Speaker of the House

John Boehner

17 Things You & The VP May Have Missed This Week On Jobs

2014/07/12

In Nashville yesterday, the vice president “lamented” a lack of bipartisan progress and called for action on job training.  If only we could do something like that…oh wait:

That's right, we just passed a job training bill – a bipartisan one too.  It eliminates more than a dozen duplicative programs and empowers states to innovate.  That’s going to help us chip away at those 4.6 million job openings in America.  Employers in the Speaker’s district agree.  Boehner was proud to sign the bill and send it to the president’s desk.   Here’s the video, and a photo album too. 

Some other things the House did for jobs this week:  we passed a bill that would make permanent a tax incentive that’s a big help to small businesses.  We also passed a bill to boost energy security and cut Washington spending.

In between all that, the Speaker sat down with the CEO of Navistar to discuss a manufacturing plant in his district.  He wrote a letter to the editors of POLITICO to remind them of the jobs bills we’ve passed, just in case they missed it.   And he expressed hope for more progress on jobs, which, as you can see, continues to be our top priority.    

What were Washington’s powers-that-be up to this week?  Well, we’ll let you pick your poison:

So take heart, Mr. Vice President.  We're right on top of things. 

To learn more, you could dive into any of these 17 links from this week, or you can just go to speaker.gov/jobs, a one-stop shop for all the jobs bills we’ve passed on behalf of hardworking taxpayers.  

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What working together looks like

2014/07/11

A great thing just happened.  This morning, leaders of both parties in the House came together to get something done for the millions of Americans who continue to struggle to find work in today’s economy. 

Speaker Boehner, joined by Leader Pelosi (D-CA), Rep. Kline (R-MN), Rep. Miller (D-CA), Rep. Foxx (R-NC), and Rep. Hinojosa (D-TX), signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (H.R. 803) before sending it to the president’s desk.  The bill would improve and streamline job training programs so that those who are out of work can get the skills they need to earn a steady paycheck and get back on their feet.  

The completion of the workforce development bill is a positive step that will help to create good opportunities for hardworking Americans.  The photos below show what working together looks like.

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Boehner: “Israel Is our Friend, and Israel’s Enemies Are Our Enemies”

2014/07/11

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today released the following statement on the ongoing attacks against Israel. 

“Israel is under attack.  America must stand with her.  I’m glad President Obama has telephoned Prime Minister Netanyahu, but we need to send a clear, unified, and public message:  Israel is our friend, and Israel’s enemies are our enemies. 

“Actions, as always, speak louder than words.  The Israelis recently intercepted Iranian-supplied weapons bound for Gaza.  This is part of Iran’s long history of providing rockets and rocket parts to Gaza-based terrorist organizations, as well as Hezbollah operating in Lebanon and Syria.  Those weapons are used to attack our ally, Israel. 

“As the Obama administration pursues nuclear negotiations with Iran, and amid reports that the administration is trying to engage Iran to help deal with the situation in Iraq, House Republicans remain committed and focused on pushing the White House to do more to counter Iran’s support for terrorists in the region.”

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Speaker Boehner, House Leaders Send Bipartisan Jobs Bill to President’s Desk

2014/07/11

WASHINGTON, DC – Joined by leaders from both parties, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today signed H.R. 803, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.  This bipartisan jobs bill will help America’s workers get the skills they need to take on good-paying jobs.

This is a very good job training and retraining bill that will help many people in America have better access to the kind of skills that are needed in today’s workforce, “ Speaker Boehner said.  “What this bill does is consolidate a number of job training programs and provide flexibility at the local level.” 

Taking part in today’s signing were Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Education & the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN), Education & the Workforce Committee Ranking Member George Miller (D-CA), Higher Education and Workforce Training Subcommittee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx  (R-NC), and Higher Education and Workforce Training Subcommittee Ranking Member Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX).

This is a great opportunity for us to show that we can get things done, that we can listen to the American people, and work together on their behalf, because their priorities, frankly, are our priorities,’ Boehner added.

H.R. 803 now goes to President Obama’s desk for his signature. 

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Key Points: House Litigation Against Executive Overreach

2014/07/11

On July 10, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced the House will vote on a resolution this summer that authorizes the House to file suit in objection to the way in which President Obama made changes to his health care law, changing the law without authorization by Congress.  Following are some key points and a question-and-answer document that provide some of the basics about the impending House action.

WHY THE HOUSE IS TAKING ACTION

  • This isn't about Republicans versus Democrats; it’s about the Constitution versus unconstitutional and unilateral actions by the Executive Branch, and protecting our democracy. 
  • The Constitution says the president must faithfully execute the laws, and makes clear that only the Legislative Branch has the power to legislate.
  • The current president has demonstrated he believes he has the power to make his own laws – at times even boasting about it.  He has said that if Congress won’t make the laws he wants, he’ll go ahead and make them himself.  That’s not the way our system of government was designed to work. 
  • The aggressive unilateralism practiced by President Obama presents a challenge to the constitutional balance of powers, and the House is compelled to respond. 
  • If this president can get away with making his own laws, future presidents will have the ability to do it as well.  No president should have the power to make laws on his or her own. 
  • Every Member takes an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution.  When the Executive Branch tries to encroach on the powers of the Legislative Branch, it should be cause for concern for every Member who has taken that oath.

THE BASICS OF THE HOUSE LITIGATION

  • The president’s unilateral actions on the health care law’s employer mandate will be the focus of the litigation brought by the House.  There are many examples of executive overreach by the president, but his actions on the health care law are the ones that give the House the best chance of success in the courts.
  • The litigation will focus solely on the health care law because that’s how the suit needs to be structured in order to ensure the House has standing.  Basing the litigation on a laundry list of grievances against the president would make standing more difficult.
  • In the case of the health care law’s employer mandate, the president changed the law without a vote of Congress, effectively creating his own law by literally waiving the mandate and the penalties for failing to comply with it.  He legislated without the Legislative Branch.  The Constitution doesn’t give presidents the power to do that.  No president should have such authority.  That’s what the House litigation will argue. 

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

Q: The president this week pointed to this lawsuit as one of the reasons the border crisis can’t be addressed without immediate congressional action on his supplemental appropriations request.  His point is that he’d be willing to take executive action, but he can’t because the House wants to sue him for it.  How do you respond?

A: The president is creating a straw man.  We aren’t arguing that the president shouldn’t be able to issue executive orders; all presidents can and should be able to do that.  We’re arguing that the president shouldn’t be able to make his own laws, as he did in the case of the suspension of the employer mandate.  It’s a very important distinction.  There are a number of things the president can and should be doing to address the border crisis that don’t require congressional action or additional money from Congress, and he shouldn’t use this suit as an excuse not to do them.

Q:  Republicans claim the president has repeatedly exceeded his authority under the Constitution, yet the House litigation will target the White House only on Obamacare.  Why? 

A: The litigation will focus solely on the health care law because that’s how this needs to be structured in order to maximize the potential that we have for standing.  Basing the litigation on a laundry list of grievances against the president would make standing more difficult, even if all of the grievances listed were completely valid.  As George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley said recently: “If the lawsuit comes out as a peddler’s wagon with every possible grievance against the president, it will have a poor chance of success.  The more issues that are piled into these lawsuits the more it looks like a political question.”

Q:  Why are you focusing on Obamacare’s employer mandate and leaving out immigration, the Bergdahl swap and other actions by the administration that many conservatives have argued are examples of presidential overreach? 

A: There are many examples of executive overreach by the president, but his actions on the health care law are the ones that probably give the House the best chance of success in the courts.  The employer mandate action by the president is also arguably the best known example of his executive overreach.

Q:  By focusing the suit on Obamacare and the employer mandate, aren’t you arguing that the employer mandate should be implemented?

A: No; we’re arguing that the president can’t unilaterally change the law, without congressional action.  The president changed the law to provide relief from Obamacare for big businesses, while leaving Obamacare’s mandates intact for individuals and families.  That was a legislative change, but it wasn’t the way the Legislative Branch would have done it.  The House position – expressed by bipartisan votes in 2013, days after the president announced this move – was that Obamacare’s mandates should be stopped for all Americans, not just for big businesses.  Rather than provide relief to all Americans, the president circumvented Congress and made his own, new law.  The President of the United States doesn’t have the authority under the Constitution to do that.  That’s what the House litigation will argue. 

Q: But if the House lawsuit succeeds, it means the Obamacare employer mandate goes into effect, doesn’t it? 

A: If the House litigation succeeds, the House would immediately take up legislation – again – to stop the implementation of the employer mandate through the normal constitutional legislative process, as well as legislation to stop the law’s mandates on the rest of the nation.  Such legislation has already passed the House with bipartisan support.  The House would also have the option of asking the court for a stay of the effect of the order to allow time for the legislative process to work. 

Q: What exactly is the basis for your argument that by delaying the health care law’s employer mandate, the president created his own law?

A: As Michael Cannon of the CATO Institute explains: "[T]he [Obama administration's] unilateral decision to delay the employer mandate is the latest indication that we do not live under a Rule of Law, but under a Rule of Rulers who write and rewrite laws at whim, without legitimate authority, and otherwise compel behavior to suit their ends.  Congress gave neither the IRS nor the president any authority to delay the imposition of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate.  In the section of the law creating that mandate, Congress included several provisions indicating the mandate will take effect in 2014.  In case those provisions were not clear enough, Section 4980H further clarifies: ‘(d) EFFECTIVE DATE.—The amendments made by this section shall apply to months beginning after December 31, 2013.’  It is hard to see how the will of the people’s elected representatives – including President Obama, who signed that effective date into law – could have been expressed more clearly, or how it could be clearer that the IRS has no legitimate power to delay the mandate.”

Q:  Why do you believe the House has standing to file this suit?

A: There are plenty of legal scholars who believe the House has standing if the litigation is initiated in the manner we’ve described, and not all of those scholars are conservatives.  For example, Harvard University law professor Lawrence Tribe recently told the Washington Post: “The House as an institution may well have standing to challenge at least some of the President’s unilateral suspensions and revisions of statutory deadlines and specific mandates in the Affordable Care Act and other congressional legislation. . .It’s not an open-and-shut case, but the House would have at least a plausible basis for claiming standing.  On the merits, at least some of the actions the House might challenge are probably consistent with the separation of powers. . .”

Q:  Will taxpayer dollars be used to pay for this suit?  Is it a waste of money?

A: Defending the Constitution is hardly a waste of money.  It is part of carrying out our official duties and the oath we take when we become members of Congress.

Q:  Shouldn’t the House be focused on the jobs and the economy instead of lawsuits against the president?

A: The House is focused on jobs and the economy, and will continue to be; one floor vote on one simple resolution doesn’t change that.  We can walk and chew gum at the same time.  The House has passed dozens of jobs bills.  Some of them have become law, like the workforce development bill that was sent to the president this week.  Many others are piling up in the Senate.

Q: Democrats say the House has no standing and that they’ll never support this.  How do you respond?

A: Standing is for the courts to decide.  It’s not for us to decide.  Just as the president needs to leave legislating to the Legislative Branch, Members of Congress should leave jurisprudence to the Judicial Branch.  We’ll abide by whatever the courts decide, but we have an obligation to defend the Constitution and the balance of powers our government has had for more than 200 years.

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Making It Easier for Small Businesses to Grow & Create Jobs

2014/07/11

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today praised House passage of H.R. 4718, legislation introduced by Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH) that makes permanent a tax provision allowing companies to deduct half the cost of new business investments:

“Millions of Americans are still asking the question, ‘where are the jobs?,’ but it’s clear from the president’s rhetoric this week that he just isn’t listening.  I hear all the time from small business owners in my home state of Ohio and across the country who say they can’t grow or plan for the future with all of the uncertainty coming out of Washington.  Excessive regulations, a struggling economy, the constant threat of tax hikes – all making it harder for middle-class families to get ahead.  Here in the House, we’re doing what we can to help, passing another bill today that would create more certainty and give small business owners an incentive to invest and put more Americans back to work.  It passed with strong, bipartisan support and should be given an immediate vote in the Democratic-led Senate, along with the dozens of other House-passed jobs bills being blocked in that chamber.”

NOTE: This is the fourth bill the House has passed to provide permanent tax extensions aimed at helping small businesses grow and create jobs.  Learn more about these bills at speaker.gov/jobs.

 

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More Energy Independence, Less Washington Spending, & A Stronger Economy

2014/07/11

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement after the House passed H.R. 4923, the FY 2015 Energy & Water Appropriations Bill:

“Keeping our ports and waterways open and operating effectively is critical for increasing economic growth and maintaining our global competitiveness.  With this bill we have done just that, while providing greater energy security and reducing Washington spending.  It’s a win for middle-class families struggling with higher costs on everything from gas to groceries to health care, and for hardworking taxpayers. 

“While the Senate has failed to pass any appropriations bills to date, this is now the sixth such measure to make its way through the House.  We’re doing our job and advancing solutions: helping small businesses grow and create jobs, lowering energy costs, and expanding opportunity for everyone.  If the president is serious about helping middle-class families, he’ll call on Senate Democrats, who are sitting on dozens of House-passed jobs bills, to do their part.”

NOTE: A complete list of House-passed economic growth and jobs bills stuck in the Democratic-led Senate is available at speaker.gov/jobs.

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Boehner: This Is About Protecting the Constitution

2014/07/10

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement announcing that the House would initiate legal action over President Obama’s unilateral actions on the health care law’s employer mandate in 2013:

“Today we’re releasing a draft resolution that will authorize the House to file suit over the way President Obama unilaterally changed the employer mandate.  In 2013, the president changed the health care law without a vote of Congress, effectively creating his own law by literally waiving the employer mandate and the penalties for failing to comply with it.  That’s not the way our system of government was designed to work.  No president should have the power to make laws on his or her own.

“As I’ve said, this isn't about Republicans versus Democrats; it’s about the Legislative Branch versus the Executive Branch, and above all protecting the Constitution.  The Constitution states that the president must faithfully execute the laws, and spells out that only the Legislative Branch has the power to legislate.  The current president believes he has the power to make his own laws – at times even boasting about it.  He has said that if Congress won’t make the laws he wants, he’ll go ahead and make them himself, and in the case of the employer mandate in his health care law, that’s exactly what he did. If this president can get away with making his own laws, future presidents will have the ability to as well.  The House has an obligation to stand up for the Legislative Branch, and the Constitution, and that is exactly what we will do.”

NOTE: The president’s unilateral actions on the health care law’s employer mandate will be the focus of the litigation brought by the House (the text of the resolution can be found here.)

 

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Honoring a Hero

2014/07/10

Speaker Boehner, congressional leaders, and guests gathered yesterday in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol to honor a man who saved the lives of nearly 100,000 Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust.  Raul Wallenberg was a Swedish diplomat who was only the second of seven individuals who have been made honorary U.S. citizens.  As Speaker Boehner said in his remarks,

This medal is a tribute to a citizen of the world – but it is more than that. It is a commitment to honor his family and his memory…to tell his story…and to always seek the truth.

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Take It Up With Your Senate, Mr. President

2014/07/10

Another day, another dose of dodgy rhetoric from the White House.

Today in Texas, the president's goal was to “contrast his approach with Republicans” over the ‘least productive Congress in history.’

Again, perhaps he’s talking about the Senate, where his party’s leaders are dragging our jobs bills through gridlock and then some.  To wit:  

  • The Republican-led House has passed at least 285 bills that the president’s Senate has failed to act upon.  All told, the House has passed nearly four times the amount of bills that the Senate has. 
  • Of the 119 bills that the president has been able to sign into law, only 27 percent have come from his own Senate. 
  • The House has also completed five* spending bills to the Senate’s zero.  In fact, we’ve allowed House Democrats to offer 130 amendments on those bills, while Senate Republicans haven’t been able to offer a single one. [*Six after the House passed the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill shortly after this blog post was published.]

Things have gotten so bad that Senate Democrats are openly complaining about the lack of productivity.  A Democratic chairman even went on record saying he’s “furious” with his leaders for blocking a bipartisan jobs bill. 

How’s that for a contrast?  

If anything, the story to be told here is what the Republican majority has accomplished in the face of such gridlock, from the most significant spending reductions in modern history to long-term, market-based student loan reform.

We also just completed the first rewrite of job training laws in 16 years, a bill that will soon head to the president’s desk with good conservative reforms like eliminating 15 duplicative programs and empowering states to innovate. 

We want to get more done – much more – which is why, Mr. President, you ought to take all this up with Senate Democrats.

(Not that they’re much into taking things up these days, but maybe you’ll have better luck than we are.)

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Boehner: “A Crisis of the President’s Own Making”

2014/07/10

WASHINGTON, DC - The catastrophe along our southern border is a humanitarian crisis of the president’s own making, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said today, faulting the president for putting politics above the needs of children by refusing to take action.   Following are Boehner’s remarks:  

“Along our southern border we’ve got a true humanitarian crisis underway, with children caught in the middle.  Unfortunately, it's a crisis of the president’s own making – his actions gave false hope to children and their families that if they enter the country illegally they would be allowed to stay.

“Our priorities are clear: take care of these children, return them safely…to their home countries, to their own families, and secure the border.

I sent a letter to the president last month laying out some specific actions that he should take to address the crisis, including sending in the National Guard.   The National Guard is uniquely qualified to address these types of humanitarian crises, and utilizing their expertise would free up border agents to focus on their job of securing the border. 

“Now the president said yesterday he’d consider doing that only if he gets more money with no strings attached.  In other words, he won’t do it for the kids.  It’s all about politics. 

The president assured the American people the border was secure, but clearly it is not. 

“Chairman Rogers and the members of our working group led by Kay Granger are reviewing the administration’s request.  I can tell you this though: we’re not giving the president a blank check.  Beyond that, we’ll await further discussions with our members before we make any final decisions.  …

“Listen, this is a problem of the president’s own making.  He’s been president for five-and-a-half years.  When is he going to take responsibility for something?”

NOTE: Click here to read the full letter Boehner sent to the president last month laying out specific steps he should take address the humanitarian crisis at the southern border.

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Boehner: GOP Focused on Jobs While President Goes Tone-Deaf on Economy

2014/07/10

WASHINGTON, DC – At his weekly press briefing today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) contrasted this week’s House action on jobs with the president’s “tone-deaf celebration of our struggling economy yesterday,” pointing to evidence that the president’s policies are leaving too many middle-class families behind.  Following are Boehner’s remarks:

“Republicans continue to make the American people’s priorities our priorities, and jobs and the economy clearly are the American people’s highest priorities.  This week we’re passing two more bills that would encourage businesses to invest and to create jobs here in America. 

“Of note, we’ll send a bipartisan job training bill to the president for his signature.  And I’m particularly proud because I worked on this issue as chairman of the Education & the Workforce Committee, and I want to thank Virginia Foxx and John Kline for getting this done.  It’s an important step, one of actually many steps, that have been taken to reduce the bureaucracy and number of job training and retraining programs and providing more flexibility so that the American people who want additional skills and education have better access to these programs.  It’s another example of what we can accomplish when Senate Democrats will work with us to address the people’s priorities.

“Now compare all this to the president’s tone-deaf celebration of our struggling economy yesterday.  You want to talk about being out of touch.  Middle-class families continue to struggle with high prices on everything from gas to groceries to health care.  Because of the high cost of living, they’re falling further and further behind.

“Some 288,000 Americans found jobs last month.  That’s a good thing, but let’s have a little dose of reality.  The same report showed that more Americans gave up on their job search than those who actually found a job – this has happened for 49 of the last 50 months.   More people have given up looking for work than have actually found work.  And as the Ways & Means Committee reported yesterday, it’s the worst job recovery in our history.  Clearly we can do better.

“That’s why House Republicans have passed nearly 40 jobs bills that are currently being blocked by Senate Democrats.  We’ve seen enough of Senate gridlock.  The president should join us in pushing the Senate for more action.  And I frankly think middle-class families deserve it.”

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Boehner Applauds Passage of Job Training Reforms

2014/07/09

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement today applauding House passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (H.R. 803):

“Americans struggling to find work face many challenges, and House Republicans are focused on helping them succeed by strengthening our economy and growing good-paying jobs. More than a year ago, the House passed legislation that would improve and streamline job training programs so that those who are out of work can get the skills they need to earn a steady paycheck and get back on their feet. I applaud the House for moving this bipartisan agreement forward today.  While I’m pleased that Senate Democrats finally acted on this measure – which eliminates 15 duplicative programs and empowers states to innovate – I hope they will turn their attention to the dozens of other House-passed jobs bills that could make a real difference for middle-class families.”

NOTE: Click here for additional information on this important jobs bill from the House Education & the Workforce Committee.

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Honoring Raoul Wallenberg

2014/07/09

WASHINGTON, DC – Leaders of the U.S. House and Senate today presented a Congressional Gold Medal in honor of Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat who saved the lives of nearly 100,000 Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust.   House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) made the following remarks opening the ceremony, as prepared for delivery:

“Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon and welcome to the United States Capitol.  We are honored to be joined today by members of the diplomatic corps, former ambassadors, representatives from the State Department and the U.S. Mint, and leaders of the Jewish community.

“Shortly before Christmas, 1944, Raoul Wallenberg did something many of us have had to do.   He told his mother he wouldn’t make it home for the holidays. 

“‘I must send you my best wishes for Christmas by this means,’ he wrote.  ‘I hope the peace so longed for is not so far away.’  At the bottom of the note, he added, ‘lots of kisses to Nina and her little girl.’

“That ‘Nina,’ of course, was Raoul’s sister, who is with us today, as are several members of his family.  Thank you all for being here.

By the time he sent that letter, Wallenberg had saved more lives than we can count.   He had done much of the work on his own, his daring so dumbfounding that the Nazis aimed their guns above his head. 

“They were perpetrating what Churchill called the “most horrible crime ever committed,” but before this man, they cowered.

“You could say he was like a comet across the dark sky, seen once in a lifetime.  Yet we know he burns on, which is why we are here today.

“In America’s history, only seven individuals have been made honorary citizens.  The first was Churchill.  The second was Wallenberg.  To this honor, we add the Congressional Gold Medal, a tradition that began with George Washington himself.

“This medal is a tribute to a citizen of the world – but it is more than that.  It is a commitment to honor his family and his memory … to tell his story … and to always seek the truth.

“This is not too much to do.  In fact, it is the least we can do.

“For his deeds may be beyond our capacity, but his lessons are not:

“The answer to fear is always courage.

“None of God’s children – not one – is alone.

“And, of course, honor your mother. 

“Thank you all for being here.  I hope you enjoy today’s program.”

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PHOTO: From One Speaker to Another

2014/07/09

Speaker Boehner welcomed a fellow Speaker to the U.S. Capitol today.  Per Westerberg, Speaker of the Parliament of Sweden, attended the Gold Medal Ceremony honoring Raoul Wallenberg prior to meeting with his U.S. counterpart.  

The last time they visited together was in April of 2012, when Speaker Westerberg joined in the National Commemoration of the Days of Remembrance.

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The Facts Are Loose

2014/07/09

It’s no secret that the president is having credibility problems these days – but take a look at this.

Today in Denver, he claimed that Republicans have “blocked or voted down every serious idea to strengthen the middle class.”

Wrong, especially coming on the very day that the Republican-led House is set to pass job training reform, a bill his party supports.  Perhaps he was talking about the Senate, where Democrats have let dozens of jobs bills pile up without action. 

The president also claimed, “we have come farther and recovered faster than almost any other advanced nation on Earth.”

Wrong again.  In fact, this is the worst ‘recovery’ for jobs ever.  It’s also the worst ‘recovery’ ever for the long-term unemployed.   And it’s the worst ‘recovery’ ever for dropouts from the workforce.  We can do better. 

Finally, the president said, “I will work with them” and “Work with me.  That’s the American way.”

Maybe so, but it’s not the president’s way.  There’s no shortage of areas where we’ve offered to work with him, only to be ignored.  He said he agreed on the need to expand markets through trade promotion authority, but he hasn’t done anything to move the ball forward.   Same goes for natural gas and making it easier for workers to take time off.  Now, surely he considers these ideas ‘serious’ since he supports them.

The trouble is, while Republicans have a long-term jobs plan, the president doesn’t seem to have much of a plan at all – and no amount of demagoguery can hide that.

It’s great that ‘the bear is loose’ and all – but do the facts have to be loose too?

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All Obstruction, All the Time in Democrats’ Senate

2014/07/09

President Barack Obama may be fond of distracting from his own failures by complaining about Congress, but his allies in the Senate can’t be very happy with the added scrutiny.

Democrats control the Senate, and their leaders have brought “the world's greatest deliberative body” to a near standstill. Thanks to Democrats’ obstruction, true consideration of legislation is now a thing of the past, and they’re making history for all the wrong reasons.

While Senate Democratic leaders have cracked down on anything that even remotely resembles real progress, the House has done just the opposite under Speaker Boehner’s leadership – resulting in dozens of bipartisan jobs bills collecting dust on Senator Reid’s desk.

Now, the do-nothing Senate is drawing criticism:

  • “Senate Democrats proposed 676 amendments in the last year but were allowed votes on all of seven. Republicans proposed 812 and got votes on 11. Texas Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee has been allowed twice as many amendment votes (15) in the Republican House in the last year than Mr. Reid has allowed his entire Senate caucus.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  •  “While the House continues to churn through its share of annual spending bills for the federal government, the Senate is mired in a procedural standoff[.] … Rather than using the 10-day recess for the Independence Day holiday to reach a deal with McConnell, Reid on Monday escalated the fight…” (The Washington Post)
  • “The atmosphere in the Senate has soured due to Senator Reid’s stranglehold on the legislative process. It has been made worse by his failure to keep his repeated — and very specific — promise to follow the Senate’s rules.” (National Review)
  • Reid has clamped down on the traditional right of freewheeling debate and amendment.” (Associated Press)
  • [Senate Democrats’] leaders are going to remarkable lengths to protect endangered Democrats from casting tough votes and to deny Republicans legislative victories in the midst of the campaign. … The Senate's masters of process are finding a variety of ways to shut down debate.” (Associated Press)
  • “[T]he majority leader is now facing growing pressure from fellow Democrats agitating over the lack of votes on amendments, a central aspect of legislating in the Senate. … Since joining the Senate in January 2013, the 12 freshmen Democrats have not had a single vote on the floor on any amendment bearing any of their names as the lead sponsor. … ‘I got more substance on the floor of the House in the minority than I have as a member of the Senate majority,’ said [Chris] Murphy [(D-CT).]” (Politico)
  • “U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. … took the bill off the agenda of the Senate Judiciary Committee he chairs just as the measure appeared to be nearing a vote. … Leahy said he was essentially forced to drop the bill by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.” (Burlington Free Press) (More on this here.)
  • “‘I’ve never been in a less productive time in my life than I am right now, in the United States Senate,’ Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who has not received roll-call vote on an amendment since June of last year, told Time magazine last week.” (The Hill)

If Senate Democratic leaders are shirking their real responsibilities so much, just how are they spending their time, exactly?  Oh, that’s right:

  • “In a year during which little of consequence is being done in the Senate, hardly a week goes by in which Reid doesn’t take to the floor to attack the Kochs’ influence in politics. Since late January, Reid has mentioned the Kochs in 22 separate floor speeches, calling them out about 250 times...” (Politico)

While Republicans have made the American people’s priorities our priorities, Senate Democrats are obsessed and focused solely on what Politico describes as “a highly unusual election-year campaign against a couple of relatively unknown private citizens.” The contrast couldn’t be any more stark.

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Boehner Praises Foxx & Kline on Job Training, Looks for More Progress on Jobs

2014/07/09

WASHINGTON, DC – At a press conference with Republican leaders today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) discussed the bipartisan, bicameral job training legislation the House will take up today as part of its unwavering focus on advancing solutions to help the economy grow and help more Americans find jobs.  Following are Boehner’s remarks:

“Let me congratulate Virginia Foxx for her great work, and Chairman Kline and members of the Education & Workforce Committee on a job well done. 

“You know, I’ve said many times that America’s priorities are our priorities.  And the American people are still asking the question, ‘where are the jobs?’  This is an example of steps that can be taken to help Americans get back to work. 

“And it’s also an example where we’ve got bipartisan effort in the House, with a bipartisan effort in the Senate, coming together to address the needs of the American people.  This is the way the process is supposed to work.  We’ve got 50 other jobs bills sitting over in the United States Senate, maybe they’ll begin to work on another one.”

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Democratic Senator “Furious” that Sen. Reid Blocked Bipartisan Jobs Bill

2014/07/08

(photo credit: Evan Vucci/AP)

Patent reform would help innovators and entrepreneurs create more American jobs.  That’s why the House passed a patent reform bill with a huge bipartisan majority (325-91) in December of last year, and President Obama expressed his support for it in his State of the Union a month later.  Senate Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy (D-VT) was set to move forward with it this summer, but now that’s not going to happen, and he’s “furious” – because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) ‘strong-armed’ him into dropping it.

On December 5, 2013, the House patent reform bill, sponsored by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), passed with 130 Democratic votes, and joined the growing list of House-passed jobs bills awaiting action in the Senate.  Speaker Boehner said, “This bipartisan reform will help businesses large and small beat back abusive litigation, promoting more investment, innovation, and private-sector growth.”

The next month, in the State of the Union on January 28th, President Obama said, “let’s pass a patent reform bill that allows our businesses to stay focused on innovation, not costly, needless litigation.”

Since a bill had already passed the House, it was up to the Democrat-controlled Senate to act, as the White House made clear at an event on strengthening the patent system on February 20:

Then-Director of the National Economic Council Gene Sperling:

“Now, as I said, this was an area where the president chose to call for legislative action in the State of the Union. This is an area where we have seen some very constructive bipartisan action. When the president put forward his legislative principles, we received positive public comments not just from Chairman Leahy in the Senate, but Chairman Goodlatte in the House of Representatives.

“Likewise, as the bill was going through the House of Representatives, while of course we did not agree with everything in there, we worked in good faith and let it be known that we supported this effort to move forward and -- and that the effort that Chairman Goodlatte and others did to pass a bill that was able to pass by the impressive margin of 325 to 91.

“I think that there’s no reason that there shouldn’t be that same ability to work together in the United States Senate. I think this is an area where you can see a sweet spot for bipartisan compromise.”

And Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker:

“So all of us in the administration will continue to work with Congress on the legislative recommendations that the White House made last June. And as Gene said, we need Congress to step up at once and -- as they did with the America Invents Act. The House has already passed a version of patent reform legislation with bipartisan support. So we need the Senate to act as well.

That was nearly six months ago.  Now, Sen. Leahy has officially thrown in the towel on bringing this jobs bill up for a vote in his committee – he took it off the committee agenda shortly before a vote was expected - at Senate Reid’s insistence, he now admits.

Why?  According to National Journal, it “would likely have split the Democratic caucus, especially because many rely on trial lawyers for substantial campaign donations.”

Yesterday, Sen. Leahy explained how he feels about Sen. Reid’s decision in his hometown newspaper, The Burlington Free Press:

“‘I am furious with what happened,’ Leahy said. ‘We worked so hard to get a coalition. Harry Reid and a couple of others said, ‘We won’t let it come to the floor.’ I think that’s wrong, but I’m not going to give up.’”

The American people, who are still asking, “where are the jobs?” have a right to be furious, as well. 

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A Win For Workers & Taxpayers

2014/07/08

(Courtesy of the House Education & the Workforce Committee)

This week, the House will consider the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), legislation to help put Americans back to work by reforming the nation’s outdated workforce development system. Overwhelmingly approved by the Senate in June, this bipartisan, bicameral legislation embodies the principles for job training reform Republicans have long championed.

Streamlines a confusing maze of programs:

  • WIOA eliminates more than a dozen failing programs, marking the first time in over a decade Congress has sought to repeal ineffective programs.
  • The bill prevents the creation of costly new programs, including roughly half a dozen proposed by the Obama administration.
  • The bipartisan, bicameral legislation rolls back federal mandates governing the makeup of workforce investment boards, helping these important decision-making bodies represent the priorities of local communities.

Promotes skills training for in-demand jobs:

  • WIOA repeals outdated federal regulations to provide direct access to training assistance.
  • The bill will help direct more resources to training services by requiring partners at career centers to contribute to the centers' infrastructure costs.
  • The bipartisan, bicameral agreement streamlines bureaucratic eligibility requirements that have forced community colleges and other important training providers out of the system. 

Reduces administrative costs and unnecessary bureaucracy:

  • WIOA empowers states to develop a single, unified plan to coordinate the delivery of services and eliminate duplicative reporting requirements.
  • The bill requires the Secretary of Labor to navigate the approval process for a state’s unified plan through other federal agencies, removing a significant administrative burden from state leaders.
  • The bipartisan, bicameral agreement provides local leaders enhanced flexibility over the use of federal funds to help ensure the needs of local communities are being served.

Delivers strong accountability over the use of taxpayer dollars:

  • WIOA requires state and local leaders to adhere to common performance measures for services provided to adults and youth, helping to measure program effectiveness and reduce a host of reporting requirements.
  • The bill directs the Secretary of Labor to reduce funding to states not meeting their performance goals, ensuring taxpayer dollars are being spent only on effective programs.
  • The bipartisan, bicameral agreement requires an independent evaluation of all workforce development programs and activities at least once every four years.

House Republicans remain committed to spending taxpayer money in a responsible way and helping Americans get back to work. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act provides workers and taxpayers the job training solutions they deserve.

To learn about the bipartisan, bicameral job training agreement, click here.

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4.6 Million Reasons to Pass Job Training Reform

2014/07/08

Today, the government reported that there were 4.6 million job openings at the end of May.  That sounds promising, but the problem is, hiring continues to lag.  Over the last year, in fact, while openings have risen by 16 percent, hiring has gone up by just 6 percent.  It’s another bad trend for the Obama Economy.

“Some economists,” USA TODAY reports, “have attributed the disparity to a mismatch between the skills of unemployed Americans and those required by employers.”

This is particularly an issue with in-demand jobs in math, science, and engineering.  “Employers, especially in engineering, tell me they’re constantly looking,” one local job training expert recently told the Kansas City Star.  Another recruiter said, “It’s never been easy to find qualified people… Those jobs have a tendency to take up to 12 weeks to fill, if not a year.” 

That’s why Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) proposed – and the House passed – the SKILLS Act, to close this gap and help workers get into good-paying jobs sooner.  

But we didn’t take the typical Washington route and just throw money at the problem.   As CNN notes, “Republicans wanted to streamline and provide accountability for the often duplicative programs,” and the final agreement, set for a vote tomorrow, “will eliminate 15 programs and make significant modifications to the programs remaining so they will be more effective.”

This is what our focus on jobs is all about: getting government out of the way so our workers can succeed and our economy can grow. 

To learn more, just go to speaker.gov/jobs

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Two More Jobs Bills to Help Middle-Class Families

2014/07/08

Things are bad for middle-class families under this administration and, as recent headlines warn:  

  • Fourth of July gas prices highest since 2008” (USA Today)
  • 2015 health care costs projected to grow 6.8%” (Boston Globe)
  • Rising food prices expected to continue” (WKRC)
  • U.S. Economy Shrinks by Most in Five Years” (WSJ)

What is the president doing to stop the bleeding?  Unless you count squeezing in more speeches on fundraising swings through Colorado and Texas this week, not much of anything.

House Republicans, on the other hand, are continuing to make the American people’s priorities – jobs and the economy – our priorities by advancing two more bills this week that would encourage businesses to invest and create jobs, and make it easier to connect Americans with the skills they need to get back in the workforce.  Here’s a closer look:

  • The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (H.R. 803) is a bipartisan, bicameral agreement that will “eliminate fifteen duplicative programs, help the remaining programs better align worker education with available jobs and improve our ability to gauge how well the system is working as a whole,” Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), chair of the House Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training, explains.  It is based on the same approach Republicans championed in the House-passed SKILLS Act
  • H.R. 4718 makes permanent a tax provision allowing companies to deduct half the cost of new business investments, creating an incentive for them to grow and create new jobs.  According to the Tax Foundation, the bill would add $182 billion to the economy and help create 212,000 new jobs.  It has the support of at least 70 associations, including several manufacturing groups.  This is the fourth permanent tax extension bill considered by the House (see: here and here) that would create more certainty for businesses, allowing them to plan, grow, and put more Americans back to work. 

House Republicans have been consistently focused on jobs, passing bill after bill to boost economic growth and help small businesses.  But there’s only so much we can do when Senate Democrats refuse to act on the vast majority of these bills and the president won’t move on from the failed policies that have driven down economic growth and made it harder for the private-sector to create jobs.   As Speaker Boehner has said, “every day, we’re showing the American people that we’ve got better solutions…so long as the American people continue to ask the question, ‘where are the jobs?,’ we’re going to continue to be focused on this one issue.”

Check out speaker.gov/jobs for a complete list of House-passed jobs bills being blocked in the Democratic-led Senate.

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Job Training Vote Set – Why That’s Good News

2014/07/07

A final vote on job training reform is set for this week, and that’s good news.  Here are a few reasons why:

#1: Making it easier for the unemployed to find good-paying jobs.

Finding a job is tough in this economy, but it’s even tougher when the nation’s job-training system hasn’t been updated since before the dot com bubble burst.  This bill will clear out the cobwebs and make it easier for people to find the right skills for in-demand jobs.  It isn’t an open-ended spending spree; it’s just getting government out of the way so our workers can succeed and our economy can grow.   If you have a minute to spare, this video helps explain it all. 

#2:  Showing the value of our focus on jobs

A report on Saturday stated that the president has “largely abandoned” his big economic theme, a little more than halfway through what was going to be a “year of sustained assault … over a populist economic agenda.”  We warned that this would happen, and it has.

The thing is, you can’t have progress on jobs without a real focus on jobs, and job training reform is a perfect example of our approach.  We passed the SKILLS Act in March of last year, but instead of relegating it to a talking point, we touted these solutions anywhere and everywhere.  When the president called for a job training study, we pointed out we had already done the study, and invited him to work with us on this bill.  When Senate Democrats came to the table, we worked out a bipartisan agreement driven by the principles in the SKILLS Act.

This is what our focus on jobs looks like.  It isn’t throwing slogans at the wall, hoping for the best, and pivoting when things don’t work out.  It’s listening to the people and making their priorities our priorities

#3: Proving what we can accomplish when we focus on common ground.

The president’s speech on the economy last week included little to no mention of common ground or openness to new ideas.  That’s unfortunate.  “In order for us to make real progress,” Speaker Boehner said last week, “the president must do more than criticize.  From trade to workplace flexibility, there’s no shortage of common ground where he can push his party’s leaders in the Senate to work with us.” 

To learn more, visit speaker.gov/jobs

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President Obama & Senate Democrats Play Hooky

2014/07/07

Today, President Obama lamented “the fact that typically the least experienced teachers…often end up in the poorest schools. So we have a problem in which the kids who need the most skilled teachers are the least likely to get them.”

He is right on one thing. Too many disadvantaged kids are stuck in a poor education system simply because they don’t have any choice.

This is one reason why House Republicans have so strongly supported expanding education opportunities for everyone. Kids shouldn’t be trapped in underperforming schools, and parents should be able to choose where they send their children to learn, no matter what their zip code is.

That’s why Speaker Boehner fought so hard to keep the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) alive when the Obama administration tried to kill it at every turn. It’s why House Republicans passed the Student Success Act a year ago, and the Success and Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Act (H.R. 10) in May of this year.

But here’s the problem:

House Republicans have done their job, but these bills are stilling waiting on Senate Democrats and President Obama to act. So far, they’ve done nothing.

And that’s not all. President Obama and Senate Democrats are playing hooky on dozens of other bills passed by the House – bills that would improve education, strengthen our economy, and grow good-paying jobs.

You can track their report card at speaker.gov/jobs.

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"Why We Must Now Sue The President"

2014/07/07

Boehner: Why we must now sue the President

CNN.com July 6, 2014

(CNN) -- Every member of Congress swore an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. So did President Barack Obama.

But too often over the past five years, the President has circumvented the American people and their elected representatives through executive action, changing and creating his own laws, and excusing himself from enforcing statutes he is sworn to uphold -- at times even boasting about his willingness to do it, as if daring the American people to stop him.

That's why, later this month, we will bring legislation to the House floor that would authorize the House of Representatives to file suit in an effort to compel President Obama to follow his oath of office and faithfully execute the laws of our country.

The President's response: "So sue me."

What's disappointing is the President's flippant dismissal of the Constitution we are both sworn to defend. It is utterly beneath the dignity of the office. I know the President is frustrated. I'm frustrated. The American people are frustrated, too.

After years of slow economic growth and high unemployment under President Obama, they are still asking, 'where are the jobs?' The House has passed more than 40 jobs bills that would help. But Washington Democrats, led by the President, just ignore them.

Even worse, the President's habit of ignoring the law as written hurts our economy and jobs even more. Washington taxes and regulations always make it harder for private sector employers to meet payrolls, invest in new initiatives and create jobs -- but how can those employers plan, invest and grow when the laws are changing on the President's whim at any moment?

I don't take the House legal action against the President lightly. We've passed legislation to address this problem (twice), but Senate Democrats, characteristically, have ignored it.

In the end, the Constitution makes it clear that the President's job is to faithfully execute the laws. And, in my view, the President has not faithfully executed the laws when it comes to a range of issues, including his health care law, energy regulations, foreign policy and education.

There must be accountability. We have a system of government outlined in our Constitution with the executive branch, the legislative branch, and the judicial branch. Congress has its job to do, and so does the President. When there are conflicts like this -- between the legislative branch and the executive branch -- it is my view that it is our responsibility to stand up for this institution in which we serve, and for the Constitution.

If you look back over American history, there has always been a tension between the inherent powers of the executive branch versus the inherent powers of the legislative branch. This issue is as old as Marbury vs. Madison and as fresh as the unanimous Supreme Court ruling last week that the President overstepped his authority on recess appointments.

Over the last five years, starting -- not coincidentally -- when his political party lost the majority in the House of Representatives, the President has consistently overstepped his authority under the Constitution, and in so doing eroded the power of the legislative branch.

The legislative branch has an obligation to defend the rights and responsibilities of the American people, and America's constitutional balance of powers -- before it is too late.

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Weekly Republican Address: Independence Day & Making The Most of Our Blessings

2014/07/03

WASHINGTON, DC – Delivering the Weekly Republican Address, Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR) reflects on the Declaration of Independence, and our ongoing mission to ensure Americans have a voice in their government and their economy. 

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

Remarks of Representative Steve Womack of ArkansasWeekly Republican AddressBentonville, ARJuly 4, 2014

There’s nothing like the Fourth of July, a day to bask in America’s glory and to dream of better days ahead. 

You know, that’s part of the genius of the Declaration of Independence. 

It isn’t just about what America was – it’s a vision of what she could be, of what we should always strive for.

A land where the people rule. 

And where the common man or woman can advance themselves, their families, and the common good.

America’s greatness has always been rooted in our creative minds and entrepreneurial spirit, our ability to make things ... to make the most of our resources, to control our economic destiny.

That’s why you see Republicans working so hard to capitalize on America’s energy renaissance. 

Consider the possibilities.

It starts by building the Keystone pipeline: put thousands of Americans to work, show we’re serious about our energy future.

We set into motion more plants, pipelines and transmission lines, bringing low-cost energy to consumers across the land. 

We back projects onshore and offshore, creating more jobs and eliminating our dependence on unstable parts of the world.

We establish predictable regulations, the kind of certainty that allows businessess to plan ahead, invest here, and bring jobs back to our Main Streets and town squares.

We build a truly stable electric grid, protecting us from everything from blackouts to security threats. 

And we boost exports, so we can supply our allies with affordable and reliable energy, and fuel our economy at the same time.

The opportunities seem endless, don’t they?

But the usual politics, red tape, and government fixes that never seem to pan out stand in our way.

For years, Washington has denied the American people the chance to seize their economic destiny.  

Well, Republicans are fighting every day to make these opportunities possible again. 

We pledge this to you, the people we serve.

Together, let’s renew the Spirit of 1776 – the spirit that gave birth to a nation with so many blessings – and never rest until the work is done.

For now, my family and I give thanks for our forefathers who made all this possible.

We extend our prayers to the men and women sacrificing to keep us safe. 

And we wish you and yours a healthy and happy Independence Day. 

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Signers of the Declaration of Independence

2014/07/03

In celebrating the 150th anniversary of National Statuary Hall, it is fitting to look at the collection we have here.  Tomorrow, we celebrate the Fourth of July and the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  In the Capitol Art Collection, we have seven statues of those who had a hand in developing this important document in our nation’s history.

Often referred to as the “Father of the American Revolution,” Samuel Adams was one of our Founding Fathers and served in government for nearly thirty years.  The statue of Adams was given by the state of Massachusetts in 1876 and can be found in the Crypt of the United States Capitol.

Charles Carroll of Carrollton was appointed as a delegate to the Continental Congress and later served in the Maryland State Assembly.  He was the last survivor of all 56 signers and the only Roman Catholic.  His statue, also in the Crypt, was gifted in 1903.

The first full-length portrait statue placed in the U.S. Capitol was privately commissioned and gifted to the American people in 1834.  Thomas Jefferson, one of our founders, an author of the Declaration, a governor, a Secretary of State, vice-President and two-term President of the United States, was an exemplary statesmen and his statue rightfully holds court in the United States Rotunda.

A fellow drafter of the Declaration, Robert R. Livingston did not sign the document but was a strong advocate for independence and for the Federal Constitution.  His statue, located in the Crypt, was gifted by New York in 1875, where he served as their first chancellor for more than 25 years.

Thanks to Caesar Rodney and his late night ride to Philadelphia, the state of Delaware had enough votes to join 11 other states to vote in favor of independence and thus move forward on the signing of the Declaration. His statue, given by Delaware in 1934, is also located in the Crypt.

Roger Sherman was the only member of the Continental Congress who signed all four of the great state papers: the Association of 1774, the Declaration, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution.  His statue was added to the Crypt in 1872 by his home-state of Connecticut.

The only signer to be jailed for his public support of independence, Richard Stockton was an honored judge and faithful public servant to the people of New Jersey.  They gifted his statue to the Crypt of the Capitol in 1888.

(All photos are courtesy of the Architect of the Capitol.)

 

 

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Rep. Steve Womack to Deliver the Weekly Republican Address

2014/07/03

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has selected Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR) to deliver the Weekly Republican Address in honor of Independence Day. 

“We Americans are blessed with a great land, economic opportunity, a matchless Constitution, and unrivaled success – July 4th is a chance to celebrate that,” Rep. Womack said. “Independence Day is also a time to reflect on the liberty and freedom of the promise of America, and as we do so, it’s an honor to deliver the weekly Republican address and share with you our promise to our nation.”

Now in his second term, Rep. Womack will deliver the address from Bentonville Square in the heart of downtown Bentonville, Arkansas's historic business district.  Womack previously served as mayor of Rogers, Arkansas, for 12 years, and retired from the Arkansas Army National Guard in 2009 with more than thirty years of service.  His decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, the Global War on Terror Expeditionary and Service Medals, and the Arkansas Distinguished Service Medals.   Learn more by visiting http://womack.house.gov.

The Weekly Republican Address will be available starting tomorrow, Friday, July 4, 2014, at 6:00 am ET on Speaker.gov and GOP.gov

 

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President Blocks American Energy While Gas Prices Climb to Six-Year High

2014/07/03

“Fill ‘er up this weekend and watch your wallet shrink,” NBC News warns, with Americans facing “the highest Fourth of July gasoline prices in six years.”  Rising gas prices are putting even more of a squeeze on family budgets - already stretched thin by a weak economy, stagnant wages, and higher costs on nearly everything else - and hurting small businesses

  • While energy production has skyrocketed on land outside of the president’s control, his administration has repeatedly blocked energy production on federal land – all but ensuring middle-class families, small businesses, and U.S. manufacturers continue struggling for years to come.  As Americans watch the prices at the pump tick up this weekend, here’s a handful of facts to keep in mind about the president’s failed policies, and the impact they’re having on energy costs, jobs, and the economy:
  • According to the Institute for Energy Research, “oil production is up 61 percent on private and state lands, but down 6 percent on federal lands,” and natural gas production is up 33 percent on non-federal lands, but down 28 percent on federal lands.
  • Gas prices have nearly doubled on the president’s watch – increasing from $1.85 when the president took office to $3.68 this week. (U.S. Energy Information Administration)
  • The American Action Forum (AAF) notes that, by the Obama administration’s own estimates, the president’s proposed national energy tax could lead to an average electricity price hike “between 5.9 and 6.5 percent in 2020.”  Taken together with new rules that have already been finalized, “consumers could bear a 10.3 percent increase in electricity bills by 2020,” says AAF. 
  • The administration also acknowledges that the president’s national energy tax will slash coal-fired electricity by 30-32 percent, National Journal reports. 

In addition to higher costs and less energy, analysis by the United Mine Workers of America “indicates that there will be a loss of 75,000 direct coal generation jobs in the United States by 2020” thanks to the president’s national energy tax.  “By 2035, those job losses will more than double to 152,000. That amounts to about a 50 percent cut in these well-paying, highly skilled jobs.”

The House has acted where the president hasn’t, sending bill after bill to the Democratic-led Senate that would help address rising energy costs, create jobs, and boost the economy, including three more just last week.  The president likes to talk a good game about how he backs Republicans’ all-of-the-above energy strategy, but he’s done nothing but stand in the way.  He owes hardworking families more than that, and he can start by calling on his party’s leaders in the Senate to take up and pass these bills so he can sign them immediately.

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Jobs & the June 2014 Unemployment Report

2014/07/03

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement regarding the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ unemployment report for June 2014:

“The House has passed dozens of jobs bills that would mean more paychecks and more opportunities for middle-class families.  But in order for us to make real progress, the president must do more than criticize.  From trade to workplace flexibility, there’s no shortage of common ground where he can push his party’s leaders in the Senate to work with us.  Until he provides that leadership, he is simply part of the problem.  For our part, we will continue to listen to and address the concerns of Americans who are still asking ‘where are the jobs?’”

 

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President Obama Still Has No Plan for Creating Jobs

2014/07/02

With his administration’s failures mounting by the day, is it any wonder the president is turning up the sarcasm? Unfortunately for Americans who are out of work or struggling to make ends meet, his shtick is not just stale – it’s downright unproductive.

Those who saw President Obama speak at a bridge yesterday didn’t hear any solutions to America’s jobs gap. Instead, all they got was a stand-up routine. Higher taxes may be the go-to idea in this administration, but for workers who are left with less money in their wallets at the end of the month, it’s not a joke.

So when the president says “House Republicans have refused to act on this idea,” it’s just another way of acknowledging that House Republicans have made the American people’s priorities our priorities.

It’s clear President Obama is hopelessly out of touch – claiming House Republicans are “not doing anything” just doesn’t fit reality. Surely by now he’s heard about our jobs bills “on the news”? After all, dozens of them are sitting in the Senate, being blocked by Democrats like Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).

Seriously, don’t take our word for it. Track them all – more than 40 of them – at speaker.gov/jobs.

Instead of talking about all the common-sense jobs bills he’s threatened to veto, President Obama claims that “Republicans in Congress have blocked or voted down every serious idea to strengthen the middle class.” But of the three campaign issues he mentioned yesterday, none will create new jobs:

  • Increasing the minimum wage will actually kill jobs. That’s just a fact, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and President Obama’s Federal Reserve chair, Janet Yellen.
  • More unemployment checks won’t create less unemployment. In fact, the evidence suggests they create more.
  • Fair pay can’t help women who can’t find a job, but it is something everyone in both parties supports – even if President Obama’s White House has a significant male-female pay gap of its own.

As one Minnesota reporter put it after the president gave a similar spiel there, “We didn’t hear anything new at all in this speech.” If President Obama is out of ideas, here’s a good place to start.

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Statuary Hall Turns 150

2014/07/02

On this day 150 years ago, the old House chamber took on a new purpose and a new name: National Statuary Hall.  It all started with H. J. Res 66, which invited the states to “provide and furnish statues … of deceased persons who have been citizens thereof, and illustrious for their historic renown or for distinguished civic or military services.”  The bill was proposed by Rep. Justin Morrill of Vermont and signed by President Lincoln, a former House member himself.

Over the years, this great hall has welcomed many fine statues.  So many, in fact, that the collection outgrew the space and has expanded to the Rotunda, the House and Senate wings, and the Capitol Visitor Center.  Each statue tells a story about the greatness of America and our citizens.  Here’s Speaker Boehner’s comment on today’s big anniversary:

“On this day in 1864, we were given a gift of an artistic venue to gather and remind us of the greatness that we as a country have to offer.  Our rich history fills these halls, and these statues tell the story.  I’m honored to walk among the pride and joy of the states, and I encourage all Americans to visit National Statuary Hall.”

Since taking office, Speaker Boehner has welcomed several new statues to the collection. 

  •          In May 2011, the statue of President Gerald Ford was unveiled and now proudly stands in the Rotunda, a hall the former congressman and 38th president walked through many times. 
  •          In 2013, Speaker Boehner accepted three more additions: Rosa Parks in February, Frederick Douglass in June, and a bust of Sir Winston Churchill in October.  At that ceremony, Boehner called Churchill “the best friend America ever had,” and announced his bust would go in a space renamed Freedom Foyer.  Churchill will be joined later this year by another great freedom fighter, Vaclav Havel, the first president of the Czech Republic.
  •          This March, we unveiled a statue of Norman Borlaug and welcomed this humanitarian, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and pride of Iowa to the National Statuary Hall Collection. 

As Speaker Boehner has said, it is an honor to welcome these accomplished citizens to our Capitol Art Collection, and it is a privilege to walk in these halls.  We remember our history with pride and gratitude, and we are fortunate that President Lincoln signed the resolution to create this collection 150 years ago today.

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Teamwork: June in Photos

2014/07/02

Playing football for legendary coach Gerry Faust, Speaker Boehner learned one crucial element of what it takes to get things done: teamwork.  The month of June was full of team efforts: Republicans passing jobs bills, Canada and the United States teaming up on energy, awarding Congressional Gold Medals to deserving recipients with members from the House and Senate, and much more.  Check out the photos below to see how the Speaker and others came together to make June a solid month.

1. Teaming Up for Jobs

Speaker Boehner accepts a formal invitation from the Speaker of the Canadian House of Commons to visit Canada to discuss the need for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to support job creation and energy independence for both countries.

2. Teaming Up for Charity

Speaker Boehner roots on the female members of Congress at the Congressional Women’s Softball Game which raises awareness for young women diagnosed with breast cancer. The next week Speaker Boehner went to cheer on the Republican team at the Congressional Baseball Game.

3. Teaming Up with Israel

Speaker Boehner presents Israeli President Shimon Peres with the Congressional Gold Medal.  It was the first time Congress presented the Gold Medal to an Israeli head of state.

4. Teaming Up for Civil Rights

Speaker Boehner, with other leaders of the U.S. House & Senate, commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and presents a Congressional Gold Medal in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King.

5. Teaming Up for VA Accountability

Speaker Boehner names eight House Republicans to serve on the conference committee charged with reaching agreement on VA accountability and emergency care measures.

6. A New Leadership Team

Speaker Boehner talks to the press after members of the House Republican Conference elected Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to serve as Majority Leader and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) (left) to serve as Majority Whip.

7. Team USA

Speaker Boehner finds a rare free moment to catch a bit of the USA vs. Portugal World Cup match with members of his staff.

Check out the Speaker’s Flickr page for more photos from June including: NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson, Capitol Hill interns, Speaker Boehner catching some of the World Cup action, and more!

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Celebrating a 1 Year Anniversary

2014/07/01

One year ago today, the official Flipboard magazine for the Speaker’s Office launched, and with it, a brand new way to connect with Speaker Boehner and the inner workings of the U.S. House.  The magazine, which is named “H-232” after the Speaker’s office number in the U.S. Capitol, is updated regularly each week, so if you're constantly on the go and, like the Speaker himself, only have a few spare minutes each day to catch up on the news on your smart phone or tablet, then H-232 is perfect for you. 

View my Flipboard Magazine.

H-232 by the Numbers

  • 366 Days old
  • 514 Articles
  • 43,603 Readers
  • 599,778 Page flips

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Here is a look back at eight of the top H-232 Flipboard moments from the last year. 

1. Take Me Out To the Ballgame – 1 year ago

Hanging out with Harrison, son of now Whip-Elect Steve Scalise, at the 2013 Congressional Baseball Game for Charity.

2. ObamaCare Poster Collection - 10 months ago

3. Truth-O-Meter  - 8 months ago

It's pretty clear President Obama "really didn't mean" "one of the most famous" promises of his presidency -- that if you like your health care plan, you could keep it under ObamaCare ("period").

4. Are You Kidding Me? - 6 months ago

5. Constitution > Pen & Phone 6 months ago

Mr. President, we use the #Constitution to get things done. pic.twitter.com/TqmzmoehDZ

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) January 15, 2014

6. Spring time = yard work time 3 months ago

7. Seven How I Met Your Mother GIFs That Perfectly Explain the U.S. Budget Process 3 months ago

8. #ThrowBackThursday - 3 weeks ago

Happy 90th to President George H.W. Bush - #tbt to the 1991 White House Congressional Picnic.

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View my Flipboard Magazine.

We're proud to be Flipboard pioneers, but the conversation always begins with you, so click the icon above to follow H-232 on Flipboard and also to be the first to know about a new magazine from Speaker Boehner coming soon…

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IRS Defenders Aren’t Telling The Truth About Targeting Conservatives

2014/07/01

Former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) official Lois Lerner, a central figure in the investigation of why the IRS unfairly discriminated against Americans with conservative political views, has refused to testify to Congress and twice pled the fifth to avoid incriminating herself. Conveniently, thousands of her emails were “lost” in a computer crash, which no doubt could have been avoided if the IRS actually followed its own advice.

  • IRS claim: Lerner’s lawyer, William Taylor III, said Friday that his client’s targeting of people who disagree with the Obama administration was totally legitimate, however, because “groups identifying themselves with the tea party and other, more conservative causes dramatically increased the number of applications for (c)(4) status.” According to Politico, Taylor “said it was simply the job of Lerner and the IRS to ensure such tax-exempt organizations follow the law.”
  • The truth: It’s actually pretty incredible that defenders of the IRS are still using this talking point, considering it was proven false more than a year ago by The Atlantic and The Chronicle of PhilanthropyThe data show applications were declining, not increasing. As for the excuse that Lerner was just doing her job, note: “When POLITICO asked Taylor if Lerner was able to give an example in which she expressed concern over a liberal group or lawmaker, he did not offer one.” Ouch.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, a major political donor to Democrats, was President Obama’s choice to take over the agency in 2013, and was interviewed by CNN on Friday. Wolf Blitzer asked Koskinen about the recent testimony of the National Archives and Records Administration’s David Ferriero, who said the IRS did not follow the law in preserving documents as required by the statute for public and official records.

  • IRS claim: Koskinen’s response: “I should emphasize that all emails are not official records. So if an email is lost, it doesn't mean we've lost an official record.”
  • The truth: According to the IRS’s own Internal Revenue Manual (IRM), “Email messages are official documents” and “The Federal Records Act applies to email records just as it does to records you create using other media.”

These false claims and excuses are unacceptable; the American people deserve the truth. The House has asked Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS, and the Ways and Means Committee continues to pressure the Obama administration to tell the truth.

Find out more about the IRS investigation at GOP.gov/IRS.

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VIDEO: "No Earmarks"

2014/07/01

This morning, Speaker Boehner sent the note below to his email list, releasing a new video that sets out our commitment to prevent Senate Democrats from bringing back earmarks. 

If you didn’t get the e-mail, you’re just two clicks away from signing up for the Speaker’s updates.

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Remember earmarks?  The ‘bridge to nowhere’?  The days when politicians couldn’t spend your money fast enough on pet projects?

Well, we could very well see a return of all that, if Senator Harry Reid and his party’s leaders have their way. 

Yes, this is what it’s come to for Senate Democrats.  They’ve shut the Senate down to good ideas – especially ones that will help create jobs – and now they’re trying to revive a bad one.

We’ve been there, we’ve seen that, and we’re not going back to that nonsense.  As long as I’m Speaker, there will be no earmarks

This new video sends that message loud and clear, and I wanted you to see it first. I hope you’ll take a look and help us spread the word:

This is going to be a tough fight – Sen. Reid says he's  “never backed down" from his support of earmarks – but fundamentally, this is about protecting your hard-earned money.  Few things matter more.

Thanks, 

John Boehner

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Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar, and Eyal Yifrach

2014/06/30

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement after the Israeli government confirmed the deaths of kidnapped Israeli teens Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar, and Eyal Yifrach:

“They were just boys at a bus stop, and now they are gone.  Today we mourn them as sons, and tomorrow – and every day after – we will honor their memory and stand with their countrymen against the perpetrators of this heinous crime.”

 

 

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The President's Immigration Announcement

2014/06/30

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WASHINGTON, DC -- House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement on the president's immigration announcement today:

"In our conversation last week, I told the president what I have been telling him for months: the American people and their elected officials don't trust him to enforce the law as written.  Until that changes, it is going to be difficult to make progress on this issue.  The crisis at our southern border reminds us all of the critical importance of fixing our broken immigration system. It is sad and disappointing that – faced with this challenge – President Obama won't work with us, but is instead intent on going it alone with executive orders that can't and won't fix these problems. 

"The president’s own executive orders have led directly to the humanitarian crisis along the Southern border, giving false hope to children and their families that if they enter the country illegally they will be allowed to stay.  The White House claims it will move to return these children to their families in their home countries, yet additional executive action from this president isn't going to stem the tide of illegal crossings, it’s only going to make them worse.  As the Supreme Court reminded us this week, under our Constitution there are sharp limits to what the president can accomplish if he ignores the American people and their elected representatives."

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Speaker Boehner on the Supreme Court’s HHS Mandate Ruling

2014/06/30

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

WASHINGTON, DC - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement after the Supreme Court announced its ruling on the HHS Mandate, part of the president’s health care law:

“Today’s decision is a victory for religious freedom and another defeat for an administration that has repeatedly crossed constitutional lines in pursuit of its Big Government objectives. The mandate overturned today would have required for-profit companies to choose between violating their constitutionally-protected faith or paying crippling fines, which would have forced them to lay off employees or close their doors.

“The plaintiffs in the HHS Mandate cases before the Court based their claims on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which passed Congress nearly unanimously in 1993.  RFRA is a critical check on federal power and enjoys support across the ideological spectrum.

“The president’s health care law remains an unworkable mess and a drag on our economy.  We must repeal it and enact better solutions that start with lowering Americans' health care costs.”

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This Is Rich: IRS Stresses Saving Electronic Records

2014/06/30

It’s hurricane season, and the IRS is concerned.   So concerned, in fact, that it has put out this press release stressing the importance of – wait for it – saving electronic records:

Beyond the obvious, be sure to note the date –  just days before the IRS belatedly admitted to Congress that it lost e-mails at the heart of our investigation.  (Perhaps these tips would have helped IRS employees safeguard their emails against bureaucratic disasters.  Just a  thought.)

Now, if you’re more of an audiovisual person, the IRS also has this helpful video on the importance of keeping electronic records:

Don’t worry, there’s no Star Trek spoof or anything. (Though “The Wrath of Outlook” has a certain ring to it.)

It would be one thing if, from the start, the IRS had made a good faith effort to cooperate in this  investigation, as the president promised.  Instead, after three months, the IRS had handed over  three percent of the documents requested by congressional investigators.  Three percent.  That is a rate of disclosure the agency itself would never accept from the hardworking taxpayer.  

We would now like to prepare you for future stonewalling with a few simple questions:

  • How can the IRS credibly tell people to save years and years of records when it can’t produce its own?
  • The president said the IRS’s targeting was “outrageous” – but is he still outraged?
  • The White House promised wrongdoers would be “held accountable” – but where’s the accountability?

The House has voted to urge the Attorney General to appoint a special prosecutor in this matter. 

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Speaker Boehner on Nomination of Bob McDonald To Be Next VA Secretary

2014/06/29

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement on the nomination of Bob McDonald to be the next Secretary of Veterans Affairs:

"Bob McDonald is a good man, a veteran, and a strong leader with decades of experience in the private sector.  With those traits, he's the kind of person who is capable of implementing the kind of dramatic systemic change that is badly needed and long overdue at the VA.  But the next VA secretary can only succeed in implementing that type of change if his boss, the president, first commits to doing whatever it takes to give our veterans the world class health care system they deserve by articulating a vision for sweeping reform.  Our nation's veterans deserve nothing less."

 

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Speaker's Report: Three Jobs Bills, Two Ceremonies, and More

2014/06/29

In case you missed anything, here’s a quick roundup of the week that was in the Speaker’s office:

JOBS

1) “One thing I learned running a small business is that you have to play to your strengths.”  Read Speaker Boehner’s case for America’s energy boom.

2) Fed up with the Keystone debacle, and want to make sure future pipelines aren’t subject to so much politics?  We’ve got a jobs bill for that.

3) Boosting natural gas exports to help create jobs at home and bolster American leadership abroad sounds like the best of both worlds, right?  We’ve got a jobs bill for that too.

4) Want to promote more American energy production onshore AND offshore? We’ve got a jobs bill for…you get the idea.

5) Meanwhile, the president held some sort of ‘summit on working families,’ but it was just more talk: here are real solutions that will make a difference.

ACCOUNTABILITY

6) “First this administration makes the wrong decisions, then it won’t give the American people the straight answers.”  Watch Speaker Boehner’s latest comments on the IRS scandal & more.

7) The Speaker has appointed Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) to lead a working group that is looking into the humanitarian crisis on our southern border.

8) As the situation in Iraq worsens, the Speaker says retreating from the world stage is not an option.

9) The VA scandal is worse than you think.

GOOD OF THE ORDER

10) In a Capitol Rotunda ceremony, Speaker Boehner presented the Congressional Gold Medal to Shimon Peres, the last surviving member of Israel’s founding generation.

11) One of Ohio’s native sons figured prominently in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Watch Speaker Boehner’s tribute to William McCulloch.

12) Thanks for reading.  With the holiday coming up, this is as great a time as any to subscribe to our Flipboard magazine for exclusive updates on your mobile device. 

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Pres. Obama Admits Terrorists “Gaining Strength”

2014/06/27

As instability and violence increased in the Middle East, President Obama has consistently told Americans to ignore the troubling headlines. Al Qaeda, he maintained, was “on the run.” At its core, the terrorist group was “on its heels” and “decimated.” Speaking at the U.N. in 2011, the president’s assurance was unequivocal: “So let there be no doubt: the tide of war is receding.” He repeated these phrases often, particularly on the campaign trail.

Meanwhile, his administration’s foreign policy blunders piled up. When Libya became leaderless, America infamously led from behind – then our posts in Benghazi were attacked. The reset button with Russia was an embarrassing failure, underscored when a hot mic caught President Obama’s assurances to Vladimir Putin that he’d have “more flexibility” after the 2012 election. In Syria, the president didn’t bother to enforce the red line he established, and then turned to Russia for a political lifeline. Emboldened, Putin muscled his way into Ukraine. Then President Obama set five elite terrorist commanders free from U.S. custody. From Egypt to Afghanistan, the world takes note of America’s weakness.

Ryan Crocker, who served President Obama and three other presidents in the last 20 years as U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon, Kuwait, Syria, Pakistan, Iraq, and (most recently) Afghanistan, summarized the current situation in Iraq last week (emphasis added):

[The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)] has effectively established a radical Islamic state.

We would be foolish to think that ISIS will not plan attacks against the West now that it has the space and security to do so. This is a more formidable force than Osama bin Laden’s group that brought us 9/11. Its fighters are experienced, completely committed to their cause, well armed and well financed. As many as 2,000 of them hold Western passports, including U.S. ones, so there’s no need for visas. This is global jihad, and it will be coming our way.

Caught off guard, the president was finally forced to admit the truth in an interview with ABC News. Terrorists are “gaining strength in some places,” he said, “but we’ve also gotten a lot better at protecting ourselves.” As if the tireless work of America’s national security personnel excuses his failed foreign policy.

This concession is significant for two reasons. First, it directly contradicts what the president has been telling the country. Second, if terrorists are “gaining strength” and now have “the space and security” to launch attacks on U.S. soil, that’s a step backward for America and our efforts to combat the global threat of terrorism and keep America safe.

Retreating from the world stage…is not an option,” Speaker Boehner said this week. “It only undermines our allies and leads to more chaos that puts Americans at risk.” With two and a half years left in office, let’s hope President Obama changes course and offers a comprehensive strategy for both Iraq and the Middle East that reverses the momentum and spread of terrorism – before even more damage is done.

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Condemning the Kidnapping of Three Israeli Teenagers

2014/06/27

WASHINGTON, DC -- House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement condemning the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers and calling for their safe return to their families:

“The House condemns Hamas and these kidnappings in the strongest terms possible.  The safe return of these children to their families must be the number one priority.  Our hearts and prayers go out to the loved ones dealing with such a heartbreaking situation.  I strongly support the Israeli government’s efforts to locate these teenagers and bring the perpetrators of this horrendous crime to justice.”

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Former Sen. Howard Baker

2014/06/26

WASHINGTON, DC - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today released the following statement in response to the death of former U.S. Senator Howard Baker (R-TN):

“America has a lost a great statesman.  Howard Baker served at the highest levels of the legislative and executive branches, as the longtime Senate Minority and Majority Leader and as President Reagan’s White House chief of staff.  The first Republican elected to the Senate from Tennessee since Reconstruction, his service was marked by a courtly, civil, and respectful style that won him friends and admirers on both sides of the aisle.  His example – his ability to fight for principle, and disagree without being disagreeable – will continue to inspire us as we honor his life and memory.  The whole House mourns his passing.” 

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The Intelligence Authorization Act

2014/06/26

With House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) looking on, Speaker Boehner signs S. 1681, the FY 2014 Intelligence Authorization Act.  This bipartisan legislation ensures that the brave men and women of our intelligence community have the tools they need to detect and disrupt threats to our homeland and our allies.

Why does the Speaker sign legislation before it is sent to the president?  Here’s a backgrounder from our archives

 

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What Excuse Does the President Have...

2014/06/26

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement applauding House passage of H.R. 4899, legislation promoting more onshore and offshore American energy production:

“Expanding American energy production is critical not just to our economy, but also to middle-class families who continue to struggle with high prices on everything from gas to groceries to health care.  It’s bad enough that President Obama would impose a national energy tax that will put thousands of Americans out of work.  What’s worse is that, at the very same time, he is blocking more than a million new jobs by obstructing energy production on federal lands.  While there is an energy boom occurring on state and private lands – where natural gas is up 33 percent and oil is up 61 percent since 2009 – the president’s policies have driven federal oil production down six percent and natural gas down 28 percent. 

“With today’s bill and several before it, Republicans have pressed the administration to use more of our resources to help create jobs, address high costs that are slamming middle-class families, fuel economic growth, and restore our nation of builders.  There are plenty of critical reasons we need more American energy production, including the nearly 10 million Americans still asking, ‘where are the jobs?’  What reason – outside of his political interests – does the president have for standing in the way?” 

NOTE: H.R. 4899 is one of three bills the House passed this week to advance a true all-of-the-above energy agenda focused on creating jobs and increasing economic growth.

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“The Great Prototype of the Israeli Statesman”

2014/06/26

WASHINGTON, DC – Leaders of the U.S. House and Senate today presented a Congressional Gold Medal to President Shimon Peres of Israel.  House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) made the following remarks opening the ceremony, as prepared for delivery:

“Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, ambassadors and members of the diplomatic corps, ladies and gentlemen

“Good morning and welcome to the United States Capitol. 

“Since the days of the American Revolution, every Congress has had one humbling privilege: that of awarding a Gold Medal for extraordinary contributions.  It is the highest honor we can bestow. 

“The first recipient, in 1776, was George Washington, the father of our country.  Today, under his gaze, we will present the Medal to another founding father: the Ninth President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres.

“Like General Washington, Shimon Peres has spent his life serving his country – even before there was a country to serve.  He is the great prototype of the Israeli statesman.

“We only need to glance at the titles he has held to understand this:

•             A record 48 years in the legislature;

•             A Minister in 12 cabinets;

•             A two-time Prime Minister;

•             An author of at least 11 books; and

•             A Nobel Laureate.

“These distinctions, of course, are only symbols of service.  They do not compare to the place President Peres holds in the hearts of freedom-loving people.  That is what this Medal honors above all.

“We have a great program in store.  Mr. President, I know that for your 90th birthday, you were serenaded by Barbra Streisand and toasted by Tony Blair.  I hope you don’t mind, but in the interests of time, we’ve actually asked the Vice President to do both the toast and the song.

“But this is a special moment for all of us.   It is the first time we are presenting the Gold Medal to an Israeli head of state.   And Mr. President, because of your generation, I have faith it will not be the last.

“This Medal says to our young people – and yours: never get cynical, never give in to expediency, and know that America will always stand with Israel … and with all men and women of peace.

“Thank you all for being here.”

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Speaker Boehner Congratulates Rep. McHenry

2014/06/26

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today applauded Republican Whip-elect Steve Scalise’s (R-LA) appointment of Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) to be Chief Deputy Whip:

“Chief Deputy Whip is one of the most important jobs in the House, and Whip-elect Scalise has made an excellent choice.  Patrick McHenry is a common-sense conservative who does a great job for the people of North Carolina, and I welcome him to the leadership team.”

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NLRB Ruling Is Victory For The Constitution

2014/06/26

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today welcomed the Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling that invalidated President Obama’s “recess appointments” to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB):

“This ruling is a victory for the Constitution, and against President Obama’s aggressive overreach, which challenges our ability to effectively represent the people.  By invalidating these appointments, the Supreme Court has reaffirmed that the president cannot ignore the Constitution, and selectively interpret our rules and practices for his political purposes.  That these appointments were made to an agency notorious for putting the interests of Big Labor ahead of America’s workers makes this ruling good news for our economy.  This decision also offers encouragement to Americans who have watched with concern as the president has declined to faithfully execute our laws.  In the coming weeks, the House will take action to defend the Constitution and protect our system of government and our economy from continued executive abuse.”

NOTE: On September 26, 2012, Speaker Boehner filed an amicus brief in this case, Noel Canning v. NLRB.

 

 

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On Keystone, Obama Gives Special Access to Donor

2014/06/26

Just about everyone, including the media, labor leaders, and the Canadian Prime Minister, understands that President Obama has delayed and blocked construction of the Keystone XL pipeline for more than five years for political reasons. As part of Republicans’ focus on expanding American energy and growing jobs, the House passed legislation this week that would ensure this president can’t disrupt future infrastructure modernization projects simply to satisfy the extreme anti-energy activists who fund his political campaigns.

It just so happens that one such billionaire Democratic donor received a special invitation to visit the White House yesterday. Tom Steyer, who’s focused on killing the Keystone pipeline and using government green energy policies to “make a lot of money” for himself, has spent a significant amount of time with President Obama – and Democrats in Washington are starting to get irritated by the poor optics.

Yesterday’s private meeting came one year after President Obama said he’d only allow Keystone to move forward if it wouldn’t “significantly” increase carbon emissions. Politico noted then that “His own State Department has already indicated that the pipeline can meet that standard,” but reported this week that “It is still unclear what Obama will decide on Keystone, despite a [new] January State Department analysis that said the project was unlikely to significantly exacerbate climate change.” The donors who have the president’s ear don’t accept those conclusions, and President Obama continues to hide his intentions on Keystone.

In April, a Rolling Stone reporter said he was “told recently by members of the [Obama] administration that the pipeline would, in fact, be rejected.” His source also said “The only question now is the timing of the announcement.” Former Vice President Al Gore recently wrote that the president has “signaled” he will reject Keystone. What was Tom Steyer told at the White House yesterday?

And what’s with all the suspense? If the President is going to obstruct Keystone forever, shouldn’t he be honest with the American people? Instead, workers and families just get more secrecy and endless political games. “First this administration makes the wrong decisions, then it won’t give the American people the straight answers,” Speaker Boehner said.

“America has the resources to become an energy superpower, but we need the right infrastructure in place to get there. … Advancing our energy independence is imperative for our economic and national security, and for that of our allies,” wrote the Speaker in an op-ed this week. “The president has no more elections to win, yet he allows the narrow interests of his most extreme political allies to dictate an agenda that puts jobs and opportunity out of reach for middle-class families. While he's writing America's energy workers off, we're trying to give them the tools they need to succeed.”

American energy independence and jobs are serious issues, but President Obama’s busy playing “mocker-in-chief” and giving special access to an extreme left-wing billionaire – all while keeping everyday Americans in the dark.

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Memo to House Colleagues on the Separation of Powers

2014/06/25

MEMO

To:                   House Colleagues

From:              Speaker Boehner

Re:                  “[T]hat the Laws Be Faithfully Executed. . .”

Date:               June 25, 2014

For years Americans have watched with concern as President Barack Obama has declined to faithfully execute the laws of our country – ignoring some statutes completely, selectively enforcing others, and at times, creating laws of his own.

Article II, Section III of the Constitution of the United States dictates that the president, as head of the Executive Branch of our government, “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” even if the president does not agree with the purpose of that law.  Under the Constitution’s separation of powers principle, only the Legislative Branch has the power to legislate.

On one matter after another during his presidency, President Obama has circumvented the Congress through executive action, creating his own laws and excusing himself from executing statutes he is sworn to enforce – at times even boasting about his willingness to do it, as if daring the America people to stop him.  On matters ranging from health care and energy to foreign policy and education, President Obama has repeatedly run an end-around on the American people and their elected legislators, straining the boundaries of the solemn oath he took on Inauguration Day.

Presidents have traditionally been granted a degree of latitude with respect to the enforcement of the law, and tension between the branches of our government is hardly new.  But at various points in our history when the Executive Branch has attempted to claim for itself the ability to make law, the Legislative Branch has responded, and it is only through such responses that the balance of power envisioned by the Framers has been maintained.

President Obama’s aggressive unilateralism has significant implications for our system of government, and presents a clear challenge to our institution and its ability to effectively represent the people.

If the current president can selectively enforce, change or create laws as he chooses with impunity, without the involvement of the Legislative Branch, his successors will be able to do the same.  This shifts the balance of power decisively and dangerously in favor of the presidency, giving the president king-like authority at the expense of the American people and their elected legislators.

It also has consequences for our economy and its ability to grow and create jobs.  It’s bad enough when Washington politicians force laws upon the people that make it difficult for private-sector employers to meet payrolls, invest in new initiatives and create jobs.   It’s even worse when those same laws are arbitrarily enforced on the whims of the individual entrusted with the responsibility of carrying them out, adding uncertainty for private-sector job creators and families on top of the challenges they already face week-to-week.

Everywhere I go in America outside of Washington, D.C., I’m asked: when will the House stand up on behalf of the people to stop the encroachment of executive power under President Obama?  We elected a president, Americans note; we didn’t elect a monarch or king.

Every Member of the People’s House took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution.  It is only through strong action by the House in response to provocative executive action by the Executive Branch in the past that the separation of powers intended by the Framers has been preserved.  For the integrity of our laws and the sake of our country’s future, the House must act now.

I intend to bring to the floor in July legislation that would authorize the House of Representatives – through the House General Counsel and at the direction of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) – to file suit in the coming weeks in an effort to compel the president to follow his oath of office and faithfully execute the laws of our country.  The legislation would follow regular order and be considered by the Rules Committee following its introduction, prior to its consideration by the full House.  

Under our system of government, the Judicial Branch has the power to resolve disputes between the Executive and Legislative Branches.  When there is a failure on the part of the president to faithfully execute the law, the House has the authority to challenge this failure in the Judicial Branch by filing suit in Federal Court in situations in which:

  • There is no one else who can challenge the president’s failure, and harm is being done to the general welfare and trust in faithful execution of our laws;
  • There is no legislative remedy; and
  • There is explicit House authorization for the lawsuit, through a vote authorizing the litigation against the president’s failure.

I believe the House must act as an institution to defend the constitutional principles at stake and to protect our system of government and our economy from continued executive abuse.  The president has an obligation to faithfully execute the laws of our country. When this legislation is introduced in the coming weeks, I ask that you review it and join me in supporting it when it goes before the House.

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Speeding Energy Exports to Help Create Jobs, Strengthen Our Allies

2014/06/25

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement today praising House passage of H.R. 6, legislation introduced by Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) that would expedite the approval of liquefied natural gas (LNG) export applications stalled at the Department of Energy:

“Ending the Obama administration’s de facto ban on U.S. energy exports isn’t just the right strategy for jobs and the economy, it’s the right strategy for bolstering America’s leadership around the world – which is sorely lacking under this president.  The Department of Energy is currently sitting on 26 LNG export applications that, if approved, would help strengthen our hand against Russia and lessen our European allies’ dependence on a hostile regime.  While it’s disappointing that the president wouldn’t act on these applications sooner, I’m proud to see strong, bipartisan support in the House for using our vast resources to advance our economic and energy security, and that of our allies.  I urge Senate Democrats to quickly follow suit.”

NOTE: In March, several key European allies sent a letter to Speaker Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) stating, “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. Furthermore US export of LNG would not only meet the energy security challenge of the Visegrad countries but that of the wider region as well.” Read the full letter here.

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Speaker Boehner Signs WWII Memorial Prayer Act

2014/06/25

Speaker Boehner signs the World War II Memorial Prayer Act as Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), the sponsor of the House version of the bill, looks on. 

The bill directs the Secretary of the Interior to install a plaque at the World War II memorial with the words of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s D-Day prayer, which Boehner quoted on the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

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Boehner on Iraq: Retreating from the World Stage is Not an Option

2014/06/25

WASHINGTON, DC – Amid the continuing violence in Iraq, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today reiterated the need for President Obama to offer a comprehensive strategy to stop the spread of terrorism in that country and across the region.  Following are Boehner’s remarks:

“You know, the situation in Iraq continues to worsen by the day.  The terrorists have seized control of border crossings in Syria and in Jordan.  And their march toward Baghdad continues.

“The president has a number of options in front of him, which, if part of a larger regional strategy, I would support.  But my concern is whether the president will make a decision in time to reverse the terrorists’ momentum as it sweeps toward Baghdad. 

“You know, the president’s fond of saying that only the Iraqis can solve this problem.  But we can’t pretend that this isn’t our problem as well.  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.”

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Boehner: “It’s Arrogance & Incompetence Right Down the Line”

2014/06/25

Speaker Boehner today said “Americans deserve better” than the “arrogance and incompetence” we’ve seen from the Obama administration, not only in carrying out misguided policies, but in refusing to level with the American people:  

“But this is part of a bigger problem.  The economy continues to struggle, and the president has no plan for economic growth, and won’t push his party to act on the good ideas that we’ve passed in a bipartisan fashion here in the House. 

“The IRS targets political opponents, lies about it, and the White House won’t lift a finger to provide the truth to the American people.  The VA’s abuses continue to be revealed, and yet we still don’t see a long-term plan for reform at the VA.  And not only does the president regularly ignore the law…he brags about his willingness to change it unilaterally.

“First this administration makes the wrong decisions, then it won’t give the American people the straight answers.  Instead, it’s arrogance and incompetence right down the line.

“I think Americans deserve better, and the House will continue to listen to the American people and make their priorities our priorities.  Our energy focus this week is a good example, as all of our solutions are to help families who are still asking the same question, ‘where are the jobs?’”

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IRS Arrogance Run Amok

2014/06/25

After unfairly targeting Americans with conservative political views, lying about it, and then doing nearly everything possible to hide the truth, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has come under congressional investigation. But if you were hoping for some remorse and maybe an apology from one of the most power federal agencies in Washington, don’t hold your breath. Accountability in the Obama administration doesn’t come as advertised – certainly not from this IRS, and not from this IRS commissioner.

They’re still spinning excuse after excuse, claiming to have lost two years-worth of a central figure’s emails after an IRS computer crashed and the hard drive was deliberately destroyed. The IRS also says it can’t find records from six other employees involved in systematically discriminating against political groups who disagree with the White House.

The American people recognize this story doesn’t pass the smell test. President Obama famously said there was “not even a smidgeon of corruption” in what the IRS did, but consider this: after the first public reports of abusive audits of conservative groups, on June 3, 2011, Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) sent a letter to the IRS seeking information about what was going on. Only 10 days later, the hard drive belonging to then-IRS Exempt Organizations Division Director Lois Lerner conveniently crashed, supposedly resulting in the loss of many of her emails. Coincidence?

Those messages are critical to the investigation, especially in light of other emails Lerner sent that clearly show her political motivations. In one, she wrote that the “Tea Party Matter [is] very dangerous.” After the scandal was discovered and she was asked to testify to Congress about her time at the IRS, she refused, twice pleading the fifth to avoid incriminating herself.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, a major political donor to Democrats, was President Obama’s choice to take over the agency in 2013, and has testified to two House committees in the past week. As this video shows (clips edited for brevity), he’s demonstrated remarkable arrogance, thumbing his nose at the American people who deserve answers, not outright disrespect.

On MSNBC, former Democratic Governor of Pennsylvania Ed Rendell said if it was up to him, he would fire Koskinen, because “he was arrogant, and nobody should be arrogant in the government – nobody. It’s the public’s right to know all this stuff.”

As Speaker Boehner has said, the IRS needs somebody who will tell the truth. Americans deserve that – not arrogance.

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Boehner Op-Ed: Leadership & Prosperity Through American Energy

2014/06/25

“We have more combined oil, coal and natural gas resources than any other nation on Earth. That's why, every day, Republicans are working on a true all-of-the-above energy agenda that will help lower costs, create jobs, strengthen our allies and make us a nation of builders again. …

“The president has no more elections to win, yet he allows the narrow interests of his most extreme political allies to dictate an agenda that puts jobs and opportunity out of reach for middle-class families. While he's writing America's energy workers off, we're trying to give them the tools they need to succeed.”

Boehner: House Republicans for responsible energyAmerican energy policy needs to be more responsive and less onerous USA TODAY June 25, 2014

One thing I learned running a small business is that you have to play to your strengths. Our economy has its challenges, but America is at the forefront of an energy boom. We have more combined oil, coal and natural gas resources than any other nation on Earth. That's why, every day, Republicans are working on a true all-of-the-above energy agenda that will help lower costs, create jobs, strengthen our allies and make us a nation of builders again.

Such a strategy has the potential to usher in a new era of American leadership and prosperity — but we can't do it alone.

President Obama says he supports all of the above, but his actions prove the opposite. Just consider his plan to impose excessive new EPA regulations on power plants — what amounts to a national energy tax. It will have Americans asking, "Where are the jobs?" for years while their bills go up, electric grid reliability is compromised, and energy-intensive sectors like manufacturing take on even more water. The president is so out of touch that he won't even approve the popular Keystone XL pipeline.

As for his party's leaders in the Senate, they also talk a big game about energy only to block our most common-sense solutions. Here are some examples:

The House has acted to prevent duplicative federal regulations on hydraulic fracturing, which has lowered unemployment in states that have safely and effectively regulated this type of energy production. And we have pressed the president to open more areas to exploration and production, and cut back red tape on new energy projects. We'll continue that effort this summer with legislation to reduce permitting delays for new factories — making it easier to plan, invest and revitalize manufacturing.

America has the resources to become an energy superpower, but we need the right infrastructure in place to get there. Thanks to technological advancements, natural gas production on state and private lands is up 33% and oil is up 61% since 2009. That energy boom, however, is being throttled by a pipeline system that has not kept pace with our changing energy landscape. The House has voted to expedite the approval of new pipelines, and will soon advance additional legislation to create a more efficient process for cross-border pipeline approvals and prevent another debacle like we've seen with the Keystone pipeline.

The nearly six-year delay in approving Keystone is costing Americans more than 100,000 jobs and nearly a million barrels of oil a day, and forcing our most important trading partner to look to China for new energy markets. The House passed a bill last year that would green-light the project immediately, creating jobs and reducing our dependence on unstable energy sources. But the president and Senate Democrats remain opposed.

Advancing our energy independence is imperative for our economic and national security, and for that of our allies. Just last week, Russia announced it was cutting off natural gas exports to Ukraine, which is also the transit route for 15% of Europe's natural gas. The House has voted to give the president the tools he needs to counter Vladimir Putin's aggression, but we must do more to break Russia's energy stranglehold on Europe. With a backlog of 26 liquefied natural gas export applications pending, the House will act where the administration has not and move a bill to expedite the approval of more LNG exports. Doing so will not only strengthen our international partners, it will help create jobs and promote energy production here at home.

In addition to all this, we've also passed legislation to prevent that national energy tax from taking effect without congressional approval, while advancing several other bills aimed at stopping regulations targeting coal-fired electricity. And because a true all-of-the-above policy requires us not only to harness the resources we have, but to use them wisely, we have passed bipartisan, common-sense legislation to promote increased energy efficiency.

The president has no more elections to win, yet he allows the narrow interests of his most extreme political allies to dictate an agenda that puts jobs and opportunity out of reach for middle-class families. While he's writing America's energy workers off, we're trying to give them the tools they need to succeed. That's how we play to our strengths, and that's how America can win against significant global competition.

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Honoring the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act

2014/06/24

WASHINGTON, DC – Leaders of the U.S. House & Senate today held a ceremony in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and to present a Congressional Gold Medal in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King.  House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) made the following remarks, as prepared for delivery:

OPENING THE CEREMONY

“On July 2, 1964, Congress completed what may be the most fundamental, most consequential legislation in our long history.  The Civil Rights Act of 1964 recognizes that every citizen has the right to pursue happiness without discrimination or segregation on the grounds of race, color, religion, or national origin.   This was a long time in coming, and it was the work of many people … including, of course, Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, who we honor today with a Congressional Gold Medal.“

PRIOR TO THE PRESENTATION OF THE MEDAL

“In the fanfare of history, it’s easy to overlook the small moments that make big things possible.  Let’s go back to July 2nd, 1963, and to somewhere far from these halls.

“Piqua – if you’ve never been – is a pleasant town in my district, in West Central Ohio.  It’s not far from Dayton, where the Wright Brothers got their start.

“Flying into Dayton that day was Burke Marshall, the Assistant Attorney General of the United States.  He was picked up by the son-in-law of the congressman he needed to see, William McCulloch, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee.

“Now, McCulloch was a farm kid who went to a one-room schoolhouse – but he was also a World War II vet with a law degree from Ohio State  The White House would try to rush him into something, and he’d say, ‘I’m just a country guy who has to muddle along.’

“But ‘without him,’ President Kennedy had said, the bill ‘can’t be done.’  So Marshall is there on urgent business; he’s expecting to meet with McCulloch straight away. 

“Unfortunately, the son-in-law says, the congressman is busy speaking to the Piqua Rotarians.

“So they go for a long lunch. 

“And then they take a scenic tour of the Miami Valley. 

“They get into town, but McCulloch is still with the Rotarians, so they kill time – and this is true – at the local hardware store.

“Well, the meeting finally starts, and McCulloch has two requests: (1) that the Senate doesn’t weaken the bill, and (2) that the credit is shared among both parties.

“The deal was struck, and a year later, when the final vote neared, the House paused for a standing ovation.

“And it was for William Moore McCulloch.

“There is no indispensable man.  But there is the common man.  The one who makes no distinction between the Assistant Attorney General and the local Rotarian.

“He doesn’t use his status for personal gain – he uses it to serve others.

“For him, the biggest thing is the right thing.

“His isn’t a household name, but it doesn’t have to be.

“You can find him right there – not in the fanfare – but in the fabric of history.”

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Boehner: We Can’t Afford Another Keystone-Like Debacle

2014/06/24

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement today applauding House passage of the North American Energy Infrastructure Act (H.R. 3301), legislation that would expedite the approval of critical energy infrastructure by modernizing the approval process for cross-border pipelines and eliminating the Presidential Permit requirement:

“The president’s nearly six-year delay of the Keystone pipeline is a national embarrassment, and an affront to the millions of frustrated Americans who are still asking the question, ‘where are the jobs?’  If there is one thing we’ve learned from this mess, it’s that we can’t afford another situation like the current one involving the Keystone pipeline, which is being held up endlessly by bureaucracy and politics.  Chairman Upton’s legislation will institute a more streamlined approval process that eliminates White House roadblocks to more American energy and more jobs.  The president ought to follow through on his all-of-the-above rhetoric by approving the Keystone pipeline and calling on Senate Democrats to pass this bill to advance our energy independence and help put more Americans back to work.”

NOTE: H.R. 3301 is one of three jobs bills the House is taking up this week to promote more American energy production.

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Boehner: Granger to Lead Working Group on Humanitarian Crisis at Southern Border

2014/06/24

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced today that he has formed a member working group on the national security and humanitarian crisis at the southern border, and asked Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) to lead the effort:

“The president has allowed a national security and humanitarian crisis to develop on the U.S. southern border.  There are two imperatives here: protect those children and secure our border.  I sent a letter to the president last week outlining a series of steps I believe need to be taken immediately to achieve those goals.  These steps include sending the National Guard to the border to protect these children, so the border patrol can do its job. 

“The president has failed to take the necessary steps to address this crisis, so today I’ve decided to form a working group to advise us and keep lawmakers informed on the situation down there.  I’m pleased that Kay Granger has agreed to lead this effort, and I know this group will get to work immediately.”

The working group will include the following members:

  • Rep. John Carter (R-TX)
  • Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL)
  • Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
  • Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX)
  • Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX)
  • Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM)
  • Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ)

NOTE:  Last week, Speaker Boehner sent a letter to President Obama  urging him to act immediately on the humanitarian crisis along our southern border, where thousands of unaccompanied minors are crossing from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.  Read the entire letter here.

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Boehner Highlights All-of-the-Above Energy Solutions

2014/06/24

WASHINGTON, DC At a press briefing with Republican leaders today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) highlighted this week’s House action on a true all-of-the-above energy agenda, contrasting Republicans’ focus on jobs and the economy with President Obama’s national energy tax that will destroy jobs and drive up costs even further.  Following are Boehner’s remarks:

“In the House, the people’s priorities are our priorities, which is why this week the House will be focusing on energy.   Right now, there’s an energy boom going on in America.  It’s happening on private lands in Texas and North Dakota, Northeast Ohio, Pennsylvania. 

“But in Washington, the president’s keeping public lands under lock and key.  He won’t even say ‘yes’ to the Keystone pipeline.  Now he’s got this new national energy tax that he’s talking about which is going to be a disaster for American families. 

“We’re offering a better approach – a real ‘all-of-the-above’ energy policy – that will create more energy, lower prices, and make it easier for American families to balance their own budgets.”

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A Week of Energy Action in the House

2014/06/24

The violence in Iraq has sent gas prices climbing even higher this week, exposing a vulnerability in our economy that should be an impetus for action on the part of the president – but we’re not holding our breath.  This week, House Republicans will keep the pressure on with a series of bills aimed at promoting more American energy production to help create jobs, address high prices, fuel manufacturing, and advance our energy independence.

Here’s a brief summary of what these bills do, and how they’ll help expand opportunity and security for middle-class families:

  • The North American Energy Infrastructure Act (H.R. 3301), introduced by Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), would prevent another Keystone debacle by modernizing the approval process for cross-border pipelines and eliminating the Presidential Permit requirement.  This widely-supported bill “is a sincere effort to focus on a targeted solution to the lessons learned from the Keystone pipeline,” says Chairman Upton.  “And for the over 100 operating or proposed oil, natural gas, and electric transmission facilities that CRS has identified crossing the U.S. border with Canada or Mexico, we can do better and this bill will make us do better.” [READ THE BILL]
  • The Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act (H.R. 6), introduced by Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO), is a bipartisan bill that would force the administration to act on the 26 pending liquefied natural gas (LNG) export applications stalled by the Energy Department.  With Russia continuing to exploit the energy dependence of our European partners, H.R. 6 “presents us with the unique opportunity to strengthen our allies, weaken our enemies, and create economic opportunities here at home,” Rep. Gardner notes. [READ THE BILL]
  • The Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America That Works Act (H.R. 4899), introduced by House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA), would open new areas to energy exploration and development on our vast onshore and offshore federal lands.  The bill reverses the Obama administration’s policies that have driven federal oil production down six percent and federal natural gas down 28 percent since the president took office.  The energy boom that the U.S. is experiencing on state and private lands – where natural gas is up 33 percent and oil is up 61 percent since 2009 - is a testament to the failed federal lands policy and the House is seeking to reverse these trends.  As Chairman Hastings notes, “by unlocking our Nation’s own resources we can put over a million Americans back to work, breathe new life into our economy, and lower gasoline prices for American families and businesses.” [READ THE BILL]

“The American people are still asking the question, ‘where are the jobs?,’ while the administration’s working on their national energy tax that’s going to destroy American jobs,” Speaker Boehner said last week.  House Republicans remain focused on Americans’ top priorities – jobs and the economy – and will continue advancing a true ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy to help address rising energy costs and put more Americans back to work.

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The VA Scandal: It’s Worse Than You Think

2014/06/24

Just when you thought the scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs couldn’t get any worse, take a look at these headlines over the last few days:

  • "VA deaths covered up to make statistics look better, whistle-blower says." “Records of dead veterans were changed or physically altered, some even in recent weeks, to hide how many people died while waiting for care at the Phoenix VA hospital, a whistle-blower told CNN in stunning revelations that point to a new coverup in the ongoing VA scandal.” (CNN, 6/23/14)
  • "Veterans neglected for years in VA facility, report says.” “In one case, a veteran with a service-connected psychiatric condition was in the facility for eight years before he received a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation; in another case, a veteran only had one psychiatric note in his medical chart in seven years as an inpatient at the Brockton, Massachusetts, facility.” (CNN, 6/23/14)
  • "VA brass knew of false data for two years." “Department of Veterans Affairs administrators knew two years ago that employees throughout the Southwest were manipulating data on doctor appointments and failed to stop the practice despite a national directive … A 2012 audit by the VA's Southwest Health Care Network found that facilities in Arizona, New Mexico and western Texas chronically violated department policy and created inaccurate data on patient wait times via a host of tactics.  The practice allowed VA employees to reap bonus pay that was based in part on inaccurate data showing goals had been met to reduce delays in patient care…. At the Phoenix medical center alone, reward checks totaled $10 million over the past three years.” (USA Today, 6/22/14)
  • "Every senior VA executive was rated ‘fully successful’ or better over four years." “All of the 470 senior executives at the Department of Veterans Affairs received annual ratings over the last four years indicating that they were “fully successful” in their jobs or even better … despite delays in processing disability compensation claims and problems with veterans’ access to the department’s sprawling health care system.” (New York Times, 6/21/14)

It’s outrageous and unacceptable, and that’s why Republicans have led the effort to expose the Obama administration’s abuses at the VA, starting with aggressive oversight from the House Veterans Affairs’ Committee.  House Republicans have also passed legislation – including the Veteran Access to Care Act (H.R. 4810) and the VA Management Accountability Act (H.R. 4031) – that is currently being negotiated in a House-Senate conference committee.  And GOP leaders have called on the president to take immediate steps to address the crisis, including urging him to outline his vision for long-term VA reform, something he has not yet doneRead the full letter here.

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From President Obama, a Speech, Not a Strategy

2014/06/23

President Obama may have talked publicly about the terrorist resurgence in Iraq three times in a week, but he failed to lay out a comprehensive plan to reverse the momentum and spread of al Qaeda’s terrorist allies in the Middle East and Africa.

Where a new strategy was missing, some not-so-subtle prodding took its place. Four times the president reminded us that he recently gave a big foreign policy speech, and seemed to hint that he really wanted us to take another listen.

So let’s revisit it. At West Point on May 28, the leader of the free world attempted to articulate a “sweeping defense of his approach to foreign policy.” As we noted then, analysts and editorial boards dismissed the speech as “weak, indecisive and unconvincing,” as well as “confusing and seemingly inconsistent.”

Awkwardly, the president used his West Point speech to once again tout the removal of all troops from Iraq, but just weeks later, he’s sending some back. They aren’t “combat troops” per se, but they may see combat.

No matter – the president still sees his moment at West Point as a grand turning point. As he said there:

I believe we must shift our counterterrorism strategy -- drawing on the successes and shortcomings of our experience in Iraq and Afghanistan -- to more effectively partner with countries where terrorist networks seek a foothold.

And the need for a new strategy reflects the fact that today’s principal threat no longer comes from a centralized al Qaeda leadership.  Instead, it comes from decentralized al Qaeda affiliates and extremists, many with agendas focused in countries where they operate.

The president’s words indicate he believes America should step back from a leadership role in the world – by “leading from behind,” as one of his advisors put it. So it’s unsurprising that he was caught napping and his administration was caught off guard by the deteriorating situation in Iraq.

As for his strategy shift, it sounds great in theory. Who could argue with having more effective partnerships? The president continued:

We need partners to fight terrorists alongside us.  And empowering partners is a large part of what we have done and what we are currently doing in Afghanistan.

Together with our allies, America struck huge blows against al Qaeda core and pushed back against an insurgency that threatened to overrun the country.  But sustaining this progress depends on the ability of Afghans to do the job.  And that’s why we trained hundreds of thousands of Afghan soldiers and police.  Earlier this spring, those forces, those Afghan forces, secured an election in which Afghans voted for the first democratic transfer of power in their history.  And at the end of this year, a new Afghan President will be in office and America’s combat mission will be over.

But here’s the problem. This is exactly what we did in Iraq. We trained hundreds of thousands of soldiers and police. They held elections and transferred power to new leaders. America’s combat mission in Iraq was declared over and the Obama administration withdrew all of our troops in 2011. Now we are seeing the consequences: al Qaeda affiliates are in control of a significant part of the country.

No one is suggesting endless war is the answer; after all, we maintain a physical, non-combat military presence in places like Japan, Germany, South Korea, and Bosnia. With the failure of the president’s policy abundantly clear in Iraq, one would hope he would learn from his mistakes. Unfortunately, it seems he is fully prepared to repeat them in Afghanistan.

As Speaker Boehner wrote in May after his visit with the troops there:

Before the end of this year, the Obama administration must reach a bilateral security agreement with the Afghan government that reinforces our commitment to the Afghan people and its security forces.

With input from our commanders on the ground, this will likely require retaining a credible, residual troop presence to help continue to thwart terrorist networks as well as provide appropriate levels of training and advice to the Afghan security forces as they continue to grow and mature into an effective, independent fighting force.

It’s this kind of agreement that could have allowed us to preserve the hard-won gains our troops made in Iraq. But that opportunity was lost when President Obama and his team failed to negotiate a renewal of America’s 2008 Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the new government of Iraq at the end of 2011.

Thus far, the administration’s foreign policy has focused more on celebrating our complete and forthcoming departures from Iraq and Afghanistan, respectively, rather than ensuring our national security objectives are met. But retreating from the world stage isn’t a strategy; it only undermines our allies and leads to more chaos that puts America at greater risk.

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Join Us Tomorrow to Honor the Civil Rights Act

2014/06/23

Tomorrow, Tuesday, June 24, Congress will mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The event will bring together lawmakers, citizens, and civil rights greats in the Capitol Rotunda.   You’re invited to watch live right here on Speaker.gov, starting at 3:00 pm ET. 

On Friday, Speaker Boehner gave his constituents a preview of the event featuring a tribute to one of the bill’s champions, Rep. William McCulloch.  McCulloch, who often called himself “a country man from Ohio,” represented an area that would later become part of Ohio’s 8th Congressional District.

Boehner Pays Tribute to Father of Civil Rights Act, Congressman William McCulloch (Courtesy of boehner.house.gov)

Congressman William M. McCulloch (second from the right, in foreground), along with Congressman Emanuel Celler, Senator Everett Dirksen, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and other officials, look on as President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964, July 2, 1964.

Photo courtesy of the William McCulloch Papers, The Ohio State University.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman John Boehner (R – West Chester) today released the following statement ahead of a ceremony to be held in the U.S. Capitol marking the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Boehner paid tribute to one of the bill’s renowned fathers, Congressman William McCulloch.  President Lyndon B. Johnson, who signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law on July 2, 1964, publicly recognized McCulloch for his central role in the bill’s enactment, acknowledging McCulloch as “the most important and powerful force” behind the effort.  During his time in office, Congressman McCulloch represented what would later become part of Ohio’s 8th Congressional District, including the 8th District’s Piqua, OH.

As our nation comes together to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, many will rightly recall the names of those who stood in the face of violence and directly challenged the injustices that had gone on for too long.  It was a movement whose time had come, and at its forefront was a farm kid from Ohio, William McCulloch.  It was Congressman McCulloch who led this House in shaping a bill that would prove capable of fulfilling the promise of justice and liberty for all, and it’s with the following words that McCulloch has inspired me to keep his legacy alive through my own service, ‘We are a nation of many people and views.  In such a nation, the prime purpose of a legislator, from wherever he may come, is to accommodate the interests, desires, wants, and needs of all our citizens… In a democratic society like ours, the purpose of representative government is to soften tension – reduce strife – while enabling groups and individuals to more nearly obtain the kind of life they wish to live.’”

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President’s Policies a Blow for Working Families

2014/06/23

Today, President Obama will host a summit on working families that the White House says will focus “on creating a 21st century workplace that works for all Americans.”  Trouble is, too many middle-class families aren’t working at all.  And those that are lucky enough to have a job are barely getting by with stagnant wages and higher costs on nearly everything.  

The House has passed bill after bill to help working families.  In a recent guest post on the Speaker’s blog, Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC), chair of the Republican Women’s Policy Committee,  highlighted several of these solutions, including legislation allowing private-sector workers the same comp time flexibility as their public-sector counterparts, and more.  You can read the full post here.

While House Republicans are focused on expanding opportunity and economic security for middle-class families, President Obama’s policies are only making things harder.  Here’s how:

  • Driving Up Premiums for 11 Million Small Business Employees.  According to the Obama administration’s own CMS actuary, an estimated 11 million small business employees are facing higher premiums because of the president’s health care law.   
  • Imposing a National Energy Tax that Will Raise Costs & Destroy Jobs. “In the wake of a raft of federal environmental regulations targeting coal that mining employment is now in a ‘free fall,’” the Washington Times reports.  Mining jobs have fallen 8.3 percent, according to one industry report, and 75,000 more coal-related jobs are being put at risk by the president’s new EPA regulations, says United Mine Workers of America.  The new rules will also send prices skyrocketing for families – as the president promised they would - increasing 10.3 percent, analysis by the American Action Forum shows.
  • Slashing Hours for 2.6 Million Americans.  The 30-hour rule in the president’s health care law puts 2.6 million Americans earning less than $30,000 a year at risk of having their hours and their wages cut, according to the Hoover Institution.  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.  The House passed the Save American Workers Act to restore the 40-hour work week.  President Obama threatened to veto the measure and Senate Democrats have refused to take it up. 
  • Doubling Down on a Minimum Wage Hike that Would Cost Up to One Million Jobs. The president is expected to reiterate his call for an increase in the federal minimum wage today – doubling down on a policy that would destroy up to one million jobs, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). 
  • Blocking More than 100,000 Keystone Jobs.  In a scathing op-ed published earlier this year, Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) General President Terry O’Sullivan blasted President Obama for blocking the Keystone pipeline – and the more than 100,000 good-paying jobs that would come with it – calling the president’s inaction “gutless” and a “low blow to the working men and women of our country.”  Several editorial boards agreed, saying the president’s delay not only “lacks courage,” but constitutes “a toll on working-class Americans who are looking for jobs.”

The House has passed dozens of jobs bills that would make a real difference for working families, the majority of which remain stalled in the Democratic-led Senate.  Instead of trying to talk his way around an agenda that is clearly failing middle-class Americans, President Obama ought to fulfill his promise to make this a ‘year of action’ by calling on his party’s leaders to pass them immediately.

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Speaker’s Report: Energy Week, IRS Investigation, and More

2014/06/22

JOBS

1) Remember when the president said that under his plan, “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket?”Well, that could soon become a reality.  Not only do we need to stop his scheme, we also need to maximize America’s energy abundance to help deliver more jobs, lower costs, and long-term stability.  This will be the House’s focus this week, and for a preview, check out our weekly address, delivered by Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan.

2) On Thursday, Speaker Boehner received an invitation from his Canadian counterpart to visit our neighbors to the north for discussions of North American energy & jobs

3) On Wednesday, the Speaker again called on Senate Democrats to take up our jobs bills.  

4) On Tuesday, our friends over at the Ways & Means Committee began counting the reasons to pass our jobs bills.

ACCOUNTABILITY

5) The IRS is claiming to have lost e-mails at the heart of our investigation into the agency's targeting of Americans based on their political beliefs.  You won’t want to miss what Speaker Boehner had to say about this. 

6) On Friday, the Speaker sent this letter to President Obama urging him to act immediately on the humanitarian crisis at our southern border. 

7) On Thursday, Speaker Boehner reiterated that the president owes Americans a coherent strategy to reverse the momentum and spread of terrorism both in Iraq and the region.  

8) On Wednesday, the Speaker named Republican negotiators for VA accountability and emergency access measures that are a start on making things right for our veterans. 

GOOD OF THE ORDER 

9) Speaker Boehner looked to beat the heat at this week’s Congressional Women’s Softball Game, which raised awareness for young women with breast cancer. 

10) Finally, we can always do better, so we’ve streamlined Speaker.gov to help you find and share information faster, easier, and more socially than ever.  Hope you'll check it out, and let us know what you think. 

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Yes to Jobs, #Yes2Energy

2014/06/21

This week’s Republican address is about solutions for working families, from more jobs and lower costs to a stronger, more competitive country.  It all starts with America’s energy abundance, and who better to talk about that than the chairman of our Energy & Commerce Committee, Fred Upton of Michigan: 

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Upton unveils GOP energy strategy. … In the Republican weekly address on Saturday, Upton touted legislation the House will take up next week that would ‘encourage investment, lower prices, and create jobs here at home’ while focusing on natural gas exports and pipeline infrastructure.”  (The Hill)

“…GOP presses for energy explosion.  … Noting the unrest in Iraq, which has been blamed for driving up oil prices, Upton said the U.S. can no longer afford to rely on foreign energy sources, particularly from unstable areas.  He also criticized the repeated delays in the approval process for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which would transmit crude oil from Canadian tar sands to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast. That project, he said, could replace energy from hostile parts of the world and replace it with supplies from ‘our friend, Canada.’” (CBS News)

“In the Republican address, Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan says Obama’s record on energy development is abysmal. He says the U.S. must build an infrastructure that will lead to energy abundance.” (Associated Press)

Rep. Fred Upton: House Taking New Approach on Energy.  The House will take up legislation next week to maximize America's energy resources, taking steps that could ‘help save money for American families, create the new jobs and industries that we want, and strengthen our position across the globe,’ says House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton.” (Newsmax)

GOP Weekly Address: Obama EPA Rules Will Force States to Ration Energy.  In response to President Barack Obama's new EPA rules… the Michigan congressman said the rules would make it ‘harder to use all of our American resources, and could well force states to ration energy, which certainly is going to make it more expensive to power our homes and factories.’” (Breitbart)

“GOP Weekly Address: Making American Energy 'More Affordable, Reliable, Beneficial'” (ABC News Radio)

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Weekly Address: Say Yes to Jobs & American Energy

2014/06/20

WASHINGTON, DC – In this week’s Republican address, House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) discusses legislation the House will take up next week to maximize the potential of America’s energy abundance.  “These steps,” Upton says, “could help save money for American families, create new jobs and industries, and strengthen our position in the world.”

He compares this pro-growth vision to Obama administration policies that fail to keep pace with the changing energy landscape and leave Americans more vulnerable to higher prices, fewer jobs, and more global instability. 

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

Remarks of Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) Weekly Republican AddressEnergy & Commerce Committee Hearing RoomJune 21, 2014

So let’s talk about energy – how it affects our daily lives, and how Republicans are working to make it more affordable, reliable, and beneficial.

Not too long ago, we thought America’s energy needs could only be met through increasing foreign dependence. It’s a scary thought, particularly as we watch the chaos unfold overseas and gasoline prices closing in on four bucks a gallon here at home. I hear constantly from working families struggling with the cost of filling the tank just to drive to and from work.

Energy is at the core of American life. It supports jobs and our economy, and it affects everything from the price at the pump and the monthly electricity bill to the cost of groceries – all of the things Americans need to make ends meet. Schools, churches, hospitals, and manufacturing plants in my home state of Michigan and around the country … they all depend on affordable energy.

That’s why, this coming week, the House is going to vote on bills designed to make the most of America’s abundant energy supplies by building pipelines and transmission lines to connect our energy abundance to consumers, and by using our energy strength to fight back against hostile nations who use their resources to hold the rest of the world hostage.

We have already taken steps to modernize permitting, approve major energy projects, cut red tape for hydropower plants, and keep American coal in our energy mix.

But we're not going to stop there. 

We are offering more predictable regulations that encourage investment, lower prices, and create jobs here at home. We're making targeted energy efficiency reforms, which will also help reduce costs and eliminate waste. And we're focusing on the safety and reliability of the electrical grid to protect against everything from security threats to brownouts and blackouts. We're working to keep nuclear power safe and sustainable for the long-term.

This is what we mean by an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy. Fossil and renewable fuels, expanded production and conservation … together, these steps could help save money for American families, create the new jobs and industries that we want, and strengthen our position across the globe. 

It’s very different than President Obama’s vision. His recently announced EPA rules for power plants is going to make it harder to use all of our American resources, and could well force states to ration energy, which certainly is going to make it more expensive to power our homes and factories. His record of energy development on federal lands remains dismal. And we all may rue the day that this president decided he could not say yes to the job-creating Keystone XL pipeline, which is going to displace energy from hostile parts of the world like Venezuela and the Middle East and replace it with supplies from our ally, our friend, Canada; instead, the project is in regulatory purgatory and America waits.

We can do better, yes we can. The U.S. has entered an era of energy abundance, and now we need the architecture – the infrastructure and policies – to support it. That’s exactly what Republicans are working to deliver.

Thanks for listening, and have a great weekend. 

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Take Me Out to the Ballgame

2014/06/20

Speaker Boehner beat the heat while watching the female Members of Congress beat the women of the Washington D.C. press corps at this week’s Congressional Women’s Softball Game, which raises awareness for young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer.  The game took place at the friendly confines at Watkins Recreation Center just blocks from the Capitol.

Speaker Boehner spent time saying hello and good luck to his colleagues before the game, including the affable Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL):

The women asked the Speaker to join them for a pre-game prayer:After former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords threw out the first pitch it was time for a rally huddle:We’ll be back next week with highlights from the annual Congressional Baseball Game.  For now, be sure to check out our Twitter and Instagram pages for photos from these games and other events.

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Supporting National Defense and Military Readiness

2014/06/20

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement today applauding House passage of the FY 2015 Department of Defense Appropriations Act (H.R. 4870):

“This bill ensures America’s military men and women get the training, weapons and equipment they need to complete their missions, including current operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.  It gives our troops a much-deserved 1.8 percent pay raise, provides for their medical care and housing, and fully supports the Tuition Assistance program that has helped so many achieve their higher education goals.  The measure also increases funding for traumatic brain injury and psychological health research as well as suicide and sexual assault prevention programs.  Lastly, it prohibits President Obama from transferring Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States.”

NOTE: Click here for additional information on the bill from the House Committee on Appropriations.

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Urging The President to Act Immediately on Humanitarian Crisis at Southern Border

2014/06/20

RT if you agree: Pres Obama should immediately deploy the National Guard to our southern border. http://t.co/EVWCyYfvc4

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) June 20, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) sent a letter to President Obama today urging him to act immediately on the humanitarian crisis along our southern border, where thousands of unaccompanied minors are crossing from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.  Boehner writes:

The policies of your administration have directly resulted in the belief by these immigrants that once they reach U.S. soil, they will be able to stay here indefinitely.  There are several steps that we call on you and your administration to take immediately to enforce our laws, stem the tide of migrants, protect the victims, and ensure that these individuals are dealt with in a humane manner that is consistent with American ideals of compassion and family unity.   The safety of these migrant children is a matter of paramount importance.”

The steps Speaker Boehner outlines in the letter include:

  • Deploying the National Guard to our southern border in order to both deal with the needs of these children, and relieve the border patrol;
  • Beginning discussions with Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras to ensure that apprehended migrants can be promptly and efficiently returned to their home countries; and
  • Deploying additional personnel to assist in the processing and removal of these aliens.

Read the entire letter here, and below:

Dear Mr. President:

Our country is facing a national security and humanitarian crisis along our southern border.  Thousands of children and families are pouring across our borders, overwhelming our resources and endangering those most vulnerable to exploitation.  Children are being handed over to unscrupulous cartels and smugglers and are subjected to untold horrors and violence.  The policies of your administration have directly resulted in the belief by these immigrants that once they reach U.S. soil, they will be able to stay here indefinitely.  There are several steps that we call on you and your administration to take immediately to enforce our laws, stem the tide of migrants, protect the victims, and ensure that these individuals are dealt with in a humane manner that is consistent with American ideals of compassion and family unity. 

The safety of these migrant children is a matter of paramount importance.  It is our duty and obligation to enforce the laws of our country while protecting the most vulnerable and ensuring they are healthy and well protected.  In that vein, your administration should immediately deploy the National Guard to our southern border.  The National Guard is uniquely qualified to respond to such humanitarian crises.  They are able to help deal with both the needs of these children and families as well as relieve the border patrol to focus on their primary duty of securing our border.

The State Department must immediately begin discussions with the countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras to ensure that apprehended migrants can be promptly and efficiently returned to their home countries.  Long processing times for returns are directly resulting in overcrowded conditions in Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Health and Human Services (HHS) resources.  Additionally, the State Department should work with these countries to design and execute an aggressive communications effort to fully articulate the dangers and struggles children and families will face if they attempt to migrate to the U.S.  Finally, the State Department should also enter into conversations with the Mexican government about its ability to secure its southern border.  The lax enforcement at Mexico’s borders gives a free pass to immigrants heading north.

Once these immigrants have reached the U.S. and are apprehended, they must be processed by DHS and then the family units must be prepared for return to their home country.  Your administration should immediately deploy additional personnel, including Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys, immigration judges and support staff to assist in the processing and removal of these aliens.  DHS must find a way to ensure that apprehended adults and their family members do in fact appear for their deportation hearings.  We believe that all families should be detained in clean, safe facilities that are in compliance with existing federal statute and case law.  Until adequate housing is made available, Alternatives to Detention (ATD) should be deployed to ensure compliance with court appearances and deportation hearings. 

While we understand that many of these individuals are coming to this country to escape violence and hardship in their home country, the current climate along the border and our enforcement policies are only encouraging them to risk their lives and those of their children.  It is time that we confront the crisis along the border head-on through immediate and aggressive action.  We can no longer tolerate the conditions threatening these children, nor continue to accept the risks of a porous southern border.  We ask that you take the above actions immediately to address this problem and work with the Congress to develop a long term strategy to secure our borders and ensure the integrity of our immigration laws. 

Sincerely,

John A. Boehner

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Chairman Fred Upton to Deliver the Weekly Republican Address

2014/06/20

WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) will talk about jobs and America’s energy abundance when he delivers tomorrow’s Weekly Republican Address.  Upton made the announcement on Facebook:

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

UPTON: “Hi there folks, just wanted to let you know about tomorrow’s Weekly Republican Address, where I’m going to talk about the exciting potential of America’s energy abundance to support our families, our economy, and our position as a global energy leader.”

Chairman Upton will deliver the address from his hearing room, where the committee has approved bills the House will take up next week to help create jobs and make the most of America’s energy abundance.  Learn more by going to http://energycommerce.house.gov.

The Weekly Republican Address will be available tomorrow morning at 6:00 am ET on Speaker.gov and GOP.gov

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Revisiting the Nation of Builders Speech

2014/06/20

A year ago today, Speaker Boehner addressed the National Association of Manufacturers and outlined his vision for making America a nation of builders again.  Since then, little has changed in President Obama’s economy.  Middle-class families and small business owners continue to struggle, and good ideas continue to be held up in the Democratic-run Senate.

In last year’s speech, Boehner, a former small business owner, talked about how Americans don’t have to settle for a new normal of ‘where are the jobs?’, and how we can tap into our ability to build and produce things.  Under this administration, he said, it’s become harder than ever to build in this country:

“Red tape, an outdated tax code, and shortsighted policies are driving up the cost of everything, stifling innovation, and sending jobs and opportunities to competitors like China.  … Meanwhile, the Hoover Dam, the Golden Gate Bridge, or even our highway system would be almost impossible to build in today’s regulatory environment.”

Boehner said we can choose a different path by unleashing our nation of builders.  He outlined several ways we could do this, from fixing our tax code to improving our education system, but his primary focus was America’s energy renaissance:

“Becoming a nation of builders again means finally pursuing a true ‘all of the above’ energy strategy.  Developing North America’s energy resources is, in my view, one of our best opportunities for robust and sustained growth.  It’s our new economic frontier, just as the Internet was in the 1990s.  America now has more combined oil, coal, and natural gas resources than any other nation on Earth.  We’re sitting on the gateway to prosperity.”

Read the entire speech here

More important than Boehner’s words, of course, are the actions the House has taken to carry out this vision and bring jobs home for America’s workers.  That work continues next week when we’ll take up more solutions to develop a true ‘all of the above’ strategy for the country. 

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New Leadership Team, Staying Focused on the People’s Priorities

2014/06/19

WASHINGTON, DC – Members of the House Republican Conference today elected Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to serve as Majority Leader & Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) to serve as Majority Whip.  At a press conference afterwards, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) talked about Republicans’ focus on the people’s priorities, starting with jobs

“I want to congratulate the two new members of our leadership team: Kevin McCarthy from California is our new majority leader and Steve Scalise from Louisiana is our new majority whip.  I want to thank all of my colleagues who did participate in this election.  Competition is a good thing. 

“Listen, our job is to stay focused on the American people’s priorities.  We’ve made their priorities our priorities.   The American people are still asking ‘where are the jobs?  And our job is to make sure that we’re doing everything that we can to promote our economy, to create more jobs, and higher wages for the American people.”

 

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Boehner: IRS Needs "Somebody Who Will Tell The Truth"

2014/06/19

WASHINGTON, DC – Earlier this week, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) demanded the Obama administration “come clean” on what really happened at the IRS.  The Speaker continued to pressure the White House for answers today, and said the IRS needs “someone who will tell the truth” about the agency’s claims that it lost two year’s worth of emails from an official who twice pled the fifth to avoid incriminating herself. Following are Boehner's remarks:

“Then there’s the IRS, which – after illegally targeting Americans for their political beliefs, violating their First Amendment rights – has apparently now ‘lost’ two year’s worth of Lois Lerner’s emails.

“You know, the White House promised to cooperate, but did nothing.  The White House – the president called this a phony scandal, yet who could possibly believe that they’ve lost two critical year’s worth of emails for the central figure in this investigation.

Q: On the missing IRS emails, Leader Pelosi just said what it tells her is that they need a new technology system at the IRS.  What do you make of that? 

“They need somebody who will tell the truth.”

Q: Is there criminal wrongdoing here, do you think, on IRS? 

“Listen, I asked this a long time ago.  I don't want to know who was going to be investigated, I want to know who is going to jail.  This is outrageous.  And the White House has not lifted a finger to help us get to the bottom of this.  He owes the American people the truth about what happened at the IRS.”

NOTE: A comprehensive list of reports, hearing transcripts, and other materials associated with the House’s ongoing investigation of the IRS targeting scandal is available at gop.gov/irs.

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Boehner: “The Wheels Are Coming Off” This Presidency

2014/06/19

WASHINGTON, DC – At his weekly press briefing today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) took the president to task for his administration’s lack of accountability on several fronts, including the struggling economy, the blatant stonewalling of the House’s IRS investigation, the failures at the VA, and more. Following are Boehner’s remarks:

On the White House’s Job-Destroying National Energy Tax:

“Every day here in the House, we’re focused on the people’s priorities – jobs and accountability – but can we say the same for the White House?

“Let’s start with the economy.  The American people are still asking the question, ‘where are the jobs?,’ while the administration’s working on their national energy tax that’s going to destroy American jobs.  Next week, the House will focus on solutions that would deliver a real ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy to lower costs and to grow our economy.”  

On the IRS’ Stonewalling:

“Then there’s the IRS, which – after illegally targeting Americans for their political beliefs, violating their First Amendment rights – has apparently now ‘lost’ two year’s worth of Lois Lerner’s emails.

“You know, the White House promised to cooperate, but did nothing.  The White House – the president called this a phony scandal, yet who could possibly believe that they’ve lost two critical year’s worth of emails for the central figure in this investigation.”

On the Lack of a Long-Term Plan for Fixing the VA:

“Then there’s the VA, which needs bold reform, but the president has offered nothing.  We’re moving forward with some important short-term solutions, but they’re no substitute for the long-term strategy that this department needs.” 

On the Humanitarian Crisis at Our Borders:

“Now let’s move on to our borders.  We’re seeing a humanitarian disaster, one of the administration’s own making.  There’s been a dramatic increase in the number of unaccompanied minors that are crossing our borders from Guatemala and Honduras and El Salvador.  The administration’s actions have only served to encourage more illegal crossings.  It’s another situation that appears to have caught the administration flat-footed.”

On the Terrorist Surge in Iraq:

“And finally, let’s look abroad.  Now at least one of the five Taliban commanders that was released played a key role in al Qaeda’s plans leading up to the attacks of 9/11.  The White House thought the American people were going to cheer when the president released these terrorists.  I think his misreading of the American people is fairly shocking. 

“And with terrorists marching toward Baghdad, we’ve asked the president for a strategy to reverse the momentum and spread of terrorism.  I heard a little bit about Iraq yesterday, but the White House has known for months about the situation in Iraq, and when you look it’s not just Iraq.  It’s Libya, it’s Egypt, it’s Syria.  The spread of terrorism has increased exponentially under this president’s leadership.”

On the Need for the President to Lead:

“And, as you may recall, after the last election, I said that I hoped that the president would seize this moment and take the lead. And here we are, a year and a half later, you look at this presidency and you can’t help but get the sense that the wheels are coming off.” 

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Invitation to Visit Canada to Discuss North American Energy & Jobs

2014/06/19

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today received a formal invitation from the Speaker of the Canadian House of Commons to visit Canada to discuss issues critical to the economies of the United States and Canada.  Topics for discussion would include the need for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to support job creation and energy independence for both countries.

The invitation was presented to Speaker Boehner in person this morning by Gary Doer, Canada’s Ambassador to the United States, accompanied by Robert Merrifield, Chair of Canada’s Standing Committee on International Trade, during a meeting in the Speaker’s Office of the U.S. Capitol. 

“I’m grateful to the Ambassador and Mr. Merrifield for meeting with me to deliver this invitation from Canada, which I’m going to make every effort to accept,” Speaker Boehner said.  “There’s a tremendous opportunity right in front of us to help create jobs and support energy security for the people of both nations.  It would be a tragedy if that opportunity were missed because of Washington bureaucracy and politics.”

The invitation comes just days after news that the Canadian government has conditionally approved construction of a separate pipeline that would enable Canada to export oil to Asia, while the Keystone XL pipeline remains stalled indefinitely by political and bureaucratic obstacles created by the Obama Administration and Democratic-controlled Senate. 

“Canada is our number-one trading partner and one of our strongest allies.  Partnering with our Canadian friends and neighbors on energy is the most obvious step we can take toward energy security and independence for the American people,” Boehner added.  “I’m eager to talk directly with Canadian Prime Minister Harper about the opportunities ahead for our two countries on jobs and energy.”

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After Obama Fumbles Away Keystone Energy & Jobs, China Scores

2014/06/18

After months of delaying any decision, on January 18, 2012, President Obama bowed to extremists in his party and denied the permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline. It was clear then that China would capitalize off of his unforced error.

The Canadian Prime Minister said President Obama’s rejection was “a wakeup call,” and warned that his country would not be “held hostage to decisions in the United States…that may be made for very bad political reasons.” The Canadian Natural Resource Minister said the “decision by the Obama administration underlines the importance of diversifying and expanding our markets, including the growing Asian market.”

“If we don't build this pipeline…to our refineries in the Gulf Coast,” Speaker Boehner warned at the time, “that oil is going to get shipped out to the Pacific Ocean and will be sold to the Chinese.”

By June 2012, The New York Times was reporting that “billions of barrels of [Canadian] oil that would have been refined and used in the United States are now poised to head elsewhere.”

Earlier this year, Bloomberg Businessweek described four major pipeline projects in Canada, two of which would facilitate shipments to China. One project was approved in March, and yesterday, Canadian officials gave the green light to construction of a new pipeline to the Pacific. These improvements to Canada’s energy infrastructure contrast sharply with the Obama administration’s perpetual inaction: Keystone’s application was first submitted to the U.S. State Department more than five years ago.

The Obama administration declared the arrival of “Recovery Summer” four years ago, but Americans are still struggling under its harmful policies. According to the State Department’s calculations, building the Keystone pipeline would add $3.4 billion in growth to America’s economy. Imagine the thousands and thousands of jobs it would create. Think of all those paychecks for workers, and how the families they support would benefit. Unfortunately, all they’ve received is one “low blow” after another.

There’s no scientific reason for President Obama’s Keystone obstruction, and with instability in the Middle East once again causing pain at the pump, America should be improving its energy security by working with our North American neighbors. Canada has been a great friend and a critical ally to the United States, but the president’s feckless foreign policy has damaged even that bond: Yesterday’s pipeline approval, writes Canada’s National Post, “has everything to do with our rocky relationship to the U.S.” Reporting elsewhere mentions “frayed relations,” and describes Canadian leaders as “irritated” and “shocked” that President Obama is “treating a long-presumed ‘special relationship’ between Canada and the U.S….as a political football.”

So while the president plays his favorite game, Americans can only watch as he voluntarily fumbles much-needed energy and jobs away into China’s hands. If that’s his idea of “winning the future” – a slogan he unveiled just months before his first delay of Keystone – it’s time for a new game plan.

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Speaker Boehner Names Republican Conferees on VA Measures

2014/06/18

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today named eight House Republicans to serve on the conference committee charged with reaching agreement on VA accountability and emergency care measures.  They are:

  • Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL), chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee
  • Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO)
  • Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN)
  • Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX)
  • Rep. Dan Benishek (R-MI)
  • Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO)
  • Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH)
  • Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN)

Speaker Boehner, who met with the negotiating team this morning, said, “Providing accountability and emergency access to private care will make a real difference, but they’re no substitute for a long-term plan from the president to address the VA’s systemic problems.  I’m confident our negotiators will usher these reforms to the president’s desk while continuing our work to hold him accountable.”

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Leaders Announce Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony for Shimon Peres

2014/06/18

WASHINGTON, DC – Leaders of the U.S. House and Senate will present a Congressional Gold Medal next week to Israeli President Shimon Peres, the last surviving member of Israel’s founding generation.

The ceremony will take place on Thursday, June 26, 2014 at 10:00 am ET in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol.  House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will participate.

The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian award the United States Congress can bestow.  It is being presented to President Peres pursuant to H.R. 2939, which states that “by presenting the Congressional Gold Medal to Shimon Peres, the first to be awarded to a sitting President of Israel, Congress proclaims its unbreakable bond with Israel and reaffirms its continual support for Israel.”  

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Counting The Reasons to Pass Our Jobs Bills

2014/06/18

Where are the jobs?  Higher prices on everything.  A new normal of slow growth.  There are more reasons than ever to pass the House’s jobs bills, and the Ways & Means Committee has begun tallying them up.  Check out the first post below, and be sure to stay tuned for more at http://waysandmeans.house.gov and on Twitter at @WaysandMeansGOP.

Four Years since “Recovery Summer,” the First of 40 Reasons for Senate Democrats to Act on 40 House-Passed Jobs BillsReason #1: Worst “Recovery” for Jobs Ever

On June 17, 2010, the Obama Administration announced the start of “Recovery Summer.”  As one Administration official put it back then, “This summer is sure to be a Summer of Economic Recovery.”  That boast added to promise after promise by the Administration and Congressional Democrats that their policies would turn the economy around and “lay a new foundation for growth and prosperity” enjoyed by all:

  • The Administration promised in 2009 that their trillion-dollar stimulus plan would create 3.5 million jobs and reduce unemployment to 5 percent by now;  
  • President-elect Obama said “shovel-ready projects all across the country” were on the way, through which “jobs are going to be created”;
  • Then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised in 2010 that Obamacare would create another 4 million jobs, declaring it “a jobs bill”; 
  • The Administration’s “Jobs Council” would advise the President “on ways to create jobs, opportunity, and prosperity”; and
  • The Administration’s “Middle Class Task Force” would, among other things, help the Administration “protect middle-class and working-family incomes.” 

Unfortunately for the American people, none of that actually happened. 

Instead, as displayed below, even four years after the original “Recovery Summer” the American people continue to experience the worst “recovery” for jobs ever.  This is just the first reason for the Senate to take up and pass the 40 jobs bills the House has passed in the last 18 months.  But there are more reasons – many more.  As will be displayed in subsequent releases, there are at least 40 reasons for the Senate to pass these 40 House jobs bills.  The reasons define the distress Americans continue to feel in the “new normal” of high unemployment and weak job creation resulting from Obama Administration economic policies.

Reason #1: Worst “recovery” for jobs ever.  In no other recession did it take this long to recover the lost jobs.

Source: Calculated Risk Blog.

 

 

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Boehner: Missing Emails Another Reason Administration Must Come Clean on IRS Scandal

2014/06/18

WASHINGTON, DC – The Obama administration’s continued stonewalling of House Republicans’ IRS investigation prompted a strong rebuke from House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), who said this morning that it’s “time for the administration to come clean and to be honest” with the American people about the targeting scandal.  Following are Boehner’s remarks:

“But beyond our focus on the economy, we still have a responsibility to provide oversight of the executive branch.  The president said that there would be full cooperation with the IRS scandal.  And yet we find out late last week, and then even more troubling news yesterday, that all of these emails for several years have been lost and the fact is they’ve known since February that these emails were lost.  It’s time for the administration to come clean and to be honest and truthful to the American people.”

NOTE: A comprehensive list of reports, hearing transcripts, and other materials associated with the House’s ongoing investigation of the IRS targeting scandal is available at gop.gov/irs.

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Boehner Presses Senate Dems on House-Passed Jobs Bills

2014/06/18

WASHINGTON, DC – With economists predicting yet another year of weak economic growth, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today pressed Senate Democrats to act on the dozens of House-passed jobs bills that are sitting in that chamber.  Following are excerpts of Boehner’s remarks from a press conference with House Republican leaders:

“You know, another week and more troubling news about our economy.  The American people are paying more for gasoline, more for food, and certainly they’re paying a lot more for their health insurance.  And if that’s not bad enough, economists came out late last week and made it clear that they expected slower economic growth this year as compared to last year. 

“Listen, we’ve sent jobs bill after jobs bill over to the United States Senate where they continue to lay there and gather dust.”

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Caught Off Guard, President Owes Americans an Iraq Strategy

2014/06/18

In a meeting today at the White House, Speaker Boehner expects President Obama to offer a coherent strategy to reverse the momentum and spread of terrorism both in Iraq and the region.  After all, both Congress and the Pentagon have warned the president for months about the worsening situation.  His White House should have seen this coming, but instead, it has been caught flat-footed from the start:

  • “Iraqi Drama Catches U.S. Off Guard” “The quickly unfolding drama prompted a White House meeting Wednesday of top policy makers and military leaders who were caught off guard by the swift collapse of Iraqi security forces, officials acknowledged.” (Wall Street Journal)
  • “U.S. Scrambles to Help Iraq Fight Off Militants as Baghdad Is Threatened” “In his only public comments on Iraq, Mr. Obama said his national security staff was meeting around the clock. But the frenzy of activity has yet to produce a tangible American response — attesting to how swiftly this crisis has erupted and how it has left a stunned White House groping for a response.” (New York Times)
  • “Obama Should Have Seen Iraq Unrest Coming, Experts Say” “Lawmakers from both parties and even some non-partisan analysts say the Obama administration should have better anticipated the rise of Sunni militants, who captured Iraq’s second-largest city last week and could pose a terrorism threat both within and outside the country’s borders.  With U.S. officials now scrambling to respond to the advances by The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the insurgent group that seized Mosul last week, some critics say there was either a failure by U.S. intelligence officials in assessing the strength of ISIS or Obama and his policy team didn’t react quickly enough.” (NBC News)

We spent years, vast sums of money, and – most importantly – thousands of American lives to improve Iraq’s security and make America safer.  Squandering that legacy would be a tragic mistake.

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President Obama’s Other Green Agenda

2014/06/17

Over the weekend, President Obama jetted off to a political fundraiser in California, a state where ultra-liberal Democrats have a time-honored tradition of promoting extreme environmental policies that hurt American families, the economy and jobs.

The Obama administration has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars on failed green energy projects over the years, but in a Saturday speech at UC Irvine the president didn’t waste any time in rushing to cloak his customary straw men in white lab coats. In short, he supports science. But he conveniently failed to mention his stubborn refusal to approve a pro-jobs energy infrastructure project like the Keystone XL pipeline, probably because “there is no reason, scientific or otherwise,” for delaying it:

  • “After two thorough environmental analyses, State Department experts determined that the [Keystone XL] pipeline’s impact probably would be minimal, even on climate change-inducing carbon dioxide emissions,” The Washington Post’s editorial board summarized in April.
  • According to data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “The annual increase [in carbon emissions] from Keystone would amount to less than three-tenths of one percent of our total annual CO2-e emissions — [or] 0.286546 percent,” the Post’s Wonkblog reported, also noting that “more than 10 times that much CO2-e gets released into the atmosphere each year from methane produced by cows.”
  • A study commissioned by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and conducted by the National Academy of Sciences found that the type of crude oil the Keystone pipeline would carry is no more corrosive than others and would not increase the chance of leaks.

So why are President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and other anti-affordable energy activists fighting to block improvements to our nation’s pipeline infrastructure?

Turns out their pal Tom Steyer, a California billionaire, has said that the government’s green energy policies offer “a chance to make a lot of money.” Both President Obama and Vice President Biden have held political fundraisers in Steyer’s $5.8 million San Francisco mansion, and he’s pledged to spend $100 million on the 2014 elections in support of anti-Keystone Democrats. So let’s be honest: it’s not about the science, it’s about the money. The obstructionists blocking Keystone have a different kind of green agenda: big campaign donations courtesy of a billionaire super-donor.

Sure, they may be blocking thousands of jobs and paychecks for workers, millions of dollars in new tax revenue for states, and billions of dollars in growth for our economy. But for Democrats, campaign cash comes first.

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A Sad Reality for Seniors

2014/06/17

In a letter to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner last month, House Energy & Commerce Committee Republicans warned that the president’s health care law “will result in higher costs and fewer choices for millions of seniors who currently enjoy high-quality, affordable plans, and the possibility that some will lose their current plan altogether.”  Sadly, those concerns are now becoming a reality for thousands of Medicare Advantage enrollees – a disproportionate number of whom are minority or low income seniors - facing higher premiums and losing access to doctors because of the law:

  • “They Told Me Directly That the Funds for Medicare Advantage Plans Had Been Reduced Because of the Affordable Care Act” “So in the fall, Capone was primed to renew during open enrollment until he saw that his no-premium insurance had removed the ‘no.’  The 2014 version of the plan came with a monthly premium of $153.70.  ‘I called Horizon and they told me directly that the funds for Medicare Advantage plans had been reduced because of the Affordable Care Act.’ … ‘What bothers the hell out of me is that my mother would never be able to go through these plans and figure out what’s going on,’ he said. ‘There is not a chance that she would be able to make a legitimate decision because of the detail involved.’” (Philadelphia Inquirer)
  • “They Will Have to Find a New Doctor or Eventually Switch to a New Health Plan” “For elderly patients enrolled in the plan, the cuts mean they will have to find a new doctor or eventually switch to a new health plan that covers their current doctor. … The changes come amid a gradual reduction of reimbursements to private insurers that offer Medicare Advantage plans as a way to offset costs associated with President Obama’s health reform law.” (Boston Globe)

Earlier this year, House Republican leaders sent a letter to the White House urging the administration “to develop a plan to address the devastating impact” of ObamaCare on seniors.  The administration failed to do so, and is moving full steam ahead with changes under the president’s health care law that will, according to analysis by the American Action Forum, result in cuts of about $317 per Medicare Advantage enrollee, and an overall “benefits reduction of about $1,538.”  

Whether it’s seniors, small businesses, or hardworking families, the president’s health care law is hurting Americans and failing to live up to the president’s promises.  That’s why House Republicans remain committed to doing away with the law and protecting all Americans from its harmful consequences.  As Boehner has said, “The truth is you can’t fix this law – it needs to be torn out by its roots.  You may be tired of hearing about this but as long as this law is around we’re going to keep fighting it.”

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Statement on the Capture of Ahmed Abu Khatallah

2014/06/17

WASHINGTON, DC - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement regarding American forces' capture of Ahmed Abu Khatallah, a suspect in the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya:

"It is obviously good news that this terrorist is now in American custody, and I am grateful for the work of our military - assisted by the FBI - in capturing him.  I look forward to hearing more details regarding the raid, and I expect the administration to give our military professionals time to properly gather any useful intelligence he has."

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Gold Medal Ceremony for Raoul Wallenberg

2014/06/17

WASHINGTON, DC – Leaders of the U.S. House and Senate will posthumously present a Congressional Gold Medal to Raoul Wallenberg next month in honor of his heroism during the Holocaust.

The ceremony will take place on Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at 3:00 pm ET in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol.  House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will participate.

The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian award the United States Congress can bestow.  It is being presented pursuant to H.R. 3001, which details how Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat, saved the lives of nearly 100,000 Hungarian Jews.       

 

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Gas Prices Are Up, But We’re Not Helpless

2014/06/17

Gas prices are up all of a sudden, and experts are attributing it to the violence in Iraq.  For Americans already straining to get by in this tough economy, these prices spikes are another blow:

“Higher gas prices means higher prices for food, groceries and everything that needs transport.  It affects the lower and middle class who are struggling and will struggle more.”  (Coral Springs, FL)

“We lost 40% of our business over a period of time and it's hard to recoup that. Generally, what our suppliers do is they tack on a service fee which covers cost of fuel.   So that's going to go up, that's another cost you have to deal with."  (Quincy, IL)

“I know our gas prices are going to go up, but I don’t think they’re going to go down anytime soon either.” (Western Massachusetts)

It would be easy to say we’re helpless in this situation, but we’re not.   We never are.  We don’t have to constantly be one international crisis away from another bout of pain at the pump.   Instead, Americans can have the stability – and lower prices – that come with relying on our own energy resources.   

This is why, every day, Republicans are working to implement a real ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy for the nation.  Learn more about our plan at speaker.gov/jobs.

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Urging Progress on Trade for Jobs

2014/06/17

On Monday, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) “cut its forecast for U.S. economic growth this year by 0.8 percentage point to 2%.” America’s economy can and should be doing a lot better.

House Republicans have passed stacks of jobs bills, but many of them are being blocked by Senate Democrats. Another solution that would help grow the economy is Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which would help expand markets for goods that are made in America and create more jobs. President Obama says he supports it, but he’s done nothing to convince members of his own party to get on board, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) continues to stand in the way. Said a former Obama administration Commerce official in April: “[M]y old boss, the president, needs to step up and he needs to get out there himself. ... He has to get on the phone, he has to go work the Hill.”

TPA, which turns 80 years old this month, would make “it easier for our workers – including the 1.4 million Ohioans whose jobs depend on trade – to be able to compete with China and the world’s growing economies,” Speaker Boehner said in February.

More trade equals more American jobs: According to one report, in fact, 38 million American jobs – one in five across the country – are supported by trade. In 2008 more than $300 billion of U.S. economic output was generated through the free trade agreements the United States currently has with other nations. In 2012, the United States ran a $59 billion trade surplus in manufacturing goods with those 20 nations.

Reuters reports that Americans “can expect progress on some critical U.S. trade initiatives if the Republican Party takes control of both houses of the U.S. Congress this November.” Let’s hope Americans looking for work won’t have to wait that long.  The ball is in the president’s court.

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Speaker Boehner Statement on Iraq

2014/06/13

WASHINGTON, DC - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement on the situation in Iraq:

“Both Congress and the Pentagon have been warning the White House about the worsening situation in Iraq, but for months it has done almost nothing.  It’s long past time for the president to lay out a plan for how we can reverse the momentum and spread of terrorism in Iraq and a region that is critical to U.S. national interests.”

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Like a Cronut: The New Speaker.gov

2014/06/13

You may have already noticed, but Speaker.gov recently received a fresh coat of paint.  The site went through its last major overhaul in 2012, but in the worlds of design and technology, that can seem like an eternity.  For crying out loud, cronuts had not even been invented yet.

Now, with the cronut revolution in our rearview mirror, we’re excited about the next big thing to please your taste buds…er…computer screens.  While site visitors will find the same familiar layout they’ve come to know and love, the new Speaker.gov is streamlined to help you find and share information faster, easier, and more socially than ever before.  For those who like bullet points as much as I do, here’s a partial list of some of the more recognizable changes: 

  • Icons to navigate to all of Speaker Boehner’s social networks at the bottom of every page;
  • Open Graph tags to allow better previews when content is shared on Facebook;
  • Simple email forms at the end of each blog post, allowing visitors to stay in the loop on the issues they care about most; and
  • A flatter design with larger images, updated fonts, and a new color scheme – resulting in faster load times throughout the site 

In the coming weeks and months, we’ll continue to prioritize transparency and functionality as we improve the visitor experience.  In that way, Speaker.gov is a lot like a cronut...getting better and better with every bite. 

Fun fact: For those of you who prefer to get your news on the go, Speaker.gov still looks great on any tablet or smartphone.  In fact, one out of every three visitors who come to Speaker.gov do so on a mobile device.  In the pre-cronut era of 2011 that was fewer than one in 10.

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As Chaos Looms in Iraq...

2014/06/12

After President Obama and his team failed to negotiate a renewal of America’s status of forces agreement with the new government of Iraq, it expired at the end of 2011. As the last American troops left that country in December that year, the president marked “the end of the war,” saying it would “soon belong to history”:

Indeed, everything that American troops have done in Iraq – all the fighting and all the dying, the bleeding and the building, and the training and the partnering – all of it has led to this moment of success….

And around the globe, as we draw down in Iraq, we have gone after al Qaeda so that terrorists who threaten America will have no safe haven.

A month later, his 2012 State of the Union address was full of election-year cheer:

Most of al Qaeda’s top lieutenants have been defeated….

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[.]

Al Qaeda is on the run” became a familiar phrase by November 6, 2012. Fast forward to the present year:

  • January 3: “A rejuvenated al-Qaeda-affiliated force asserted control over the western Iraqi city of Fallujah on Friday, raising its flag over government buildings and declaring an Islamic state[.]”
  • June 10: “Insurgents seized control of most of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Tuesday in a powerful demonstration of the threat posed by a rapidly expanding extremist army….Fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an al-Qaeda offshoot, overran the western bank of the city overnight[.]”
  • June 11: “Al-Qaida-inspired militants pushed deeper into Iraq's Sunni heartland Wednesday, swiftly conquering Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit.”
  • Today, June 12: “Iraq was on the brink of disintegration Thursday as al-Qaeda-inspired fighters swept through northern Iraq toward Baghdad and Kurdish soldiers seized the city of Kirkuk without a fight.”

After apparently looting what amounts to $429 million from Mosul’s central bank, the terrorists say the capital of Baghdad is next on their hit list.

For months, questions have been raised about what the Obama administration is doing to prevent Iraq from slipping into chaos. But as Speaker Boehner said this morning, it seems President Obama has been caught “taking a nap.” In January, with major signs of trouble evident, Speaker Boehner said, “There are things that we can do to help the Iraqis that do not involve putting U.S. troops on the ground.” Now, it’s more true than ever that “We must maintain a long-term commitment to a successful outcome” in Iraq.

So what is the Obama administration’s plan to protect and preserve American troops’ hard-won gains? Confronted with that question just this afternoon at the White House, the president talked for nearly five minutes. The takeaway? After “months” of “watching” the situation, he’s not ruling anything out.

Meanwhile, under the new “Obama Doctrine,” five top Taliban commanders have been set free from Guantanamo. Libya is a lawless haven for jihadists. Extremists in Syria fight on. Threats in Africa and Pakistan multiply. And in Iraq, the spawn of al Qaeda is on the run. Toward Baghdad.

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The Tree of Anne Frank

2014/06/12

On this day in 1942, Anne Frank received as a birthday gift the diary in which she described the chestnut tree that stood outside the Amsterdam annex where her family hid from the Nazis.   “I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles,” she wrote.  Now, 72 years later, a sapling from that same tree grows on the West Front Lawn of the United States Capitol, planted there earlier this spring.  

Anne Frank would have been 85 today. 

 

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A Man of First Principle

2014/06/12

Speaker Boehner accepted a portrait of Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) into the House collection yesterday evening.  Smith served as Chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary from 2011-2013.

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Boehner Touts House Action on Small Business Jobs Bills

2014/06/12

WASHINGTON, DC – At his weekly press briefing today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) applauded House action on two permanent tax reform bills that will help small businesses invest and put more Americans back to work – another step forward in House Republicans’ plan for economic growth and jobs.  Following are excerpts of Boehner’s remarks. 

“Eric Cantor has been a true friend and I want to thank him and thank his staff for their service to our conference and thank them for their service to our country as well.  There’s no one around here who works harder, or puts more thought into advancing our principles and the solutions that we want to enact for the American people.  I look forward to him continuing to lead our floor efforts here over the summer.

“As for the future, let me share a little bit with you what I told the members yesterday.  This is a time for unity; this is a time to focus on what we all know is true: that the president’s policies have failed the American people.  His administration can’t get our economy back to real growth and he continues to endanger our troops and citizens with his failed foreign policies. 

“And at this point, the administration can’t even provide basic services to our veterans.  We need to elect a Congress that not only has the will to stop the president, but the power to do so as well.

“Every day, we’re showing the American people that we’ve got better solutions.  Today, we’ll act on two more jobs bills that will help small businesses invest and grow.  Unfortunately, Senate Democrats continue to sit on their hands, failing to act on the dozens of jobs bills that are sitting over in the Senate. 

“But guess what? So long as the American people continue to ask the question, ‘where are the jobs?,’ we’re going to continue to be focused on this one issue.”

 

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The New ‘Obama Doctrine’: Negotiating With Terrorists

2014/06/12

At his weekly press conference this morning, Speaker Boehner followed up on his earlier comments that the transfer of five Taliban commanders has made Americans less safe: 

“I  said on Tuesday that the transfer of five hardened terrorists has made Americans less safe.  And I mean that, and I’ll stand by it.

“When asked last week whether the freed terrorists could return to plotting attacks on Americans, President Obama said ‘absolutely.’  Well, I  don’t think that’s about half of it.

“This exchange has encouraged our enemies and increased the risk to our military and civilian personnel serving around the globe.  Those who would argue the opposite, I think, are incredibly naive.

“One of our citizens’ greatest protections was  knowing that the United States does not negotiate with terrorists.   And that issue now, that principle has been compromised.

“America is willing to make deals with terrorists – that’s the new ‘Obama doctrine.’”

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Boehner on Iraq: “What’s the President Doing?"

2014/06/12

With the recent wave of terrorist violence sweeping across Iraq, Speaker Boehner took the president to task today for failing to directly engage on the issue, jeopardizing the progress that has been made and the security of America’s vital interests in that nation.  Following are excerpts of Boehner’s remarks: 

“Back in January, I urged the president to get engaged with what’s going on in Iraq.  And this week we’ve seen big cities in Iraq overrun with terrorists.

“The Obama administration’s failure to reach a status of forces agreement continues to have serious consequences for Iraq and American interests in the region.  And the administration’s failed policies in Syria, Libya, and Egypt – and its failure to implement a broader strategy for the Middle East – is having a direct impact on the situation in Iraq.

“The United States has, and will continue to have, vital national interests in Iraq, but the progress made there is clearly in jeopardy.  The president celebrated our exit from Iraq as a hallmark of his foreign policy agenda, but our focus should be instead on completing our mission successfully.  And I would urge the president, once again, to get engaged before it’s too late. … 

“It’s not like we haven’t seen this problem coming for over a year and it’s not like we haven’t seen, over the last five or six months, these terrorists moving in, taking control of western Iraq.  Now they’ve taken control of Mosul, they’re 100 miles from Baghdad, and what’s the president doing?  Taking a nap.”

NOTE: Video of Speaker Boehner’s January 2014 remarks on the need for President Obama to directly engage on Iraq is available here.  

 

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www.speaker.gov

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

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