decisions in Washington have on how working families cope with the costs of food, fuel, health care, and education.  As the author of the now famous ObamaCare Chart, Brady has the ability to communicate often complex economic data into terms everyone can understand.  He knows America’s families and businesses need policies from Washington that place them at the center of policy making and help free the economy to move beyond anemic to thriving.  Kevin works hard to represent the people of Texas and has been a resource for all House Republicans at the JEC.  I look forward to working with him in his continuing role at the committee.”

NOTE: Chairman Brady also serves as a senior member of the House Ways & Means Committee.

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Passing TRIA to Protect Our Economy & Homeland

2015/01/07

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement after the House backed long-term reauthorization of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act:

“Terrorism risk insurance protects the businesses and services Americans rely on every day, and it’s important we reauthorize it without delay.  This, of course, is no ordinary insurance program: it reinforces the vigilance of hardworking Americans and furthers our commitment to protecting our economy and  homeland – responsibilities we’ve all been reminded of today in the worst way possible.  By acting swiftly and in bipartisan fashion, we’ve laid the groundwork for the Senate and the president to follow suit.”

 

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Contact Information

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

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

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