Speaker of the House

John Boehner

Three Things President Obama Should Do Immediately to Help Ukraine

2014/09/17

Today, the House unanimously passed a resolution strongly supporting the right of the people of Ukraine to freely determine their future without interference, intimidation, or coercion by Russia or other nations.  Tomorrow, Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko will address a joint meeting of Congress in what Speaker Boehner called “another signal of steadfast commitment to the aspirations of his people.”

The House stands with Ukraine, and has acted on numerous occasions to bolster our ally and provide President Obama with additional tools to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin, his cronies, and the institutions that support them.  But President Obama and his administration have been slow to use the tools at their disposal, and in some cases, have outright refused to act in ways that would help Ukraine.  To do so might force the administration to admit that its infamous “reset” with Russia has turned into what everyone already knows it is – an utter failure.  In advance of President Poroshenko’s address tomorrow, here are three things that President Obama should do immediately to help Ukraine:

  • Break Russia’s Energy Stranglehold on Europe.  Months ago, President Obama should have acted to dramatically expedite the approval of U.S. exports of natural gas in order to help break Russia’s energy stranglehold on Europe.  The United States has abundant supplies of natural gas – an energy source that is in demand by many of our allies – and the U.S. Department of Energy’s excruciatingly slow approval process amounts to a de facto ban on American natural gas exports that Vladimir Putin has happily exploited to finance his geopolitical goals.  We should not force our allies to remain dependent on Putin for their energy needs.  Ending this de facto ban and expediting approval of natural gas exports is one clear step the U.S. can and should be taking to stand by our allies and stand up to Russian aggression, while creating American jobs at the same time.
  • Impose Tougher Sanctions.  It’s true that the Obama administration has been steadily increasing sanctions against Russia, but this response has been beyond slow.  There’s much more the administration could be doing to impose tough sanctions that might make a real difference in helping Ukraine and undermining Russia’s aggression.  The resolution passed by the House today “calls on the President to cooperate with allies and partners in Europe and other nations around the world to impose visa bans, targeted asset freezes, sectoral sanctions, and other measures on the Russian Federation and its leadership sufficient to compel it to end its violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, to remove its military forces and equipment from Ukrainian territory, and to end its support of separatist and paramilitary forces.”
  • Provide meaningful military assistance.  The Obama administration should be doing more to undermine Russia’s continued escalation of military aggression against Ukraine.   Russia has provided military equipment, training, and other assistance to separatists, and the Ukrainian military remains at a significant disadvantage, especially in the area of matching weapons supplied by Russia.  The House-passed resolution calls on President Obama to provide Ukraine with defense articles, services, and training required to effectively defend its territory and sovereignty.   Measured economic sanctions and tough talk are not enough.  Without additional military support to Ukraine, there is nothing to slow down, let alone, halt Russian expansion into Ukraine.

The president once mocked the idea that Russia was a geopolitical foe.  But in the past six years, Moscow has invaded two countries – Georgia and Ukraine – sharply increased its military spending, and blocked harsher sanctions against Iran and Syria at the United Nations (UN), among other things.  And at the same time, the Russians convinced the Obama administration to cancel our missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic, two of our strongest allies.  Speaker Boehner called on the president to reconsider its “reset” policy in a 2011 speech, but he kept heading down the same path.

Now another ally, Ukraine, is asking for our help.  The United States has a responsibility to stand up for freedom and democracy around the globe, and we have a responsibility to stand with the people of Ukraine against Russia’s invasion.  The House is leading the effort to help our ally.  The Obama administration could use a little more courage in doing the same.

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Boehner: House Takes 'Important, Initial Step Forward in Taking on ISIL'

2014/09/17

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement today after the House passed a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government running past September 30 (H.J. Res. 124):

“By authorizing the Department of Defense to help train and equip the Syrian opposition, this measure represents an important, initial step forward in taking on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).  ISIL represents a direct threat to the safety and security of the United States, and House Republicans are firmly committed to doing everything we can to help keep America safe.

“This year, the House worked methodically to pass seven annual appropriations bills. Senate Democrats didn’t even bother – they passed zero. Unfortunately, that’s the kind of inaction we’ve also seen from them on more than 40 House-passed jobs bills. This bill preserves previous spending reductions and keep the government running at current levels past the end of this month. And importantly, it ensures the ban on internet access taxes does not expire on November 1. I urge the Senate to act on it quickly.”

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Speaker Boehner: ‘Time to Audit the Fed’

2014/09/17

The House just passed a bill to #AuditTheFed. Will Senate Democrats act on it? https://t.co/C0hnfFGyjv

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

From Obama administration scandals at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Veterans Affairs Department (VA) to the truth about ObamaCare, Benghazi, and Operation Fast and Furious, Speaker Boehner has been a strong advocate for honesty, transparency, and accountability in government.

Today, the House laid down another marker by passing the Federal Reserve Transparency Act (H.R. 24), a bipartisan bill that requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a full audit of the Federal Reserve within one year.

As Speaker Boehner said today, “It’s time to audit the fed and make sure it’s accountable to the American people.”

A November 2013 Rasmussen poll found that 74 percent of Americans favor auditing the Federal Reserve. House Republicans have made the American people’s priorities our priorities; will Senate Democrats join us and act on this legislation?

At least 44 jobs bills are still being blocked by Senate Democrats, but here’s to hoping they’ll stop blocking progress, transparency, and accountability and get to work for the American people.

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Constitution Day

2014/09/17

Today we celebrate Constitution Day – the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution of the United States of America on September 17, 1787.  This document provides for the rights of our citizens, and codifies the cause of the Revolution: liberty and justice for all.

Recognizing the importance of the history of the Constitution and the strength that it gives to the American people, one of the first things Speaker Boehner and the new Republican majority did in 2011 was to lead the House in a reading of the Constitution – a first in the history of the Congress. 

It is again worth taking a moment to consider the document’s genius, how it separates the government into branches, with checks and balances, to ensure one branch does not purposefully benefit one part over another.  This was done with the basic objective to look out for the public good, and keep our government in check.  The Founding Fathers established this system to create trust between the American people and their government. 

On this occasion, Speaker Boehner said, “Today is a good time to remind ourselves of the words of the Constitution and to reflect on the Founding Fathers’ vision for America.  As Benjamin Franklin stated in the preamble, we should focus on making sure this Constitution is well administered to preserve our democracy, our freedoms, and our country.”

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Dems ‘Go-It-Alone’ With Red Tape Blitz That Puts American Jobs & Energy at Risk

2014/09/17

More than nine million Americans are still asking ‘where are the jobs?,’ but that isn’t stopping the Obama administration from “hitting the gas on a number of regulatory initiatives that are central to the White House’s ‘go-it-alone’ agenda,” The Hill reports.  ‘Go-it-alone’ indeed, according to a new Gallup survey, which finds that Americans oppose the president’s “vast expansion of the regulatory state” by a more than a two-to-one margin. 

The Obama administration’s costly, burdensome energy regulations have already put thousands out of work and, according to a new report by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office, grid reliability and access to affordable energy are also at stake with even more plant closures expected in the years ahead.  The Daily Caller reports:

“GAO found that power companies have already or plan to retire 13 percent of the country’s coal-fired power capacity through 2025 due to federal environmental rules — above the GAO’s 2012 prediction that only between 2 and 12 percent of the country’s coal capacity would retire through 2025.

“But the retirements could go even further, GAO noted, as the Energy Department’s statistics arm projects retirements ‘from 2012 through 2020 could reach approximately 50,000 MW or about 16 percent of net summer generating capacity available at the end of 2012.’ …

“The GAO’s report, however, did not take into account a recent EPA rule that regulates carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal-fired power plants. The EPA’s own analysis found this rule would force up to 19 percent of the U.S. coal-fired capacity to shut down and cut coal production by up to 28 percent. The rule would also raise retail electricity by as much as 6.5 percent by 2020.”

House Republicans have listened to the American people and sent bill after bill over to the Democratic-led Senate that would stop the onslaught of red tape and protect jobs and American energy.  What have we gotten in return?  Not much, but the fight continues. 

This week, the House will vote on a major jobs and energy bill made up of common-sense solutions to expand energy production, lower costs for families, and help put more Americans to work.  All of these solutions have already passed the House as individual bills, many with bipartisan support, and now we’re giving Senate Democrats another opportunity to make a real difference in people’s lives with one simple vote.  As Speaker Boehner said last week, “we need the president and Senate Democrats to re-examine their priorities, join us in putting the people first, and getting things done.”

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Boehner Calls on Senate Dems to Do the Right Thing, Approve House-Passed Jobs Bills

2014/09/16

WASHINGTON, DC – At a press conference with Republican leaders today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) urged Senate Democrats to act on the dozens of House-passed jobs bills they’re blocking, including two more major bills to boost American energy and economic growth that will be on the House floor this week.  Following are Boehner’s remarks:

“You know, with all the challenges that hardworking families are facing, it’s going to take a number of solutions, both large and small, to help get them back on their feet.  That’s the idea behind this week’s two major bills, one on energy and one on jobs. 

“We’ve already sent the Senate dozens of good jobs bills, and these two bills will go right on top of that stack.  Now we just need Senate Democrats to quit ignoring this and address the issues the American people are most concerned about, and that’s the economy and jobs.  We certainly hope they’ll do the right thing.”

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Boehner: GAO Report Confirms Taxpayers Fund Abortions Through ObamaCare

2014/09/16

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement responding to a report released today by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) confirming that, contrary to specific promises made by President Obama and Democratic leaders, ObamaCare subsidies are supporting insurance plans that cover abortions:

“In 2010, President Obama and the leaders of the Democratic majority in Congress rammed through a government takeover of America’s health care system over the objections of the American people.  The measure passed the House in part because the White House and Democratic leaders insisted that ObamaCare would not use taxpayer funds to support elective abortions.  

“Today’s GAO report confirms that under the president’s health care law, abortions are being paid for with taxpayer funds by more than 1,000 exchange plans across the country.  This information has been hidden from the American public for years by the Obama Administration, which repeatedly denied congressional requests for its public release.

“Common-sense restrictions like the Hyde Amendment have traditionally enjoyed bipartisan support in Congress, and Americans have for decades overwhelmingly rejected the idea of federal funding for abortion.  Earlier this year the House passed H.R. 7, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, on a bipartisan basis to prohibit federal funding for such purpose under ObamaCare.  Sadly, this legislation has suffered the same fate to date as the dozens of bills passed by the House that would help to create jobs and grow our economy: it has been gathering dust in Senator Reid’s dysfunctional, do-nothing Senate.  This GAO report underscores the need for the Senate to do its job and pass this common-sense legislation.”

NOTE: As one of many examples of where President Obama and Democratic leaders promised the American people that ObamaCare would not fund abortions, on September 9, 2009, President Obama told the Joint Session of Congress on Health Care: “And one more misunderstanding I want to clear up -- under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.”

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A Day in the Life of Speaker Boehner

2014/09/16

From opening the House to welcoming guests in the Capitol, every day looks a little bit different for Speaker Boehner.  “All of his time is accounted for,” attests Kristene Blake, his Director of Scheduling.  But as the Speaker himself says in the video below, “as difficult as it all is, every day there’s some little step in the right direction.”   

Go behind-the-scenes with Speaker Boehner as he shares (and shows) some of his secrets for staying organized amidst a hectic schedule. 

Spoiler Alert: it involves an early-morning walk and a 10pm bedtime – no exceptions.

Always enjoy the morning walk to get coffee & breakfast. http://t.co/TKW6g9B1jT #DayInTheLife

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) September 16, 2014
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What We Can Accomplish When Senate Dems Actually Put American Jobs & Families First

2014/09/15

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today applauded House passage of S. 1086, bipartisan, bicameral legislation reauthorizing the Child Care & Development Block Grant Act that provides child care support for low-income families:

“The Child Care & Development Block Grant program has, for decades, helped millions of men and women meet the needs of work and family by providing low-income parents access to safe and affordable child care while they work or pursue education and job training opportunities.  The bill we passed today continues this vital initiative, maintaining parents’ ability to choose the environment that’s best for their children while making critical reforms to enhance the accountability and effectiveness of the program.  It’s a perfect example of what we can accomplish when Senate Democrats put politics aside, and work across the aisle to boost our economy and help more Americans get back into the workforce.   I hope the successful outcome we’ve seen here today will encourage Senate Democrats to take another look at the dozens of jobs bills they’re sitting on so we can do even more to address the needs of working families.”

NOTE: An overview of the solutions Republicans have put forth to promote stronger economic growth and private-sector job creation, and support hardworking families, is available at GOP.gov/solutions.

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On Economy, Democrats Only Offer Excuses & Rose-Colored Glasses

2014/09/15

In 2011, President Obama chalked up the failure of his economic “stimulus” package to a discovery that “Shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected.” He also blamed America’s struggling economy on “the Arab Spring’s effect on oil and gas prices, the Japanese earthquake and tsunami’s effect on supply chains, the extraordinary economic uncertainty in Europe.”

In 2012, when unemployment was above eight percent and President Obama hadn’t met with his jobs council for six months, the White House said it was because “the president has obviously got a lot on his plate.” After a full year without a meeting, the council was finally scrapped at the start of 2013 – a period chock-full of presidential “pivots” to the economy.

This year is no different. Global affairs are still messy, and the White House is still swinging from one dud of a talking point to the next. House Republicans are focused on the American people’s priorities and have passed jobs bill after jobs bill. President Obama and Senate Democrats, on the other hand, are making excuses for the economy some days and bragging about how great it is on others (mostly the latter). Their mixed messages simply don’t jibe with reality, and Americans know it: workers and families are paying more for just about everything of late. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have cut their economic growth forecasts, and the Labor Department’s latest unemployment report was disappointing to say the least.

This is why Democrats told their fellow Democrats earlier this year not to mention the word “recovery.” But it’s unclear whether the guy at the top got the message:

On CNN, David Gergen was taken aback by the detour [in President Obama’s address to the nation regarding ISIL]. … “What surprised me was the second part of the speech when he started talking about how well the country is doing, how well we're doing with jobs, how we're leading around the world.” Gergen saw this as misreading the American mood and hurting his overall credibility. “America is feeling pretty blue right now, and I think those kind of assertions don't ring true with a lot of people.”

“In contrast,” National Journal’s George Condon Jr. writes, “hardly a day goes by that House Speaker John Boehner doesn't send out a statement asking, ‘Where are the jobs?’”

Politico’s Ben White surmises:

Democrats' hopes to run on a strengthening economy now seem to be totally dashed. There are some obvious reasons for this. Wage gains remain stuck near the rate of inflation, meaning regular people outside the top income brackets do not feel any wealthier or more secure. … There probably is an alternate reality in which the White House had a strong, clear, consistent message on economic growth .... But we don't live in that alternate universe and so Democrats head into the fall facing an anxious nation that considers the president an economic failure.

A strong, clear, consistent message from the White House would be nice, sure. But so would a strategy for sustained economic growth and job creation.

Here’s what that might look like.

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So We’ve Got Five Things…

2014/09/15

 

Five things. It's really that simple.  As the video below shows, if we were to focus on five things – in conjunction with the energy boom currently under way in the United States – we could fundamentally reset the economic foundation of America for generations to come.

On Thursday, at the American Enterprise Institute, Speaker Boehner will lay out his vision for a stronger, more prosperous America.  Beginning at 2:15pm ET, his "Five Points Speech” will be live streamed in full on Speaker.gov/live.

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200 Years for Our National Anthem

2014/09/12

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This weekend marks 200 years since the penning of our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”  The original poem written by Francis Scott Key was inspired by the lone American flag flying over Fort McHenry after it was bombarded by the British in September 1814.  A few weeks before reaching the target of Baltimore, the British invaded Washington, D.C. and burned the White House, Capitol Building, and Library of Congress.  Despite their efforts, the British were unable to destroy Fort McHenry, so they gave up and retreated. 

In the early morning hours of victory for the United States, the American flag waved triumphantly and the anthem was born.  It was later set to music and was officially adopted as our national anthem when the House took up H.R. 14 in April of 1930.  With more than five million signatures and support from 150 organizations, the House passed this expression of patriotism and on March 3, 1931, President Herbert Hoover signed it into law. 

On this special anniversary, in accordance with the anniversary of Patriot Day yesterday, the Speaker said:

“Although we have been through dark days, we are blessed to be united as one nation under God with an anthem that reflects all we stand for and believe in.  It is a good time to reflect on the anthem, the triumphant history behind it, and the words themselves, which tell the story of a people who never waver and never forget.”

Originally titled “The Defence of Fort McHenry,” the powerful words of “The Star Spangled Banner” embody our patriotism, perseverance, and the American spirit: 

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light, What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming, Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming? And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there, O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

 

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Boehner Responds to Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Pledges U.S. Support for Iraqi Government

2014/09/12

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following response to a letter from Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, where the Prime Minister outlined his vision for the future of Iraq and the challenges it faces as a country.  In his response, Speaker Boehner pledged U.S. support for the Iraqi government, its efforts to implement reforms to ensure a more inclusive government that represents all segments of Iraqi society, and our shared efforts to destroy and defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).  In his letter, Speaker Boehner states:

“We welcome your commitment to lead the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).  Iraqis understand better than most the brutality and evil that ISIL represents.  The developments we’ve witnessed over the past year demonstrate that the war against terrorism in Iraq did not end with the withdrawal of U.S. troops.  We fully appreciate that Iraq does not have the option of withdrawing from this struggle.  Please rest assured that I will work with my colleagues in the House of Representatives to ensure your government has the support from the United States that it needs to prevail against the terrorists.”

Read the full letter here, and below:

September 12, 2014

His Excellency Haider al-Abadi Prime Minister Republic of Iraq

Dear Prime Minister al-Abadi:

First, let me congratulate you on the formation of a government that represents all segments of Iraqi society.  The way in which your nation has come together to hold free elections and peacefully transfer power to new leaders, notwithstanding the terrorist threat, is a tribute to the progress Iraq has made since the days of Saddam Hussein.  I could not agree with you more that, as noted in your letter, a government committed to representing all of its citizens and providing equal access under the law is the best path to achieve a safe and prosperous future for its children and grandchildren. 

We applaud your commitment to implement the steps that were outlined in your letter, especially the efforts to reform the Iraqi Security Forces, the judiciary, and revenue-sharing measures. As you work toward these measures, I am confident that our two countries can continue to grow closer and work together effectively.

Second, we welcome your commitment to lead the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).  Iraqis understand better than most the brutality and evil that ISIL represents.  The developments we’ve witnessed over the past year demonstrate that the war against terrorism in Iraq did not end with the withdrawal of U.S. troops.  We fully appreciate that Iraq does not have the option of withdrawing from this struggle. 

Please rest assured that I will work with my colleagues in the House of Representatives to ensure your government has the support from the United States that it needs to prevail against the terrorists. From military aid to technical and training assistance, we will stand with you to ensure more innocents are not slaughtered – and that the threat does not metastasize further.  And my colleagues and I will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you to work to ease the suffering of innocent minorities and others who are being persecuted at the hands of ISIL.

The acknowledgement of the significant blood and treasure America has invested in Iraq during the last decade meant a great deal to me, and I know will be equally meaningful to my colleagues. Americans have indeed made painful sacrifices to help all Iraqis seeking peace and we welcome your commitment to ensure that the sacrifices made by America’s national treasure – our deployed military and civilian personnel – lead to a brighter future for the Iraqi people.  ISIL is at war with both of our countries.  ISIL is our common enemy and must be defeated so we – and our families, children and grandchildren – may live in peace. 

Finally, please allow me to extend an invitation for you to meet with me at the U.S. Capitol when you have an opportunity to visit Washington, D.C. in the near future.

Sincerely,

John A. Boehner Speaker of the House

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“A Massive Dud”: White House Inversions Scheme Exposed for the Sham It Is

2014/09/12

A far cry from the “political whopper that Democrats dreamed of,” the president’s election-year push on so-called tax inversions “has turned out to be pretty much a massive dud,” according to a scathing analysis in today’s Politico.  As Politico notes, Democrats were mum on the latest major inversion threat - one backed by a top Democrat donor and ally - and have begun scaling back their rhetoric altogether, exposing the whole inversions scheme for the sham it is.  Here’s more from the report:

“The one recent high-profile corporate name to consider the move… did so with the stamp of approval from top White House ally Warren Buffett. Almost no one is talking about the issue on the campaign trail. … Meanwhile, some influential tax policy analysts suggest any of the administration’s possible unilateral actions could make the problem worse, be deemed illegal, or wouldn’t have much impact at all. …

“Treasury Secretary Jack Lew gave a speech this week promising some type of unilateral proposals through the Tax Code to reduce inversions ‘in the very near future.’ Lew, however, offered no new specifics and couched his remarks in very mild language, dropping most of the fiery, populist ‘un-American’ rhetoric that Obama used on the issue in an interview with CNBC at the beginning of the summer.”

Politico isn’t alone in its blistering criticism.  Members of the president’s own party distanced themselves from the campaign before it even launched, and numerous editorial boards and commentators have subsequently weighed in against the proposal, calling it a “stunningly destabilizing move” that would “drive more money and jobs from the U.S.” 

It didn’t take long for the hypocrisy of it all to come to the fore either, with Bloomberg reporting that the president “won’t return campaign donations to executives, advisers and directors” – at least 20 of them – “who have profited from offshore mergers that reduce corporate taxes using a technique he has called ‘unpatriotic.’” 

For more proof that the president’s inversions push has been a political stunt from the start, look no further than the statements of Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew himself.  Just weeks before President Obama ramped up his rhetoric, Lew admitted that he did not believe the White House had “the authority to address this inversion question through administrative action,” “if we did, we would be doing more,” he added.   Lew has not, to date, announced what unilateral action the president might take and instead this week “repeated proposals made by President Barack Obama” that would do nothing but send more jobs overseas.

There is, however, one silver lining to the White House’s “whopper of a strategy flop.”  Republicans have seized on the opening to continue pressing President Obama to follow through on real tax reform that gets at the heart of the issue driving corporate inversions: America’s sky high tax rate.  At 35 percent, U.S. companies face a tax rate that is the highest in the industrialized world, undermining competitiveness and creating an incentive to ship jobs overseas. 

This week, House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) reiterated the need for the White House to put forth a plan to fix our broken tax code and help the private-sector create more jobs: 

“Everyone agrees that tax reform is the only solution that will both keep companies from moving their headquarters out of the United States, and encourage more businesses to grow, hire and increase wages for American workers.  …

“Even the Administration says the only meaningful solution to U.S. companies inverting is tax reform.  However, they have not put forth a real tax reform plan.  …

“Empty rhetoric and rifle shot bills will not keep American companies and jobs in this country.  …  We need, and the American people deserve, real action on fixing the tax code.”

And in an op-ed earlier this summer, Speaker Boehner said, “If we can reform our tax code, changing it from one that drives American jobs out of the country to one that supports sustained economic growth and brings jobs home it will go a long way toward resetting the economic foundation of our nation.”

Creating a simpler, flatter, fairer tax code is one of the many solutions Republicans have laid out to help fuel economic growth and help get more Americans back to work.  Read more at GOP.gov/solutions

 

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Boehner Invites Dems to Re-Examine Priorities, Focus on Jobs

2014/09/12

Mark it down as another lost week for Senate Democrats.  No jobs bills passed.  Time wasted on a constitutional amendment that’s all about politics.  And that big, bad fall push on inversions?  They’re saying in the papers that it’s “a massive dud.”  Ouch.

Meanwhile, the people’s House continued its relentless focus on jobs, adding two more common-sense bills to the pile collecting dust in the do-nothing Democratic-run Senate.

Here to sum it all up for us is Speaker Boehner himself, with a quick week-in-review message

BOEHNER: “This week it was back to work for the House, continuing our focus on jobs and the economy.  Unfortunately, there’s nothing doing over in the United States Senate, where Democrats continue to say ‘no’ to helping get people back to work. ‘No’ to lowering costs at home.  And ‘no’ to restoring opportunity.  They’ve lost their way, and we’ve lost a chance to make real progress for families teetering on the edge.  We need the president and Senate Democrats to re-examine their priorities, join us in putting the people first, and getting things done.”

READ MORE:

Boehner on TIME.com: Our Economic Recovery Is Stuck in the Senate

Senate Democrats’ Misplaced Priorities

Helping Families Keep Their Plan & Peace of Mind

Small Business Workers & Families at Risk

“Time for Senate Democrats to Start Putting the American People First”

Stopping an Obama Admin Power Grab That Will Raise Costs, Hurt Jobs

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Helping Families Keep Their Plan & Peace of Mind

2014/09/11

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement after bipartisan House passage of H.R. 3522, the Employee Health Care Protection Act, which would allow Americans in the group insurance market to keep or choose the plans they like: “In this tough economy, hardworking families need all the peace of mind they can get, and by helping them keep the plan they like, Bill Cassidy’s bill does just that.  It will also mean getting more people back to work, lowering costs at home, and restoring opportunity.  Of course, to protect our workers from all of ObamaCare’s broken promises, we need to repeal this law and replace it with solutions that lower costs and protect jobs.  For now, given that Senate Democrats promised Americans early and often that they would be able to keep their plans, we hope they will not consign this bill to the same fate as so many of our jobs bills.” 

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Boehner: House Is Ready to Work with President on Plan to Destroy ISIL, but White House Must Address Strategy Questions

2014/09/11

WASHINGTON, DC – At his weekly press briefing today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said the House stands “ready to work with the president to put in place a plan that would destroy and defeat ISIL,” while underscoring the need for the president to address questions and concerns that remain regarding his strategy.  Following are Speaker Boehner’s remarks:

“Last night the president finally began to make the case that the nation has needed him to make for quite some time: that we must destroy and defeat this terrorist threat.  ISIL is a sophisticated and determined enemy, and in order to be successful we must have a comprehensive strategy designed to destroy and to defeat it. 

“I think that last night the president made a compelling case for action, but as I said in my statement last night, there are still questions and concerns that remain.  For example, I support the president’s plan to train and equip Iraqi Security Forces and the Syrian opposition.  But I remain concerned that those measures could take years to fully implement at a time when ISIL’s momentum and territorial gains must be halted and reversed immediately.

“We stand ready to work with the president to put in place a plan that would destroy and defeat ISIL.  Members are getting briefed as we speak on the range of options that the president is contemplating; those briefings and consultations will continue.  We delayed action on the Continuing Resolution yesterday to consider the president’s request for authorization to train and equip the Syrian rebels that are fighting ISIL.  We’re doing our due diligence here and discussing all of this with our members.  And frankly, it’s the right thing to do.

“Yesterday, we came together to honor the Fallen Heroes of 9/11 with the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor we can bestow.  Today, we pay our respects to their families.  We never forgot them, just as we’ll never forget our responsibility to confront evil and to defeat it.”

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Senate Democrats’ Misplaced Priorities

2014/09/11

BREAKING NEWS: In a sudden shift – and with only a few more days left in Washington before the election – Senate Democrats just announced that they will finally consider some of the 43 jobs bills passed by House Republicans. “It was a mistake to block these pro-growth bills for so long,” said one Democratic leader.

Wouldn’t that be great news? Unfortunately, as you might have guessed, it’s too good to be true. Senate Democrats are still saying “no” to dozens of good, common-sense jobs bills. They’re not even proposing their own ideas; they’re just focused on politics, wasting time on a quixotic constitutional amendment they know is going nowhere, a bill that inadvertently highlights their own hypocrisy, and legislation that will actually hurt jobs:

  • The constitutional amendment proposed by Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) would weaken Americans’ First Amendment right to free speech and put the fox in charge of the chicken coop by “allow[ing] Congress to regulate the flow of political cash.” Democrats would love to control what Americans are allowed say about them, which is why the same politicians behind this constitutional amendment urged the IRS to target conservative groups in 2012. The investigation into that is still ongoing, but Senate Democrats still focused this week on Sen. Udall’s measure, which is, according to Politico, “meant to support Democratic talking points on the Koch brothers.” We all know that’s Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s favorite topic.
  • Everyone in both parties supports equal pay for equal work, so it’s a shame to see Senate Democrats pushing election-year legislation specifically designed to mislead Americans. Senate Democrats view this as a game: “An email circulated to Democratic communications aides … points to a strategy of either criticizing Republicans for voting yes to limit debate [on the bill] … or for voting no and blocking a debate,” reported Roll Call this week. This kind of cynical ploy landed Democrats in hot water earlier this year, when The Washington Post exposed the White House’s hypocrisy on this issue two days in a row and CNN mocked it as “a textbook case ... of do as I say, not as I do.”
  • The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) concluded earlier this year that Senate Democrats’ legislation to raise the minimum wage would cost the economy up to one million jobs, with a median estimate of 500,000 jobs lost. President Obama’s pick to head the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, agreed. The CBO report also said that people who need work the most “would be jobless— either because they lost a job or because they could not find a job — as a result of the increase in the minimum wage.”

Growing more jobs and increasing opportunity for all Americans is a better idea.  That’s what House Republicans have been focused on nonstop: the people’s priorities.

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A Tribute to the Fallen Heroes of 9/11

2014/09/11

This morning, at 8:46 a.m. ET, Speaker Boehner paid silent tribute in remembrance of those we lost on September 11th, 2001.  Just a few feet from the U.S. Capitol Rotunda stands a large plaque honoring the lives and sacrifices of those on board Flight 93 that fateful day, and it is here that the Speaker began Patriot Day.  As he reminded the families in the fallen in yesterday's Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony

It is one of many such moments, silent or otherwise.  They come by instinct now.  We stand taller for the colors.  The hand is steadier on the heart.  A prayer is felt, not just said.  We pull together when we might not have.

More photos from yesterday's Gold Medal Ceremony may be seen below:

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Boehner: Destroying This Terrorist Threat Requires Decisive Action

2014/09/11

WASHINGTON, DC - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after President Obama’s speech tonight on the terrorist threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL):

“The president tonight recanted his earlier dismissals of ISIL’s capabilities and rightly acknowledged the grave and growing threat posed by the spreading global epidemic of radicalized Islam.  He has finally begun to make the case the nation has needed him to make for quite some time: that destroying this terrorist threat requires decisive action and must be the highest priority for the United States and other nations of the free world.

“A speech is not the same thing as a strategy, however.  While the president presented a compelling case for action, many questions remain about the way in which the president intends to act.  For example, I support the president’s plan to train and equip the Iraqi Security Forces and Syrian opposition, but I remain concerned that those measures could take years to fully implement at a time when ISIL’s momentum and territorial gains need to be immediately halted and reversed.  It is also a cause for concern that the president appears to view the effort against ISIL as an isolated counterterrorism campaign, rather than as what it must be: an all-out effort to destroy an enemy that has declared a holy war against America and the principles for which we stand.

“The administration has made an effort in recent days to brief members of the House and Senate on the range of options the president is contemplating.  Those briefings and consultations will continue as members review his proposals, and I hope we can continue a dialogue about how to most effectively confront and destroy this enemy.  House Republicans will meet tomorrow morning to discuss next steps.”

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25th Anniversary of the Opening of Hungary’s Border

2014/09/10

In November, the world will mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.  It was an event years in the making because of what Speaker Boehner has called “a revolution inspired by leaders whose faith in God and commitment to freedom changed the world.”

One example of the risks taken so the wall would fall came in the summer in 1989, when thousands of East Germans who had been allowed into Hungary as tourists simply refused to go back.  Their courage led to a fear among government officials that Hungary would become “a nation of refugee camps.”

So it was that on this day in 1989, the Hungarian government opened the border to Austria, allowing roughly 7,000 East Germans to head towards West Germany, where they were eligible for instant citizenship.  “It’s like Christmas,” one refugee said.

Gyula Horn, the foreign minister who announced the decision on the evening news, later wrote, “Naturally I did not know at that time that with this step we began the road toward the unification of the two states and with it a new chapter in the history of Europe.”

Indeed, the maneuver both bypassed the Berlin Wall, and precipitated its fall just weeks later, proving once again that the desire for liberty can never be stifled.

This is the fourth post in our series on the events of 1989.  Read previous posts here:   

 

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A Gold Medal For The Fallen Heroes of 9/11

2014/09/10

WASHINGTON, DC – In a U.S. Capitol ceremony today, leaders of the House and Senate honored the Fallen Heroes of 9/11 by presenting a Congressional Gold Medal to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York, NY, the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, PA, and the National Pentagon 9/11 Memorial in Arlington, VA.  Following are House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) remarks opening the ceremony, as prepared for delivery:

“Ladies and gentlemen, good morning and welcome to the United States Capitol.

“Tomorrow, at 8:46 a.m., the Capitol will join the nation in a moment of silent tribute to those we lost on September 11th, 2001.

“It is one of many such moments, silent or otherwise.  They come by instinct now.  We stand taller for the colors.  The hand is steadier on the heart.  A prayer is felt, not just said.  We pull together when we might not have. 

“This is the response of a people who share a stubborn belief in each other.  A search to grasp whatever it was in the character of those men and women, who, leaving life at its peak, thought of others before themselves.  

“Tomorrow, we mourn for what was taken.  Today, we consider what was left behind: stories we tell and re-tell, a legacy we strive to claim, and families we ache to serve.

“Many of those loved ones are with us.  Please join me in welcoming them.

“All that we Americans are – all we will ever be – we owe to the Fallen Heroes of 9/11.

“That day was made up of many sacrifices, from which emerged one spirit – a unity embodied in the Medal we entrust today to each memorial. 

“Since our earliest days, Congress has awarded Gold Medals in recognition of extraordinary deeds.  Among the first recipients were George Washington, John Paul Jones, and Andrew Jackson.  To this day, there is no higher honor we can bestow.

“This is the first time the Medal has been given in honor of so many fallen innocents.  And we pray it is the last time.   That, more than anything, is why we do this.   

“Because the most stirring, lasting tribute of all is for we who remain never to forget and never to rest until our work is done.

“Thank you all for being here.”

 

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Speaker Boehner to Invite President Poroshenko of Ukraine to Address Congress

2014/09/10

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today announced that he will invite President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine to address a joint meeting of Congress on Thursday, September 18.

“Having President Poroshenko address Congress is another signal of our steadfast commitment to the aspirations of his people,” Speaker Boehner said.  “It will be an honor and a privilege to welcome him to the United States Capitol.”

Petro Poroshenko is the fifth president of Ukraine, and will be the second to address the United States Congress.  President Viktor Yushchenko addressed a joint meeting on April 6, 2005.

 

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Small Business Workers & Families at Risk Under ObamaCare, House Taking Action

2014/09/10

Families across the nation lost the health plans they liked and could afford under the president’s health care law last year, and now small business employees are bracing for the next wave of cancellation notices and disruptions that could put as many as 50 million workers and their families at risk.  That’s why House Republicans are taking action this week on the Employee Health Care Protection Act (H.R. 3522), legislation introduced by Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) that would allow workers to keep their health plans and preserve access to affordable options put off limits by ObamaCare. “The president and Senate Democrats told Americans that ‘if you like your health insurance, you can keep it.’ That promise should be honored,” says Rep. Cassidy.  

“Several thousand of the nation's smallest business owners….were kicked off their small-business plans by carriers earlier this year,” the Wall Street Journal reports, leaving many “struggling with higher premiums, less robust benefits or uncertainty within a new, unfamiliar network.” Come October, matters will only get worse. 

In addition to the looming cancellation notices, a report issued by the Office of the Chief Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), at the request of Speaker Boehner, found that two-thirds of small business employees – a total of 11 million Americans - will see their rates go up under the law.  One of those small businesses, E-Technologies Group of West Chester, Ohio, recently explained the challenges it’s facing in a post by Stuart Herman, the company’s Legal Counsel/HR Director, on Congressman Boehner’s blog

“E-Technologies Group is a small-to-midsize business that has had average renewals over the last few years that we have seen creeping progressively higher after insurers started building in a cushion to cover the expense of implementing the initial stages of ObamaCare.   This year our renewal came back at a 40 percent increase. As a company, we decided to do what we could to keep employee increases minimal.  We had to gut the plan.  Deductibles doubled or tripled. Co-pays went up.  Plan value plummeted.” 

At the same time that rates are skyrocketing, the law is also taking a big bite out of workers’ paychecks.  A newly-released report by the American Action Forum shows ObamaCare “regulations are reducing small business (20 to 99 workers) pay by at least $22.6 billion annually. In addition, ACA regulations and rising premiums have reduced employment by more than 350,000 jobs nationwide, with five states losing more than 20,000 jobs.”  “And those wage and job-level effects have come before the implementation of Obamacare's employer mandate,” CNBC reports, “because of the employer mandate coming down the road, ‘we expect the trends to worsen,’” adds Sam Batkins, author of the report. 

President Obama sold his health care law on a lot of broken promises, and now small business owners and employees are paying for it.  “The American people recognize that ObamaCare is hurting our economy and making it harder for small businesses to hire,” Speaker Boehner said earlier this year.  “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.”

Read more about the Employee Health Care Protection Act here.

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

2014/09/09

At the White House this afternoon, Speaker Boehner met with President Obama, Leader Reid, Leader McConnell, and Leader Pelosi for a discussion of the terrorist threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).  The President began the meeting by laying out some of the ideas he has already discussed publicly about how to combat this threat. 

The Speaker said the spread of radicalized Islam is a global epidemic and our national objective must be to defeat and destroy ISIL.  He asked the president to define success in those terms when he addresses the nation tomorrow night.  The Speaker expressed support for certain options that have been proposed by the president, such as increasing the effectiveness of the Iraqi Security Forces and training and equipping the Syrian opposition.  The Speaker made it clear that ISIL is preparing to fight us, and that as we learned in Syria, the longer we wait, the more difficult our choices become.  It is in the best interests of the United States and our allies to put in place a strategy that rises to the challenge of the threat we face, and takes the fight directly to ISIL in a decisive fashion, the Speaker said.

The Speaker stated he would support the President if he chose to deploy the military to help train and play an advisory role for the Iraqi Security Forces and assist with lethal targeting of ISIL leadership.  Lastly, the Speaker made clear that the administration should re-examine our border and homeland policies and authorities to determine whether there are loopholes or weaknesses that could expose the homeland to an immediate ISIL-linked attack.  

The Speaker looks forward to hearing the president outline a comprehensive strategy for destroying and defeating ISIL tomorrow night.

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Boehner: House Opposes Administration’s Unlawful Release of Terrorists

2014/09/09

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement today after the House passed a resolution condemning the Obama administration's failure to follow the law and properly notify Congress before releasing terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay (H.Res. 644):

“By negotiating with terrorists, the Obama administration encouraged our enemies. By setting free five top Taliban commanders from U.S. custody, the Obama administration made Americans less safe. And by ignoring the law that requires the White House to notify Congress at least 30 days before implementing this kind of transfer, the Obama administration did damage to our institutions of democratic government. Today’s vote demonstrates that many Republicans and Democrats have grave concerns about President Obama’s release of these terrorists and how it impacts our foreign policy and Americans’ safety.”

NOTE: Speaker Boehner's first statement regarding the prisoner exchange in May is here.

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Boehner: President Must Present Strategy to Destroy ISIS

2014/09/09

Ahead of a meeting with President Obama today, Speaker Boehner continued to press for a strategy to confront and destroy ISIS.  Here are his comments from a press conference with Republican leaders:

“What I’m hoping to hear from the president today is a strategy that goes after ISIS, and destroys them.  I’ve been calling for a strategy to deal with the growing terrorist threat since January, when ISIS came across the border in western Iraq.  We have a very serious problem, and what we need is a strategy.  ... I am looking for a strategy from the president that takes on this terrorist threat and defeats it.”

Eight months ago today, Speaker Boehner called on the president to articulate a strategy for countering the spread of terrorism in Iraq and the region.  Watch here

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Boehner on Jobs: “Time for Senate Democrats to Start Putting the American People First”

2014/09/09

WASHINGTON, DC – At a press conference with Republican leaders today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) kept the heat on Senate Democrats to act on the dozens of House-passed solutions to boost economic growth and job creation they are blocking:

“Over the past month or so, I’ve traveled over 15 states, including my home state of Ohio, and I can tell you with renewed certainty that the American people are still asking the question, ‘Where are the jobs?’

“Here in the House, we’ll continue to make their priorities our priorities.  But instead of working with Republicans to help create jobs, Senate Democrats are focused on their partisan theatrics.

“The House has passed now 364 bills that are stuck in Harry Reid’s dysfunctional United States Senate.  It’s time for Senate Democrats to start putting the American people first.”

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Stopping an Obama Admin Power Grab That Will Raise Costs, Hurt Jobs

2014/09/09

Today, the House will vote on the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act (H.R. 5078), legislation sponsored by Reps. Steve Southerland (R-FL), Bob Gibbs (R-OH) and Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA), that would stop the Obama administration from implementing a proposed rule that gives Washington bureaucrats vast new authority over waters that are safely and effectively regulated at the state and local level.  

The Obama administration’s power grab spells trouble for farmers and small businesses owners, who could face steep costs and endless uncertainty under the new rule, and has sparked a bipartisan backlash in both Houses of Congress.   In May, more than 200 House Members – Republicans and Democrats – sent a letter to the administration protesting the rule.  House and Senate members of the Western Caucus followed with another letter later in the month, arguing:  

“There has been strong opposition to EPA’s approach due to the devastating economic impacts that a federal takeover of state waters would have.  Additional and substantial regulatory costs associated with changes in jurisdiction and increased permitting requirements will result in  bureaucratic barriers to economic growth, negatively impacting farms, small businesses, commercial development, road construction and energy production, to name a few.”

A subsequent hearing by the House Small Business Committee also gave small business owners the opportunity to voice their concerns:

  • “A Whole Host of Economic Activity in a Community Will Not Occur” “The proposed rule has no clear line on what is ‘in’ and what is ‘out,’ making it very difficult for our industry and other businesses to plan new projects and make hiring decisions.  If it is determined development of a site will take too long or cost too much in permitting or mitigation, we won’t move forward. That means a whole host of economic activity in a community will not occur all of this in the name of protecting a ditch or farm pond.” (Alan Parks, Vice President, Memphis Stone & Gravel Company)
  • “A Significant Impact on Small Businesses Nationwide” “This proposed rule will have a significant impact on small businesses nationwide, an important notion that the agencies choose to ignore.  I am at a loss as to why the agencies refuse to give small businesses a seat at the table to discuss these impacts.  I request that the agencies start over and develop a more meaningful and balanced rule that respects the spirit of the RFA.” (Tom Woods, President, Woods Custom Homes)
  • “The Rule’s Primary Impact Will Be on Small Landowners Across the Country” “Being the owner of a small business myself in the cattle industry and knowing the detrimental impact this regulation will have on my operation, it is appalling the agencies could assert that this regulation will not have a ‘significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.’  It is clear to me that the rule’s primary impact will be on small landowners across the country.” (Jack Field, Owner, Lazy JF Cattle Co.)

(More from small business owners here, courtesy of the Small Business Committee)

Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman calls the administration’s action “the biggest federal land grab — in terms of power over land use — that we’ve seen to date,” The Hill reports, and yet the Obama administration failed to even consider its far-reaching economic implications.  More than 180 agriculture, construction, energy, and mining associations warn that the Obama administration’s proposed rule will have “dramatic impacts on job creation and economic investment and growth.”  “There will certainly be costs directly imposed on small businesses through the permit process and other compliance requirement,” says the National Federation of Independent Business.  “In addition, the proposed rule makes it clear that many waters will need to be determined on a case-by-case basis, therefore providing little, if any, additional certainty.”

H.R. 5078 “provides a safeguard against the federal government’s overreach into regulatory decisions best made by officials at the state and local levels,” says Rep. Southerland.  “By getting Washington out of the way, we’re also providing our farmers, manufacturers, transportation builders, and construction industries with the certainty they need to grow America’s economy, free from the regulatory burden of D.C. bureaucrats.”

With today’s vote, House Republicans are continuing to work on behalf of middle-class families to advance common-sense solutions that will create a better environment for job creation and economic growth.  Senate Democrats must do their part by acting on this bill, and the many other House-passed jobs measures awaiting action in that chamber.

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Boehner on TIME.com: Our Economic Recovery Is Stuck in the Senate

2014/09/08

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Our Economic Recovery Is Stuck in the Senate House Speaker John Boehner September 8, 2014 TIME

It is time for the White House and Senate Democrats to put politics aside and start putting people first

This week, as summer comes to a close, members of the House and Senate will return to Washington. But perhaps only one legislative body can accurately claim to be returning to work. While Democrats in the Senate have been dragging their feet this Congress, the House of Representatives has been busy proposing and passing solutions to America’s most pressing problems.

In the last year and a half, the House has passed more than 40 bills aimed at creating jobs, supporting wage earners, and easing the financial pains that working families all over America are suffering with in President Obama’s economy. Where are these bills now? They are stuck in the Senate. Why they are stuck, is a question for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

These bills are not thousands of pages long, nor are they partisan attempts to slam massive, new, and unwanted federal government programs down the throats of the American people. We all remember the disaster that became Obamacare. Passing something before we know what’s in it may be the Pelosi Doctrine, but it’s certainly not a transparent way to govern.

Instead these common-sense jobs bills, many of them bipartisan, are aimed at strengthening small businesses, allowing working moms and dads to keep more of their wages, and helping our seniors and our veterans. But instead of working with Republicans on the American people’s priorities in September, Senator Reid will instead focus on his obsession with the Koch brothers. This obsession is costing our economy jobs and has turned the United States Senate into a legislative graveyard.

The president likes to remind Americans he may use his fancy pen and phone, threatening undesired executive action. But if he really wants to use his pen to make progress on any number of these issues, then he should pick up the phone and start dialing Harry Reid’s number and tell him to allow a vote on these jobs bills. We have plenty for him to sign.

Even though the president and his party in the Senate have not been willing to deal with us, Republicans will continue to work and pass meaningful legislation this month.

Our American Solutions package will include several bills focused on creating jobs and kick-starting our economy. Americans are looking for answers to the problems they face, and our solutions will help them find work, lower the cost of living, and restore opportunities.

This common sense legislation deserves to become law, but the House cannot do it alone. We need willing partners in the President and the leadership in the Senate. We also cannot afford any more delays. The Congressional Budget Office recently reported that our economy would grow by just 1.5 percent this year, much slower than the Obama administration predicted. On top of that, 7.5 million workers remain in part time jobs while wanting a full time job, and a large majority of Americans believe we are headed in the wrong direction.

We do not have to wait until after Election Day to work together. If the administration and Senate Democrats change course, we can begin to make a real difference for American families right now.

This September the House will focus on providing solutions to address the American people’s priorities, and that means jobs. It is time for the White House and Senate Democrats to put politics aside and start putting people first. They can start by following the House’s lead.

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Speaker's Report: Special Stuck in the Senate Edition

2014/09/07

Let’s catch you up on what’s been happening at Speaker.gov, starting with our weekly address, in which Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN) talks about all Republicans are doing to help get people back to work, lower costs at home, and restore opportunity:

And in case you haven’t met this Internet sensation, he’s one of the most photographed and talked-about objects in the Speaker’s office:

JOBS

With many still asking ‘where are the jobs?,’ stuck in the Democratic-controlled Senate is a bill to boost wages & protect full-Time work.

Stuck in Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Senate is a bill to stop the war on coal & save jobs.

Stuck in the do-nothing Senate is more flexibility for working families.

Stuck in the Senate are the next steps in the natural gas revolution.

#StuckInTheSenate are solutions to make education more accessible & affordable.

Stuck...you get the idea.  Visit Speaker.gov/jobs to check out our #StuckInTheSenate series.

ACCOUNTABILITY

“The decision to simply delay this deeply-controversial and possibly unconstitutional unilateral action … smacks of raw politics.” - Speaker Boehner on the president’s announcement that he’ll delay unilateral action on immigration until after the election.

“Maybe in this instance too cautious.” Read what members of his own party are saying about the president’s foreign policy.

These days, Democrats are all denial, all the time about all the debt they’ve racked up, but things are looking “very scary.”

If the Emmys considered such things, the IRS would have easily taken home the award for best cover-up.

GOOD OF THE ORDER

In just a few short months, we’ll light the Capitol Christmas Tree, coming to us this year from Minnesota’s Chippewa National Forest.

The monkey in the room is just one of several unique objects you can find in Speaker Boehner’s office.

Thanks for reading.  Be sure to check us out on Flipboard. We’ve got a big month in store for you on Speaker.gov, so stay tuned!

 

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Americans Deserve Honesty, Transparency, & Accountability

2014/09/06

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement after President Obama announced he will delay unilateral action on immigration until after the November election:

“There is a never a ‘right’ time for the president to declare amnesty by executive action, but the decision to simply delay this deeply-controversial and possibly unconstitutional unilateral action until after the election - instead of abandoning the idea altogether - smacks of raw politics. The American people deserve honesty, transparency, and accountability - and any unilateral action will only further strain the bonds of trust between the White House and the people they are supposed to serve.”

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Democrats Criticize President Obama’s Strategy-Free Foreign Policy

2014/09/06

As the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) ravages the Middle East, President Obama followed up on his admission that “we don’t have a strategy yet” by publicly vacillating between two very different goals. Numerous administration officials tried to clarify whether the president wants to see these terrorists completely destroyed or simply “degraded” to “manageable problem” status, but it was unclear for an entire week what our Commander-in-Chief had in mind.

This approach to foreign policy -- whether it’s to ISIL or Russia -- has drawn criticism from all sides.  National Journal’s Ron Fournier wrote that President Obama is “maddeningly indecisive, unclear, and defensive.”  In recent days, top Democrats described his approach as “too cautious,” implied that it projects “weakness,” and called for the U.S. to be “more forceful” in the face of clear threats to the interests of the United States and our allies:

  • Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA): “I think I’ve learned one thing about this president, and that is he’s very cautious.  Maybe in this instance too cautious. I do know that the military, I know that the State Department, I know that others have been putting plans together.  And so hopefully, those plans will coalesce into a strategy[.] … So, there is good reason for people to come together now and begin to approach this as the very real threat that it in fact is.” (NBC’s “Meet The Press,” 8/31/14)
  • Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-NJ): “I think Putin has sized up the West and figured that the most difficult sanctions against Russia and the arms necessary for the Ukrainians to be able to defend themselves is not coming from the West.  And we have to prove him wrong. … We should be providing the Ukrainians with the type of defensive weapons that will impose a cost upon Putin for further aggression. … In this case, weakness is a greater provocation for Putin to act than strength. … This is no longer the question of some rebel separatists; this is a direct invasion by Russia. And we must recognize it as that. … So, it seems to me that this is a test. … If there is not a heavy price for Russia to pay for its invasion of Ukraine, then what do we say to China in the South China Sea?  What do we say to Iran as it seeks to pursue nuclear weapons? What do we say to North Korea…? These are consequences that even flow far beyond the conflict that is taking place here.” (CNN’s “State of the Union,” 8/31/14)
  • House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA): “Obviously, containing Putin is a threat.  And I think we should support the Ukrainian government strongly in pushing back against the separatists and the Russian incursion. That means strong economic sanctions against Russia. I even believe that it would be appropriate – and we have sent some non-lethal aid to the Ukraine – I think it is appropriate to up that level of aid, to make them a more capable fighting force to resist this incursion and to make it as painful as possible for Putin to make any progress in the Ukraine. So, I do think we should be more forceful in supporting the Ukrainian government.” (CBS’s “Face the Nation,” 8/31/14)
  • “In a tough letter to Attorney General Eric Holder on Tuesday evening, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) said he was ‘troubled’ by statements indicating the administration lacks a comprehensive military strategy in Syria.  Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) channeled many Republicans’ rhetoric on ISIL in asking the administration to clearly articulate a comprehensive strategy to take on the extremist group. A nd Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) lit into Obama’s goal to make ISIL a ‘manageable problem.’” (Politico, 9/3/14)
  • Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC): “[H]e has allowed ISIS to grow. I believe that ISIS is the most serious threat to our national security since 9/11.” (WITN, 9/4/14)
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA): “ISIS is growing in strength. It has money, it has organization, it has the capacity to inflict real damage. So when we think about a response we have to think about how to destroy that.” (The Hill, 9/3/14)

The president who once was famously said to be “moving toward something resembling a doctrine” best described as “leading from behind” also earned another scathing editorial from The Washington Post, this one noting the “whiplash foreign leaders must be suffering” as a result of the many contradictory statements coming from the Obama administration about the threats posed by Putin in Ukraine and terrorists in the Middle East:

“[It’s a question of] simple competence.… The discrepancies raise the question of whether Mr. Obama controls his own administration, but that’s not the most disturbing element. His advisers are only stating the obvious … When Mr. Obama refuses to acknowledge the reality, allies naturally wonder whether he will also refuse to respond to it. Which is, in the end, the most disturbing aspect of Mr. Obama’s performance.”

“It’s time Mr. Obama started emphasizing what the United States can do instead of what it cannot,” the Post concludes. The New York Times’ Frank Bruni agreed, observing that the ostensible leader of the free world has “adopted a strange language of self-effacement, with notes of defeatism, reminding us that ‘America, as the most powerful country on earth, still does not control everything’; that we must be content at times with singles and doubles in lieu of home runs; that not doing stupid stuff is its own accomplishment.”

Case in point: President Obama’s admission at a fundraiser in New York that “if you watch the nightly news, it feels like the world is falling apart.”  Attempting to defend his stewardship, he assured attendees that “The world has always been messy.  In part, we’re just noticing now because of social media[.]”

Coming from the man whose administration specializes in hashtag diplomacy, it was a powerful insight … into his ineffectiveness.

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#StuckInTheSenate: The Next Steps in the Natural Gas Revolution

2014/09/05

This is the ninth post in our series calling out Senate Democrats for saying “no” to jobs bill passed by House Republicans. Read about other bills #StuckInTheSenate at speaker.gov/jobs.

Problem: President Obama may like to talk about an “all-of-the-above” approach to energy production, but that’s a sham that doesn’t stand up to the facts. In April, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service released a report showing that while natural gas production on non-federal lands has surged by 33 percent, production on federal lands has dropped by 28 percent. Moreover, natural gas leases on federal lands are at the lowest in more than a decade.

That means fewer good-paying jobs and less access to affordable energy, especially during harsh winters. But instead of looking out for American workers and families, the Obama administration appears to be more interested in doing the bidding of extreme environmental activists – even with the average price of residential electricity rising “at the highest rate in five years.”

Our natural gas production also has the potential to strengthen America on the world stage and help our allies. Many of those in Central and Eastern Europe depend on Russia for their natural gas, and several have urged America to increase exports to help weaken Putin’s hand. Despite bipartisan support for this, the Obama administration has overseen a backlog of more than two dozen liquefied natural gas export applications. Speaker Boehner has called on the president to end this de facto ban again and again and again.

Our Solution: In November 2013, the House passed the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act (H.R. 1900) with the support of 26 Democrats and the Protecting States' Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act (H.R. 2728) with the support of 12 Democrats.

In June of this year, the House passed the Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act (H.R. 6) with the support of 46 Democrats, and the Lowering Gas Prices to Fuel an America That Works Act (H.R. 4899) with the support of 10 Democrats.

These bills would accelerate the development of critical energy infrastructure, stop Washington bureaucrats from imposing duplicative federal regulations on hydraulic fracturing, expedite the approval of liquefied natural gas export applications, and increase American energy production.

Senate Inaction: All four of these jobs bills are gathering dust on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s desk. Although Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy called this week for more gas pipelines, Senate Democrats plan to focus this month on their quixotic and futile effort to roll back Americans’ First Amendment rights.

Consequences: While Russia strikes a deal with China to build a “mega-pipeline,” invades Ukraine, and bullies other countries, Americans are paying more for just about everything and struggling through the worst economic “recovery” for jobs ever. We can do better.

Check out the previous post in this series, #StuckInTheSenate: Stopping the War on Coal, Saving Jobs.

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Speaker Boehner: Latest Unemployment Report Shows Pattern of Weakness in Obama Economy

2014/09/05

WASHINGTON, DC - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement on the Department of Labor’s unemployment report for August 2014:

“Today’s disappointing report, coupled with last week’s bleak economic forecast from the Congressional Budget Office, shows a pattern of weakness in the Obama economy that has too many Americans still asking, ‘where are the jobs?’  Republicans have listened to the American people and advanced solutions to help create more jobs, lower costs at home, and restore opportunity for all Americans - and we’ll maintain that focus in the weeks and months ahead.  But our common-sense solutions have run up against a brick wall in the Senate, where Democrats are more worried about keeping their jobs than helping families find work.  Americans are suffering the consequences of Senate Democrats’ inaction, and they deserve better.  With job growth slowing to its lowest level this year, Senate Democrats are out of excuses for stalling the dozens of House-passed jobs bills that are stuck in that chamber.  It’s time for them to get to work.”

NOTE: A comprehensive list of House-passed bills to boost economic growth and help the private-sector create jobs is available at speaker.gov/jobs.  A recent series of blog posts highlighting specific solutions that remain #stuckinthesenate is available here on the Speaker’s blog.

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Speaker Boehner's Five Points for Resetting America's Economic Foundation

2014/09/05

Nearly a decade and a half into the 21st Century, America faces great challenges, and great opportunities.  To help ready our nation for these challenges and opportunities, the pro-growth majority led by Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) in the U.S. House of Representatives has focused on American solutions to help get people back to work, lower costs at home, and restore opportunity for all Americans.

As part of this effort, the House has passed more than 350 bills that are currently languishing in a dysfunctional, do-nothing Democratic-controlled Senate, including dozens of bills to support private-sector job creation and economic growth.  Speaker Boehner has also spent months outlining a five-point long-term vision for resetting America’s economic foundation.

The Speaker’s “five points” – which he has articulated in Ohio, in the halls of the U.S. Capitol, and across the nation for months – are simple and straightforward.  They reflect Boehner’s decades of experience in the private sector as a small business owner in Ohio’s Eighth Congressional District, and his strong belief that the emerging energy boom in the United States offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity for our country to reset its economic foundation.  To take advantage of the emerging energy boom, the Speaker argues, we must do these five key things as a nation:

·      Address the debt.

·      Reform the tax code.

·      Fix the legal system. 

·      Rein in excessive regulations.

·      Strengthen education.

Under Boehner’s leadership, the pro-growth majority in the House has used hearings and the legislative process to address the challenges facing our economy and the need for a 21st-century system of government that allows Americans to make the most of the opportunities ahead.  Some of the bills passed by the House have become law.  Many others await passage by the Democratic-controlled Senate, and the signature of the president.  These efforts are the pillars of the American Solutions agenda put forth by House Republican leaders, an important step toward the long-term vision put forth by the Speaker. 

On Thursday, September 18, Speaker Boehner will deliver a policy address at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in which he is expected to further discuss his five points for resetting America’s economic foundation. 

Further details on the Speaker’s upcoming AEI address will be announced soon.

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#StuckInTheSenate: Stopping the War on Coal, Saving Jobs

2014/09/04

Problem: The Obama administration has proposed a de facto national energy tax that, along with a host of other excessive regulations, will put thousands out of work and force even more coal plants to shut down.   American families – who are already seeing electricity prices rise “at the highest rate in five years” - will also feel the pinch, with rate hikes as high as 10.3 percent, says the American Action Forum

Our Solution: On March 6, 2014, the House passed H.R. 3826, the Electricity Security & Affordability Act, a bill introduced by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) that would prevent these rules from taking effect unless the House and Senate approve them by law.  In an op-ed in USA Today earlier this summer, Speaker Boehner called on the president and Senate Democrats to act on the bill, along with numerous others Republicans have passed to protect and expand all forms of American energy:

“President Obama says he supports all of the above, but his actions prove the opposite. Just consider his plan to impose excessive new EPA regulations on power plants — what amounts to a national energy tax. It will have Americans asking, ‘Where are the jobs?’ for years while their bills go up, electric grid reliability is compromised, and energy-intensive sectors like manufacturing take on even more water. …  The president has no more elections to win, yet he allows the narrow interests of his most extreme political allies to dictate an agenda that puts jobs and opportunity out of reach for middle-class families. While he's writing America's energy workers off, we're trying to give them the tools they need to succeed.”

Senate Inaction:  Republicans are not the only ones calling the president out for his job-destroying energy agenda.  The proposal “prompted an immediate backlash from Democrats” back in June, with one Democrat – the sponsor of H.R. 3826’s companion measure in the Senate - even admitting “it’s clear now that the President has declared a war on coal.”  Yet despite having bipartisan support in both Houses of Congress, the Senate “has no timetable to consider the legislation” and the White House has threatened to veto the measure.   

Consequences: Analysis by the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) finds the Obama administration’s national energy tax could cost an estimated 75,000 coal-related jobs over the next six years and, “by 2035, those job losses will more than double to 152,000…a 50 percent cut in these well-paying, highly skilled jobs.”  “It’s going to be devastating if it goes through in its current form,” UMWA president Cecil Roberts said before a recent protest against the president’s plan, “Our jobs are at risk,” added Jason Pethtel, a coal miner from Moundsville, W.Va.  Senate Democrats are putting the president’s misguided agenda ahead of jobs and the economy by refusing to act, and the longer they wait, the more hardworking families – particularly those that depend on coal for their jobs and their electricity – will suffer.

READ MORE OF OUR #STUCKINTHESENATE SERIES HERE:

 

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Seven Unusual Objects in Speaker Boehner's Office

2014/09/04

Over the years, Speaker Boehner has collected some interesting items, many of which now litter – ahem – adorn his office in the U.S. Capitol.  Here is a quick rundown of some of the more unique pieces. 

Walking Stick.  Speaker Boehner can often be found counting his steps with the help of his fitness band, but he has never actually been spotted using this walking stick, which remains in the corner of his office.  According to the Alabaman wood carver who gave it Speaker Boehner, the stick was carved in honor of Teddy Roosevelt’s famous advice to “speak softly and carry a big stick.”  The craftsman claims it is not his best walking stick, but standing at 59 inches tall, it is his biggest.

The Monkey.  Perhaps the most recognizable artifact in the Speaker’s office, the Monkey has a long and storied history.  In fact, it even deserves its own explanatory post, complete with photos and a can’t-miss video.

Reindeer Antlers.  Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI), a reindeer rancher from Michigan, delivered these decorative antlers to Speaker Boehner in the summer of 2013.  Reindeer shed their antlers naturally, so no animals were harmed in the creation of this mantlepiece.

Xavier University Diploma. John Boehner became the first person in his family to attend college.  After seven years of working odd jobs and night shifts as a janitor to help pay for his education, he graduated from Xavier in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in business. In 2006, the University awarded him an honorary degree (shown here) as part of the commencement ceremony.

Personalized Candle.  The Spice of Reading, which is the name of the Speaker’s hometown in Ohio, features Jerry Vanden Eynden, one of John Boehner’s best friends from childhood and the current president of candle company in Ohio.

Recycled Upholstry.  Each Speaker, at the beginning of his term, works with the Architect of the Capitol to set up the new office.  Boehner, hailing from mid-western modesty, specifically requested that all furnishings be covered in recycled upholstery, rather than costlier, brand new material.

Canvas print of the 1822 oil painting by Samuel F.B. Morse, The House of Representatives, showing a late night session of the House in what is now Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol.  The original painting hangs in the Corcoran Gallery of Art.

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Also #StuckInTheSenate: Tackling Cybercrime to Protect Jobs

2014/09/03

This is the seventh post in our series exploring the jobs bills Senate Democrats are blocking.  Previous posts can be read at speaker.gov/jobs.

Problem: The massive data breach at Home Depot – which may be much larger in scale than the one Target experienced last year – is yet another indication of the threat cybercrime poses to our economy.  A recent study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) found that cybercrime costs the U.S. economy roughly $100 billion per year.  “Cybercrime is a tax on innovation and slows the pace of global innovation by reducing the rate of return to innovators and investors,” one CSIS expert said.  “For developed countries, cybercrime has serious implications for employment.” 

For all that, our government still lacks policies that match the enormity and urgency of the threat.  “Too often,” the Intelligence Committee reports, “companies that would like to share cyber threat information with other parts of the private sector or the government are prevented or deterred from doing so by a range of policy and legal barriers.”  In addition, the government doesn’t have clear legal authority to share the classified information it collects about foreign hackers.  

Our Solution: Last April, the House passed H.R. 624, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, with a veto-proof bipartisan majority.  After the vote, Speaker Boehner said:

“Stopping cyber-attacks by foreign countries like China as well as private criminal organizations is critical to keeping our homeland safe and protecting American jobs. This measure will help stop cyber-attacks by arming private-sector companies with government intelligence on cyber threats, while protecting the American people’s privacy.

Senate Inaction: This July, the Senate Intelligence Committee passed a separate cybersecurity bill, but Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) hasn’t announced plans to take it up in the near future.  Instead, Sen. Reid’s first order of business this month will be a constitutional amendment that he has used “as a way to bash the Koch brothers.” 

Consequences: The Home Depot breach has renewed attention on how retailers spend less on cybersecurity than other industries.  And small businesses – one out of every five of which fall victim to cybercrime – certainly don’t have the resources and infrastructure for this.  By failing to act on cybersecurity, President Obama and Senate Democrats are missing an opportunity to show we recognize this threat and are determined to do all we can to protect our economy and our workers.

To learn more about this bill, read the text, and see how your representative voted, visit speaker.gov/jobs.  

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#StuckInTheSenate: Boosting Startups & Small Businesses

2014/09/02

With all the first day of school photos going around and the NFL about to kick off, the week has the feel of a fresh start, doesn’t it?  We were hoping it could be that way too for Senate Democrats, that instead of continuing to block our more than 40 jobs bills, they could give them another look.  

Then, we come to read that Senate Democrats will spend this critical month focusing on a “fundamentally political” proposal that will involve “several time-consuming steps” of debate. 

Why would they “devote precious time to an entirely futile exercise,” Byron York asks.  “Because the Senate's brief two weeks in Washington are all about the campaign to come.”

While keeping with their do-nothing attitude, it still stings that Senate Democrats would put their political crusades ahead of the problems we’re facing. 

On their watch, for example, America’s economy is experiencing a “sharp drop in entrepreneurial activity” and producing fewer new companies “than ever before.”  We can’t expect real, sustained growth unless we’re growing Main Street, and getting new ideas and innovations into the mix.

What holds back startups and entrepreneurs?   According to one recent study, it’s how red tape “discriminates against new businesses” and favors big, established companies.  This story Speaker Boehner recently highlighted from  a small business owner in his district who feels “handcuffed” and “terrified” by the health care law’s regulations drives home the point.   

That’s why among our solutions are bipartisan bills to level the playing field for the nation’s entrepreneurs:

  • On December 4, 2013, 36 Democrats joined the Republican majority to pass H.R. 1105, the Small Business Capital Access and Job Preservation Act.  Authored by Rep. Robert Hurt (R-VA), this bill reduces mandates that prevent private equity firms from investing more in small businesses.  “This legislation,” Speaker Boehner said, “would boost our economy by cutting through the red tape that is holding back small business investment and making it harder to create jobs.”
  • On June 12, 2014, the House passed H.R. 4457, which would allow small businesses to immediately deduct the cost of purchasing new equipment and property, and H.R. 4453, which would make it easier for the small businesses that line Main Street to access much-needed capital without tax penalties.  Both of these reforms would be permanent, and both received the support of at least 42 House Democrats.

These proposals are among our top 10 bipartisan jobs bills being blocked by Senate Democrats, a pattern of inaction that is sadly set to continue.  In the meantime, happy first day of school, everyone.

This has been the sixth post in our series highlighting the jobs bills Senate Democrats are blocking.  Read the previous posts here

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Bucshon's Labor Day Tribute & Pledge to America’s Workers

2014/08/30

“My dad spent 35 years as a UMWA coal miner in my hometown of Kincaid, Illinois.  He was proud of the work he did every day and rightly so,” Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN) says in this week’s Republican address, which serves as a tribute to America’s workers and a pledge to keep doing all we can to bring jobs home and build a stronger economy. 

You can also watch & comment on Facebookread the transcriptlisten to the audio, and check out these highlights: 

The Hill: “GOP slams White House, Senate Dems on jobs” “Republicans used their Labor Day weekend address to blast the Obama administration and the Democratic-controlled Senate for dragging their feet on more than 40 jobs bills passed in the House. … Bucshon, a cardiothoracic surgeon, said that as a physician he took an oath to ‘do no harm,’ however, the administration’s policies ‘continue to harm our nation’s economy and families struggling to make ends meet, Republicans are offering solutions America’s workers can count on.’ … Bucshon cited his own childhood, boasting that his father spent 35 years working as a coal miner in his hometown in Illinois.”

Newsmax: “Rep. Larry Bucshon: Dems Must 'Put Aside Politics,' Fix Economy” “Obama administration economic policies ‘make no sense’ for the jobless and millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet, Indiana Republican Rep. Larry Bucshon said Saturday in a Labor Day tribute to U.S. workers. There are solutions, he said – including an array of House-passed measures to kickstart the economy.  But to make them a reality, President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats will have to ‘put aside politics, and do what Americans do every day, and that’s get to work,’ Bucshon said.”  ABC News Radio: “GOP Weekly Address: Rep. Larry Bucshon on Bringing Jobs Back to the US” “With Labor Day on Monday, Bucshon spoke of how ‘Americas workers make our country go.’  He noted, however, that many of those workers are ‘hurting.’  Bucshon mentioned 40 ‘good jobs bills awaiting action,’ blame for which he pointed at the Democrat-held Senate.  Bucshon argues for lowering energy costs, fixing the tax code and restoring opportunities for all Americans.” Evansville Courier & Press: “Bucshon Gives Weekly Address for GOP”  “House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) selected Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN) to deliver the Weekly Republican Address for August 30.  Rep. Bucshon marked the upcoming Labor Day Holiday with a tribute to America’s workers and an update on his efforts to address the challenges they're facing.  ‘Our solutions will address the sluggish job market and grow our economy over the long run,’ Bucshon said."

Associated Press: “In the Republican address, Rep. Larry Bucshon of Indiana says Republicans are focused on creating jobs, lowering costs and restoring opportunity.”

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Weekly Republican Address: Solutions to Bring Jobs Home For America's Workers

2014/08/29

WASHINGTON, DC – In this week’s Republican address, Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN) honors Labor Day with a tribute to America’s workers and an update on our efforts to address the challenges they're facing.  "Our solutions will address the sluggish job market and grow our economy over the long run," he says, noting that "more than 40 good jobs bills awaiting action in the Democratic-run United States Senate."

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

Remarks of Representative Larry Bucshon of Indiana Weekly Republican Address August 30, 2014

Hello, I’m Dr. Larry Bucshon, proudly serving Indiana’s Eighth Congressional District.

I’m honored to be speaking with you from the Heartland of America on this weekend when we tip our hat to the working man and woman. 

America’s workers make our country go, so our goal should be to make our economy work for them. 

But traveling around Indiana this week, going from job fairs to listening sessions to small businesses, it was easy to see how our workers are still hurting.

We’re seeing some jobs come back, but too many of our fellow Americans are stuck in part-time work or have stopped looking altogether.  And between wages staying flat – and costs on everything from food to health care going up – families are being squeezed at every turn.

 Here in Indiana, and in many states throughout the union, we rely on coal to power our homes and provide good-paying middle class jobs – like the one my family relied on when I was a kid.

 My dad spent 35 years as a UMWA coal miner in my hometown of Kincaid, Illinois. He was proud of the work he did everyday and rightly so.  The coal mine helped put food on our table and helped me pursue an education and realize the American Dream.

Unfortunately, the current administration is waging a war on this reliable, affordable source of energy and the countless jobs it supports.  This is one example of many where the policies coming from Washington, D.C. just don’t make sense. 

As a physician, I took an oath to “do no harm.”  While this Administration’s policies continue to harm our nation’s economy and families struggling to make ends meet, Republicans are offering solutions America’s workers can count on. Our solutions will address the sluggish job market and grow our economy over the long run. 

First, we need to get people back into steady, good-paying jobs.  One thing we’ve already done is fix our job training system to make it easier for workers to find the skills they need to get ahead – this was a bipartisan, common-sense compromise with our colleagues in the Senate.  We’ve also offered proposals to jumpstart small business investment and rein in the red tape factory that makes it harder for employers to hire and expand. 

All told, we have more than 40 good jobs bills awaiting action in the Democratic-run United States Senate.  

Lowering costs is another area that demands action.  Several of the bipartisan jobs bills we’re asking Senate Democrats to act on would help make energy less expensive for families and small businesses, like the manufacturers that help support the Hoosier economy.  And we need to implement real health care reform that lets patients choose the plans they want at a price they can afford.

And third, we need to restore real opportunities for all Americans.  That’s why we’ve sent the Senate solutions to make education more affordable and accessible for middle-class families.  And we’re ready to fix our tax code to make it simpler and fairer for everyone.

These three things – getting people back to work, lowering costs at home, and restoring opportunity – will continue to be our focus in the weeks ahead. 

We call them ‘American Solutions’ because they put the American people first.  Which is exactly what we’re asking of President Obama and Senate Democrats as we celebrate our nation’s workforce: put aside politics, and do what Americans do every day, and that’s get to work. 

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

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The Departed Get a Pass from the President

2014/08/29

His own party controls the Senate, but that hasn’t stopped President Obama from complaining about Congress. He recently resorted to repeating lines from the movie The Departed, in which Mark Wahlberg’s character says, “I’m the guy who does his job. You must be the other guy.”

The president’s shtick, untethered from actual facts, was awarded three Pinocchios by The Washington Post’s fact-checker, which noted that House Republicans have passed dozens of jobs bills that Senate Democrats have blocked. In fact, the unprecedented obstruction orchestrated by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has been widely reported.

When the humanitarian crisis on our southern border demanded congressional action, a similar situation occurred. House Republicans passed a bill to give the Obama administration additional resources and the ability to speed up the process of safely returning unaccompanied children to their home countries. Senate Democrats didn’t bother; they left town for a month without passing anything.

So President Obama’s choice of words yesterday was a bit odd. Asked about the border crisis, he said:

“[Getting] more resources down at the border …. would have been helped along if Congress had voted for the supplemental that I asked for. They did not. That means that we've got to make some administrative choices and executive choices about, for example, getting more immigration judges down there.”

Let’s be clear: House Republicans passed a responsible bill; Senate Democrats did nothing. President Obama is the guy giving a pass to Senate Democrats who departed Washington without doing their job.

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Rep. Larry Bucshon to Deliver Weekly Republican Address on Labor Day Weekend

2014/08/29

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has selected Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN) to deliver the Weekly Republican Address for Saturday, August 30.  In the address, Rep. Bucshon will mark the upcoming Labor Day Holiday, celebrating the nation’s workforce and highlighting Republicans’ solutions to help create jobs and build a stronger economy.

“As the son of a coal miner and a nurse, I was able to pursue an education and realize the American dream,” Rep. Bucshon said. “House Republicans have put forth common-sense solutions that ensure every American has the same opportunity. I’m honored to deliver our message about the importance of these solutions this weekend as we celebrate our fellow Americans who work hard every single day.”

America’s workers are the best in the world, and we’re focused on doing all we can to bring jobs home for them,” Speaker Boehner said.  “The House has passed more than 40 jobs bills to help get people back to work, lower costs at home, and restore opportunity, and Larry Bucshon has been a vital part of that effort.  I’m glad he’s delivering our message to America’s workers on Labor Day weekend.”

About Rep. Larry Bucshon.  Rep. Larry Bucshon represents Indiana’s Eighth Congressional District, and was born and raised in Kincaid, Illinois.  Larry’s father was an underground coal miner and his mother was a nurse.  A graduate of the University of Illinois College of Medicine, Larry practiced cardiothoracic surgery for over 15 years, performing hundreds of heart surgeries.  He served as President of Ohio Valley HeartCare and Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Medical Director of the open heart recovery intensive care unit at St. Mary’s Hospital in Evansville, Indiana.  Larry served as an officer in the Navy Reserve for nearly a decade and practiced at the Milwaukee VA Hospital during his surgical residency training.  Today he serves as Chairman of the Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Technology and as a member of the Education & the Workforce and Transportation & Infrastructure committees.  He and his wife Kathryn reside in Warrick County, Indiana and have four children.  Learn more at bucshon.house.gov.

About the Weekly Republican Address.  The text and audio of the Weekly Republican Address will be released Friday afternoon and embargoed until Saturday, August 30 at 6:00 a.m. ET, when it will be available on Speaker.gov and GOP.gov to view and download. 

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A Press Conference Heard Round the World

2014/08/29

Many, if not most, people assumed it, but it was still alarming to hear the President of the United States actually say it.

We don't have a strategy yet,” President Obama conceded yesterday, referring to his approach – or lack of one, rather – to confronting and defeating the terrorist threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

As CNN’s Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr remarked, “[It’s] worth remembering that ISIS fighters, ISIS leadership will hear this statement that the U.S. right now has no strategy to deal with them.” And let’s not forget about the hundreds of American troops on the ground in Iraq. What should they think?

For nearly a year, Speaker Boehner has urged President Obama to “get engaged” and “lay out a plan for how we can reverse the momentum and spread of terrorism in Iraq,” Syria and the rest of the Middle East. But after all this time, President Obama has still got nothing.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has certainly taken note. Earlier this month, President Obama told The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman that Putin “‘could invade’ Ukraine at any time, and, if he does, ‘trying to find our way back to a cooperative functioning relationship with Russia during the remainder of my term will be much more difficult.’”

Columnist Charles Krauthammer was taken aback by the president’s statement then: “A Russian invasion would be a singular violation of the post–Cold War order, a humiliating demonstration of American helplessness and a shock to the Baltic republics, Poland, and other vulnerable U.S. allies. And Obama is concerned about his post-invasion relations with Putin?”

Yesterday, with the predicted invasion in full swing for the entire world to see, President Obama refused to call it what it is when asked point-blank. Russian military convoys in Ukraine, he said, are merely a “continuation of what's been taking place for months,” and “not really a shift.” Instead, he alleged, “the fact that Russia has taken these actions in violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Ukrainians has resulted … in a weakening of Russia[.]” This from the man who claimed he had al Qaeda on the run and the terrorists on their heels.

Are we really to believe that Russia is weaker now that it’s gobbling up a sovereign country? “That may not be apparent immediately,” President Obama admitted, no doubt to Putin’s amusement.

To counter Russian aggression, President Obama says he is attempting to “mobilize the international community to apply pressure on Russia.” But Putin is also applying pressure – by mobilizing tanks.

Today’s Washington Post editorial alludes to President Obama’s anemic response thus far and urges him to show he’s serious about holding America’s number one geopolitical foe accountable:

“What is evident is that Mr. Putin cares little for diplomatic ‘off-ramps,’ as the West calls the various face-saving solutions it has dangled since Mr. Putin first began his squeeze on Crimea, and to which Mr. Obama alluded yet again Thursday. … [G]iven the global repercussions of this struggle, the United States and its allies cannot afford to let Mr. Putin break the rules. It is time to hit Russia with the full brunt of financial sanctions, to supply Ukraine with the arms and intelligence it needs to defend its territorial integrity (which Russia itself once pledged to respect), to halt all military sales to Russia by Western nations — and to bolster the neglected North Atlantic Treaty Organization.”

For now, red lines go wholly unenforced and the Islamic State goes largely unchecked.

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#StuckInTheSenate: Solutions to Make Education More Affordable & Accessible

2014/08/29

This is the fifth post in our series exploring the jobs bills Senate Democrats are blocking.  Catch up on previous posts about protecting full-time jobs, veterans’ hiring, time flexibility, and the Keystone XL pipeline. You can also just watch this Vine

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

Problem: With school back in session, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and his team have been highlighting the challenges students face gaining access to a quality, affordable education.  Did you know that, this past year, nearly a million kids wanted to attend a school of their choice but couldn’t?  Or that, in addition to the skyrocketing cost of college, the price tag for early childhood education has jumped by more than $1,000 over the last decade? 

Our Solutions: Last month, the House passed three bipartisan bills to address the cost of college: H.R. 3136, H.R. 4983, and H.R. 4984.  Also in that stack of jobs bills we’ve sent the Senate is H.R. 3393, a bill that would make it easier for families to utilize tax credits to make college more affordable.  And in May, the House passed – on an overwhelming bipartisan basis – H.R. 10, legislation to strengthen and expand access to the successful Charter School Program.  All of these bills harken back to something Speaker Boehner said at a charter school rally in the spring: “If we’re going to have a strong economy for our future, we’ve got to make sure that we find a way to educate more of America’s kids.” Senate Inaction: It is unclear” whether Senate Democrats will join our bipartisan majority for charter schools.  They have also failed to act on any legislation to make college more affordable.  And remember, all Senate Democrats have planned for September is “a slew of do-over votes” – no action on new ideas. Consequences: The less access young people have to a quality, affordable education, the harder it will be for them to get a good start in the real world.  One expert said, “We risk really having this lost generation of workers.  And what that means in terms of the economy's ability to innovate and compete, when you've kind of wasted the talents of some substantial portion of a generation, is really, it's alarming.”

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CBO Gives Debt-Denying Democrats a Dose of Reality

2014/08/28

When President Obama was sworn into office in January 2009, the national debt stood at $10.6 trillion, and Democrats controlled the Senate and the House. Free to do whatever they wanted, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) passed ObamaCare into law, as well as a massive “stimulus” package with nearly $1 trillion in new spending. The president happily signed them both. Debt exploded – and the public took notice. In 2010 and 2012, Americans elected a Republican majority in the House.

Campaigning for president in 2008, Barack Obama had pretended to care about government spending increasing the debt. “[T]o take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt …. That's irresponsible,” he said. “It's unpatriotic.” Chastened after the 2010 election, he returned to feigning concern about America’s finances. “If we keep on spending more than we take in, it’s going to cause serious damage to our economy,” he told a crowd in April 2011. He also said that “all this rising debt will cost us jobs and damage our economy.” All true, but his actions didn’t match his rhetoric. Each of the budgets he proposed would have increased spending to new heights and never balanced – ever. Not in 10 years, not in 20 years. Never.

Today, the national debt stands at $17.7 trillion, an increase of $7.1 trillion in the five and a half years of the Obama presidency. Over the past three years, House Republicans have worked to save taxpayer dollars and prevent the debt from growing even more, banning earmarks, winning enactment of significant spending cuts, and consistently offering budgets that address the true drivers of our country’s debt and preserve programs like Medicare and Medicaid for future retirees.

It’s a start, and it certainly wasn’t easy. Democrats like Harry Reid fought against it every step of the way.  Leader Pelosi once claimed – with a straight face – that “there's no more cuts to make.” By 2013, President Obama was telling anyone who’d listen that America doesn’t have a spending problem. These days, Democrats are all denial, all the time.

Yesterday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) provided a healthy dose of reality. Despite the fact that the federal government will collect a record amount of money from taxpayers this year, the CBO estimates the budget deficit will still top $500 billion. That’s a bigger shortfall than any of President George W. Bush’s deficits.

The CBO also warns that the national debt will continue to grow, “eventually increasing the risk of a fiscal crisis.” The other bad news is that our economy will grow by just 1.5 percent this year.

As USA Today recently editorialized, “the long-term budget outlook remains very scary.” It’s clear that there’s more work to do when it comes to reigning in spending and balancing the budget. There’s simply no denying it.

Perhaps this is why a strong majority – 83 percent – of registered voters believe the President and Congress should spend more time addressing the national debt, according to a recent survey by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. A Rasmussen poll found that 57 percent of likely voters “think thoughtful spending cuts should be considered in every federal program.”

House Republicans have made the American people’s priorities our priorities, so we’re going to continue to stand up for smarter, sustainable government. Earlier this year, we passed three pro-growth budget reform bills and a balanced budget that would stop spending money our country doesn’t have, root out waste, and begin to pay down our debt. Of course, Senate Democrats blocked these bills, and the White House denounced them as extreme – an ironic criticism coming from those who believe we can just keep running up our national credit card bill.

President Obama used to have a different word for that.

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#StuckInTheSenate: The Keystone Pipeline & Thousands of Jobs That Come With It

2014/08/28

NOTE: This is the fourth installment of our #StuckInTheSenate series highlighting House-passed solutions that would help lower costs, boost the economy, and create jobs if Senate Democrats would simply bring them to a vote.  Visit the Speaker’s blog for a look at the posts we’ve done on the Save American Workers Act, the Hire More Heroes Act, and the Working Families Flexibility Act.  

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Problem: The Keystone pipeline would create tens of thousands of jobs, pump nearly a million barrels of oil a day to U.S. refineries, and is backed by a vast majority of the American people – but President Obama isn’t listening to them.  Kowtowing to his most extreme – and well-heeled – political allies, President Obama has blocked the pipeline for nearly six years.  Even the State Department has conceded that the pipeline will have no significant environmental impact, but that didn’t stop the president from embarrassing himself with another delay back in April.  The president’s action garnered a heated rebuke from one labor leader who called the move “gutless” and “a low blow to the working men and women of this country.”  With a final decision delayed – once again – until after the election, House Republicans are taking action.  

Our Solution: On May 22, 2013, the House passed the Northern Route Approval Act (H.R. 3), legislation introduced by Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) that would green light the Keystone pipeline and eliminate the legal and regulatory barriers that could delay its construction for years.  As Speaker Boehner has said:

“Middle-class families and small businesses continue to struggle in this economy, and the president’s refusal to back this job-creating project is hurting our economy.  If President Obama wants to make this a ‘year of action’ he will stand up to the extreme Left in his own party, stand with the overwhelming majority of American people, and approve this critical project.”

Senate Inaction: H.R. 3 passed the House with the backing of 19 Democrats and has bipartisan support in the Democratic-led Senate.  Yet while several Democrats have joined Republicans in calling for a vote on the pipeline, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) bucked members of his own party last month by blocking a vote on the project, proving once again that even bipartisan bills don’t stand a chance in the do-nothing Senate.

Consequences: Gas prices have nearly doubled on the president’s watch and millions of Americans are still asking the question, “where are the jobs?”  Approving the Keystone pipeline would provide an immediate answer to tens of thousands of those families.  Instead, the president’s needless delays are forcing Canada to look to China for new energy markets, shipping what should be American jobs and energy security overseas.  The consequences of Democrats’ inaction were recently summed up in stark and sobering terms by Circle, Montana resident and local VFW commander Denny Hogan: “If there is no pipeline, there is no future.  End of conversation.”

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Speaker Boehner on CBO’s Forecast of Slow Growth

2014/08/27

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today again called on Senate Democrats to act on House-passed jobs bills in response to a Congressional Budget Office report showing that our economy will grow by just 1.5 percent this year, less than last year’s anemic 1.9 percent: “This CBO report says that our economy will actually grow less this year than it did in 2013.  The continued lack of strong, sustained growth is felt across our country, particularly by the millions of Americans stuck in part-time work.  While the House has passed more than 40 jobs bills to reinvigorate our economy, Senate Democrats have done nothing.  The president and his party are instead talking about ideas that would just send more jobs overseas.  Americans deserve better, and the House will continue to focus on solutions that help get people back to work, lower costs at home, and restore opportunity for all.  In the meantime, I again call on Senate Democrats to stop standing in the way of growth and work with us to get our economy moving again.”

NOTE: This week on Speaker.gov, we are highlighting the consequences of Senate Democrats’ inaction on House-passed jobs bills:

·         #StuckInTheSenate: Providing More Flexibility to Working Families

·         #StuckInTheSenate: A Bill to Boost Veterans’ Hiring

·         #StuckInTheSenate: A Jobs Bill to Boost Wages, Protect Full-Time Work

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The Emmy for Best Cover-Up Goes to...

2014/08/27

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If the Emmy Awards considered such things, President Obama’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS) would have easily taken the award for best cover-up. Every time IRS officials’ alibis and excuses collapse like a House of Cards, they concoct new ones, only to change their stories again a few weeks later. The wrongdoing uncovered, the House of Lies, the arrogance run amok – it all constitutes an epic Scandal in need of a True Detective.

The Obama administration’s Big Bang Theory of numerous hard drives conveniently Breaking Bad simply strains credulity. In the wake of officials’ refusals to tell the truth about their targeting of conservatives, the House of Representatives passed a resolution in May calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special counsel to investigate. Nearly four months later, he’s done absolutely nothing to ensure that justice is done.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration’s version of events continues to evolve:

Attorneys for the Justice Department surprised Judicial Watch, a right-leaning watchdog group, on Friday by saying that they have copies of every electronic message ever sent from Lerner, a former top IRS official who is a key figure in a targeting scandal involving conservative groups that sought tax-exempt status.

The IRS told Congress that thousands of Lerner’s emails sent prior to 2011 were hopelessly lost thanks to a hard drive crash that left the data unrecoverable. A back-up system, they said, had also been erased. Officials told Congress about a half dozen IRS officials in addition to Lerner, some affiliated with the targeting, had also lost emails due to computer crashes.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said Justice Department lawyers informed him that the federal government keeps a back-up copy of every email and record in the event of a government-wide catastrophe.

The back-up system includes the IRS emails, too. …

Judicial Watch is now seeking the release of the emails, which Justice Department lawyers say would be hard to find because of the significant size of the backup system.

And you thought Saul Goodman was shrewd.

So which is it? Do Lois Lerner’s emails still exist or not? It’s seems the government is working overtime to run out the clock and hide the truth:

In two elusive and nebulous sworn declarations [to federal Judge Emmet Sullivan], we can glean that Ms. Lerner had two Blackberries. One was issued to her on November 12, 2009. According to a sworn declaration, this is the Blackberry that contained all the emails (both sent and received) that would have been in her “Outlook” and drafts that never were sent from her Blackberry during the relevant time.

With incredible disregard for the law and the Congressional inquiry, the IRS admits that this Blackberry “was removed or wiped clean of any sensitive or proprietary information and removed as scrap for disposal in June 2012.” This is a year after her hard drive “crash” and months after the Congressional inquiry began.

This should be a serious investigation, but in a Shameless move, President Obama and Attorney General Holder are treating it like nothing more than a Game of Thrones – a damning indication that there’s a lot more than “a smidgeon of corruption” at play.

 

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#StuckInTheSenate: Providing More Flexibility to Support Working Families

2014/08/27

NOTE: This is the third in a series of posts highlighting the commonsense, House-passed jobs measures stalled in the Democratic-led Senate.  The first post on the Save American Workers Act is available here and the second post on the Hire More Heroes Act is available here.  Subsequent posts will be available on the Speaker’s blog

Problem: For nearly 30 years, government employees have had the option of receiving either extra pay or extra time off – known as “comp time” – for the overtime hours they’ve worked.  Thanks to an outdated federal law prohibiting comp time for private-sector workers, millions of families are being denied the same flexibility.  “Overtime rules hurt women by reducing flexibility with their employer,” economist Diana Furchtgott-Roth writes in Real Clear Markets, “many women with children, particularly young mothers who cannot afford childcare, would prefer to have flexibility in their schedule rather than extra overtime pay.” 

Our Solution: On May 8, 2013, the House passed the Working Families Flexibility Act (H.R. 1406), legislation introduced by Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) that removes the legal barrier preventing private-sector employers from offering comp time, while maintaining the same protections to ensure workers continue receiving overtime pay if they choose to do so.  Speaker Boehner highlighted the benefits of the bill in a video last year:

“For decades, government employees who work overtime have been able to choose between getting paid in cash or taking time off later.  Republicans want to make sure that ALL workers have that choice. … If you work a few extra hours one day and prefer to take time off on another, you can.  That’s the time you can spend helping out your parents, taking the kids to a ballgame, or whatever you see fit.  Or if you want, you can just take the cash.  Either way, YOU get to make the choice. Not your boss. And not Washington.” (Watch the full video here.) 

Senate Inaction:  “An animated President Obama cast the need for flexible workplace policies” back in June, The Washington Post reported at that time, but none of that ‘animation’ has translated into action.  Despite his rhetoric, President Obama has threatened to veto H.R. 1406 and his party’s leaders in the Senate refuse to bring it to a vote. 

Consequences: Labor force participation remains near 30-year lows in the Obama economy and misguided policies, like prohibiting comp time for hourly wage earners, only discourage more Americans from looking for work.  Republicans have pressed Senate Democrats to take action on behalf of the hardworking families they represent (see: here and here), and will continue to do so in the weeks and months ahead.

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“Struggling,” “Disengaged,” “Tentative”: Obama Admin Taking Heat for Lacking Iraq Strategy

2014/08/26

The Obama administration is drawing another round of criticism for its failure to articulate a strategy for countering the spread of terrorism in Iraq and across the region – a strategy Speaker Boehner has been calling for since January.  Here are just a few examples:

  • “The World Senses that This President Is Too Disengaged” “The apparent struggle to neatly encapsulate the President’s strategy is not lost on his critics.  ‘I do think the administration is showing some signs of a little bit of fatigue,’ Brookings Institution analyst Michael O’Hanlon said in a recent interview with CNN.  ‘It’s time for a little more ambition frankly because the world senses that this President is too disengaged,’ O’Hanlon added.” (CNN)
  • “The Obama Administration Has Yet to Articulate a Clear Course of Action” “Yet for all the vivid rhetoric in recent days, the Obama administration has yet to articulate a clear course of action to dismantle the radical group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, and is struggling to lay out a precise vision to respond to the new threats in chaotic areas of Iraq and Syria where ISIL has thrived in recent months.  The lack of clarity in the U.S. approach to the region has underscored claims by critics — including voices generally friendly to the White House — questioning whether Obama’s foreign policy message is coherent enough to win support across the globe.” (Politico)
  • “Further Indictment of this Administration’s Tentative Approach to a Violent & Dangerous World” “Nearly six years into the presidency of Barack Obama, it remains impossible to concisely explain the administration’s foreign policy. … Our previous experience in Iraq taught us that any commitment of U.S. forces must be matched by a decisive, defined plan for what we hope to achieve and how we intend to achieve it. However, President Obama’s inability to provide such a framework is deeply troubling, and serves as a further indictment of this administration’s tentative approach to a violent and dangerous world. … We cannot simply abdicate our responsibility for the future of Iraq with so dangerous a movement on the march.  Yet, in spite of that evidence, the president persists in trying to thread the needle on foreign policy.” (Daily Press)
  • “Obama Should Clearly Explain to the Public the Threat ISIS Poses & What Needs to Be Done” “More dangerous than al-Qaida.  If that is really true about the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – and Pentagon leaders say it is – then President Barack Obama and his national security team must put together a far more comprehensive strategy to defeat it. And Obama should clearly explain to the public the threat ISIS poses and what needs to be done. … As commander in chief, it’s Obama’s job to convince the public.” (Sacramento Bee)

The Obama administration grossly underestimated the threat posed by terrorists in Iraq and now it is more concerned with defending its foreign policy (or lack thereof) than defining it.  With our national security and that of our allies at stake, President Obama owes the American people a clear and comprehensive plan to reverse the spread of terrorism and ensure our long-term interests in the region.  As Speaker Boehner has made clear, “the president needs a long-term strategy – one that defines success as completing our mission, not keeping political promises.”

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#StuckInTheSenate: A Bill to Boost Veterans’ Hiring

2014/08/26

This post is the second in a series that provides a deeper look into the more than 40 jobs bills Senate Democrats are blocking.  Read the first post, on the Save American Workers Act, here.

Problem: In addition to the problems plaguing the VA, another persistent challenge our veterans face is finding a job in this tough economy.   President Obama addresses the American Legion today at a time when the unemployment rate among post-9/11 veterans has jumped to 9.2 percent, three percentage points higher than the national rate.  That’s unacceptable as is, but with more servicemembers coming home from Afghanistan, “joblessness among this group is set to worsen.” 

Our Solution: On March 11, 2014, the House passed the Hire More Heroes Act (H.R. 3474), a bill that makes it easier to hire veterans by exempting those who already have health insurance from being counted as full-time employees under the president’s health care law.  If employers can hire veterans without worrying about triggering ObamaCare penalties, this will free them up to, in effect, hire more heroes.  It’s a straightforward fix, and after the bill passed the House by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 406-1, Rep. Davis said:

“We know offering health care is costly for small businesses and the employer mandate in Obamacare has forced many to delay hiring, cut hours and in some cases reduce their payroll at a time when our economy is struggling to recover. So, it only makes sense to exempt veterans receiving health care through the VA from Obamacare’s employer mandate since they are clearly covered elsewhere and do not need employer-provided insurance.” (Full release here.)

Senate Inaction: Instead of following the House in acting quickly, Senate Democrats attached unrelated legislation to the Hire More Heroes Act and now it is stuck in that chamber.  There is no indication of when the Senate will act.

Consequences: Senate Democrats’ failure to act has needlessly delayed a solution that would help boost the hiring of veterans and encourage small businesses to expand without being penalized.  Republicans have highlighted this bill in our weekly address, and we’ll continue to press Washington Democrats to do the right thing for our veterans.

To learn more about this bill, read the full text, and see how your representative voted, visit speaker.gov/jobs

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The Monkey in the Room

2014/08/26

As shown in the pictures below, the monkey is the second most photographed subject in H-232, aside from Speaker Boehner himself.  It all started in the fall of 2011, when Speaker Boehner joked in an interview that some days he felt like a windup toy because his jam-packed scheduled kept him so busy.  So, as a light-hearted token of appreciation (and a less-than-subtle reminder to not use that metaphor again), Speaker Boehner’s staff brought the monkey to the U.S. Capitol.

The Speaker got the joke, and as seen in the video above, the monkey has been eavesdropping and photobombing from the comfort and convenience of his home on the Speaker’s coffee table ever since.

Throwback to Speaker Boehner’s 62nd birthday, when the monkey first moved in:

The monkey can be spotted in at least 29 photos found on Speaker Boehner’s Flickr page.  A few of our favorites are shown here:

NOTE: Check out the full photo album of Monkey Sightings HERE.

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The People Behind "The People’s Tree"

2014/08/25

These may be the dog days of summer, but somewhere along the Paul Bunyan Trail in Minnesota, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

The North Star State’s Chippewa National Forest will provide the 65-foot tree that will stand on the West Front Lawn of the U.S. Capitol during the Christmas season.  The annual tree lighting, held in early December, is the product of much planning and hard work on the part of many across the country.  Let’s meet the people behind "The People’s Tree":

The Architect of the Capitol

The tradition of the Capitol Christmas Tree dates back half a century, to when House Speaker John W. McCormack asked for a live Christmas tree to be placed on the Capitol lawn.  After the tree fell victim to the elements, the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) took the reins.  Since 1970, the architect has asked the U.S. Forest Service to provide a tree from different national forests across America.  This is the second year the Chippewa National Forest has had the honor, the last time being 1992. 

The U.S. Forest Service 

The men and women of the Forest Service plan to select a 65-70 foot spruce or balsam fir.  In addition, they will pick several smaller trees that will be placed throughout the inside of the Capitol. 

The Transporters and Installers

Transporting the tree to the Capitol is a tradition in and of itself.  This year, the tree's journey will begin October 29 with the official cutting, then make its first stop at Bemidji State University where the tree will be wrapped and receive its final preparations for the journey to Washington D.C.  Once the tree has made countless stops at schools, hospitals, state capitols, city halls, military bases, and more, AOC staff will secure the tree to the ground and the decorating will begin. 

Minnesotans

The Forest Service is recruiting artists and volunteers from around the state to contribute the more than 10,000 handmade ornaments that will adorn the tree.  “We have already received commitments from groups around the state to participate, tallying up to 8,000 ornaments promised already,” said Ornament Chair Lynn Dee Stangel in a release.  Ornament contests are also sprouting up at county fairs across Minnesota.

The Tree Lighter

Once the tree is trimmed, members of the Capitol community and the public gather in the shadow of the Capitol Dome to light the lights.  Perhaps the most important guest will be the young Minnesotan who joins Speaker Boehner to flip the switch for all to see.  Here's Johnny of Sonora, California, lighting the tree in 2011, and Giovanni, of Colville, Washington, doing the honors  in 2013.

You

You’re invited to attend the tree-lighting ceremony and visit the tree, which will be lit nightly from dusk until 11 p.m. throughout the holiday season.  For now, stay tuned to Speaker.gov for updates.

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#StuckInTheSenate: A Jobs Bill to Boost Wages, Protect Full-Time Work

2014/08/25

This post kicks off a series that aims to give you a deeper look into the jobs bills Senate Democrats are blocking.  We often talk about these more than 40 bills in the aggregate, but behind each one is a story of people hurt by inaction. Problem: Right now, there are 7.5 million workers stuck in part-time jobs.  It’s a big reason why economists say “the job market is weaker than you think.”  Ask employers what’s causing this – and the Federal Reserve did – and one common answer is the president’s health care law.  Not only does ObamaCare raise the costs of doing business in general, it specifically raises the cost of hiring by redefining full-time employment as 30 hours per week.  Everywhere from schools to sheriff’s officeseven Wrigley Field – workers have had their hours cut because of these rules.  

Our Solution: On April 3, 2014, the House passed the Save American Workers Act (H.R. 2575), a bill introduced by Rep. Todd Young (R-IN) to restore the traditional 40-hour definition of full-time employment, thereby removing this barrier to more hours and better pay.  After the measure passed with the support of 18 House Democrats, Speaker Boehner said:

“The House took an important step to help increase wages and protect middle-class families today, but as I’ve said many times, Republicans will continue working to scrap this law and pave the way for patient-centered solutions focused on lowering health care costs and protecting jobs.” (Full release here.)

Senate Inaction: The Senate has failed to act on the bill, which the president has threatened to veto.  Some Democrats in the Senate suggested “that they are open to discussing ways to tweak the health-care law’s work rules,” but nothing has come of that.  Even more disappointing, all Senate Democrats have planned for September is “a slew of do-over votes on … campaign priorities.” 

Consequences: Senate Democrats’ failure to solve a problem of their own making – one they admit exists – hurts middle-class workers and hamstrings the small businesses at the heart of our economy.  Republicans, meanwhile, are doing all we can to turn things around and help people get ahead.  And we’re going to keep the pressure on Senate Democrats, and the president, to do the right thing.  To learn more, visit speaker.gov/jobs.

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Boehner: GAO Confirms Obama Administration Ignored the Law on 'Taliban Five'

2014/08/22

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement after the Government Accountability Office (GAO) confirmed that the Obama administration broke the law when it released five Taliban terrorists without notifying Congress:

“Yesterday, the nonpartisan, independent Government Accountability Office confirmed what everyone capable of reading the English language already knew: the White House ignored the law when it released five dangerous Taliban prisoners without proper Congressional notification. 

“At a time when we are grappling with the evil terror of the self-proclaimed ‘Islamic State’ in Syrian and Iraq – a group whose leader was once an American detainee, before being released – it is difficult to imagine a more potentially serious lapse in judgment by the Obama administration.

“Further, it is yet another reminder of this White House’s stubborn and dangerous practice of simply ignoring laws it finds inconvenient.  As news reports continue to suggest that the president is contemplating re-writing the law again, he should take into account the fact that this nonpartisan, independent agency has confirmed he exceeded his authority. 

“Every time the president unilaterally re-writes the law and ignores the Constitution, he does damage to the institutions of our democratic government, and undermines further the bonds of trust between that government and the American people.

NOTE: Speaker Boehner's first statement on the prisoner exchange is here.

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#FastAndFurious: One Step Closer to the Truth

2014/08/21

We’re one step closer to the truth about Fast and Furious, the botched gun-smuggling operation that resulted in the death of border agent Brian Terry.

A federal judge – one appointed by President Obama – has ordered the Department of Justice to turn over a list of Fast and Furious documents it has been withholding.

Here’s more from Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee:

“This Administration has been so intent on hiding the contents of these documents that it allowed Attorney General Holder to be held in contempt instead of just turning them over to Congress.  … The privilege log will bring us closer to finding out why the Justice Department hid behind false denials in the wake of reckless conduct that contributed to the violent deaths of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and countless Mexican citizens.”

The White House owes Brian Terry’s family and the American people the truth.  Help spread the word by sharing this graphic on Facebook and Twitter

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Of course, Fast and Furious is but one example of this administration’s pattern of hiding the truth and stonewalling the American people.  Even The New York Times editorial board says it’s “perfectly true” that “the administration has done much of its business in the dark, away from the public eye.”  As Speaker Boehner has pledged, “we will not stop until we get the full truth on behalf of the people we serve,” so be sure to follow him on Facebook to stay up to date on this, the IRS, Benghazi, and all our efforts to hold the White House accountable.  

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Seeing Right Through 'The Most Transparent Administration in History'

2014/08/19

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Under Speaker Boehner, the House has become more open and transparent. From banning earmarks to making the legislative process more accessible on livestream, to establishing one website where you can see how all of your tax dollars are being spent, to increasing the fair consideration of legislation, the House has made “big strides” in #OpenGov that has drawn bipartisan praise. It’s open government you can see, literally.

In contrast, while President Obama has repeatedly claimed that his is the “most transparent administration in history,” the evidence supporting his assertion is pretty flimsy, and a recent spate of news stories demonstrates that everyone can see right through the president’s dubious boast:

  • Government watchdogs complain of closed doors set up by White House: “Inspectors general, as they're called, are supposed to uncover government fraud. But they say all too often, they're getting stonewalled instead. The IGs want better access to information from the Obama administration—and they're winning support from members of Congress. Forty-seven IGs signed a letter this month highlighting problems with access to federal records — problems they say slow their investigations and threaten their independence.” (NPR)
  • Obama admin thwarting release of public data under FOIA, lawsuit charges: “The civic watchdog group Cause of Action on Monday sued the Obama administration, claiming that presidential attorneys have interfered improperly in the release of public documents under the landmark FOIA law in an effort to curb the release of derogatory information about the White House. The lawsuit … names 12 federal agencies that the group says slowed the release of documents so officials could consult with White House attorneys under a review process established in spring 2009. FOIA analysts say this practice never occurred in prior administrations.” (The Washington Times)
  • Administration won’t reveal records on health website security: "[T]he Obama administration has concluded it will not publicly disclose federal records that could shed light on the security of the government's health care website because doing so could 'potentially' allow hackers to break in. … The AP is asking the government to reconsider. Obama instructed federal agencies in 2009 to not keep information confidential 'merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears.' Yet the government, in its denial of the AP request, speculates that disclosing the records could possibly, but not assuredly or even probably, give hackers the keys they need to intrude." (Associated Press)
  • The Vice President stonewalled Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to hide travel costs: “[Ronald] Kessler, a former Wall Street Journal and Washington Post investigative reporter, filed a FOIA request in April 2013 with the Air Force for the details and costs of [Vice President Joe] Biden’s personal trips. … According to Kessler, Biden’s then-deputy counsel Jessica Hertz took over the FOIA case from the Air Force and ordered it not to release the 95 pages of documents it had compiled in response to Kessler’s request.” (Washington Free Beacon)
  • Behind closed doors, President Obama crafts executive actions: “[T]he process of drafting what will likely be the only significant immigration changes of his presidency … has been conducted almost entirely behind closed doors, where lobbyists and interest groups invited to the White House are making their case out of public view. … It also has opened the president, already facing charges of executive overreach, to criticism that he is presiding over opaque policy-making, with the potential to reward political backers at the expense of other interests[.]” (The New York Times)
  • ObamaCare's memory hole? 'Please delete this email': “[Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn] Tavenner's email asking the subordinate to delete an email was turned over to the House Energy and Commerce Committee last week, just a day after her staff told the committee that some copies of her email communications might have been lost. ‘Please delete this email,’ Tavenner wrote to then-CMS spokeswoman Julie Bataille on Oct. 5, 2013.” (CNBC)
  • White House reverses lobbyist ban: "The reversal comes amid ongoing debate over the effectiveness of Obama’s efforts to end K Street’s influence on policymaking. A POLITICO count published Tuesday shows that despite restrictions on lobbyists serving in government about 70 corporate, for-hire or association lobbyists have all joined the Obama administration." (Politico)
  • New York Times’ Risen calls Obama administration “the greatest enemy of press freedom” in a generation: “[New York Times reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner Jim] Risen said that the Administration has actively sought to ‘narrow the field of national security reporting’ and ‘create a path for accepted reporting’ while threatening to punish those who do not yield.” (Jonathan Turley)
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A Number That Explains Our Focus on Jobs & Families

2014/08/19

“New parents beware,” USA TODAY warns in the wake of a new government report showing that a middle-class family can expect to spend about $245,340 to raise a child born in 2013.   (And that’s before college.)

This, of course, is the kind of stuff that keeps many parents up at night.  And the trouble is, that number will only become more daunting if things stay the way they are. 

Under the president’s policies, everything from gas to groceries is getting more expensive.  The health care law is making matters worse, raising costs when it was supposed to lower them.  Meanwhile, incomes are down and many are stuck in part-time work

And yet, what is the president’s main proposal for the economy?  A ploy that would send more jobs overseas.  And how many good House-passed jobs bills are Senate Democrats blocking?  More than 40 .   

While Democrats have lost their way, we’re focused on solutions that will help hardworking families by:

  1. Helping people get back to work.  From jumpstarting small businesses to pushing energy projects forward, our plan would help Americans secure good-paying jobs and bring home better pay.
  2. Lowering costs at home.  Implementing a real ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy, providing more flexibility, and streamlining the child and education tax credits are just some of the ways our plan would help ease the strain middle-class families are facing.
  3. Restoring opportunity for all.  Whether it’s expanding choice in education, tackling our spending problem, or fixing our tax code, there’s no shortage of things we can do to build a stronger economy and a better future.

The middle class in America is being squeezed,” Speaker Boehner said in a recent interview, and we have the chance to do something about it.  Our message to the president is simple: let’s focus on solutions that will help hardworking families have more opportunities and more peace of mind.

To learn more, visit speaker.gov/jobs.

 

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25th Anniversary of the Pan-European Picnic

2014/08/19

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement marking the 25th anniversary of the Pan-European Picnic in Sopron, Hungary that precipitated the fall of the Berlin Wall:

“On this day 25 years ago, another dent in the Iron Curtain was made when roughly 600 East Germans fled to the West.  Their means of escape was – of all things – a ‘friendship picnic’ in a Hungarian village hundreds of miles from Berlin.  Organized by opposition leaders as a way for Hungarians and Austrians to break bread for a few hours, the picnic became a breakthrough when East German families approached the gate and the guards stepped aside.  The border was resealed, but the damage was done, and less than three months later, the Berlin Wall came down.

“‘We didn’t feel like we were making history,’ one of the organizers said, but that they were.  The picnic is an example of the risks taken and the sacrifices made so that one day the Berlin Wall would fall.  It’s also just a great story.  On behalf of the U.S. House of Representatives, I send best wishes to all those in Hungary and Europe celebrating this special anniversary.”

NOTE: This is the latest in a series of statements by Speaker Boehner marking the events of 1989 that led to the collapse of communism.  On June 4, he marked Freedom Day in Poland.  In March, the House voted to honor Václav Havel, the first president of the Czech Republic, with a bust in the U.S. Capitol’s Freedom Foyer. 

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President Obama’s Strategy in Iraq “Lacking,” “Still a Work in Progress”

2014/08/18

The president and his advisors met today to discuss Iraq but there’s no evidence the administration plans to outline anytime soon a comprehensive strategy to reverse the spread of terrorism in the region.  Make no mistake, the Islamic terrorists that now control large swaths of Iraq and Syria pose a significant threat to the United States, as the Wall Street Journal details:

“The gains made in recent months by the group calling itself the Islamic State have bolstered its long-term ambitions to attack the West, including the U.S., and the group has become such a potent force that traditional counterterrorism tactics aren't sufficient to eliminate it, U.S. intelligence officials said Thursday. … ‘It has pitched itself as the true successor to Osama bin Laden,’ the former al Qaeda leader, a U.S. intelligence official said. ‘The full implication of that is that it intends to focus on the West.’”

So what’s the strategy to confront this threat?  The current mission is “lacking in clear strategic objectives,” says the Washington Post editorial board:

“The U.S. mission nevertheless remains both open-ended and lacking in clear strategic objectives. Mr. Obama said air strikes would continue to defend Irbil and Baghdad, where U.S. personnel are stationed; he also said additional operations not involving combat troops could be undertaken to protect vulnerable populations. But he gave no indication of a broader campaign to reduce the reach of the Islamic State … The limits Mr. Obama has placed on U.S. action make little sense in the context of this extremist entity and the interconnected conflicts across the region.”

“Has the president charted clear goals in Iraq, and a clear path to reach them?” asked reporter Doyle McManus in a analysis piece this weekend. “Not entirely … The strategy is still a work in progress.”  Quite an understatement.

Speaker Boehner has said many times that the United States cannot allow terrorists to gain a safe haven in Iraq where they can plan and launch attacks on Americans and our allies.  He has also made it clear that “the president needs a long-term strategy – one that defines success as completing our mission, not keeping political promises.”

The American people deserve to hear from their president a clear strategy for how the U.S. plans to reverse the momentum and the spread of terrorism, and protect our national security interests, and that of our allies.

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Speaker's Report: Keeping Up the Pressure for Action on Jobs

2014/08/17

The powers-that-be in Washington aren’t listening and that needs to change.

Republicans have passed solutions to help create jobs, lower costs, and restore opportunity.  But President Obama and Senate Democrats won’t act, won’t do their part, won’t do much of anything.

We “aren’t going to slow down,” Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) says in this week’s Republican address. “We’re going to keep passing common-sense solutions to help American families, and we’re going to keep the pressure on Senate Democrats to do their job.”

Watch our weekly address now, and share it on Facebook and Twitter to help keep up the pressure for action on jobs. 

JOBS

ACCOUNTABILITY

  • “President Obama faces a choice: he can work with Congress to deal with the tough issues, or he can go it alone and cement a legacy of increased polarization, partisanship and lawlessness.” Read Speaker Boehner’s latest op-ed.
  • The House will always back Israel’s right to defend itself, and we’ve kept that commitment by securing emergency funding for Iron Dome.
  • We’ve won much-needed reforms to help veterans unable to get timely care, but will the president follow through with a long-term plan for fixing the VA? 
  • We continue to ask: what is President Obama’s strategy for Iraq?

GOOD OF THE ORDER

  • This is open government you can see – literally.
  • If you’re near the Dayton, Ohio area this summer, Speaker Boehner has some great recommendations for you.
  •  #TBT to a 1986 summer parade with the best two daughters a dad could hope for.
  • Are you following us on Flipboard? It’s a great way to stay up-to-date with all the latest news, videos, and photos from the people’s House. 
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Senate Democrats Blocking Progress on House Republicans’ Jobs Bills

2014/08/16

In this week’s Republican address, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia talks about Republicans’ focus on jobs and the American people’s priorities, and the need for Senate Democrats to get to work. Take a look.

Lawmaker: GOP bills 'collecting dust' in Senate. … Republicans in their weekly address pointed the finger at the Democratic-led Senate for inaction on bills passed in the House on everything from jobs to education. … Collins said of the bills that have been signed into law, more than 75 percent of them have originated in the House, and that Senate Democrats have not acted on more than 340 of them passed by the House. … Collins said Americans that he spoke to in Blue Ridge, Georgia, are frustrated with the ‘status quo.’  … ‘I know how they feel, because my Republican colleagues in the House and I have made the American people’s priorities our priorities,’ he said. Collins also blasted Democrats for leaving for August recess without passing an immigration bill, as House members did before they left. … ‘That’s just irresponsible – there’s no other word for it,’ he added.” (The Hill, 8/16/14)

Collins delivers weekly GOP address, says Senate needs to act on jobs bills. … [T]he Congressman from Gainesville, who represents the state's Ninth District, called on the Senate to act on dozens of jobs-related bills passed by the House, many of those a bi-partisan effort, according to Collins.” (AccessNorthGa.com, 8/16/14)

‘Do-nothing Senate’ is problem in Washington, Collins says. … According to Collins, more than 300 bills, including seven appropriations bills, that have made it through the House are still awaiting action in the Senate.” (Athens Banner-Herald, 8/15/14)

Rep. Doug Collins: Americans Want Senate Democrats To ‘Do Their Job.’ … The Democrat-controlled Senate needs to get busy and do its job, Georgia Rep. Doug Collins said in Saturday's GOP address,  pointing out that his constituents and Americans in general think there's ‘not enough action on real solutions.’ … [W]hile Senate Democrats are not acting, Republicans have led efforts for job training legislation, given ‘veterans stuck in an outdated federal bureaucracy timely access to the care they need,’ and prevented major highway projects from being stopped.” (Newsmax, 8/16/14)

GOP Weekly Address: Rep. Doug Collins Urges Democrats in Senate to Act. … Collins says in his statement that Democratic inaction in the Senate is the cause of much of the Washington gridlock in terms of jobs efforts. ‘Our bills are piling up on Harry Reid's desk, collecting dust,’ he says. Despite the gridlock, Collins says Republicans ‘aren't going to slow down’ and will ‘keep passing common-sense solutions to help American families.’” (ABC News Radio, 8/16/14)

“In the weekly Republican address, Georgia Rep. Doug Collins calls on Senate Democrats to pass bills approved by the GOP-led House. He says the Senate has failed to take action on more than 340 House-passed bills, including some with bipartisan support.” (Associated Press, 8/16/14)

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Weekly Republican Address: Democrats’ Do-Nothing Senate Should Act on House-Passed Jobs Bills

2014/08/15

WASHINGTON, DC – Delivering the Weekly Republican Address, Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) talks about Republicans’ focus on jobs and the American people’s priorities, and the need for Senate Democrats to get to work. Collins represents Georgia’s Ninth District.

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 Doug Collins of Georgia Weekly Republican Address Brenau University, Gainesville, GA August 16, 2014

Earlier this week, I visited with folks in Blue Ridge, a small community of less than fifteen hundred between the Chattahoochee National Forest, the Cohutta Wilderness Area, and a big, beautiful lake where families often go to camp, kayak, or just catch a few trout.

At the local high school, we had a good, honest conversation about growing the economy, creating more jobs, and expanding opportunities for all Americans. 

I listened as workers and parents who are living paycheck to paycheck shared their concerns about the future of their families and also of our country.

Like most Americans, my constituents are frustrated with the status quo.

They wish Washington would stop meddling in things that aren’t broken, and start fixing the things that are.

They think there’s too much talk, and not enough action on real solutions.

Those I talked to want to know, why can’t our leaders just do their jobs?

I know how they feel, because my Republican colleagues in the House and I have made the American people’s priorities our priorities.

We’ve passed bill after bill to help our struggling economy, save taxpayer dollars, lower the cost of gas and groceries, and help every child get a good education.

But Democrats in the Senate have essentially decided to do nothing.

Our bills are piling up on Harry Reid’s desk, collecting dust.

Even when it comes to a crisis like the one on our southern border, House Republicans passed a common-sense solution, and Senate Democrats left town without doing the hard work to pass their own.

That’s just irresponsible – there’s no other word for it.

In recent weeks, Republicans have led efforts to enact job training legislation that helps people get back to work. 

We’ve given veterans stuck in an outdated federal bureaucracy timely access to the care they need. 

And we’ve prevented major highway projects from being shut down.

But there is much more work to be done.

President Obama enjoys complaining about Congress, but the fact is, his own party controls the Senate, and they need to get to work.

Of the bills that have been signed into law, more than 75 percent of them have originated in the House.

What’s more, right now, Senate Democrats have failed to take action on more than 340 bills passed by the House.

Many of them have bipartisan support, including most of the 43 jobs bills that are stuck in this do-nothing Senate.

So if they’re truly interested in making progress, the president and his party have a lot of catching up to do.

Republicans aren’t going to slow down; we’re going to keep passing common-sense solutions to help American families, and we’re going to keep the pressure on Senate Democrats to do their job.

Thank you so much for listening.

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Rep. Doug Collins to Deliver the Weekly Republican Address

2014/08/15

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has selected Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) to deliver the Weekly Republican Address on Saturday, August 16.  Collins represents Georgia’s Ninth District, and his address will focus on Senate Democrats’ inaction on more than 40 jobs bills passed by the House.

“In town hall meetings, in my office, at restaurants and grocery stores – everywhere I go – Georgians, like all Americans, are asking, ‘Where are the jobs?’ They’re frustrated with the status quo, and I am too,” Rep. Collins said. “While our out-of-touch president is bragging about the economy, Senate Democrats are refusing to act on dozens of House-passed jobs bills that would help struggling families and small businesses. Hundreds of good bills passed by the House are stuck in the Senate, and that must change. Whether the president and his party decides to get to work or not, Republicans are going to continue to champion the American people’s priorities.”

The Weekly Republican Address will be available starting tomorrow, Saturday, August 16, 2014, at 6:00 am ET on Speaker.gov and GOP.gov

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Boehner Statement on Events in Ferguson, Missouri

2014/08/14

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement on events in Ferguson, Missouri:

“In the wake of this terrible tragedy, my thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Michael Brown.  I strongly support a full and thorough investigation of the events surrounding his death, and subsequent actions, including the detention of journalists covering this heartbreaking situation.”

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8 Shark GIFs That Perfectly Explain Why Senate Dems Can’t Ignore House Republicans’ Jobs Bills

2014/08/14

There are a a lot of fish in the ocean, just like there are a lot of House-passed bills stuck in the United States Senate (347 to be exact). But some fish – such as sharks – you just can’t ignore…kind of like the 40+ House-passed jobs bills that are piling up on Senator Reid’s desk.  In honor of Shark Week, here are eight reasons why Senate Democrats simply cannot ignore the work of the People’s House.   1. Introductions are key.

Which is why we recently relaunched speaker.gov/jobs, to make it nice and easy for Senate Democrats to see exactly where they should get to work.  

2. Our jobs bills would make such a big impact, it’s startling.   3. In fact, these jobs bills would help zap away a sluggish economy.  4. They are right in front of Senator Reid's face.

Hard to ignore that.

5. They’re also right behind him.  6. Heck, they’re all around him.  (Did we mention there are more than 40?!) 7. They just keep coming.   House Republicans continue to work to advance good, common-sense policies that will help get America working again. 8. And they’re not going away. Some of these bills passed the House with bipartisan support more than 500 days ago, but because they are good, common-sense ideas, they will stand the test of time.  OK, so maybe a few of these GIFs are pretty absurd, but then again, so is the fact that Senate Democrats are sitting on more than 40 House-passed jobs bills.  Isn’t it about time that these bills – and the millions of middle-class Americans that would benefit from them – receive an up or down vote in the Senate?

 

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3 Times the Obama Administration Got Iraq Completely Wrong

2014/08/13

In July 2007, Barack Obama was running for president after holding the title of U.S. Senator for only two-and-a-half years. His lack of experience, however, was rivaled by his lack of modesty.

“One thing I'm very confident about is my judgment in foreign policy,” he told a gathering of elites in Manhattan, touting his “set of experiences that come from a life of living overseas, having family overseas, being able to see the world through the eyes of people outside our borders.” Six months earlier he had bragged on ABC’s “Good Morning America” about how, in college, he “majored in international relations.”

More than seven years later and five-and-a-half into his presidency, with Russia’s Putin poised to invade Ukraine, it seems President Obama’s super advanced foreign policy judgment is a couple Crimeas short of a Kremlin.

And then there’s Iraq, a country that turned into one big terrorist tent revival while the Obama administration told everyone it had al Qaeda “on the run.”  Caught totally off guard, the president has no comprehensive strategy to reverse the resurgence, and his nebulous guiding principles are painfully evident. “I’ve been trying to figure out this man’s [foreign policy] doctrine now for six years,” NBC’s Chuck Todd said on Sunday. “He doesn’t have one.” Andrea Mitchell followed: “To permit ISIS to do what it’s done [in Iraq]. … And to say that he didn’t have intelligence. … The fact is there was intelligence. … The White House wasn't listening.”

Never one to accept responsibility, President Obama has been in full blame-spreading mode. ISIS’s “advance … has been more rapid than the intelligence estimates, and I think the expectations of policy makers both in and outside of Iraq," he said.

National Journal’s Ron Fournier rejected this buck passing. “This is a president who underestimated [ISIS] …. He underestimated what was going to happen after Libya …. He underestimated Putin; he underestimated several other areas. He’s been … the underestimator in chief. … We can’t afford [for] the president to underestimate this threat. … I wish I was more confident that the president really understood the threat to our homeland[.]”

The Obama administration’s detachment, aloofness, and lousy judgment has been a team effort. Here are three times they got Iraq completely wrong:

#1: Vice President Joe Biden predicted Iraq “could be one of the greatest achievements of this administration.”

  • Appearing on CNN in February 2010, Biden said, “You’re going to see 90,000 American troops come marching home by the end of the summer. You’re going to see a stable government in Iraq that is actually moving toward a representative government.”

#2: Homeland Security Advisor John Brennan dismissed the possibility of a “violent Islamic caliphate.”

  • On June 29, 2011, Brennan said, “[A]l Qaeda’s grandiose vision of global domination through a violent Islamic caliphate …. is absurd, and we are not going to organize our counterterrorism policies against a feckless delusion that is never going to happen.”
  • As The Weekly Standard noted, “Three years later to the day, on June 29, 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) [also known as ISIS] announced that it now ruled large swaths of Iraq and Syria as a caliphate.”

#3: President Obama flippantly described ISIS as a “jayvee team” that was not a serious threat.

  • In The New Yorker in January, the president said, “The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.”

Turns out terrorists got game. Speaker Boehner sounded the alarm in January and urged the president to “get engaged.” But as Andrea Mitchell said, the White House wasn’t listening – to anyone. Here’s what the outgoing head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, had to say this month about his warnings regarding the growing terrorist threat, which the White House ignored:

We said many times, “Hey, we need to get this intelligence in front of the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, the National Security adviser! The White House needs to see this intelligence picture we have!

We saw all this connective tissue developing between these [proliferating] terrorist groups.  So when asked if the terrorists were on the run, we couldn’t respond with any answer but ‘no.’ When asked if the terrorists were defeated, we had to say ‘no.’ Anyone who answers ‘yes’ to either of those questions either doesn’t know what they are talking about, they are misinformed, or they are flat out lying.

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A Hypocritical Ploy That Will Send More Jobs Overseas

2014/08/13

The Obama administration’s politically-driven ploy to prevent more so-called ‘tax inversions’ is being skewered by news reports and editorials across the country that are calling out the president not only for his hypocrisy on the issue, but also for the disastrous consequences his plan would have for jobs and the economy.  Here’s a look:

  • “So Much for Convictions” “Putting a wet finger to populism’s wind five years ago…the Obama administration endorsed the practice. Five years later, that newly wetted and wind-swept finger has picked up on populism’s latest pap — ‘Punish these tax evaders!’  So much for convictions.” (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
  • “Drive More Money & Jobs From the U.S” “This is another example of President Barack Obama’s lack of understanding and experience when it comes to economic policy. … The result of keeping U.S. corporate taxes high and simply banning tax inversions would be to harm the competitiveness of U.S. companies and drive more money and jobs from the U.S.  That’s not economic patriotism, that’s economic cluelessness.” (The Columbus Dispatch)
  • “He Hasn’t Talked About the People Behind The Deals -- Some of Whom Are His Biggest Donors” “President Barack Obama has been bashing companies that pursue offshore mergers to reduce taxes. He hasn’t talked about the people behind the deals -- some of whom are his biggest donors. … Obama said the deals are a ‘threat’ to the U.S. and approvingly quoted others who called the companies involved ‘corporate deserters,’ using the kind of language one doesn’t usually employ to describe supporters.” (Bloomberg)
  • “President Barack Obama says U.S. corporations that adopt foreign addresses to avoid taxes are unpatriotic. His own administration helped one $20 billion American company do just that.” (Bloomberg)
  • “Stunningly Destabilizing & Likely Unconstitutional Move” “As is often the case on economic matters, the White House seems to think that it can defy the laws of gravity. By proposing to make inversions harder to execute – and actually backdating the laws to effectively unwind mergers that have already occurred, a stunningly destabilizing and likely unconstitutional move – the administration imagines it can arrest the forces of competition. Think again.” (Orange County Register)
  • “Demonizing American Employers…Will Only Serve to Drive Them Away” “Demonizing American employers who, um, follow the law only will serve to drive them away. The same criticism applies to the supposed quick fixes being pushed by the president and his fellow Dems. … The real problem isn’t inversions. It’s an uncompetitive U.S. tax code that makes inversions so attractive.  The real solution: Tax reform.” (Chicago Tribune)
  • “Could Make Investment in This Country Less Attractive” “The administration can’t simply rewrite the tax code to serve its policy goals. … For that matter, while an administrative fix may slow corporate flight, it also could make investment in this country less attractive.” (Denver Post)
  • “Only Worsens the Competitive Disadvantage These Companies Face” “Pleas to patriotism might resonate politically, but the White House proposal…only worsens the competitive disadvantage these companies face in world-wide markets.” (The Arizona Republic)
  • “Make U.S. Firms More Vulnerable to Foreign Takeovers” “Mr. Lew doesn't know much about economics or he'd realize that his rush to block these inversions will have the perverse effect of driving even more deals in the coming months. If CEOs think Congress will close the inversion possibility, and that tax reform is dead until Mr. Obama leaves office, more of them will decide to move while they still can.  As for ‘economic patriotism,’ Mr. Lew also doesn't understand that foreclosing inversions would only make U.S. firms more vulnerable to foreign takeovers.” (Wall Street Journal)
  • “Draws Attention Away From What Is Really Wrong: America’s Outdated & Punitive Corporate Tax Code” “That’s a darling election-season sound bite to excite anti-corporate liberals and cajole Democratic lawmakers into pushing for a ban on corporate tax inversions. Unfortunately, it draws attention away from what is really wrong: America’s outdated and punitive corporate tax code.” (The Augusta Chronicle)

This may be a problem of the president’s own making, but the solution is not.  To bring down the U.S. corporate tax rate – which, at 35 percent, is the highest in the industrialized world – the president and members of his party must work across the aisle to fix the broken tax code, clear out the mess of loopholes and deductions, and lower tax rates for American job creators.  “If we can reform our tax code, changing it from one that drives American jobs out of the country to one that supports sustained economic growth and brings jobs home,” Speaker Boehner writes in Politico, “it will go a long way toward resetting the economic foundation of our nation.”

Creating a simpler, flatter, fairer tax code is one of the many solutions Republicans have laid out to help boost economic growth and expand opportunity for all Americans.  Read more at GOP.gov/solutions.

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President’s “Bullish” Talk on the Economy Is, Well, Bull

2014/08/12

“President Obama is making a forceful case that the economy has turned around since he first got to the White House,” Politico reports today, proving once again how out of touch the president is with middle-class families who are struggling in his economy.  Here’s a little dose of reality you won’t hear in the president’s stump speech, and the reason more Americans are saying all this “bullish” talk is, well, bull: 

  • A 23 Percent Increase in the Number of Long-Term Unemployed: The number of long-term unemployed Americans – those who have been out of work for 27 weeks or more – has climbed from 2.6 million when the president took office to 3.2 million last month, a 23 percent increase. 
  • 46.5 Million Americans Living in Poverty: The number of Americans living at or below the poverty line went up by 6.7 million between 2008 and 2012, according to the most recent Census Bureau data.  There is now a total of 46.5 million Americans living in poverty.
  • A Quarter of U.S. Households “Just Getting By”: According to a recent Federal Reserve survey, “a quarter of U.S. households say they’re ‘just getting by’ financially,” AP reported last week.  “Millions are working part time even though they want full-time jobs. It’s taking longer to find work. People are still struggling with mortgage debt. Most people don’t feel free to spend as much as they once did.”
  • More Than $7 Trillion Added to the National Debt: The Obama administration reached another dubious debt milestone last week, adding more than $7 trillion in red ink since taking office, which amounts to more than $61,000 per American household.
  • Higher Costs on Nearly Everything:  Americans are paying more for the things they need, a recent Gallup survey found, “further constraining family budgets…still reeling from a stagnant economy.”  Spending on gas and groceries tops the list of added expenses, driven up by energy costs that have nearly doubled on the president’s watch.  
  • 66 Percent Increase in Involuntary Part-Time Workers: There are currently “7.5 million Americans struggling to find full-time work who settle for part-time jobs, amid an atmosphere of stress, depression and low finances,” McClatchy reported last week.  That’s “more than double what it was” in December 2007. 
  • More Than a $2,000 Drop in Household Income: A nonpartisan analysis shows that median household income has fallen by $2,067 under President Obama, dropping from $55,958 in January 2009 to $53,891 in June 2014.  
  • Labor Force Participation Hovering Near 30-Year Lows: According to the most recent Department of Labor unemployment report, “the share of the population participating in the labor force is still at lows not seen since the 1970s, at 62.9 percent,” Business Week reports.

The president can parse and cherry pick the data all he wants, but the millions of Americans who can’t find a good-paying job and are barely making ends meet know better.  That’s why Republicans have consistently made the people’s priorities our priorities, offering real solutions to help create an economic foundation that enables more Americans to provide for their families and build towards a better future.  If the president really wants something to boast about, he should call on his party’s leaders in the Senate to act on the dozens of House-passed jobs bills they are blocking so he can sign them into law and show Americans he’s listening.   As Speaker Boehner said recently, “We’re doing our part, but we need the president and his party to do theirs.” 

Learn more: GOP.gov/solutions

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Open Government You Can See – Literally

2014/08/12

Since Republicans retook the majority in 2011, the House of Representatives is more open and transparent than ever before.  It’s been noted that the House leadership operation is “relentlessly digital,” from social media, to legislative data, and perhaps most especially, online video.  

By the (YouTube) numbers:

  • 99.2 percent of House Republicans and committees maintain dedicated YouTube channels, where you can watch their official activities, such as floor speeches, media interviews, or even selfie music videos.
  • Across the entire lifetime of all channels, House Republicans have 72,500 subscribers, with more than 70.7 million video views.
  • In the last 20 months, there have been more than 78.2 million minutes watched. (That’s more than 148 years!)
  • The average view duration during that time is approximately 4 minutes.
  • In just the last 10 months, House Republicans have published more than 8,500 unique videos.  

Of course, YouTube is just one of the many video tools House Republicans are using to make Washington work for Americans. Here’s a look at some of the other groundbreaking video milestones accomplished by the Republican Majority: 

  • In 2011, Speaker Boehner paved the way to allow House lawmakers access to low-cost online video conferencing tools like Skype and ooVoo.
  • That same year, the Office of the Clerk unveiled its live stream of the House floor for mobile devices.
  • In 2012, The House Administration Committee and Library of Congress teamed up to offer a one-stop site for live video of House Committee Hearings. 
  • Last year, the Office of the Clerk released a new way to search video archives from the House floor. 
  • Every week the House is in session, you can catch Speaker Boehner’s press conferences live at Speaker.gov/live.  

NOTE: You can also find lots of short-form videos from Speaker Boehner on InstagramVine, and Facebook.  And you can click here to subscribe to Speaker Boehner's YouTube channel.

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What is President Obama’s Iraq Strategy?

2014/08/11

As we’ve pointed out here before, the crisis in Iraq caught the Obama administration completely off guard. With the Middle East in chaos, the president’s campaign line about terrorists being “on the run” seems like wishful thinking at best. Indeed, he’s now admitted terrorists are “gaining strength.” Nowhere is this more evident than in Iraq, where the Obama administration’s lack of engagement over the last few years created an opening for Islamic radicals to take control of large swaths of the country. In the face of this and his other foreign policy disasters, President Obama has only offered more talk – and no comprehensive strategy.

Editorial boards are taking notice, and his style of leadership is becoming a late night punchline. Here’s what The Washington Post had to say over the weekend:

[T]he steps the president authorized on Thursday amount to more of his administration’s half-measures, narrowly tailored to this week’s emergency and unconnected to any coherent strategy to address the conflagration spreading across the Middle East. …

Mr. Obama lacks a plausible plan for addressing the larger threat posed by the Islamic State. …

[B]y the White House’s own account, the measures ordered by Mr. Obama are not intended to defeat the Islamic State or even to stop its bloody advances in most of the region. …

It’s past time for Mr. Obama to set aside a policy that is both minimalist and unrealistic. … The primary aim should not be to minimize U.S. involvement — as Mr. Obama would have it — but to defeat the forces that are destroying the region.

These sentiments echo comments Speaker Boehner made in January, when he said that the Obama administration “has chosen to spend much of its time and energy trying to explain why having terrorists holding key terrain in the Middle East is not the President’s problem,” and urged him to “get engaged.”

Since then, including in June, the Speaker has called for President Obama “to lay out a plan for how we can reverse the momentum and spread of terrorism in Iraq and a region that is critical to U.S. national interests.”

Action in the form of airstrikes and humanitarian assistance will help the Iraqi religious minorities currently besieged by ISIS, but the best way to ensure innocent men, women, and children do not suffer similarly in the future is to put in place an overall strategy for reversing the spread of terrorism in the region so we can help our allies and protect our vital national security interests.

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10 Reasons ObamaCare Is “More Unpopular Than Ever”

2014/08/11

ObamaCare is “more unpopular than ever,” according to a recent survey.  From higher premiums to fewer full-time jobs, here are 10 recent headlines that explain why more Americans are giving the president’s health care law a thumbs down:

  • “Part-Time Workers Find Full-Time Jobs Elusive” “Hiring part-time instead full-time employees is one way that some businesses are getting around the costs of a mandate in the health care law ...” (McClatchy)
  • “State’s Federal Exchange Health Plan Premiums To Rise In 2015” “Premiums for health plans available through the federal exchange under the Affordable Care Act will rise by an average of 13.2 percent in Florida next year, state insurance officials said Monday.” (Florida Today)
  • “If You Like Your ObamaCare Plan, It’ll Cost You” “People who decide to stick with the coverage they’ve already gotten through Obamacare, rather than switching plans, are at risk for some of the biggest premium spikes anywhere in the system.  And some people won’t even know their costs went up until they get a bill from the IRS.” (National Journal)
  • “Small Firms Hit by Big Changes in Health Coverage” “But at least some of the business owners who were excluded from group plans as a result of the health law are struggling with higher premiums, less robust benefits or uncertainty within a new, unfamiliar network, says Scott Lyon, vice president of the Small Business Association of Michigan.” (Wall Street Journal)
  • “Here Come Higher Premiums: Tennessee’s Insurance Providers Request Rate Increases” “BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is seeking approval for an average rate increase of 19 percent starting Jan. 1…Other insurance companies offering coverage are also requesting rate increases for the upcoming year, including a 7.5 percent requested increase from Cigna and a 14.4 percent increase from Humana.” (Nashville Business Journal)
  • “ObamaCare Forcing South Carolina Businesses to Hire Part-Time Over Full-Time Workers” “‘I would say 90 percent of our employers, businesses today, are hiring part-time as opposed to full-time, because of the Affordable Health Care Act,’ said IHT Staffing’s Billie Baggett of Myrtle Beach, S.C. ‘It’s not something a corporation wants to do.’” (Free Beacon)
  • “New York State Exposed: Health Insurance Rate Hike” “Michelle Vergilia couldn’t believe it when she opened the letter. Her health insurance premium is going up 22 percent. … ‘I was led to believe the price would be one thing for a service. That is one thing and not even six months down the road, it is changed.’” (News10)
  • “Muncie Schools to Limit Part-Time Hours” “Like other employers around the country since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Muncie Community Schools will now limit its part-time staffers to working no more than 29 hours a week.” (The Star Press)
  • “Varying Health Premium Subsidies Worry Consumers” “As consumers wait for a resolution, some have decided to go without health insurance because of the uncertainty while others who went ahead with policies purchased through the exchanges worry they are going to owe the government money next tax season.” (Associated Press)
  • “Limitations of New Health Plans Rankle Some Enrollees” “Both women unwittingly bought policies with limited networks of doctors and hospitals that provide little or no payment for care outside those networks. … The policies’ limitations have come as a surprise to some enrollees used to broader job-based coverage or to plans they held before the law took effect.” (Kaiser Health News)

This latest round of bad news comes on top of the numerous premium hikes that have already been announced nationwide, adding more stress for middle-class families who are already paying more for nearly everything

“The American people recognize that ObamaCare is hurting our economy and making it harder for small businesses to hire,” Speaker Boehner said last month.  “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.”

Learn more about the Republican jobs plan, and the solutions we’ve put forth to help boost economic growth and expand opportunities for all Americans at gop.gov/solutions.

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Boehner Op-Ed on Immigration & Tax Reform: “Do Your Job, Mr. President”

2014/08/08

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“President Obama faces a choice: He can work with Congress to deal with the tough issues, or he can go it alone and cement a legacy of increased polarization, partisanship and lawlessness. There is no doubt that immigration reform and tax reform will be hard, but there is also no doubt that acting the right way will boost our economy, create jobs and – perhaps - begin to rebuild the tattered bonds of trust between the American people and their government.”

Politico August 8, 2014

“For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong.” H.L. Mencken’s famous saying sums up exactly the choice that President Obama now faces on immigration and tax reform. On both issues, he should resist the siren song of political expediency and stand up to his political base to do the right thing – even though it will be harder.

The American people’s top priority is getting our economy moving again, and helping the private sector create more jobs. In the House, their top priority is our top priority – which is why we have sent more than 40 jobs bills to the U.S. Senate. By dealing responsibly with both the border crisis and tax reform, the president can join us in listening to the people and acting on their priorities.

We face a terrible humanitarian crisis on our southern border. It was fueled, in part, by a law passed in 2008 that gives more legal protections to migrants from Central America than to those from Mexico or Canada. It was also fueled, in part, by President Obama’s decision to unilaterally rewrite the law and refuse to enforce immigration laws for some individuals. Now, consistent news leaks from the White House suggest the president is poised to repeat that mistake – and make it far worse – by rewriting the law again and dramatically expanding his unilateral action.

That would be a grievous mistake. Immigration is a tough issue, and the situation at the border has made it even more fraught and complex. We need to fix our broken immigration system, but it must be done by Congress, and it must be done in a common-sense, step-by-step fashion so that the American people have a say in what we are doing. We can only succeed if the people understand and support these reforms.

Our tax code, like our immigration system, is badly broken. Because we have the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world, American companies have an incentive to relocate their headquarters overseas to lower their tax bill. That costs American jobs.

In 2011, President Obama came close to agreeing to the real solution: broad-based tax reform to weed out wasteful deductions, lower the tax rate, and create more American jobs. The White House backed off then, but House Republicans have continued to work toward those goals. Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp released a discussion draft, which would lower the tax rate for individuals and corporations to a top rate of 25 percent and would modernize the taxation of U.S. companies doing business abroad - like all of our economic competitors. We are continuing to listen to House members – and our constituents – about ways to improve it. If we can reform our tax code, changing it from one that drives American jobs out of the country to one that supports sustained economic growth and brings jobs home, it will go a long way toward resetting the economic foundation of our nation.

Now, President Obama is hinting that he may act unilaterally in an attempt to supposedly reduce or prevent these so-called “tax inversions.” Such a move sounds politically appealing, but anything truly effective would exceed his executive authority. The president cannot simply re-write the tax code himself.

The right choice is harder. President Obama must get his allies on Capitol Hill to do their job. Senate Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden, pay lip service to tax reform, but they have utterly failed to act. The president, the leader of his party, must actually lead it.

President Obama faces a choice: He can work with Congress to deal with the tough issues, or he can go it alone and cement a legacy of increased polarization, partisanship and lawlessness. There is no doubt that immigration reform and tax reform will be hard, but there is also no doubt that acting the right way will boost our economy, create jobs and – perhaps - begin to rebuild the tattered bonds of trust between the American people and their government.

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Speaker Boehner on U.S. Airstrikes in Iraq

2014/08/08

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement on U.S. operations in Iraq: “The president’s authorization of airstrikes is appropriate, but like many Americans, I am dismayed by the ongoing absence of a strategy for countering the grave threat ISIS poses to the region.  Vital national interests are at stake, yet the White House has remained disengaged despite warnings from Iraqi leaders, Congress, and even members of its own administration.  Such parochial thinking only emboldens the enemy and squanders the sacrifices Americans have made.  The president needs a long-term strategy – one that defines success as completing our mission, not keeping political promises – and he needs to build the public and congressional support to sustain it.  If the president is willing to put forward such a strategy, I am ready to listen and work with him.  For now, I wish Godspeed to all our men and women participating in these operations.”

Godspeed to all our men & women participating in operations in #Iraq right now. http://t.co/TqhL3TLFI6

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) August 8, 2014
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Will President Obama Follow Through on His Promises to Veterans?

2014/08/07

As July came to a close, 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 (VA). Speaker Boehner signed the bill two days later, and President Obama signed it into law today.

Reforms in the new law include allowing 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, and making it easier to fire or demote senior VA managers who are not doing their jobs.

It’s a good step forward, but veterans groups, newspaper editorial boards, and even some Democrats all agree: funding is not the issue at the VA. In order to bring real accountability to the troubled agency, root out deadly mismanagement, and give veterans the care they deserve, President Obama must step up and articulate a vision for sweeping reform. No amount of taxpayer dollars is a substitute for leadership.

After President Obama’s remarks today, CNN’s senior investigative reporter Drew Griffin described the work that is still left up to the Obama administration to complete:

GRIFFIN: The problems are much, much bigger than funding. In fact, I would argue that funding is not the problem at the VA. As the president said, he's increased the budget during his administration by leaps and bounds. This is basically emergency funding which says to the VA, ‘you have no more excuses for any veteran waiting for any care anywhere.’ But the follow-up has to be the accountability and ridding that VA bureaucracy of the managers who have placed it in this emergency situation. You know, we just found out this morning – to show you how widespread this is, Ashleigh – that the Office of Inspector General at the VA is now at 92 different VA facilities looking into these allegations of wait list manipulation. That's supervisors and bureaucrats basically lying about wait times. That's what needs to be fixed. …

We have tons of questions. Ashleigh, we, like Congress, have been asking this government agency, this taxpayer-funded agency, for numbers, for reports, for the numbers of people who have died, for its investigative stuff, for the better part of a year, and we have been getting stonewalled. We have gone through the White House trying to get them to nudge the VA to give us some answers. It has been a very big problem getting either one of those places, the White House or the VA bureaucracy, to answer our questions. … We hope the VA will now be transparent and give us actually honest answers instead of this stuff that we get, which, I'm just going to tell you what it is: we have been lied to. Congress has been lied to about how big this problem is. I hope that this is the beginning of the end of that, and I hope this is the beginning of a new VA where the bureaucracy will respond to the veterans and there’ll be no more of this gamesmanship and number manipulation and wait times that have led to deaths and serious harm to this nation’s veterans.

Congress did its job and passed much-needed reforms, but as the president himself said today, “Implementing this law will take time. It’s going to require focus on the part of all of us.” He’s right. But the question remains: will President Obama follow through on his promises?

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Introducing The New Speaker.gov/JOBS

2014/08/06

It began as a question: are we keeping track of all the jobs bills the House has passed? 

Soon, the question became a list, and then as the bills piled up, the list became a to-do list for Senate Democrats.

Today the to-do list is a website –  Speaker.gov/JOBS – which we’ve re-launched with a clean and clutter-free look to better serve Americans asking ‘where are the jobs?’  

When you go to Speaker.gov/JOBS, you can:

  • Read a brief description and the full text of each of the more than 40 jobs bills stuck in the Senate;
  • Find out how your representative voted on each bill;
  •  See how long each bill has been stalled in the Senate; 
  • Get an in-depth look at how our solutions will help hardworking people; and
  • Watch a message from Speaker Boehner in which he talks about our plan for growth and opportunity. 

For all that, while we like Speaker.gov/JOBS, we want to see this list get shorter.   Unfortunately, it’s now been nearly a week since Senate Democrats left Washington without acting on these jobs bills.  Meanwhile, the president is in “credit-taking mode” for an economy that is leaving many families and workers behind.  They just don’t get it. 

Now more than ever, Americans need real solutions – and as you can see on Speaker.gov/JOBS – that continues to be our focus.

As always, we welcome your feedback, and a great way to stay in touch is by signing up for email alerts.

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President’s War on Coal Slashes Jobs, Sparks Union Backlash

2014/08/06

Our jobs are at risk,” West Virginia coal miner Jaston Pethtel warned last week, as the Obama administration’s proposed rules on coal-fired electricity – which amount to a national energy tax - drew a fresh round of protests from labor unions.  Indeed, just one day after the protest, one West Virginia coal company announced more than a thousand workers will be out of the job this fall, citing excessive new regulations in part for the layoffs.  As The Hill reports:

“West Virginia coal company, Alpha Natural Resources, told 1,100 workers to prepare for layoffs because 11 mines across the state are ‘subject to being idled.’ … ‘EPA regulations are at least partly responsible for more than 360 coal-fired electric generating units in the U.S. closing or switching to natural gas. Nearly one of every five existing coal-fired power plants is closing or converting to other fuel sources, and Central Appalachian coal has been the biggest loser from EPA's actions,’ Alpha Natural Resources said in a statement.”

Sadly, that’s just the beginning.  According to analysis by the United Mine Workers of America, the Obama administration’s rules could cost an estimated 75,000 coal-related jobs over the next six years and, “by 2035, those job losses will more than double to 152,000…a 50 percent cut in these well-paying, highly skilled jobs.”

Senate Democrats have left town with a lot of unfinished business, including numerous House-passed energy and jobs bills that would protect jobs and prevent electricity rate hikes - which could go as high as 10.3 percent - on families and small businesses.  In that stack of bills are several proposals specifically aimed at protecting coal-fired electricity generation and the thousands of jobs that depend on it, including:

  • The Electricity Security & Affordability Act (H.R. 3826), sponsored by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), which would prevent the administration’s new rules from taking effect unless the House and Senate approve them by law.
  • The Preventing Government Waste & Protecting Coal Mining Jobs in America Act (H.R. 2824), sponsored by Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), which would stop the Obama administration from re-writing the 2008 Stream Buffer Zone Rule, a proposal that would put an estimated 7,000 jobs at risk. 
  • The Energy Consumers Relief Act (H.R. 1582), sponsored by Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), which would  require the administration to provide a full accounting of the impact any major new regulation (costing more than $1 billion) will have on jobs and energy prices, and prevent rules that will have a significant, harmful impact on the economy from being finalized. 

“The president has no more elections to win, yet he allows the narrow interests of his most extreme political allies to dictate an agenda that puts jobs and opportunity out of reach for middle-class families,” Speaker Boehner wrote in an op-ed in USA Today.  The president promised Americans an all-of-the-above energy strategy, and he ought to keep his word by abandoning his war on coal, calling on Senate Democrats to move the dozens of jobs bills they’re blocking, and working with Republicans to advance solutions to help expand jobs and opportunity for all Americans.

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Boehner Statement on Incident in Afghanistan

2014/08/05

WASHINGTON, DC - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement today following news reports of a violent attack on American forces serving in Afghanistan:

“Anyone who has said ‘Godspeed’ to a family member or friend deploying in harm’s way knows the quiet fear of watching on the sidelines while our deployed military and civilian personnel complete their work in service to our nation.  There have been far too many knocks on the door over the last thirteen years, and while we wait to learn more details of the deadly incident at Marshal Fahim National Defense University in Kabul, let us not forget that for at least one family, their lives have been changed forever. Others are learning loved ones have been wounded.  Our respect and prayers are with those families today. 

“What happened today is not only a personal tragedy, but a setback that demands leaders in Washington and Kabul take time to assess the state of our shared campaign and the necessary steps forward.  The Taliban’s recent campaign of high-profile attacks is calculated to accompany a global PR strategy highlighting the fact that U.S. and coalition forces will soon be leaving Afghanistan and abandoning its weak and ineffective government. The Taliban wants everyone to know it will soon dominate all aspects of life in Afghanistan once again. 

“I have told the President privately and publicly that my biggest concern is that America will end its mission in Afghanistan just short of the goal line.  After my visit there in May, I warned that if we did not demonstrate a determination to finish the job, we would be looking at a reversal of progress similar to what we have seen in Iraq.  The national security interests of our country are too high, and too much sacrifice has been made to watch that happen.  So let me reiterate: if the President decides to re-think his strategy, including withdrawals, deadlines, and policy restraints, particularly on certain associated terrorist networks, he will have my support.

“I also encourage Dr. Ashraf Ghani and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah to rise above the pressures on each of them and to continue to demonstrate the statesmanship that pulled Afghanistan back from the brink one month ago.  The Afghan people need their leaders more than ever, and the international community needs confidence that the leaders of Afghanistan understand the stakes. 

“The prayers and respect of the U.S.House of Representatives are with the families of our fallen and wounded personnel and with Embassy Kabul and ISAF.” 

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A Do-Something House: July in Photos

2014/08/04

While some media pundits would like you to believe otherwise, the Republican-led House of Representatives has been busy all year long, focused on policies that will help create jobs for American workers and their families.  While more than 350 House-passed bills continue to stack up on Senator Reid’s desk, that has not deterred the House from its work on behalf of the American people.  In July alone, Speaker Boehner sent more than half a dozen bills to the President’s desk for passage into law, and he also took time to honor some of America’s finest.  In fact, we have the photos to prove it.

1.  Bipartisan Action

This is what working together looks like.  Leaders of both parties in the House came together to sign H.R. 803, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which will help America’s workers get the skills they need to take on good-paying jobs.

2.  Accountability at the VA

“Making sure veterans have timely access to care is one of the first things we must do to address the crisis at the VA,” said Speaker Boehner before signing H.R. 3230, the Veteran’s Access to Care through Choice Accountability, & Transportation Act.

3.  America’s Finest

Speaking of men and women in uniform, Speaker Boehner invited Lt. Col. O’Brien and his family up to the balcony of the U.S. Capitol following O’Brien’s recent promotion ceremony.

4. 100,000 Lives Saved

Not all heroes wear uniforms.  Such was the case with Raoul Wallenberg, whose courageous acts saved the lives of nearly 100,000 Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust.  Here, Speaker Boehner presented the Congressional Gold Medal to Ms. Nina Lagergren, Wallenberg’s half-sister. 

5.  In Defense of the Capitol

Speaker Boehner also took a personal moment to pause and honor the memory of Officer Jacob Chestnut and Detective John Gibson, who lost their lives against an armed gunman in defense of the U.S. Capitol 16 years ago.  

6.  Passing the Pen

Following the signing of H.R. 697, the Three Kids Mine Remediate and Reclamation Act, Speaker Boehner passed his pen to Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV), the sponsor of the legislation.

7.  Visiting with the Speaker

The Speaker has lots of important meetings every month, some with members of Congress, some with foreign dignitaries, and some…well, some of them are just more adorable than others.  Rep. Devin Nunes' (R-CA) three daughters fit squarely into that latter category.

BONUS: It was President George W. Bush’s birthday last month, so we posted this throwback from his days in the Oval Office.

P.S. Did we mention that the House sent lots of bills to the president’s desk last month?  Ok, good.  Just double checking

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Border Crisis Only Latest Example of Dems’ Inaction

2014/08/04

On Friday, the House continued the people’s work and voted to address the humanitarian crisis at our southern border.  Senate Democrats, on the other hand, left town without taking action – on this, on the more than 40 jobs bills we’ve passed, and much more.   While the president and his party continue to put politics before the challenges Americans are facing, Republicans are focused on American solutions for growth and opportunity.

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House passes border bill, Senate doesn't.” (Christian Science Monitor)

“House Republicans, determined to pass a border crisis packageworked through the night…” (POLITICO)

JOBS: House passes workforce training bill, sends it to president” (The Press-Enterprise) “Senate relents, passes House version of highway bill” (Associated Press)

“House passes bipartisan VA health care overhaul” (Associated Press)

“House Clears Three Bipartisan Higher Education Bills” (Education Week)

House passes seventh 2015 appropriations bill with steep IRS cuts” (The Hill)

The House has “made big strides when it comes to using technology…often moving in bipartisan fashion in the name of institutional change and greater transparency.” (POLITICO)

 

The Senate went home after it failed to vote on a bill providing $2.7 billion of the $3.7 billion requested...” (Syracuse Post-Standard editorial “The Senate then promptly went on vacation, leaving its business unfinished…” (Christian Science Monitor)

“Several Democrats expressed frustration that the president and administration officials weren’t more involved in legislative fights.” (CBS News)

Senate business has ground to a near crawl this year…” (Associated Press)

“…the 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.” (POLITICO)

“…the Senate has yet to pass any appropriations bills for fiscal 2015…” (The Hill)

“Reid is warning of a whirlwind September schedule that will feature a slew of do-over votes on Democratic campaign priorities.” (Roll Call)

 

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House Approves Border Crisis Bill; President Should Urge Senate Dems to Act

2014/08/02

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WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after the House passed H.R. 5230, legislation to address the humanitarian crisis at our southern border: “The House has just passed a responsible bill to address the humanitarian crisis at our southern border.  It will help secure our border and ensure the safe and swift return of these children to their home countries.  If President Obama needs these resources, he will urge Senate Democrats to put politics aside, come back to work, and approve our bill.  There are also steps the president can take to address this crisis within the law, and without further legislative action.  Every day the president and his party fail to act is another day this crisis continues.”

NOTE: On Wednesday, the House voted to authorize litigation concerning instances where the president changes the laws of our nation unilaterally.

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House Backs Funding For Israel’s Iron Dome Missile Defense System

2014/08/01

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. House of Representatives today joined the United States Senate in passing emergency funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.  House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement:

“The House will always support Israel’s right to defend itself, and today we’ve kept that commitment by backing emergency funding for Iron Dome.  This will help protect Israeli citizens from rocket attacks by Hamas, which still has thousands of rockets in its arsenal.  By coming together in bipartisan fashion, the United States Congress is sending a clear message: Israel is our friend, and Israel’s enemies are our enemies.” 

 

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With Speaker’s Signature, House Sends Two More Bills to the President’s Desk

2014/08/01

Earlier today in his ceremonial office, Speaker Boehner signed two more important pieces of legislation. With House Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL) looking on, he signed H.R. 3230, the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, & Transparency Act, which begins to address the problems at the VA by making sure veterans have timely access to care and making it easier to fire or demote senior managers who aren’t doing their jobs. 

House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) & House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) were on hand for the signing of H.R. 5021, a bill that is good for workers and taxpayers and will prevent highway projects from shutting down.

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Speaker Boehner on the July 2014 Unemployment Report

2014/08/01

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

“When I look at this report, I think one thing: we can do better.  For example, we still have millions of Americans trapped in part-time jobs, which shows just how weak this recovery has been and how much room there is for improvement.  So while some in Washington may latch on to these numbers as a cause for complacency, what they really are is a call to action.  That’s why the House has passed more than 40 good jobs bills since the start of this Congress as part of our plan for economic growth and greater opportunity for all.  Those bills are piled up in the United States Senate, waiting on Democrats to act and waiting on the president to lead.  We’re doing our part, but we need the president and his party to do theirs.  In the weeks ahead, Republicans will continue to focus on American solutions to help get people back to work, lower costs at home, and restore opportunity for all.”

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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

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

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement after the 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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Contact Information

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Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-0600
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www.speaker.gov

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

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