Speaker of the House

John Boehner

Statement by House GOP Leaders on Border Bill

2014/07/31

WASHINGTON, DC – House Republican leaders John Boehner (R-OH), Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Steve Scalise (R-LA), and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) today issued the following statement regarding H.R. 5230, the border supplemental legislation:

“This situation shows the intense concern within our conference – and among the American people – about the need to ensure the security of our borders and the president’s refusal to faithfully execute our laws.  There are numerous steps the president can and should be taking right now, without the need for congressional action, to secure our borders and ensure these children are returned swiftly and safely to their countries.  For the past month, the House has been engaged in intensive efforts to pass legislation that would compel the president to do his job and ensure it can be done as quickly and compassionately as possible.  Through an inclusive process, a border bill was built by listening to members and the American people that has the support not just of a majority of the majority in the House, but most of the House Republican Conference.  We will continue to work on solutions to the border crisis and other challenges facing our country.”

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Our Solutions: Lowering Costs, Expanding Opportunity, & Helping More Americans Find Work

2014/07/31

WASHINGTON, DC – House Republicans are focused on Americans’ top priorities, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said today, pointing to the more than 40 House-passed jobs bills that are stuck in the Democratic-controlled Senate.  Boehner faulted the president and Senate Democrats for failing to act, and pledged that Republicans will continue advancing solutions to boost economic growth and jobs.  Following are Boehner’s remarks:

“Republicans continue to work tirelessly to deliver solutions for the American people.  We’ve spent 18 months focusing on the people’s priorities – jobs, opportunity, national security, and a more accountable government.

“There are 40 bills gathering dust in the United States Senate, waiting on Democrats to act, all of which would help create more jobs in our country.  Middle-class families and small businesses are struggling in this economy.  But the president and his party have chosen to ignore the American peoples’ concerns.

“Over the month of August, we’ll continue to make the American people’s priorities our priority – and that means talking about our plan for jobs and the economy.  And in September, the House will focus on American solutions to help get people back to work, lower costs at home, and restore opportunity for all Americans.”

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Boehner: More Unilateral Actions Will Cement Legacy of Lawlessness

2014/07/31

WASHINGTON, DC – At his weekly press briefing today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) blasted President Obama for not only failing to address the border crisis for which he is responsible, but for threatening more unilateral actions that will make matters worse.  Following are Boehner’s remarks:

“Republicans are committed to addressing the humanitarian crisis on the border in a responsible way.

“The first bill on the floor helps secure our border and speeds the return of unaccompanied children back to their home countries.

The president and the White House have abandoned all pretense of governing.  They once called… changing the 2008 law a ‘bipartisan priority.’  Now they oppose it and call it ‘partisan.’

Instead of addressing the crisis at hand, Senate Democrats are talking up some nutso scheme to jam through the Senate immigration bill, even though they know it will never happen.  And I’ll say it one more time:  the House will not take up the Senate immigration reform bill or accept it back from the Senate in any fashion, including in this border bill.  Nor will we accept any attempt to add other immigration reform issues, or anything like it, including the DREAM Act, to the House’s border bill. 

“Any attempt to exploit this crisis – and these kids - by adding such measures is going to run into a brick wall here in the People’s House.

The crisis on the border is one of the president’s own making.  But he still hasn’t learned his lesson.  Now he’s threatened to re-write the law and take more unilateral action on immigration in the coming months.

“Let me just be clear: such action would create an even greater incentive for more illegal crossings and make the crisis at our border even worse.  That would be a grave mistake. 

The second bill we’ll vote on today will make clear the House’s position: no more unilateral action by the president.

“We’re a nation of laws.  The president takes an oath of office in which he gives his word that he will faithfully execute those laws.  And if the president takes these actions, he’ll be sealing the deal on his legacy of lawlessness.  He’ll be violating the solemn oath he made to the American people on the day of his inauguration.  And he’ll be sacrificing the integrity of our laws on the altar of political opportunism.  And I can guarantee you, the American people will hold him accountable.

“So let’s be honest, the actions he’s threatening to take are not about policy; they’re about politics.  The president’s support is slipping, and he and his party are desperate to motivate their base as we move toward the November elections. 

“We have many challenges facing our country, and those challenges need to be addressed through strong leadership.  Every time the president rewrites a law unilaterally and declines to enforce the laws of our nation as they’re written, it conveys not strength, but weakness.  And it makes it harder to build the trust with the American people to get things done that really do need to get done.”

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Myths/Facts: House Republican Border Crisis Supplemental Legislation

2014/07/31

Myth: The bill would abolish voluntary return for unaccompanied minors.

Fact: The bill would make all unaccompanied minors eligible for voluntary return immediately, speeding the return of many unaccompanied minors to their home countries. Current law only allows UACs from contiguous countries to be eligible for voluntary return.

Myth: This bill will result in more people getting asylum.

Fact: This bill will reduce the number of migrant children granted asylum. Under the House Republican bill, unaccompanied children from countries other than Mexico would be treated the same as unaccompanied children from Mexico and made eligible for immediate return to their home countries, reducing the number of those who may claim asylum. This prioritization is expected to further reduce the number of applications for asylum given the fact that 95 percent of unaccompanied children who applied for asylum in FY 2014 did so after being in the U.S. for more than 100 days. Through the 3rd quarter of fiscal year 2014, only two percent of UACs have claimed asylum and only a portion of those claims were approved. 

Myth: The bill appears to put the majority of unaccompanied minors in the new court proceedings, where they are permitted to withdraw their application for admission at any time.

Fact: This is false.  The bill would only put unaccompanied minors who do not consent to voluntary return into court proceedings, and these court proceedings would be expedited to hasten the return of these children to their home countries.

Myth: The bill creates a new seven-day court proceeding for all unaccompanied minors in which an immigration judge determines whether a UAC has a claim for immigration relief.

Fact: The court removal proceedings are not seven-days long, but must occur within seven days. At this expedited removal proceeding, the child will be required to prove to the judge that they are eligible for relief from removal under current law and standards. If not, they will be ordered removed and detained until they are sent back home. This new expedited procedure allows the unaccompanied child no opportunity to appeal or delay proceedings

Myth: Unaccompanied children are screened for credible fear by the Border Patrol

Fact: Under both current law and the bill, border patrol agents cannot make a credible fear determination, they can merely refer an unaccompanied child for a credible fear interview. Even then, a credible fear screening is only the first step in the asylum process.

Myth: The majority of these UACs will claim a fear of persecution or state their intent to apply for asylum.

Fact: Through the 3rd quarter of FY 2014, only two percent of UACs have claimed asylum and only a portion of those claims were approved.  Under current law, the first step in the asylum process is the credible fear interview at USCIS. If UACs succeed at this interview, they must be detained pending a final adjudication of the asylum claim. If they fail to prove their full claim, they will be ordered removed from the country.

Myth: The House bill states that the DHS Secretary “shall permit” UACs who have received Notices to Appear (issued since Jan. 1, 2013) to appear before an immigration judge in the new proceeding created by the bill, move to have the Notice to Appear “replaced,” and apply for admission to the U.S.

Fact: The bill does not allow for the re-opening of orders of removal. The bill would merely allow children who have received Notices to Appear, but not had a court date, to come into court, submit to government detention and either be voluntarily removed or immediately placed in a non-appealable removal hearing.

Myth: The House bill does not use the word “detention” but rather “custody.” This is an important distinction because “custody” can be satisfied by transferring a UAC to HHS, which places the UAC in a non-secure setting.

Fact: There is no evidence that children are absconding from or escaping from HHS facilities. HHS does maintain secure facilities for children who are a danger or flight risk. If a child does escape and abscond from their court proceedings, they will be ordered removed in absentia and become an immigration fugitive. Keeping all children in secure detention facilities is dangerous, excessive and unnecessary.

Myth: The changes to the 2008 law in this bill would achieve the reverse of the bill’s intention- that this bill would result in all unaccompanied child minors, from all countries, going through a longer process - the same process given to minors who have been victims of trafficking, has a credible fear of persecution, or is unable to make a decision about withdrawing their application

Fact:  This is false. Other similar bills that amend the 2008 included drafting errors which created this unintentional consequence. The terminology in the bill requires that unaccompanied children meet certain requirements to be eligible for removal, including the fact that they were not a victim of sex trafficking.  Some bills had drafted their text to say “does not meet” which would have created a double negative and in fact had the result of excluding all unaccompanied children from voluntary removal. This bill does not result in treating Mexican children like non-contiguous countries and uses the proper phrasing to ensure that all UACs are treated the same, thus speeding the return of these children to their home countries. 

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Leaders Announce Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony Honoring Fallen Heroes of 9/11

2014/07/31

WASHINGTON, DC – Leaders of the U.S. House and Senate today announced that they will present a Congressional Gold Medal in honor of the Fallen Heroes of 9/11 at a Capitol ceremony in September.

The Gold Medal is the highest civilian award the United States Congress can bestow.  Enacted on December 23, 2011, the Fallen Heroes of 9/11 Act directs that three medals be struck in honor of the men and women who perished as a result of the September 11th attacks, with one to be provided to the Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania, one to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York, and one to the Pentagon Memorial at the Pentagon.

The ceremony will take place on Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 11:00 am ET in Emancipation Hall of the United States Capitol Visitor Center.  Additional details will be announced at a later date. 

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Speaker Boehner Welcomes Indiana Governor Mike Pence Back to the Capitol

2014/07/30

Speaker Boehner sat down with his friend and former colleague, Indiana Governor Mike Pence.  Governor Pence served as Chairman of the Republican Conference in the 111th Congress.  

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Speaker Boehner Urges House to Defend the Constitution

2014/07/30

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today made the following floor remarks in support of H. Res. 676, a resolution which authorizes the House to enter into litigation in opposition to President Obama’s attempts to make his own laws, actions that challenge the constitutional separation of powers: 

“Let me thank my colleague for yielding, and I also want thank the whole House for its work to address the people’s concerns about jobs and our economy.  All told, we have sent the Senate now more than 40 jobs bills, almost all of them in a bipartisan way.  From the first day of this Congress, I’ve said our focus would be on jobs, and it has been.

“But also on that first day, you may recall that I addressed the House about the importance of our oath of office.  I noted that it’s the same oath we all take, it makes no mention of party, makes no mention of faction, or agenda.  The oath only refers to the Constitution – and our obligation to defend it.  I said that with moments like this in mind…I said that knowing there would be times when we would have to do things we didn’t come here to do, we didn’t plan to do, things that require us to consider interests greater than our own interests.

“I have to think this is why, on several occasions, members of the minority party have taken a similar step.  In 2011, some of them filed litigation against the vice president.  They took similar steps in 2006, 2002, 2001, and so forth.

“Because this isn’t about Republicans and Democrats.  It is about defending the Constitution that we swore an oath to uphold, and acting decisively when it may be compromised.

“No member of this body needs to be reminded of what the Constitution states about the president’s obligation to faithfully execute the laws of our nation.  No member needs to be reminded of the bonds of trust that have been frayed, of the damage that’s already been done to our economy and to our people.  Are you willing to let any president choose what laws to execute and what laws to change?  Are you willing to let anyone tear apart what our Founders have built?

“Think not only about the specifics of the oath you took, but think about how you took it: as one body, standing together.  That is all I am asking you to do today: to act as one institution, to defend the Constitution on behalf of the people we serve.”

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CBO: House’s Border Bill Will ‘Reduce Number of Children’ Who Stay After Illegally Crossing Border

2014/07/30

Today, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its assessment of H.R. 5230, House Republicans’ bill to address the humanitarian crisis at our southern border. A central component of the legislation is an update to a 2008 anti-trafficking law, which will speed up the process of returning migrant children to their home countries. Under current law, unaccompanied children from countries other than Mexico or Canada who cross our border illegally are ineligible for immediate removal. Obama administration officials supported fixing this law before they were against it.

Here are two key facts about the House Republican bill:

It will increase the number of migrant children immediately returned to their home countries. “CBO considers it likely that enacting Division B [of H.R. 5230] would reduce the number of children present in the United States receiving means‐tested federal benefits, thereby reducing direct spending for such benefits,” the report states. 

It will reduce the number of migrant children granted asylum. Critics have claimed otherwise, but this is incorrect. To start, “Unaccompanied Alien Children (UACs),” a technical terms used by the federal government, accounted for less than two percent (718) of all new asylum applications received (44,446) in FY 2013. Moreover, every year since FY 2012, only about two percent of all UACs apprehended by Border Patrol have applied for asylum. This rate remained fairly steady in the first three quarters of FY 2014, when 1,532 applied. Some critics have pointed to a House Judiciary Committee press release stating that “65% of unaccompanied alien minors’ asylum applications have been immediately approved by asylum officers in Fiscal Year 2014.” However, this 65 percent must be applied to the two percent of UACs who actually applied for asylum, making the number of those receiving asylum in the first three quarters of FY 2014 when the surge of illegal immigration was at its height a relatively small one – especially considering the Obama administration’s estimate that as many as 90,000 UACs could be apprehended by Border Patrol by the end of this fiscal year (September 30).

Under the House Republican bill, UACs from countries other than Mexico would be treated the same as UACs from Mexico and made eligible for immediate return to their home countries, reducing the number of those who may claim asylum. For those that stay in federal custody to await an expedited immigration court hearing, the bill would require their hearing to occur within a week, and it would prioritize removal of UACs who most recently arrived in the U.S., a policy of “last in, first out.” This prioritization is expected to further reduce the number of applications for asylum given the fact that 95 percent of UACs who applied for asylum in FY 2014 did so after being in the U.S. for more than 100 days.

Finally, House Republicans’ bill would ensure that noncitizens convicted of a drug-related felony are not eligible for asylum. It should also be noted that in order to receive asylum, applicants must have a specific, personal fear of persecution due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Violence and instability in an applicant’s home country, while unfortunate, are not sufficient factors.

For more key facts about the House Republican bill, click here.

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VA Access & Accountability Bill One Step Closer to the President’s Desk

2014/07/30

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WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement after the House passed the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, & Transparency Act (H.R. 3230), a bipartisan, bicameral agreement to begin addressing the problems at the Veterans Administration:

“Allowing the lives of our nation’s veterans to slip through the cracks of a broken bureaucracy is not just unacceptable, it’s immoral.  Making sure veterans have timely access to care is one of the first things we must do to address the crisis at the VA.  We also need real accountability, and making it easier to fire or demote the senior managers who are not doing their jobs is a positive step forward.  But, this agreement is just the beginning.  Much more work needs to be done to fix the widespread problems at the VA, and it’s going to require the president to outline a long-term plan for systemic VA reform. 

“This is another example of what we can accomplish when we put aside politics for the common good, and I’m especially grateful to Chairman Jeff Miller and the members of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee for their leadership.” 

NOTE: The Senate is expected to take up H.R. 3230 later this week, sending the agreement to the White House for the president’s signature.

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Focusing on Jobs & Solutions to Empower All Americans

2014/07/30

Continuing our focus on jobs, House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) today led a press conference outside the Capitol to highlight Republicans’ solutions to empower Americans at work and at home.  POLITICO has more:

“House Republicans promoted their plan for empowering working women and families on Wednesday, emphasizing tax credits, workplace flexibility and job training. … The GOP legislators took turns speaking on legislation passed and pending while stressing their personal stories as women in the workplace, the children of aging parents, or fathers of daughters.”

Watch the full press conference here, and check out quotes from all the participants:

Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA): “Our workforce has changed. Our laws should change with them.  House Republicans have been working for a long time to advance these solutions.

Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC): Families across the country are looking to us in Congress for solutions, and we’re providing them.  The House has passed numerous bills … many of which are job creation bills that will turn this economy around…”

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV): “Many of our families are caring for their elderly parents, and it really is causing a squeeze, not only on time, but certainly on affordability issues. … What my bill does is try to get a little more money in the pocket with the dependent care tax credit.”

Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL): We’re putting forth solutions for America’s families because in this Obama Economy, we are seeing costs rise, and when families hurt, opportunities suffer for all Americans.”

Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS): “I’m proud to stand with individuals here in Washington who are working on solutions … that get people back to work, that put more money in people’s pockets, and give us more freedom.”

Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI): “I’m proud to stand with my Republican colleagues that are working for solutions … to give flexibility so that work and vocations and challenges that come in life and family decisions can be met.”

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO):I’m proud of the work that the Congress has done on a bipartisan basis to help women in the military, as well as military families.”

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC):The main focus should be on solutions. … What we’re looking for is for the Senate to look for other great bills that we have over there and pass them in a bipartisan fashion so we can present more solutions to the American people.”

Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL): “I would ask the Senate to look at the Working Families Flexibility Act, and this is a simple way we can provide relief to working moms and dads in this tough economy.” 

For more, check out a guest post from Rep. Ellmers on our solutions to help women & families

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Key Facts on House Border Bill

2014/07/30

House Republicans have made it clear to the president that he will not get the blank check he is seeking to address the humanitarian crisis – the crisis of his own making - at the southern border.  The House will instead take up border legislation this week that includes critical policy reforms and targeted funding aligned with the recommendations of the House’s border security working group, led by Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX). 

Here are key facts about the bill, courtesy of the House Appropriations Committee:

  • Makes changes to a 2008 law to expedite the return of unaccompanied minors to their home countries by treating Central American children the same as those from Mexico.  President Obama and members of his administration have repeatedly called for such a change, characterizing it as a “bipartisan priority.”
  • Prohibits the Interior and Agriculture secretaries from limiting the activities of Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents on federal public lands within 100 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border.
  • Provides funding for National Guard troops at the southern border which, as Speaker Boehner noted in a letter to the president last month, are “uniquely qualified to respond to such humanitarian crises” and will “relieve the border patrol to focus on their primary duty of securing our border.”
  • Pares down the president’s $3.7 billion request to $659 million, which is fully offset by cuts and recessions to existing funds, and specifically targets all funding toward addressing the most immediate needs at the border.  
  • Provides additional resources for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and CBP operations aimed at securing the border, increasing detention space, and expediting the processing and deportation of unaccompanied children and families.  
  • Increases the number of temporary immigration judges to enhance the capacity of the immigration court system, allowing the courts to process more cases and reduce the lengthy wait periods between detention and removal.
  • Prioritizes repatriation assistance to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador from within existing foreign aid funding to facilitate the return and reintegration of children in their home countries.
  • Expresses the Sense of the Congress that unauthorized migrants should not be housed on military installations unless certain conditions are met. 

Just as important as what’s in the bill is what won’t be.  There is nothing in this bill that would constitute any form of “amnesty” whatsoever – its goals are to secure our border, address the humanitarian crisis, and expedite the return of more migrants to their home countries.  And, as Speaker Boehner made abundantly clear to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) yesterday, “the House of Representatives will not take up the Senate immigration reform bill or accept it back from the Senate in any fashion. … Such measures have no place in the effort to solve this crisis, and any attempt to exploit this crisis by adding such measures will run into a brick wall in the People’s House.”

Learn more about the bill from the House Appropriations Committee here.

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In God We Trust

2014/07/30

On July 30, 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the law that made “In God We Trust” the official motto of the United States of America.  It also mandated that the phrase be printed on all U.S. currency, including paper.  And in November 2011, the House passed H. Con. Res 13, a bipartisan bill that reaffirmed “In God We Trust” as our nation’s official motto.

This spring, Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) presented Speaker Boehner with a plaque (pictured above) to hang in his office in the Capitol.  It’s a proud reminder of this important phrase that originated more than 150 years ago.  Originally approved by Congress in 1864, the phrase comes from the Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.”

On this important anniversary, the Speaker said:

“I’m proud to commemorate and reaffirm the appropriateness of our national motto and I’m proud to have this plaque hanging in my office.  ‘In God We Trust’ speaks to all of our citizens, and it’s not just a source of pride for us, it is a beacon of hope for the world.”

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Obama Abandons Border Crisis Solution, Republicans Step Up

2014/07/29

President Obama’s border crisis flip-flop is now official: the White House says it supports Senate Democrats’ multi-billion dollar spending proposal that does not change the 2008 anti-trafficking law, which means they’re out-of-step with most of the country. A strong majority of Americans think the 2008 anti-trafficking law should be updated to speed up the process of returning unaccompanied minors to their home countries. President Obama and many other Democrats were for changing the 2008 law before they were against it for political reasons.

It’s another classic example of President Obama saying he’d do one thing and then doing the exact opposite. No wonder nearly six in 10 Americans believe he is incapable of managing the government effectively.

Democrats’ reversal was so chaotic and abrupt that White House senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer was still telling reporters on Friday – four days ago – that the president continues to support changing the 2008 law.

Even more embarrassing, when the White House revealed its new position in a press release yesterday, it attacked House Republicans’ plan to change the 2008 law as “partisan.” If White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest wrote that line, someone should remind him of what he said at the podium just three weeks ago, when he described the same idea as a “priority of this administration, and if you listen to the public comments of Democrats and Republican, it sounds like it’s a bipartisan priority.”

Here’s the bottom line: the president and Senate Democrats want a blank check and billions of taxpayer dollars to spend, with no accountability and no end to the border crisis. But they aren’t going to get it. House Republicans plan to vote this week on legislation that will specifically and responsibly target resources to deploy the National Guard, help Border Patrol officials do their job, change the 2008 law, and speed up the process of returning these children to their home countries. You can read House Republicans’ bill here.

Earlier today, Speaker Boehner made it crystal clear to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) that “the House of Representatives will not take up the Senate immigration reform bill or accept it back from the Senate in any fashion. Nor will we accept any attempt to add any other comprehensive immigration reform bill or anything like it, including the DREAM Act, to the House’s targeted legislation, which is meant to fix the actual problems causing the border crisis. Such measures have no place in the effort to solve this crisis, and any attempt to exploit this crisis by adding such measures will run into a brick wall in the People’s House.”

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On the House Floor: Improving VA Access & Accountability

2014/07/29

This week, the House will vote on the Veterans’ Access to Care Through Choice, Accountability, & Transparency Act, a bipartisan, bicameral agreement that begins to address the problems at the Veterans Administration.  Here’s a look at what’s in the bill, and how it will help ensure our nation’s heroes receive the care they need and the benefits they have earned:

  • ACCESS:  Following a CNN report that 40 veterans died awaiting care at a Phoenix VA facility, stories of secret waiting lists across the country emerged, exposing a widespread problem that is putting veterans’ lives at risk.  The legislation allows veterans to seek private care if they live more than 40 miles from the nearest VA facility, or are unable to get an appointment at a VA facility within 30 days.  It also extends two pilot programs to help veterans receive care closer to their homes, and to improve rehabilitation services for those who have suffered a traumatic brain injury. 
  • ACCOUNTABILITY: In May, House Republicans passed the VA Management Accountability Act (H.R. 4031), legislation backed by numerous veterans groups that makes it easier to fire or demote senior VA managers who are not doing their jobs.  The bill includes reforms similar to H.R. 4031 to help bring real accountability to the VA, and to prevent senior managers from receiving bonuses during their removal process. 
  • INDEPENDENT REVIEW:  Whether it’s the secret waiting lists, the backlog, or the preventable deaths, it is imperative to get to the bottom of the problems at the VARepublicans have called on President Obama to outline a vision for systemic VA reform, but he has yet to do so.  The bill ensures that there will be an independent review of VA medical care, and it establishes a congressional commission to evaluate access to care.  These measures will help identify long-term reforms necessary to improve the quality and accessibility of care for our veterans.

“The veterans of this country deserve the best quality health care that they can get in a timely fashion, and that has not been the case as of late,” Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL) said at a press conference announcing the bipartisan agreement yesterday.  This bill provides the first step toward ensuring more access and accountability, with less net spending than both the House and Senate-passed bills. 

But, as Speaker Boehner made clear today, “there’s an awful lot more work that needs to be done.”  The president owes veterans a long-term plan to resolve the problems at the VA and make certain that they never happen again, and House Republicans will continue pressing him to offer one.

Read more about the Veterans Access, Choice & Accountability Act here.

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Boehner to Reid: House Will Reject Any Attempt to Add Immigration Reform to Border Bill

2014/07/29

The House will not take up the Senate immigration reform bill or accept it back from the Senate in any fashion http://t.co/MNM2Qb6Vrl

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) July 29, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said he would attempt to add comprehensive immigration reform to any House-passed bill to address the current border crisis:

“Senator Reid, embarrassed that he cannot strong-arm the Senate into passing the blank check President Obama demanded, is making a deceitful and cynical attempt to derail the House’s common-sense solution.  So let me be as clear as I can be with Senator Reid: the House of Representatives will not take up the Senate immigration reform bill or accept it back from the Senate in any fashion.  Nor will we accept any attempt to add any other comprehensive immigration reform bill or anything like it, including the DREAM Act, to the House’s targeted legislation, which is meant to fix the actual problems causing the border crisis.  Such measures have no place in the effort to solve this crisis, and any attempt to exploit this crisis by adding such measures will run into a brick wall in the People’s House.

“While the White House has abandoned all pretense of governing and the Senate is doing almost nothing to address our struggling economy, Republicans remain committed to addressing the American people’s priorities, and that includes passing a responsible bill this week to help secure our border and return these children safely to their home countries.” 

NOTE: Republican Senators have also ruled out any attempt to use the current crisis to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

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Five Points on the House’s Litigation Against the Executive Branch

2014/07/29

This week, the House will take up H. Res. 676, which authorizes the House to enter into litigation in opposition to President Obama’s attempts to make his own laws, actions that challenge the constitutional separation of powers.  Specifically, the resolution would authorize the filing of a lawsuit pertaining to how, on two separate occasions, the president made changes to his health care law without authorization by Congress. 

You can read the resolution on docs.house.gov, and as you do, here are five points to review:

1. This isn’t about Republicans vs. Democrats; it’s about the Constitution.  From Speaker Boehner’s op-ed for USA TODAY:

“Congress makes the laws; the president executes them. That is the system the Founders gave us. This is not about executive orders. Every president issues executive orders. Most of them, though, do so within the law.  This is also not about me vs. President Obama. This is about future Congresses and future presidents. There is a conflict between the executive branch and the legislative branch of our government. It is the judiciary branch's role to help resolve it.  I believe this path is the right one to defend our institution and preserve the Constitution, while continuing to focus on the American people's top priority — helping our private sector create more American jobs.” Read the full piece here.

2. This litigation does not detract from – and in fact, supports – the House’s focus on jobs and the economy.  This is one of several key points we addressed earlier this month:

“America is a nation of laws, and the American economy relies on understanding our laws and regulations that apply to them.  Uncertainty about how laws as written will be implemented creates a drag on our economy, our jobs, and our businesses.  The President must be held accountable to faithful execution of those laws for the health of our economy.”  Read more of our key points here.

3. This litigation has the backing of highly-respected legal experts.  Jonathan Turley, Professor of Public Interest Law at The George Washington University Law School, was among those who testified before the Rules Committee on this issue:

Some of the changes ordered by President Obama did, in my view, cross the constitutional line in violation of the Separation of Powers. … We remain a nation of laws and we have a court system designed to resolve such controversies. That is precisely where this authorization would take us and it is where these questions should be answered.”  Read more from his testimony and that of other experts here.

4. Democrats were for suing the president before they were against it.  Here’s what Kim Strassel of The Wall Street Journal wrote after a Rules Committee hearing on the issue:

“…there was so much that escaped Democrats' minds at that hearing.  Not one of those present, for instance, recalled that only two years ago, four of their House colleagues filed suit against Vice President Joe Biden (in his capacity as head of the Senate) challenging as unconstitutional the filibuster. Or that Democratic legislators also filed lawsuits claiming standing in 2011, and in 2007, and in 2006, and in 2002 and in 2001 and . . . Of the 41 filed by plaintiffs with unified political affiliation, nearly 70% were brought by Democrats. At least 20 of those came since 2000.”  Read the full piece here.

5. Courts continue to rule against the president’s aggressive overreach.  This has happened at least three times since Speaker Boehner first issued a memo indicating his intent to take this step.  Here’s what Boehner said on those occasions:

  • June 26, 2014, re: ‘recess appointments’: “This ruling is a victory for the Constitution, and against President Obama’s aggressive overreach, which challenges our ability to effectively represent the people.” Full statement here.
  • June 30, 2014, re: the HHS mandate in the 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.” Full statement here.
  • July 22, 2014, re: the legality of health care subsidies: “The president has demonstrated he believes he has the power to make his own laws.  That’s not the way our system of government was designed to work.” Full statement here.
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Boehner: “Where is the President” on Jobs?

2014/07/29

WASHINGTON, DC – At a press conference with Republican leaders today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) contrasted House Republicans’ continuing focus on Americans’ top priorities - jobs and the economy - with the president and Senate Democrats’ refusal to act.  Following are Boehner’s remarks:

“You know, over the last 18 months Republicans in the House have been focused on the American people’s priorities.  Whether it’s growing our economy, creating more jobs, holding our government accountable. 

“Last week the president signed … the SKILLS Act, signed it into law – a step in the right direction.  This week we’ve got an agreement on first steps toward dealing with the problems at the Veterans Administration.  But there’s an awful lot more work that needs to be done. 

“Over 40 jobs bills sitting on the desk of the Senate Majority Leader.  And Senate Democrats refuse to stay focused on what the American people want to stay focused on, and that’s more jobs and better pay. 

“You know, the American people aren’t just asking the question, ‘where are the jobs?,’ they’re also asking, ‘where is the president?’”

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Speaker Boehner: The House Will Always Stand With Israel

2014/07/28

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today made the following remarks at the National Leadership Assembly for Israel:

“In times like this, people try to isolate Israel -- but we are here to stand with Israel.  Not just as a broker or observer — but as a strong partner and a trusted ally.

“What does that mean?  Well, it doesn’t mean using vague, on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand statements.  No, it means backing up our words, and showing our solidarity with our friend. 

“That is why the House will always support Israel’s right to defend itself.  We will not equate professional militaries with terrorist organizations that use human shields and seek to maximize civilian casualties.  And we insist that the demilitarization of Gaza be not just a House goal but a shared, uncompromising U.S. and international objective.  We take this stand because we know that without demilitarization, the pattern of escalation, conflict, targeting of innocent civilians, and humanitarian suffering will continue.

“To achieve these objectives, the House will continue to back funding for Iron Dome to ensure Israel’s ability to protect its own people.  And we will continue to push the administration to address the root cause of the conflict in the Middle East.

“Because, make no mistake, what we are seeing in Gaza is a direct result of Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism in the region.  All we have to do is look at the ferocity of the fight and the sophistication of the weapons.  This is part of Iran’s long history of providing rockets and rocket parts to Gaza-based terrorist organizations, another cycle that must come to an end.

“America must send this clear, public, and united message: Israel is our friend, and Israel’s enemies are our enemies.  And as long as I am Speaker of the House, I give you my word this will be our cause.   Thank you very much.”

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Boehner Op-Ed: We’re Defending the Constitution

2014/07/28

USA TODAY July 28, 2014

President Obama has overstepped his constitutional authority — and it is the responsibility of the House of Representatives to defend the Constitution. At the same time, we remain focused on the American people's top priority: jobs and the economy.

I believe the president's actions in a number of areas — including job-destroying energy regulations, releasing the "Taliban 5" from Guantanamo without notice and waiving the work requirements in welfare — exceed his constitutional authority.

On the advice of legal experts, the House action will focus on his decision to extend — twice — the deadline to institute the employer mandate in his health care law. We believe this targeted lawsuit offers the best chance of success.

Given the groundbreaking nature of this legal action, we want to assert our clearest constitutional position. The fact we agree with a change that should have been made in law makes this case clearer to the court.

I oppose the employer mandate in the president's health care law. The House of Representatives has voted to delay or eliminate it (and we will do so again if we prevail in court). But it is the letter of the law that was passed by Congress and signed by President Obama. He simply cannot unilaterally rewrite it.

We will debate and pass the resolution authorizing the lawsuit openly, transparently and in regular order. At the same time, we will also continue to add to the list of more than 50 House-passed jobs bills currently awaiting action in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Congress makes the laws; the president executes them. That is the system the Founders gave us. This is not about executive orders. Every president issues executive orders. Most of them, though, do so within the law.

This is also not about me vs. President Obama. This is about future Congresses and future presidents. There is a conflict between the executive branch and the legislative branch of our government. It is the judiciary branch's role to help resolve it.

I believe this path is the right one to defend our institution and preserve the Constitution, while continuing to focus on the American people's top priority — helping our private sector create more American jobs.

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14 of Our Recent Greatest Hits on Jobs

2014/07/25

On Tuesday, the Library of Congress announced that its Gershwin Prize for Popular Song will go to Long Island’s own Billy Joel.  In honor of him and his music, here’s what we’ve been talking about lately on jobs:

  • The American people have been asking ‘where are the jobs’ “For the Longest Time,” as we find ourselves in the middle of the worst ‘recovery’ for jobs ever.
  • Yet the president just has to be a “Big Shot,” bragging about his policies when Americans are having a tough time.
  • No, “We Didn’t Start the Fire” of uncertainty that has small businesses in Southwest Ohio and nationwide struggling under ObamaCare.
  • And a student coming out of college trying to find a job has every right to be an “Angry Young Man” about this economy.
  • On top of all this, the president’s “Shameless” push for ‘economic patriotism’ would just make things worse, with even more jobs “Movin’ Out” of the country.
  • For our part, Republicans are “Keeping the Faith” with hardworking taxpayers, passing more good jobs bills and putting “Pressure” on Senate Democrats  to act.
  • "Don't Ask Me Why" they haven’t acted on these 10 bills that have broad bipartisan support, but hey, “The Night Is Still Young.”
  • (To be fair, they did admit “You May Be Right” about the need to “bring jobs home.”)
  • We’re also focused on openness and transparency to provide greater scrutiny of jobs and spending bills, because it’s always been “A Matter of Trust.”
  •  And getting a good-paying job can be “All About Soul,” and all about skills, which is an area where we made real progress this week for America’s workers.  
  • “This Is The Time” to act on more solutions that will get government out of the way so our economy can grow. 
  • So “Say Goodbye to Hollywood,” Mr. President, and work with us to help grow the middle class and expand opportunity for everyone, from the “Piano Man” to the “Uptown Girl.”
  • And P.S., “Vienna” may wait for you, Mr. Vice President, but it’s got nothing on Cincinnati, a city of good jobs and great chili. 

For more, check out our most recent jobs roundups:

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With Democrats in Disarray, Americans Agree: Fix 2008 Law

2014/07/25

As the humanitarian crisis on our southern border continues, surveys show a growing majority of the American people support updating a 2008 anti-trafficking law so that we can speed up the process of returning unaccompanied minors to their home countries.

According to a new CNN/ORC International poll, 62 percent support this solution – quite a consensus. But Democratic leaders like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) disagree. Incredibly, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) still claims that “the border is secure.”

Thankfully, there’s at least one member of their party who recognizes the central issue and hasn’t changed his mind yet, per Politico:

Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, appeared to lean against the Democratic supplemental package that did not include revisions to a 2008 anti-trafficking law that has come under heightened scrutiny during the current border crisis.

“You know, you’ve got to look at the 2008 law,” Manchin said Thursday, adding that he hasn’t made a final decision on whether to back or reject the funding measure. “You can’t leave the impression to people in these countries that they can just send them and … everything is fine. You just can’t do that.”

Precisely. That’s why Republicans support updating the 2008 law and addressing the real issues at the border, without giving the Obama administration the blank check it’s demanding after it flip-flopped in spectacular fashion.

Democrats are notably in disarray. Speaker Boehner sent a letter to President Obama days ago, asking him to publicly and definitively clarify his position. There’s been no official response, but late yesterday a “senior White House official” told reporters the president will “continue to support tweaks to the 2008 law.”

If that’s the case, why won’t he step up, do his job, show some leadership, and be straightforward with the American people?

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When Opportunism Is Disguised as ‘Patriotism’

2014/07/25

Have you heard the president’s spiel about ‘economic patriotism’?  The whole thing really is a case study in how the wheels are coming off this presidency.  Think about it...

The president rails against a problem of his own making, in this case corporate ‘inversions’ that would be a lot less likely if he had brought both parties together to fix our outdated tax code. 

Then he comes out with a plan that would actually make the problem worse.  As the Ways & Means Committee notes:

“In a typical inversion, an American company becomes a foreign company only on paper to pay lower taxes, but the headquarters and employees remain in the United States.  The President’s plan creates a perverse incentive to not just move on paper, but to actually move the headquarters and jobs overseas.  That’s because the legislation does not allow the company to get the tax benefit if it is managed and controlled in the US. That’s a lose-lose proposition for American workers.”

Exactly.  At a time when our economy is sputtering, the president’s plan  would just send more jobs overseas.  That doesn’t sound very patriotic, now does it?

How about we instead just do what needs to be done, and we fix our tax code from top to bottom?  How about we clear out the clutter of tax loopholes and lower rates for everyone?  Then we can really keep jobs and resources here.  Republicans remain ready to do this as part of our focus on jobs

But it isn’t really about solving the problem, is it?

After all, the president huffs and puffs about wanting Congress to act NOW, but one top Senate Democrat “readily admits that lawmakers are not likely to act anytime soon.  Some Senate Democrats won’t even back the plan.  So what could this be about?  Could it be the president attempting to stave off political trouble instead of addressing the people’s priorities?

That’s funny, since the very notion of patriotism is about putting country above party and bringing people together for the greater good.    

Instead of dividing people for political advantage, the president can endorse our push for comprehensive tax reform or convince Senate Democrats to act.  Let’s solve the real problem here.  Otherwise, every pink slip from companies moving overseas may as well be signed, ‘President Barack H. Obama.’

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A Fairer, Simpler Tax Code to Support Hardworking Families

2014/07/25

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement applauding House passage of the Student & Family Tax Simplification Act (H.R. 3393) and the Child Tax Credit Improvement Act (H.R. 4935):

“Making the tax code simpler and fairer is good for jobs and economic growth, and for American families barely treading water in the Obama economy.  The child tax credit legislation we passed today supports working families by eliminating the marriage penalty and better aligning the credit with the higher costs parents face.  We’ve also passed a bill this week that will make it easier for students and their families to utilize the tax credits available to them to make college more affordable.   Both of these common sense, bipartisan bills reflect our continuing focus on making Americans’ priorities our priorities and deserve an immediate vote in the Senate.”

NOTE: House Republicans have previously passed four bills to extend and make permanent certain tax provisions aimed at boosting economic growth and helping the private-sector create jobs.  Learn more at speaker.gov/jobs.

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Working to Prevent Human Trafficking & Support Its Victims

2014/07/25

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement applauding House passage this week of eight bills to help prevent human trafficking and support its victims: 

“An estimated 300,000 children are at risk of being trafficked every year.  As the father of two wonderful daughters, the stories of suffering and pain that follow from these heinous crimes weigh heavily on me, as they do all Americans, and compel us to action.  Providing law enforcement and human services personnel the tools, resources, and training they need to prevent trafficking and to better support its victims is critical.  We’ve now passed more than a dozen bills to do so, and will continue doing everything we can to prevent one more victim from being robbed of his or her most basic human rights.”

NOTE: This is the second series of bills passed by the House to fight human trafficking.  Information on the prior series of five bills is available here.

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Boehner Statement After Meeting with Presidents of Guatemala & Honduras

2014/07/24

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after meeting with President Otto Perez Molina of Guatemala and President Juan Orlando Hernández of Honduras to discuss the humanitarian crisis at our southern border:

“We had a constructive meeting with President Molina and President Hernandez, whose visit to Washington is further evidence of how seriously they are taking this situation.  I impressed upon them how important it is we all work together to end this crisis and reunite these children with their families in their home countries.  We continue to discuss our options with our colleagues, and remain firm in our commitment to find common ground and provide humanitarian relief.”

Participants in today’s meeting at the United States Capitol also included the following House leaders:

  • Majority Leader-elect Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)
  • Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)
  • Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY)
  • Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA)
  • Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX)
  • Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
  • Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), chair of House Republicans’ Border Security Working Group
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The House Remembers Officer Chestnut & Detective Gibson

2014/07/24

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. House of Representatives today held a moment of silence to honor the memory of two of the United States Capitol Police’s finest, Officer Jacob J. Chestnut and Detective John M. Gibson, who were killed in the line of duty on this day in 1998.  House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement:

Today we remember Officer Jacob J. Chestnut and Detective John M. Gibson.   Sixteen years later, their loss is still deeply felt, particularly by their fellow officers, to whom we owe everything.  Their memory, however, remains a source of inspiration to us and to all Americans.  Our thoughts today are with their families, as we pray God will continue to grant them the same strength and courage that earned these men our eternal respect.”

NOTE: This morning, Speaker Boehner paused to honor Officer Chestnut and Detective Gibson at the Memorial Door, where they defended the Capitol against an armed gunman. 

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A Good-Faith Offer to Resolve the VA Conference

2014/07/24

America’s veterans deserve answers and accountability from the Obama administration, and Republicans are working to provide solutions.  While this president has steadfastly refused to offer a long-term plan to address the VA’s systemic problems, the House passed bipartisan VA reform and accountability legislation to help in the short term, and we’re ready to complete work on an agreement the president can sign. 

Republicans have made a number of good-faith offers over the last couple weeks, only to be rejected by Senate Democrats who are demanding more money and less accountability.  Today, they even refused to attend a public House-Senate conference committee meeting on VA reform, preferring instead to talk behind closed doors. 

Despite Senate Democrats’ boycott, Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL) outlined the GOP’s latest good-faith offer today:

“In the wake of the biggest scandal in the history of the Department of Veterans Affairs, I am committed to working in a bipartisan manner with the Senate to send the president a VA reform package that will increase accountability at the department and provide veterans facing unacceptable waits for VA medical care the option to receive private-sector treatment. But arriving at a compromise will be impossible if Senate Democrats refuse to even participate in Veterans’ Affairs Conference Committee meetings and negotiations as they did today.

“The crisis at VA is not a partisan problem, and I will do everything I can to prevent this from devolving into an exercise in the sort of bickering and name calling for which Washington has become infamous.

“Today, we presented a good-faith offer to our counterparts in the Senate. It’s essentially the Senate-passed VA reform bill with authorization for more medical facility leases and a more responsible funding stream that provides both an immediate $10 billion for VA and critical oversight of the department’s future funding needs. I am prepared keep negotiating for as long as it takes to reach a deal, and I hope Senate Democrats will work with me to address VA’s delays in care and accountability crises. In the meantime, America’s veterans and American taxpayers will be waiting.”

To read more about the GOP’s offer to resolve this matter, click here.

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Another Good Bill to Help Students In This Tough Economy

2014/07/24

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today touted House passage of H.R. 4984, the Empowering Students through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act, authored by Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Richard Hudson (R-NC):

“Our students deserve the best start, and the more we can do to provide them with the information they need to plan for the cost of higher education, the more security and opportunities they’ll have.  That’s why we’re sending to the Senate a bill that boosts financial literacy with counseling that is more thorough and more consistent.  By helping students make wise financial decisions, we’re not only helping them get ahead – we’re also securing a better future for our country.  Families and students can visit speaker.gov/jobs to learn more about what we’re working on to grow the middle class and expand opportunity for all.”  

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Democrats Flip-Flop on Fixing Border Crisis

2014/07/24

At first, President Obama and Democrats in Congress signaled they were open to working with Republicans seeking to address the humanitarian crisis at our southern border. They said they supported changing a 2008 law so that the process of returning children safely to their home countries could be accelerated. But the president and his team have apparently flip-flopped. Now they want billions in new spending, with no commitment to solving the problem.

Here’s what the Obama administration was saying just a few days ago, when they were for fixing the problem before they were against it:

President Obama

  • June 27: “The problem is that under current law, once those kids come across the border, there's a system in which we're supposed to process them, take care of them, until we can send them back.”
  • June 30: “[W]e are eager to work with the Congress to … provid[e] the [Department of Homeland Security] Secretary additional authority to exercise discretion in processing the return and removal of unaccompanied minor children from non-contiguous countries like Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.”
  • July 9: “[P]art of what we're looking [for] in the supplemental [bill] is some flexibility in terms of being able to preserve the due process rights of individuals who come in.”

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest

  • July 2: “[T]he President would like … for the Secretary of Homeland Security to have the discretion to act quickly to repatriate them.”
  • July 3: “[W]e have a good sense of what kinds of authorities that we would seek[.] … There are some challenges that are posed by the current law, this 2008 law[.] … What that greater authority would do is it would ensure that as these cases are being processed … they can be resolved more promptly … [and] the Secretary can exercise the discretion to promptly repatriate that person.
  • July 7: “Giving the Secretary of Homeland Security additional authority …. [is a] priority of this administration, and if you listen to the public comments of Democrats and Republican, it sounds like it’s a bipartisan priority. … What we are seeking is greater authority … that would allow the administration to act more quickly in some cases to return children from the country where they originated.”

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson

  • July 6: “The law requires that, when DHS identifies somebody as a child, as an unaccompanied child, we turn them over to The Department of Health and Human Services. … [Deportation] proceeding[s] can take some time. And so we're looking at options, added flexibility, to deal with the children in particular.”
  • July 10: “In terms of the change in law … we’re asking … for the ability to treat unaccompanied kids from the Central American countries in the same way we would someone from a contiguous country.”

The fact that the president and his party have backpedalled and changed their position – including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) – raises new questions about whether they are willing to solve the problem. As Speaker Boehner said, “I don’t believe the American people will support sending more money to the border unless both parties work together to address these policies and actually solve this problem.”

Here’s what several surveys show:

  • “[T]he percentage of Americans citing immigration as the top problem has surged to 17% this month, up from 5% in June, and the highest seen since 2006.” (Gallup)
  • More than half of adults “(53%) think that the legal process for dealing with Central American children who cross the border illegally should be accelerated[.]” (Pew Research Center)
  • “59% of Likely U.S. Voters believe the primary focus of any new immigration legislation passed by Congress should be to send the young illegal immigrants back home as quickly as possible.” (Rasmussen)

From jobs and the economy to the border crisis, House Republicans have made the American people’s priorities our priorities. While blocking any real solution, Democrats want a blank check so they can spend billions more.

The sad truth is that their flip-flop is all about appeasing their extreme political base at the expense of American taxpayers and the border patrol officials who are just trying to do their job.

Yesterday, Speaker Boehner sent a letter to President Obama, asking him to show “strong, public support” for improving the 2008 law. “Working together, we can help provide crucial humanitarian relief, and work to secure our nation’s borders.” All it takes is leadership.

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Boehner: “No Blank Check for the President and His Allies”

2014/07/24

WASHINGTON, DC – At his weekly press briefing today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) reiterated that the president will not get the blank check he is seeking to address the crisis at the southern border.  Following are excerpts of Boehner’s remarks: 

“I want to thank Kay Granger and Hal Rogers for putting together some thoughtful recommendations on how to address the humanitarian crisis at the border.  We’re continuing to discuss these issues with our members and looking at those recommendations. 

“But the process has been hampered by the contradictory messages being sent by the White House about the president’s willingness to solve the problem. 

You know, the administration started earlier this month by signaling some openness to changes in the 2008 law to accelerate the process of returning these children to their home countries.  The president called for this change, the Secretary of Homeland Security called for this change, and other administration officials have called for this change.  Now, the president and his team have apparently flip-flopped.  Now they want billions in new spending, with no commitment to actually solving the problem.

We see a similar situation with the scandal at the VA.  Bipartisan, bicameral negotiations were making good progress until the White House began demanding more money, with no accountability and no strings attached. 

“I want to be clear: there’s going to be no blank check for the president and his allies.  Some in Washington may view every new crisis as an opportunity to demand more taxpayer dollars, but the American people don’t see it that way.  They want solutions.

“And I’m still hopeful that common ground can be found.  But common ground must start by listening to the American people.  And if forced between the priorities of the Democrat-controlled Washington and the priorities of the American people, my colleagues and I will stand with the American people every time.” 

NOTE: In a letter to the White House yesterday, Speaker Boehner urged President Obama to publicly reiterate his support for changes to the 2008 law, writing that “it is difficult to see how we can make progress on this issue without strong, public support from the White House for much-needed reforms - including changes to the 2008 law.”  Read the full letter here.

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The Worst Recovery in the President’s Lifetime

2014/07/24

WASHINGTON, DC – Middle-class families are struggling through the worst economic recovery in decades, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said today, noting that, five years into the so-called ‘recovery,’ Americans continue facing higher costs, lower wages, and weaker job prospects.  Following are excerpts of Boehner’s remarks:

“You know, Americans are still asking ‘where are the jobs?’  And as the so-called Obama ‘recovery’ turns five this week, I think it’s worth assessing where we are.

“Simply put, the president’s recovery is the worst economic recovery in the president’s own lifetime. 

“A record number of people are unemployed or have left the workforce.  More have left the workforce than have found new jobs.  Incomes for American families have declined under this president, while the cost of everything from gas to groceries has gone up.

“We can do better.  Republicans are listening to the American people, and we’re focused on jobs.  This week we’re sending more jobs bills to the Democrat-controlled Senate.  I think it’s time for the president to break the Senate gridlock, so we can deliver more solutions to middle-class American families.”

 

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Boehner’s Cincinnati To-Do List for the Vice President

2014/07/24

With the Vice President in Cincinnati today to talk about unemployment, Speaker Boehner took the opportunity to offer up a quick list of things to do in the Queen City.  This is from the Speaker’s OH-08 blog:

In this video message, Congressman John Boehner welcomes Vice President Biden to Cincinnati, reminding the vice president that Washington could learn a lot from the Republican economic solutions that are working in Ohio.

Boehner also asks the vice president to call on his party to work with House Republicans on dozens of House-passed jobs bills that would do things like expand energy production and rein in government red tape.

The video transcript is as follows:

Let me take this opportunity to welcome the Vice President to Cincinnati. 

A quick to-do list for him:

#1: Talk to some of our employers and local leaders about the turnaround we’re seeing in Ohio.  Our state is a model for what we can accomplish when we lower taxes, balance the budget, and fix our education system. We should be doing this in Washington, DC, too.  We should be getting our government out of the way. 

That’s why #2 is: call on his party to work with us to address unemployment and make a real difference for working families.  Let’s work together on expanding energy production, reining in red tape, and lowering health care costs.

And #3: Be smart, Mr. Vice President, and make a stop for some of our famous chili.

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"SHAMEFUL": Speaker Boehner on Senate Democrats' Refusal to Show Up for Public VA Talks

2014/07/24

WASHINGTON, DC -- House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement after Senate Democrats refused to attend a public House-Senate conference committee meeting on VA reform:

“In the wake of the shocking scandal at the Veterans Administration, the House passed a bipartisan VA reform and accountability bill, and we’re ready to complete work on an agreement the president can sign.  Unfortunately, Senate Democrats refused to even show up and discuss bipartisan solutions, preferring instead to talk behind closed doors.  That is shameful.  If President Obama cares about America’s veterans, he needs to pick up his phone out in California and tell Senate Democrats to get to work.”

Seats reserved for Senate Democrats remain empty at today's public conference meeting on #VAaccountabilitypic.twitter.com/1KMFOCPHX3

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) July 24, 2014
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What A Story: Abigail Rose Beutler & Dr. Jessica Bienstock

2014/07/23

Abigail Rose Beutler is a baby who was not supposed to live.  No other child with Potter’s Syndrome had.  But Dr. Jessica Bienstock at Johns Hopkins Hospital was willing to try an unconventional procedure, and Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) and her husband, Daniel, now have a happy, healthy one-year old. 

So it was a special moment earlier today when Abigail & Dr. Bienstock were reunited – in the House chamber of all places.  Speaker Boehner paused House business to welcome them:    

“Let me take this opportunity to recognize a special guest who is in our nation’s capital today.

“Dr. Jessica Bienstock is the Residency Program Director for the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

“In her career, she has delivered nearly 1,000 babies.  One of them is well-known to us, and she is Abigail Rose Beutler, who of course is the daughter of our friend…

“We’re all familiar with Abigail’s story, and the odds that she overcame.

“If she is a happy, healthy miracle, Dr. Bienstock is the miracle worker who helped give the gift of hope and life to this family.

“I think our House owes a debt of gratitude to her and to all of our doctors, nurses and medical professionals.”

Read more about Abigail’s story here

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Helping More Americans Get the Education They Need to Compete for Jobs

2014/07/23

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement today commending House passage of H.R. 4983 and H.R. 3136, the first in a series of bills the House is acting on this week to make post-secondary education more accessible and affordable:

“It’s hard enough for anyone to get ahead in this economy, but for those without a post-secondary education, the odds of making it are even tougher.  That’s why we’re working to help more Americans get the tools they need to plan for their future and make college more affordable.  Granting schools the flexibility to innovate and implement competency-based programs, which will allow students to save time and money, is an important step in that direction.  Both of these bills passed with overwhelming, bipartisan support and provide another opportunity for Senate Democrats to work with us to help more Americans who are still asking the question, ‘where are the jobs?’  President Obama should call on his party’s leaders in the Senate to act on these common-sense proposals, and the dozens of other House-passed jobs bills they are blocking.”

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All The President’s Missing Hard Drives

2014/07/23

Have you seen these hard drives? http://t.co/alXdkWdDP6 pic.twitter.com/n9HBpg0Isq

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) July 23, 2014

Why is it that whenever there are questions surrounding the Obama administration’s actions, emails and hard drives go missing and computers miraculously crash?

It’s not just one careless agency. It’s not just a couple isolated incidents:

  • A Federal Election Commission (FEC) attorney who engaged in partisan political activities while on the job admitted to violating the Hatch Act and agreed to resign. But when “the FEC's Office of Inspector General began the process of filing criminal charges … it found that the agency had destroyed her computer's hard drive before it could be seized.” (Daily Mail)
  • Environmenal Protection Agency (EPA) "Administrator Gina McCarthy confirmed to the House Oversight Committee … that her staff is unable to provide lawmakers all of the documents they have requested … because of a 2010 computer crash.” (The Hill)
  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) claims to have lost emails belonging to former official Lois Lerner after her hard drive crashed, as well as “six other IRS employees whose hard drives had also crashed. One of those six employees was particularly important: Nikole Flax, who had worked as chief of staff to the former head of the IRS. Flax was known to be involved in discussions about the tea party targeting.” (CNN)
  • IRS Deputy Associate Chief Counsel Thomas Kane testified last week that “less than 20” additional IRS officials “have had computer problems over the course of the period covered by the investigations and the chairman’s subpoena.” (Committee on Oversight and Government Reform)

As the investigation into the IRS’s targeting of conservatives continues, more inconsistencies are being discovered. This is hardly surprising, given that the agency and its defenders haven’t always told the truth or been eager to apologize.

Democrats like to pretend this is a “phony scandal,” but the Obama administration’s convenient data losses have even drawn questions from objective observers like the International Association of Information Technology Asset Managers. Check out all six of their questions about the IRS’s missing emails here.

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Boehner Letter: Does The White House Still Support Changing The 2008 Law?

2014/07/23

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) sent a letter to President Obama today asking him to publicly reiterate his support for much-needed changes to the 2008 law that created disparate treatment for migrants from nations other than Mexico and Canada. 

Read the entire letter here, and below:

Mr. President,

House Republicans have been clear that we want to work with you to help the victims of the terrible humanitarian crisis at our southern border – particularly the children, who have been cruelly duped into making a perilous journey. 

Our Appropriations Committee is continuing to review your supplemental request.  But, as I have said many times, the American people will not support providing additional money unless you work with both parties to address the causes of this tragedy. 

Earlier today, our Border Security working group – led by Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas) – briefed our Conference on recommended policy changes to address this crisis. One of their key recommendations is changing the 2008 law which created the disparate treatment for migrants from nations other than Mexico and made it more difficult to resolve this crisis.

In your letter to Congress on June 30, 2014, you said you supported “providing the DHS Secretary additional authority to exercise discretion in processing the return and removal of unaccompanied minor children from non-contiguous countries like Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.”  On July 9, at an event in Texas, you said: “Last week, I sent a letter to Congress asking them to … give us flexibility to move migrants through the system faster.” 

After these public statements, and similar comments from other administration officials, we were surprised that you did not include these changes in your formal supplemental request.  Worse, in recent days, senior congressional leaders in your own political party have backpedalled and voiced unswerving opposition to any changes at all. 

Frankly, it is difficult to see how we can make progress on this issue without strong, public support from the White House for much-needed reforms, including changes to the 2008 law. 

I hope you will take the earliest possible opportunity to voice your continued support for common-sense efforts to stem the flow of children to our border.  Working together, we can help provide crucial humanitarian relief, and work to secure our nation’s borders. 

Thank you,

John A. Boehner

Speaker of the House

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“Big Strides”: House’s #OpenGov Reforms Draw Bipartisan Praise

2014/07/23

The House is becoming more open and transparent thanks in part to “an official House leadership operation that’s relentlessly digital,” POLITICO reports today.

The story – in addition to looking at the great work being done by the House Republican Conference under Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) – delves into how the House is leading the way on open government.  There’s even praise from an unlikely source.  Check it out:

“Both the House GOP and Democrats have actually made big strides when it comes to using technology on the official front, often moving in bipartisan fashion in the name of institutional change and greater transparency. …

“Working together, for example, the House in 2012-13 adopted new transparency standards that allowed for the bulk data release of the U.S. Code, as well as legislation and floor summaries — a critical change that has helped fuel the Sunlight Foundation’s OpenCongress.org and other third-party sites that can turn the information into a more user-friendly experience.  Members can also now bring their tablets, smartphones and other electronic devices onto the floor.  And they can use their official funds to buy ads on Facebook and Twitter so long as they are designed to increase their followers, something that’s still prohibited in the Senate.

The GOP leadership team deserves credit ‘for engaging in a variety of positive developments with regard to new media usage in the House,’ said Faiz Shakir, digital director for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who previously held the same job for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).  ‘I think in general some of these developments have even outpaced where the Senate has been able to go,’ Shakir said.

These innovations go well with the reforms Speaker Boehner has made to open up the legislative process, with the minority being able to offer more amendments and more debate occurring under open rules.

All of this adds up to more scrutiny, which means more accountability and more of a say for the people we serve.  We have more strides to make, of course, and we’ll be keeping at it.     

To learn more, visit speaker.gov/open.

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President Must Press Senate Democrats to Act on Jobs Bills

2014/07/23

WASHINGTON, DC – At a press conference with Republican leaders today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) kept the pressure on President Obama to do his part to break the logjam in the Democratic-controlled Senate, where dozens of House-passed jobs bills are collecting dust.  Following are excerpts of Boehner’s remarks:  

“House Republicans have made the American people’s priorities our priorities.

“Yesterday, the president signed into law the SKILLS Act that would make job training, retraining programs more accessible to more Americans.  This week we’ll work on two pieces of the Higher Education Act which will help Americans get … more access to higher education. 

“But the president needs to work with us and, if he really wants to help, he’ll pick up the phone and call Senate Democrats who have over 40 jobs bills sitting in the United States Senate as passed by the House. … As a matter of fact, there are 321 House-passed bills that are sitting in the United States Senate.  It’s time for Senate Democrats to act.”

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Dems Using Our Lines; Maybe They’ll Embrace Our Ideas Too

2014/07/23

Would you look at that?  Senate Democrats have a new rallying cry: “Bring Jobs Home.”  We like it. 

We liked it two years ago when Speaker Boehner called on those same Senate Democrats to pass a bill to “Help Bring Jobs Home.”

We liked it in November 2012 when Speaker Boehner said at a press conference, “we can bring jobs home and make our economy stronger.”

We liked it in February 2013 when Speaker Boehner wrote about how we can “act on solutions that bring jobs home and get our economy moving again.”

We liked it in June 2013 when the Speaker gave a whole speech about the need for “more incentives to bring jobs home and keep ideas and resources here.”

We liked it in March 2014 when the Speaker said on the House floor, “developing our own resources doesn’t just bring jobs home; it strengthens America abroad. “

And we liked it so much that we made it the title of our weekly address in May and last Saturday too.  

Yes, we’ve been trying to bring jobs home for quite a while now.  How’s it going?  Well, it could be going a whole lot better if Senate Democrats would quit blocking our jobs bills.

That’s the thing: we’re fine with Democrats using our lines, but we’d much rather see them embrace our ideas.

If they really want to bring jobs home, they’ll help us expand American energy production, eliminate barriers to trade, strengthen our education system, and rein in the red tape factory, among other things. 

Surely this would be a better use of time than searching for a message to freshen up a stale agenda that – speaking of taglines – has many still asking, ‘where are the jobs?

To learn more, visit speaker.gov/jobs

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There She Is, Miss America

2014/07/23

Nina Davuluri, Miss America 2014, stopped by the Speaker’s office yesterday.  Along with her other duties as Miss America, Nina is working to raise awareness about the importance of education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).  A few months ago, Speaker Boehner announced the 8th District winners for the first-annual Congressional STEM Competition.  

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Top 10 Bipartisan Jobs Bills Blocked by Senate Democrats

2014/07/22

Under the control of Senate Democrats, “The Senate went three months this spring without voting on a single legislative amendment, the nitty-gritty kind of work usually at the heart of congressional lawmaking,” The Washington Post reports. “So few bills have been approved this year, and so little else has gotten done, that many senators say they are spending most of their time on insignificant and unrewarding work.”

Check out the stats. Even Democrats have complained about the Senate’s obstruction, and one actually said he was “furious.” When President Obama tried to blame Republicans, his rhetoric didn’t match reality and fact-checkers called him out for it, noting the dozens of jobs bills listed on speaker.gov/jobs that Senate  Democrats are currently blocking.

Here are just 10 of them, ranked in order of bipartisan support:

  • The Hire More Heroes Act (H.R. 3474) passed the House on March 11, 2014, with support from 183 Democrats. The Senate has done nothing.
  • The Success and Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Act (H.R. 10) passed the House on May 9, 2014, with support from 158 Democrats. The Senate has done nothing.
  • The Innovation Act (H.R. 3309) passed the House on December 5, 2013, with support from 130 Democrats. The Senate has done nothing.
  • The Cybersecurity Information Sharing and Protection Act (H.R. 624) passed the House on April 18, 2013, with support from 92 Democrats. The Senate has done nothing.
  • The American Research and Competitiveness Act (H.R. 4438) passed the House on May 9, 2014, with support from 62 Democrats. The Senate has done nothing.
  • The America's Small Business Tax Relief Act (H.R. 4457) passed the House on June 12, 2014, with support from 53 Democrats. The Senate has done nothing.
  • The Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act (H.R. 6) passed the House on June 25, 2014, with support from 46 Democrats. The Senate has done nothing.
  • The S Corporation Permanent Tax Relief Act (H.R. 4453) passed the House on June 12, 2014, with support from 42 Democrats. The Senate has done nothing.
  • The Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act (H.R. 2218) passed the House on July 25, 2013, with support from 39 Democrats. The Senate has done nothing.
  • The Small Business Capital Access and Job Preservation Act (H.R. 1105) passed the House on December 4, 2013, with support from 36 Democrats. The Senate has done nothing.

“These are just a few of the examples of what Republicans are working on to foster more economic growth and more job creation in our country,” Speaker Boehner said last week. “For the nearly four years of our majority, Republicans have stayed focused on the economy and on jobs. We’ve listened to the American people. Their priorities are our priorities.”

Instead of focusing on things like restricting religious freedom, the Democrats who run the Senate should follow the House’s lead and pass these jobs bills.

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Bipartisan Jobs Bill Becomes Law; More Work to Do

2014/07/22

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement after President Obama signed H.R. 803, bipartisan workforce development reform based on the House’s SKILLS Act, authored by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC):

“The signing of this bill is good news for people trying to find a job.  Eliminating programs that aren’t working and providing flexibility to the states will make it easier for more Americans to develop the right skills in today’s job market.  This is just getting government out of the way so our workers can get ahead.

“What these reforms also show is what we can achieve when we listen to the people and make their priorities ours.  The president says he’s willing to work with us, and by passing dozens of jobs bills, we’ve provided no shortage of opportunities for him to do just that.  If he’s serious, he’ll help us break the logjam in his party’s Senate and make more progress for Americans still asking ‘where are the jobs?’”

 

 

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Another Court Rules Against President Obama's Unilateral Actions

2014/07/22

WASHINGTON, DC - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit announced its decision in Halbig v. Burwell, which centered on the legality of subsidies offered under the Affordable Care Act:

“For the second time in a month, the courts have ruled against the president’s unilateral actions regarding ObamaCare.  The president has demonstrated he believes he has the power to make his own laws.  That’s not the way our system of government was designed to work.  That’s why the House will act next week to authorize a lawsuit to uphold the rule of law and protect our Constitution.  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. 

“Today’s ruling is also further proof that President Obama’s health care law is completely unworkable.  It cannot be fixed.  The American people recognize that ObamaCare is hurting our economy and making it harder for small businesses to hire, and that’s why Republicans remain committed to repealing the law and replacing it with solutions that will lower health care costs and protect American jobs.”

NOTE: Information about the House's lawsuit to protect the Constitution can be found here.

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This Week: Jobs Bills to Improve Education Access & Affordability

2014/07/22

For young Americans facing a tight job market, the cost of forgoing a post-secondary education has never been higher, according to a Pew Research Center survey.  “On virtually every measure of economic well-being and career attainment—from personal earnings to job satisfaction to the share employed full time—young college graduates are outperforming their peers with less education.”   But the growing price tag of a college education – up 27 percent for public four-year institutions and 29 for public two-year institutions over the past five years – is putting a degree too far out of reach for many middle-class families. 

Americans’ priorities are our priorities, and making post-secondary education more accessible and affordable is one of the most important things we can do to support hardworking families and fuel economic growth.  Here’s a look at the solutions we’ll be advancing this week to help address the cost of education and provide students with the foundation they need to compete in today’s job market:

Today, President Obama will sign bipartisan, bicameral legislation to improve and streamline job training programs, connecting more Americans with the skills they need to fill the 4.6 million jobs that are available today.  It’s an important step toward helping more families get back on their feet, and an example of what we can accomplish when Senate Democrats work across the aisle, and across the Capitol, to get something done.  The bills we’ll pass this week represent another area of common ground, and Senate Democrats ought to take them up and pass them as well, along with the many other bipartisan, House-passed jobs bills awaiting action.

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Speaker Boehner Congratulates “Piano Man” Billy Joel on Library of Congress Gershwin Prize Honor

2014/07/22

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement following the announcement by Librarian of Congress James Billington that singer/songwriter/composer Billy Joel will be the next recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song:

"Awarded by our government’s oldest cultural institution, the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song honors artists whose work has left a lasting impact on audiences and inspired new generations of performers.  I’m very pleased this year's prize will go to Mr. William Martin Joel.

"A self-described 'Cold War kid' who came to be the legendary ‘Piano Man,’ Billy Joel’s songbook reads like a map of the human heart and the American experience.  His is the work of a storyteller who grew up on rock and roll and the Beatles, and got his start working at piano bars to help his mother out.  He took his influences and experiences on post-World War II Long Island, and along with Phil Ramone and a band of brilliant musicians, created some of the most enduring hits of the late 20th century.  Who can forget him electrifying the crowds in Moscow and Leningrad in 1987, bridging the gap between the American and Russian peoples in his signature way.  The man makes great music, and we are grateful for his contributions. 

“One of the world’s most beloved singer-songwriters, Billy’s songs are an essential part of American pop music, making him a fine choice for the Gershwin Prize.  On behalf of the House, I congratulate him on this well-earned honor.”

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Boehner Statement on Humanitarian Crisis at the Southern Border

2014/07/21

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement on the national security and humanitarian crisis at the southern border:

“Republicans have made clear that we support efforts to take care of these children, return them safely to families in their home countries, and secure the border.  As promised, our border working group, led by Rep. Kay Granger, has conducted an extensive review of the crisis, and will present recommendations to our conference this week.  In addition, Chairman Rogers and the House Appropriations Committee have reviewed the administration’s supplemental request and will be presenting the results of that review.  We look forward to reviewing the recommendations of our members, and charting a path forward.

“In order to resolve this crisis in a timely manner, however, the White House must engage both parties on constructive solutions.  After first supporting common-sense changes to the 2008 law that is making it more difficult to resolve this crisis, the White House backpedalled and failed to include those changes in its formal request to Congress.  Meanwhile, many Democrats in Congress have reversed themselves and now say no changes to the 2008 law are acceptable.  As I said last week, I don’t believe the American people will support sending more money to the border unless both parties work together to address these policies and actually solve this problem.  The lack of leadership from this White House, and President Obama’s refusal to stand up to critics in his own political party, are jeopardizing our ability to find common ground and help the kids who are caught in the middle of this crisis.”

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45th Anniversary of the First Moon Landing

2014/07/20

Today marks the 45th anniversary of the first moon landing by Apollo 11.  That mission was a great feat for humanity, and in November 2011, Speaker Boehner and leaders of the House and Senate held a Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony to honor the astronauts who paved the way for a ‘new frontier.’  Three of those honored were the Apollo 11 astronauts: Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin.  At the ceremony, the Speaker reflected on a comment from Michael Collins, in which Collins spoke of their accomplishment as having done their job, though they did not see themselves as heroes.  Speaker Boehner said:

“When Americans take on our work with humility and dedication, there is truly nothing we can’t accomplish. We can do anything if we humble ourselves… if we have the right stuff.  Gentlemen, heroes or not, yours were heroic acts.”

Read more from the Speaker’s speech here

Shortly after the lunar module, named the Eagle, had landed, President Nixon called to congratulate the astronauts.  It was Armstrong’s response that encapsulated what this achievement meant and how much it still means to humanity:

“It’s a great honor and privilege for us to be here representing not only the United States but men of peace of all nations, men with interests and a curiosity and men with a vision for the future.”

In August 2012, when Armstrong passed away, Speaker Boehner said:

“A true hero has returned to the Heavens to which he once flew.  Neil Armstrong blazed trails not just for America, but for all of mankind.  He inspired generations of boys and girls worldwide not just through his monumental feat, but with the humility and grace with which he carried himself to the end.  Ohio has lost one of her proudest sons.  Humanity has gained a legend.”

We honor this legend and his comrades today.  

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Speaker’s Report: Focusing on Jobs, Defending the Constitution, and Taking a Moment

2014/07/19

JOBS ACCOUNTABILITY A MOMENT  

Finally, on Thursday, Speaker Boehner issued this brief statement following the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17:

“Many innocents were killed today.  It is horrifying, and we await the facts.  Right now, we should all take a moment to reflect, count our blessings, and convey our prayers to the loved ones of the victims.”

 

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Challenging President Obama to Break the Gridlock

2014/07/19

Here’s this week’s Republican address, in which Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) challenges President Obama to help break the gridlock that has left dozens of jobs bills stalled in his party’s Senate. Take a look

GOP: Democrats ‘hold our economy hostage’ by blocking jobs bills.  … Expanding domestic energy production is the ‘best way’ to invigorate the American economy, incoming House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., said Saturday in the weekly Republican address, but the ‘Democrats running Washington don't seem to get it.’  … Every time Democrats ‘say no’ to projects like Keystone, Scalise said Saturday, ‘they hold our economy hostage, and with it, our chance to make sure our kids will have that same shot at the American Dream.’  But despite the gridlock in some areas, the president said in his own address on Saturday, Congress has taken some "good steps" on job training and infrastructure improvements in recent days.” (CBS News, 7/19/14)

Scalise delivers weekly Republican speech promoting more energy production.  … Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, used his own life story to make the case that opportunity in the private sector, rather than big government, is the answer for America's economic problems. … It followed Scalise's favorite themes -- that the private sector, and specifically the energy industry, can boost opportunities for Americans -- if government gets out of the way.” (The Times-Picayune, 7/19/14)

Rep. Scalise: Obama Must Push Dems to Pass Jobs Bills.  … The president says he can make things happen with a pen and a phone, but he should ‘put down the pen he uses to rewrite laws’ and ‘pick up the phone’ to call on Democrats to pass jobs bills, Louisiana Republican Rep. Steve Scalise said Saturday. … Scalise touted his upbringing that taught him to ‘work hard, play by the rules and never give up.’ (Newsmax, 7/19/14)

GOP slams ‘pen and phone’ strategy.  Scalise, the former leader of the conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC), called on Obama to pressure the Democratically led Senate to adopt more bills that have been passed by the House.  … ‘Every time they say no — every time they pick their interests over yours — they hold our economy hostage, and with it, our chance to make sure our kids will have the same shot at the American dream,’ Scalise said in the GOP's regular weekly address.” (The Hill, 7/19/14)

Obama Must ‘Put Down The Pen’ and ‘Pick Up The Phone’ … In this week's Republican Address, Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana, discussed the importance of bipartisan jobs bills, blaming Congressional Democrats for blocking ‘bill after bill.’” (ABC News Radio, 7/19/14)

“But Rep. Steve Scalise, Louisiana Republican and incoming House majority whip, told Mr. Obama to ‘put down your pen and phone’ used for executive actions and to urge Senate Democrats to stop blocking the GOP's measures to help the economy. He said Mr. Obama and congressional Democrats

should support efforts such as building the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which has been stalled by the administration.  ‘Democrats running Washington don't seem to get it,’ Mr. Scalise said in the Republicans' weekly address. ‘They block bill after bill that would expand energy production, would lower gas prices, and create jobs. There are nearly 300 House-passed bills collecting dust in the Senate today – more than 40 of them specifically focused on creating jobs.’” (The Washington Times, 7/19/14)

“In the Republican address, Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana says Obama should encourage Senate Democrats to pass House-approved bills to put Americans back to work.” (Associated Press, 7/19/14) 

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Weekly Republican Address: Hard Work & Working Together to Bring Jobs Home

2014/07/18

WASHINGTON, DC – Delivering the Weekly Republican Address, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) talks about Republicans’ focus on jobs, the importance of hard work, and standing ready to work with the president to break the gridlock that has left dozens of House-passed jobs bills stalled in the Democratic-run Senate.  Scalise, who represents Louisiana’s First District, is the incoming House Majority Whip.

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 Scalise of Louisiana Weekly Republican Address The Old Hall of the House of Representatives July 19, 2014

Good morning, I’m Steve Scalise, representative of Louisiana’s First Congressional District and incoming House Majority Whip.

I’m speaking to you from the Old House Chamber, the same room where Abraham Lincoln once served as a member of Congress. 

I’m just steps from where House Republicans are working to build a stronger economy and a better future.

This is certainly a long way from Jefferson, Louisiana -- a town on the banks of the Mississippi where my wife Jennifer and I are raising our two young children. 

I’d like to talk to you today about something near and dear to me, and that’s hard work.

Only in America, can a boy born in a single-room cabin in rural Kentucky work hard and become the 16th President of the United States.

And only in America, can the great-grandson of an Italian immigrant who came to the United States as an indentured servant, work hard and be elected by his colleagues to serve as the Majority Whip of the House of Representatives.

Because of my great-grandparents’ sacrifices, I was born into a middle-class family in New Orleans. 

Growing up, I was taught the value of hard work.

I worked at Home Depot to pay my way through LSU, where I became the first in my family to graduate college. 

From an early age, I was taught that this is just what you do – work hard, play by the rules and never give up. 

It’s what’s made America the greatest country on Earth.

That’s a lesson Democrats in Washington don’t seem to understand. 

They think every problem can be solved by raising taxes and borrowing money we don’t have to grow an already bloated federal government.

And where has this gotten us? 

On the president’s watch, the number of Americans age 16 and over who are not working has jumped to a record 92 million.

That’s about 10 million more Americans not working than when President Obama took the oath of office.

Hard-working taxpayers know we can do better. 

Because when Americans work hard, there’s nothing we can’t accomplish. 

Here’s an example.

If you look at the regions in the country with the lowest unemployment rates, many have energy-based economies. 

I’m proud to represent one of them -- the Houma-Thibodaux area, which boasts a 3.7 percent unemployment rate.

In Southeast Louisiana, someone can graduate high-school and get an entry-level job making over $60,000 a year producing American energy. 

American energy brings billions into our economy, increases our nation’s energy security, and helps lower gas prices at the pump. 

The American people know energy is the best way to jumpstart our economy.  

But Democrats running Washington don’t seem to get it.

They block bill after bill that would expand energy production, would lower gas prices, and create jobs.

As a matter of fact, there are nearly 300 House-passed bills collecting dust in the Senate today – more than 40 of them specifically focused on creating jobs.

These include popular bipartisan projects like the Keystone XL pipeline – something the president’s own administration says will create 40,000 jobs.

Washington Democrats have said no to legislation to rein in the size of government, no to fix our broken tax code, and no to lower health care costs…

Every time they say no – every time they pick their interests over yours – they hold our economy hostage, and with it, our chance to make sure our kids will have that same shot at the American Dream.

The president likes to say he can makes things happen with a pen and a phone.

Well, what will it be, Mr. President?

Will you put down the pen and stop trying to rewrite laws you don’t like, and instead pick up the phone and call on Senate Democrats to get to work passing those good bipartisan jobs bills?

Will you help us make real progress, or will you sit by and encourage more gridlock and more politics as usual?

It’s your call.

We stand ready to work with you to solve our nation’s problems.

In the meantime, we’ll be here in the House continuing to work hard for the American people.

Thank you for listening.

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Rep. Steve Scalise to Deliver the Weekly Republican Address

2014/07/18

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has selected Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) to deliver the Weekly Republican Address on Saturday, July 19.  Scalise, who represents Louisiana’s First District, is the incoming House Majority Whip.  His address will focus on jobs and the economy.

“The strength of Republicans is that we’re the party of big ideas,” Rep. Scalise said. “Our nation is facing some big challenges, and House Republicans are working hard to deliver solutions that will create jobs and get our economy back on track so we can preserve the American Dream for our children and grandchildren.”

The Weekly Republican Address will be available starting tomorrow, Saturday, July 19, 2014, at 6:00 am ET on Speaker.gov and GOP.gov

 

 

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10 Things About Jobs We Didn’t Get To Cover This Week

2014/07/18

Our focus on jobs continued this week as the House acted to prevent highway projects from shutting down and ban Internet taxes forever.

The Speaker also signed another bipartisan jobs bill, this one to help clean up an abandoned mine and create thousands of jobs in Nevada.

Actually, the House covered so much ground on jobs this week that there are some things we didn’t get to talk about.  Here are some of them:

  • On Monday, the House approved the STEM Education Act of 2014, which strengthens ongoing science, technology, engineering, and math education efforts.  “A healthy and viable STEM workforce, literate in all STEM subjects including computer science, is critical to American industries,” Science, Space, and Technology Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) said. 
  • On Tuesday, Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Upton (R-MI) unveiled the details of his Architecture of Abundance energy policy vision, which is all about bringing jobs home and growing our economy.  
  •  On Wednesday, the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee passed three bills to boost certainty for workers and businesses, including the Coal Jobs Protection Act, which its author, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), calls “a critical step in fighting back against this administration’s anti-coal policies and holding the EPA accountable.”
  • Also on Wednesday, the Budget Committee held a hearing to discuss the CBO’s long-term budget outlook.  “Our national debt is already bigger than our economy—and yet it’s going to get bigger,” Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) said.  “We need to expand opportunity for everyone in this country, and we can start by getting the budget under control.”
  • On Thursday, the leaders of the Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Democratic leaders in the Senate calling for passage of bipartisan patent litigation reform.  “These important actions,” they wrote, “will help fuel the engine of American innovation and creativity, creating new jobs and growing our economy.”
  • Meanwhile, the Ways & Means Committee continues to list the reasons for passing our jobs bills: Reason #15: Democrats’ Stimulus Didn’t Reduce Unemployment Like They Promised; Reason #14: The U.S. Economy Shrank in the First Quarter of 2014; Reason #13: Worst “Recovery” Ever for GDP Growth.
  • The great state of Ohio added 12,700 jobs last month.  As the Speaker has said, Ohio is a model for how low taxes, balanced budgets and education reform can help expand opportunity and promote growth.
  • The House Republican Conference re-introduced Schoolhouse Rock star Bill earlier this week, and apparently you can find him – where else? – sitting on Sen. Harry Reid’s desk.
  • Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) laid out why the EPA’s overreach needs to be stopped.  “Higher costs, more confusion and economic stagnation are all on the way unless the EPA is stopped,” he wrote.  “It’s time to close the flood gates on this administration.”
  • And next week, the House will take up three bipartisan education bills to support innovation, strengthen the transparency of college data, and enhance financial aid counseling.

As always, learn more at speaker.gov/jobs.

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What The VA Really Needs

2014/07/18

At the core of the Veterans Affairs (VA) scandal is a lack of accountability for managers and employees, a fact made even more clear every time a new report of mismanagement and abuse surfaces.

In May, the department’s Inspector General confirmed the systemic problems that Republicans had warned about. That same month, the House passed the VA Management Accountability Act, but Senate Democrats blocked the bill. When President Obama accepted the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, House Republican leaders sent the president a letter reiterating that one change at the top would not stop the misconduct happening nationwide.

After a forced audit, the VA admitted more than 57,000 veterans are still waiting for their first doctor appointment. Others already died. Secret waiting lists hid these facts, ensuring veterans’ medical needs were buried safely out of sight, so that “Every senior VA executive was rated ‘fully successful’ or better over four years.” Whistleblowers who tried to speak out and stop the abuse have been harassed, intimidated, and fired. The cover-ups allowed nearly 300 top managers to collect “merit bonuses totaling more than $2.7 million last year,” and 21 top VA executives to collect “the maximum merit bonuses of $12,579 in 2013.” Additionally, the VA knowingly continues to overpay staff, costing many more millions of dollars.

While no care has proved deadly for veterans, so has the VA’s poor care. According to a new report, there were “more than 500 incidents last year where patients were gravely injured or died as a result of the care they received.”

Under this growing cloud of deception and incompetence, acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson testified before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee yesterday, saying the department needs $17,600,000,000 in new money – that’s $17.6 billion more from taxpayers – in order to do the right thing for veterans.

But Veterans groups, newspaper editorial boards, and even some Democrats all agree: funding is not the issue.

Just look at how the VA’s budget has increased during the Obama administration. As the president talked and talked and talked about fixing the VA, the department received the equivalent of a $17.6 billion increase nearly four times. Now it says it needs more.

Speaker Boehner has consistently said that President Obama must “give our veterans the world class health care system they deserve by articulating a vision for sweeping reform.” That’s the type of change that will bring accountability to the system and ensure veterans receive the care they’ve earned.

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Statement on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17

2014/07/17

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement regarding Malaysia Airlines Flight 17:

“Many innocents were killed today.  It is horrifying, and we await the facts.  Right now, we should all take a moment to reflect, count our blessings, and convey our prayers to the loved ones of the victims.”

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Boehner Presses White House to Do More to Counter Iran

2014/07/17

WASHINGTON, DC – “Israel is our friend, and Israel’s enemies are our enemies,” Speaker Boehner reiterated at a press conference earlier today, calling on the White House to do more to counter Iran’s support for terrorists across the region.  Following are excerpts of Boehner’s remarks:

“Lastly, I’d like to address the situation in Israel, which is under attack.

I’m glad the president telephoned the prime minister, but I think we must send a clear, unified, and public message:  Israel is our friend, and Israel’s enemies are our enemies. 

“The Israelis recently intercepted Iranian-supplied weapons headed 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, which operates in Lebanon and in Syria.  Those weapons were used to attack Israel. 

The Obama administration is pursing nuclear negotiations with Iran, and there are some who believe that the administration should engage the Iranians to help deal with the situation in Iraq.  In light of that, let me restate this:  Israel is our friend, and Israel’s enemies are our enemies. 

“While it would be in Iran’s best interest to have a weak or divided Iraq, it’s not in the United States’ best interest – our interests are not aligned.  And Republicans remain focused on pushing the White House to do more to counter Iran’s support for terrorists and efforts to destabilize key U.S. all[ies] in the region.”

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Senate Democrats Should Act on Bipartisan, House-Passed Jobs Bills

2014/07/17

WASHINGTON, DC – At his weekly press briefing today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) pointed to several bipartisan, House-passed measures as examples of the common ground policies Senate Democrats could act on today to help middle-class families and small businesses struggling in a weak economy.  Following are Boehner’s remarks: 

“You know, many of you were in attendance last Friday as leaders from both parties joined together to send a bipartisan jobs bill to the president’s desk.  It was a great example of what we can accomplish when we all listen to the American people.

“Another example came on Tuesday, when we passed a bipartisan highway bill to prevent projects from shutting down here in the next several months.  I expect quick resolution of this matter in a bipartisan way.

“The House also passed bipartisan legislation to keep the Internet tax free.  The bill would benefit American families and small businesses, and encourage greater economic growth.  And I think it deserves an up-or-down vote in the United States Senate.

“And I don’t have to remind you that we still have over 40 … bills that passed the House that’ll help our economy that continue to sit in the United States Senate. 

“Working parents deserve – or desperately need more flexibility in today’s workplace.  We’ve passed legislation to help balance the demands of work and family.  Middle-class families are struggling with higher energy prices.  We’ve passed legislation to lower those costs.  Small businesses are struggling under the weight of the president’s mandates, and regulations, and red tape.  We’ve passed legislation to ease this burden.

“These are just a few of the examples of what Republicans are working on to foster more economic growth and more job creation in our country.  For the nearly four years of our majority, Republicans have stayed focused on the economy and on jobs.  We’ve listened to the American people.  Their priorities are our priorities.”

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House Passes Legislation to Help Fight Poverty, Hunger

2014/07/17

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement today applauding House passage of the America Gives More Act (H.R. 4719):

“Americans have always given generously to help their neighbors who are in need, and the tax code has long encouraged the significant, more-efficient role that individuals and private organizations have in providing a helping hand to the less fortunate in our communities. By expanding this support and making it permanent, this bipartisan legislation will help increase resources for charities, reduce poverty and hunger, and ensure more lives are changed for the better. It’s the right thing to do, and I hope Senate Democratic leaders and the president will have a change of heart and support it.”

NOTE: Click here for additional information on this legislation, which is a combination of five bipartisan bills:

  • The Fighting Hunger Incentive Act (H.R. 4719), sponsored by Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY)
  • The Permanent IRA Charitable Contribution Act (H.R. 4619), sponsored by Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL)
  • The Conservation Easement Incentive Act (H.R. 2807), sponsored by Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-PA)
  • The Charitable Giving Extension Act (H.R. 3134), sponsored by Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA)
  • The Private Foundation Excise Tax Simplification Act (H.R. 4691), sponsored by Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) 
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Speaker Boehner Signs Three Kids Mine Bill

2014/07/16

Speaker Boehner hands Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV) the pen after signing H.R. 697, the Three Kids Mine Remediation and Reclamation Act.  The legislation establishes a public-private partnership to help clean up the abandoned Three Kids Mine site in Henderson, Nevada, and pave the way for future economic development.  The project could create as many as 3,000 jobs.

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House 7 – Senate 0

2014/07/16

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after the House passed the FY 2015 Financial Services & General Government Appropriations Act (H.R. 5016):

“House Republicans are using every tool at our disposal to hold the administration accountable and help Americans hurt by its policies, and this bill makes progress on both fronts.  We’re taking additional steps to rein in the IRS, protect every American’s First Amendment rights, and chip away at the president’s health care law that is raising costs and making it harder for small businesses to hire.  The bill also provides resources to help small businesses get up and running, and give more Americans a shot at finding a good-paying job.    

“This is the seventh appropriations bill we’ve passed this year, while Senate Democrats have passed zero.  We’ll keep doing our part to keep the government running and advance solutions focused on Americans’ top priorities – jobs and the economy.  When will Senate Democrats do theirs?” 

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Republicans Have Zero Interest in Rolling Back Religious Freedom

2014/07/16

They’re at it again.

With millions of Americans struggling to find work and pay the bills, Senate Democrats are focused on restricting religious freedom.

The evidence speaks for itself: House Republicans are focused on passing bills to grow good-paying jobs and strengthen our economy. Senate Democrats – when they aren’t blocking those bills – are playing politics and misleading Americans by pretending employers can make health care decisions for their employees.

It’s been difficult to keep track of who is debunking Democrats’ fact-free rhetoric the most recently: the Supreme Court or The Washington Post’s fact-checker. Here’s how the latter dismissed those claims about the Supreme Court’s recent Hobby Lobby decision (emphasis added):

Democrats need to be more careful in their language about the ruling. All too often, lawmakers leap to conclusions that are not warranted by the facts at hand. Simply put, the court ruling does not outlaw contraceptives, [and] does not allow bosses to prevent women from seeking birth control[.]

Even leftwing legal legend Lawrence Tribe seemed to agree, saying the ruling is “not as radical a decision as some people think,” because “what the court said was that as long as the government can provide the contraception at public expense, there is no need to burden the religious beliefs” of Americans who provide jobs.

But that hasn’t stopped Democrats’ over-the-top assaults on reality. Hillary Clinton was awarded her own pair of Pinocchios. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) received a “false” rating from Politifact. One liberal group even attacked an order of nuns that care for the elderly poor. Think about that for a minute.

Here’s the simple truth: the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby “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,” as Speaker Boehner said.

Republicans have zero interest in rolling back religious freedom in America. Freedom and religious liberty are hallmarks of our great country. As Republican Senators Kelly Ayotte (NH) and Deb Fischer (NE) write today:

[N]early all Americans believe that religious freedom is a fundamental right that must not be abridged. When President Clinton signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, he said: "Our laws and institutions should not impede or hinder, but rather should protect and preserve fundamental religious liberties."

Congressional Democrats used to share that view. What's changed?

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ObamaCare Sticker Shock Another Burden for Middle-Class Families

2014/07/16

Americans are shelling out more for everyday essentials - from gas to groceries to utility bills – “further constraining family budgets…still reeling from a stagnant economy,” according a new Gallup survey.  And health care costs, already near the top of rising expenses, are going to get even worse for struggling families coast to coast: 

The skyrocketing cost of health premiums flies in the face of the president’s promise that his health care law would “bend the cost curve” and “bring down health care costs by $2,500 for the typical family.”  It is also more evidence that things aren’t as great for middle-class families as President Obama claims they are. 

House Republicans are making Americans’ priorities our priorities, and their concerns our call to action.  We’re passing bill after bill to boost economic growth and make it easier for the private-sector to create more good-paying jobs, only to see them languish in the Democratic-led Senate.  As Speaker Boehner writes in National Review, “there are dozens of good, common-sense steps we can take right now to help the private sector create more American jobs.  That is why we hope the president will stop complaining at pep rallies, take this up with Senate Democrats, and call on them to act.”  

Learn more at speaker.gov/jobs.

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Boehner on NRO: President's Cheap Jokes Won’t Help Struggling Families

2014/07/16

"We want to get more done – much more.  There are dozens of good, common-sense steps we can take right now to help the private sector create more American jobs.  That is why we hope the president will stop complaining at pep rallies, take this up with Senate Democrats, and call on them to act."

President Obama Is Not Doing 'His Job'Cheap jokes on Congress won't help Americans suffering in the Obama economy.By John BoehnerNational Review Online

At a public event last week, President Obama quoted the artist formerly known as “Marky Mark” to express his exasperation with Congress.  Quoting Mark Wahlberg’s character in the Martin Scorsese film The Departed, the president of the United States declared, “I’m the guy who does his job. You must be the other guy.”

Rather than trawling through IMDB for partisan attack lines, President Obama ought to pick up the telephone and call the Senate Democratic leaders who are blocking nearly 40 House-passed bills to help our economy grow and create more American jobs.

It’s Civics 101:  Congress is composed of two Houses. In one of them, the House of Representatives, we are making the American people’s top priority — jobs and the economy — our top priority. We’re passing pro-growth bills to cut red tape, expand American energy production, improve our broken tax code, and lower health care costs. We’re keeping a running list at Speaker.gov/jobs.

The other House of Congress, the Senate, is controlled by the president’s own political party. The Senate has done almost nothing on jobs legislation this year. Traditionally, the president – as the leader of his political party – would take some responsibility for that. 

Let’s take a look at the overall numbers as of last week:  the House has passed at least 284 bills that the Senate has failed to act on. It has passed four times as many bills as the Senate. Of the 120 bills President Obama himself has signed into law, only 27 percent came from the Democratic-controlled Senate. 

The House has passed half of the 12 annual spending bills that keep the government running. We still have work to do, but the Democratic Senate has not passed a single one. Under our open amendment process during debate on these bills, the House voted on 161 amendments offered by House Democrats – while Republicans in the Senate have been completely shut out, kept from offering even a single amendment. 

Things have gotten so bad that Senate Democrats are openly complaining about the lack of productivity. A Democratic committee chairman even went on record saying he’s “furious” with his leaders for blocking a bipartisan patent bill that would have encouraged business innovation and job creation.  

Frankly, it is somewhat striking what we have been able to accomplish in the face of unprecedented Senate gridlock, from the most significant spending reductions in modern history to long-term, market-based student loan reform. 

We also just completed and sent to the president’s desk the first rewrite of workforce development laws in 16 years, a bill that includes good conservative reforms like eliminating 15 duplicative programs and empowering states to innovate.  The measure will help many out-of-work Americans develop the skills they need to fill jobs that are available.

We want to get more done – much more.  There are dozens of good, common-sense steps we can take right now to help the private sector create more American jobs.  That is why we hope the president will stop complaining at pep rallies, take this up with Senate Democrats, and call on them to act.

– John Boehner represents the 8th Congressional District of Ohio and is the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

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Boehner Calls for More Progress on Infrastructure

2014/07/15

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today called for swift Senate passage of H.R. 5021, the Highway and Transportation Funding Act, and more progress on infrastructure:

“On the whole, this bill is good news for workers and taxpayers, and we appreciate the president’s support for our responsible approach.  We certainly hope he will urge Senate Democrats to pass this bill so we can prevent highway projects from shutting down in a matter of weeks.  In that same spirit of common ground, we hope he will ask Senate Democrats to consider the many jobs bills we’ve passed to promote good infrastructure and long-term growth.  After all, Americans are asking ‘where are the jobs?’ and here’s a great opportunity for the president to help us break the gridlock from his own party.”

NOTE: H.R. 5021 passed the House by a vote of 367-55.

 

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Permanently Ban Internet Taxes to Protect Jobs

2014/07/15

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement praising House passage of the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (H.R. 3086), yet another jobs bill that will be sent to the Senate for further action:

“Banning Internet taxes would benefit American families and small businesses, encourage greater economic growth, and create more American jobs.  Senate Democrats now have an important choice to make as we near the expiration of the temporary Internet tax ban on November 1.  Will they allow a vote on this important bill, or will they open the door to Internet taxation and allow a massive tax increase on families and small businesses? I applaud Chairman Goodlatte and our members for their leadership on this issue.”

NOTE: More than 40 House-passed jobs bills are awaiting action in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

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Experts Back House’s Action to Defend the Constitution

2014/07/15

Tomorrow, the House Committee on Rules will conduct a hearing on the House’s lawsuit against President Obama’s executive overreach, specifically, his unilateral rewrites of the health care law’s employer mandate. As Speaker Boehner said, “this isn't about Republicans versus Democrats; it’s about the Legislative Branch versus the Executive Branch, and above all protecting the Constitution.”

Among those scheduled to testify at the hearing are Jonathan Turley, Professor of Public Interest Law at The George Washington University Law School, and Elizabeth Price Foley, Professor of Law at Florida International University College of Law. Excerpts of their prepared statements to the committee, along with links to their full testimony, are below.

Turley:

[S]ome of President Obama’s statements come strikingly close to assertions by King James I that he could apply “natural reason” to the alteration, and even the suspension, of federal laws. … There may be good reasons for such changes. However, this is not a question of what to do but how should such changes be made and, more importantly, who should make them? Some of the changes unilaterally ordered by the President were previously sought from Congress. After Congress did not approve such changes, President Obama announced that he would go it alone. He proceeded to order the changes that he felt Congress should have made. He simply resolved the division with Congress by ordering changes on his terms as a majority of one. There is no license in the Madisonian system to “go it alone.” …

Rather than continue this unresolved and worsening controversy over the separation of powers, the House is seeking authority to bring the matter to the courts. That is precisely where such lingering questions should be resolved. …

Some of the changes ordered by President Obama did, in my view, cross the constitutional line in violation of the Separation of Powers. …

The Obama Administration has advanced constitutional arguments on presidential power that can only be described as both extreme and largely devoid of limiting principles that characterize our constitutional system. …

What we are witnessing today is a crisis of faith in our system despite its unparalleled and proven success. People have grown impatient with the constraints of the constitutional system, constraints which can seem quaint or antiquated when compared to pressing problems of health care or immigration or the environment. It is tempting to embrace rule by a single person who offers to govern alone to get things done. However, this is the very Siren’s call that our Founders warned us to resist. We remain a nation of laws and we have a court system designed to resolve such controversies. That is precisely where this authorization would take us and it is where these questions should be answered.

Foley:

[W]hat Congress wants is what the Constitution entitles it to:  faithful execution of the law by the executive branch, so that the American people can make accurate assessments about the law.  If the constitutional duty of faithful execution is fulfilled, the law goes into effect as written—both good parts and bad parts—and the American people are fully informed about whether it works, and what may need fixing. …

There is a good reason why the founders granted “all” lawmaking power to Congress, and not the unitary Executive: As history teaches us, it is not wise to entrust the power of lawmaking—and its inherent potential to negatively impact individual liberty—to a single person. 

When a law—even a complex and poorly drafted one—is faithfully executed, it enables fully informed consent, and a robust debate in the legislative branch. … 

By unilaterally waiving, suspending or delaying the most unworkable, problematic portions of the ACA, the President makes this robust, pluralistic political debate and compromise impossible. Yet it is precisely by having a complex law go into effect as written that the political process—democracy itself—can function, and compromises regarding how to fix its problems can be achieved.

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Focusing on Jobs vs. Just Saying Ridiculous Things

2014/07/15

The verdict is in on President Obama’s rhetoric → http://t.co/vhCu7i5NGu pic.twitter.com/JP0RU2huwh

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

The White House’s latest economic push continues to backfire, with The Washington Post’s fact-checker assessing the president with Three Pinocchios for claiming Republicans were blocking ideas to strengthen the middle class. We called him out for it at the time, but there was really no need, because before long, our actions were overtaking the president’s words. The Post’s fact-check noted: 

  • “Here’s the odd thing: on the very day the president recorded his weekly address, the office of House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) released this photo under the happy headline of ‘What Working Together Looks Like.’   It showed Boehner, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and other lawmakers signing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which streamlines job training programs, so it could be sent to Obama for his signature. … Obama had earlier said he looked forward to signing the bill.”
  •  “But, let’s face it, the Republicans have their own list of bills passed in the House but which have failed to progress in the Senate, which they also claim are serious and enjoy popular support.  For instance, one pending bill would approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll found is supported by Americans by a 3 to 1 margin.  The House list, displayed on Boehner’s Web site, includes nearly 50 bills, of which only a handful have been signed by the president into law.

The list he’s referring to is at speaker.gov/jobs, where you can get the rundown on all our work on behalf of middle-class families.

But what now? Will the president continue on with what the Post calls “rhetorical overkill,” overcompensating for his lack of leadership on jobs?   Or will he listen to the American people and work with us to get things done?    There’s certainly plenty to do, so be sure to bookmark speaker.gov/jobs, and keep in touch with us in these ways too:

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No Mr. President, Things Aren’t Great

2014/07/15

WASHINGTON, DC – At a press conference with Republican leaders today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) offered the president a dose of reality when it comes to the problems millions of middle-class families are facing in the Obama economy, including higher costs on nearly everything.  That’s why, as Boehner said, House Republicans remain focused on making the people’s priorities – more jobs and stronger economic growth – our priorities.  Following are Boehner’s remarks:  

“You know, the president couldn’t help himself last week, bragging about how his so-called smart economic policies had worked.  But while the president was telling the American people everything was great, they’re telling him it isn’t.  

“Gas prices are higher, their food prices are higher, their health care costs are higher.  And more people dropped out of the job market than actually found a job.  The American people are still asking the question, ‘where are the jobs?’

“This week, the House will pass a short-term highway bill fix.  If the president has a plan for a longer term highway bill, he ought to get the Democrat-controlled Senate to pass it and then we’ll take a look at it.  But until then, giving speeches about a long-term highway bill is frankly just more rhetoric. 

“Republicans are focused on [the] American people’s priorities, and that’s jobs.  Instead of blocking the nearly 40 House-passed jobs bills in the Senate, the president ought to call Harry Reid and suggest it’s time to take a look at these bills to get our economy moving and help American families have a shot at a better job and higher wages.” 

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House’s Actions Speak Louder than President’s Words

2014/07/15

Today, the House will take up the Highway and Transportation Funding Act (H.R. 5021), which will sustain the Highway Trust Fund and keep infrastructure projects around the country on schedule – without raising taxes.

It’s another example of House Republicans getting things done and supporting jobs, even as Senate Democrats fail to do much of anything, except for turning obstruction into an art form.

As for President Obama, he’s bragging about how his “pretty smart policies” have done wonders for the economy, but millions of Americans are still out of work and even more are struggling to pay the bills. When it comes to quality jobs, last month may have been the worst June on record. And so, the president without a plan for growing new jobs is playing loose with the facts at campaign-like stops around the country.

His tour will continue this week with a focus on infrastructure. He says he has a better, long-term plan to replenish the Highway Trust Fund (translation: it raises taxes), but if that’s the case, shouldn’t Senate Democrats schedule a vote on it? Until they do, the president’s speeches on the issue are nothing but background noise.

It’s just one of the many reasons why outside observers and members of the president’s own party believe that the wheels are coming off this presidency. In instance after instance, his rhetoric simply doesn’t match the reality on the ground.

For example, while President Obama professes his love for infrastructure, he’s blocking the Keystone XL pipeline, an infrastructure improvement project supported by 61 percent of Americans. While he says his transportation infrastructure plan would “support millions of jobs,” he claims that building Keystone won’t generate a significant number of jobs, just a “blip,” despite all the evidence to the contrary.

House Republicans share the priorities of the American people: jobs and the economy. That focus is demonstrated in part by Speaker Boehner’s vision for making America a nation of builders again, but it’s about more than just words. The House has passed dozens of jobs and infrastructure bills, like the North American Energy Infrastructure Act (H.R. 3301) and the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act (H.R. 1900). You can track their status and compare President Obama’s rhetoric to reality at speaker.gov/jobs.

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Bragging Strategy Already Backfiring on the President

2014/07/14

That didn’t take long.  Just days after the president “bragged” in Denver about how his “pretty smart policies” worked, that strategy started to show signs of backfiring.

On Friday, economists “sharply cut their growth forecasts” for the year to just 1.6 percent.  That would be a drop-off from last year.  This is disappointing by any measure, but particularly the president’s own:  in 2009, the White House predicted those aforementioned “pretty smart policies” would produce 4.0 percent growth this year.  So who’s the president kidding?

That’s one reason even Democrats are warning the White House not to take this tack.  “After six years of this administration,” a member of the party said, “people will never catch up to where they thought they would be at this point.”    

“For many consumers, it still feels like a recession,” a senior economist at Moody’s said.  Why?  “Stagnant household incomes are one thing” and “average hourly earnings, adjusted for inflation, are even worse.  They haven’t risen at all in the past 12 months, as of May.”  Indeed, just one in five say the economy is in excellent or good shape.

So while the president is telling Americans everything’s going great, they’re telling him it isn’t.  This is just another disconnect, another example of the president claiming to do his job when Americans don’t see it that way.

When middle-class families ask ‘where are the jobs,’ we should listen – not feed them a line.  We should listen, and then act:  that’s why, while the president was on his bragging tour, we were finishing a bipartisan job training bill and passing another small business bill

There’s more to do, and you can track our progress at speaker.gov/jobs.

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Confirmed: The Wheels Are Coming Off

2014/07/14

“You look at this presidency and you can’t help but get the sense that the wheels are coming off,” Speaker Boehner said last month. In recent days, outside observers and members of the president’s own party have agreed, questioning the Obama administration’s competence. After all, the list of scandals and crises is long: the ObamaCare website, the VA, the IRS, Benghazi, Ukraine and Russia, Iraq, Syria, and the Middle East, releasing terrorists from American custody, and now the humanitarian disaster on our southern border. Why are the president and his team always caught off guard? Where is the leadership?

Here’s what they’re saying:

  • Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), regarding the border crisis: “With all due respect to the administration they are one step behind. They should have seen this coming a long time ago.” (CNN)
  • Senior Senate Democratic aide: “A lot of people think it’s been one disappointment after the next and he [Obama] can’t really get his bearings.” (The Hill)
  • Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), regarding Obama’s foreign policy: “We fight with one hand behind our back, maybe two. I don't get it.” (Associated Press)
  • MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, regarding the border crisis: “The reality on the ground is that the administration did not stay ahead of this. … The reality is the White House has been slow to react. … So far, the politics aren’t working, and the substance isn’t working.” (MSNBC)
  • NBC’s Chuck Todd: “This is an administration where events are controlling them. I can’t remember the last time I feel like they controlled a set of events. … I think the last six months have painted a picture of an administration that looks like they’re struggling to run the government.” (MSNBC)
  • National Journal’s Ron Fournier: “For a party that wants to establish the fact that good government can do good things, they're now giving the public two choices: One, either we're incredibly incompetent, both with the IRS and with the V.A. scandal. Or, we're crooked. Pick your poison.” (CNN)
  • CNN’s John King: “What more and more Democrats are saying privately is scathing, calling the president and his team ‘detached,’ ‘flat-footed,’ even ‘incompetent.’ … Raising the competence question, some Democrats, who believe in government, [are saying] this White House doesn’t appear to have its hand on the lever.” (CNN)
  • The Washington Post’s Fred Hiatt: “Overseas and at home, the administration seems besieged and befuddled. Obama is in danger of cementing an image of haplessness that would be hard to undo.” (The Washington Post)

The President may claim he’s doing his job, but that’s not how many Americans see it. Indeed, a recent Quinnipiac poll found that 54 percent of voters – including 62 percent of independents – think the Obama administration has not been competent in running the government.

In contrast, House Republicans are focuses on growing good-paying jobs and strengthening our economy – even if Senate Democrats are committed to obstructing nearly everything. If the president wants to continue to distract from his failures by blaming others, he can start with them.

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101st Birthday of Gerald Ford

2014/07/14

Today is the 101st birthday of the late Gerald R. Ford, our 38th president.  President Ford served our country in World War II, the House of Representatives, and the White House.  He was a man of the people who held dear the principles on which America was founded.  It was Vice President Ford who stepped in and steadied the ship of our government and our country.  When he was sworn in as president, he reassured the American people, saying “our Constitution works; our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men.  Here, the people rule.”

In May 2011, President Ford’s statue was added to the Capitol collection and placed in the Rotunda, just a stone’s throw from the House floor.  At the ceremony, Speaker Boehner said:

“Gerald Ford belonged to all of us.  It’s not just that we wanted or needed him to be one of us - he was one of us  He looked down on no one and trusted in the good sense of the American people.  He did not set out to ‘fix’ America – only to return her to being the great beacon of freedom and liberty she always was.”

Read more from Boehner’s remarks here

 

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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

UPDATED July 28, 2014

The U.S. House of Representatives is preparing to vote on a resolution that authorizes the House to enter into litigation in opposition to President Obama’s attempts to make his own laws, circumventing the Legislative Branch, which under the Constitution has the sole authority to make laws.  Specifically, the resolution would authorize the filing of a lawsuit in objection to the way in which President Obama made changes to his health care law, twice changing the law without authorization by Congress.  Following are some key points and a “question-and-answer” series 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 in 2013 and 2014 will likely 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 arguably the ones that give the House the best chance of success in the courts.
  • The litigation will focus solely on the president’s unilateral changes to the health care law because that’s how the suit must be structured in order to maximize the House’s chances of being granted standing by the court.  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 twice changed the law without going through 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 has dismissed the proposed House litigation as a political stunt.  Is it a political stunt?

This isn’t about politics; it’s about defending the Constitution.  A July 3 editorial in the Columbus Dispatch may have put it best: "[When the president] uses the refusal of [the] two other branches of government to rubber-stamp his agenda as an excuse for taking unilateral executive action, it becomes cause for serious concern. . .There is no constitutional provision allowing a president to assume absolute power when he doesn’t get his way. . .Obama points to his election as the source of his authority to act unilaterally. But each member of Congress won an election, too. Many of those members of Congress — especially the many Republicans who assumed the majority in the House in 2010 — won their seats because of the public’s alarm at the president’s direction, especially his deeply and persistently unpopular Affordable Care Act.  In opposing the president, they are doing what the framers of the Constitution envisioned." (emphasis added)

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 House’s chances of having 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 twice changed the law (in 2013, and again in 2014) 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 done legislatively.  The House position – expressed by a bipartisan vote 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: According to BakerHostetler's David B. Rivkin,Jr., a noted attorney with extensive experience in constitutional law litigation: "The merits of this litigation are beyond dispute.  The employer mandate is a central plank of Obamacare, and the law does not allow it to be delayed, waived, or otherwise suspended.  Yet to avoid the political consequences of imposing this mistaken policy on American businesses, the President has now suspended it twice, effectively contriving a new statutory scheme in the process.  If the President wants to change the law, the Constitution requires that he work with Congress to do so.  This President’s unilateral action violates the Constitution’s separation of powers and nullifies the authority of the legislative branch.  The House’s lawsuit is aimed at restoring the balance set by the Constitution, where the people’s representatives in Congress write the laws and the President enforces them.  The prospects for success in this litigation are excellent."  For more on the issue of standing, see the Washington Post op-ed by Rivkin and fellow constitutional law expert Elizabeth Price Foley here.

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 in mid-July.  Many others are piling up in the Senate.  Furthermore, America is a nation of laws, and the American economy relies on understanding our laws and regulations that apply to them.  Uncertainty about how laws as written will be implemented creates a drag on our economy, our jobs, and our businesses.  The President must be held accountable to faithful execution of those laws for the health of our economy.

Q: Congressional Democratic leaders say this is merely a political exercise, and that they will pressure their Members to oppose the House litigation.  How valid is their claim?

As Kimberly Strassel of the Wall Street Journal recently observed, congressional Democrats “were for suing the president, before they were against it.”

Strassel notes: “Only two years ago, four  [House Democrats] filed suit against Vice President Joe Biden (in his capacity as head of the Senate). . .Democratic legislators also filed lawsuits claiming standing in 2011, and in 2007, and in 2006, and in 2002 and in 2001,” Strassel notes.  “It was left to Florida International University law professor Elizabeth Price Foley [during a recent House Rules Committee hearing] to remind Democrats that in fact no fewer than 44 lawsuits in which legislators sought standing had been filed in federal court since Coleman v. Miller,” a 1939 case in which the U.S. Supreme Court granted standing to legislators to sue.

Of the 41 filed by plaintiffs with unified political affiliation, nearly 70% were brought by Democrats,” Strassel further notes.  “At least 20 of those came since 2000. . .It's precisely because Democrats know how good a point Republicans have about Obama unilateralism that they are already working to dismiss the suit as ‘political.’  And to do that, [Congressional Democrats] must have us forget that up until, oh, two weeks ago, Democrats were all about asking the courts to vindicate Congress's prerogatives. How times change.”

Congressional Democrats have previously recognized House standing to litigate against the position of the president even though they did not agree with the underlying position of the House majority, most recently in the DOMA litigation brought by the House.  They joined House Republicans and argued for standing before the Supreme Court in that matter out of responsibility to the institution, and should do so in this case as well.

Q: The president is pointing to the House litigation in attempting to argue that the current border crisis and other urgent matters can’t be addressed without immediate congressional action on his supplemental appropriations request.  He says he’d be willing to take executive action to address the border crisis and other matters, 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.

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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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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.