Speaker of the House

John Boehner

FACT CHECK: Unsurprisingly, Liberals Wrong on House GOP Litigation


On July 30, 2014, the House of Representatives passed a resolution authorizing the House to enter into litigation challenging President Obama’s decision to unilaterally change the health care law’s employer mandate.  The House action came after years of overreach by the Obama administration in which the president and his aides effectively made their own laws, without involving Congress, threatening the historic balance of power in our government and upending the Constitution. 

While the lawsuit will be filed soon, the liberal attacks that are designed to shield the Obama administration from true accountability will no doubt continue. 

Recently, two attorneys working for a left-wing advocacy group – one of whom testified before two House Committees opposing the House litigation – wrote an article that pointed to a report prepared by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), claiming that this non-partisan research arm of the Congress had determined that the litigation against the Executive Branch is without legal basis.  This article mischaracterizes the legal theory behind the House litigation, and then uses this mischaracterization to draw inaccurate conclusions that the CRS report never attempts to make. 

The article implies that the CRS report was prepared in secret and then covered up and that House Democrats were “unaware” of its existence.  Is this accurate?

No.  CRS does not disclose the identity of members who request reports.  However, this report was included along with two other CRS reports from September 4th and used as part of a presentation entitled “Executive Non-Enforcement, Administrative Delays, and the Take Care Clause.”  This presentation was put on by the American Law Division of the CRS on September 11th as a part of its biannual Federal Law Update program, a series of lectures attended by Congressional staff and attorneys for CLE credit.  Everyone who attended this lecture – Republicans, Democrats, and non-partisan staffers –was given a summary of the report and instructions on how to obtain a full copy. 

What is the CRS report about?

It is helpful to first understand what the CRS report actually seeks to say.  The report analyzes two different types of administrative delays – those where an agency missed a statutory deadline for taking action, and those where an agency suspends enforcement of a provision of a law on the public at large.  The CRS report first discusses whether these administrative delays are reviewable in court, and second discusses whether procedures outlined in the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) apply to these delays.  It is a report about regulatory process.

So is the article correct in claiming that the CRS report concludes that the Obama administration followed all the correct procedures in implementing the employer mandate delays?

It does no such thing.  The article claims that the CRS report offers two conclusions regarding the two instances where the administration delayed the employer mandate – the initial delay in July 2013, and the second delay in February 2014.  These were both examples of administrative delays where an agency suspends enforcement of a provision of law, rather than administrative delays from missing a statutory deadline. 

On the first delay in July 2013, the authors write that no rulemaking procedure was necessary because, quoting the CRS report, “where an agency fails to take a discrete action by a statutory deadline,...no rulemaking is required,” which leads to the authors’ first inaccurate conclusion.  First, the quote fails to include what the CRS report declares later in that same paragraph, that “an agency may be subject to a suit by a party seeking to compel the agency to take action.”  Second, this quote comes from the portion of the CRS report discussing administrative delays as a result of missed statutory deadlines, and therefore would not apply to the administration suspending the enforcement of the employer mandate.  When discussing the initial delay, the CRS report limits its analysis to required regulatory procedures, specifically noting that the report “does not opine on the legality of the IRS policy.”  What the report does say regarding the process is that a Court may find that formal rulemaking procedures are not necessary, but that sometimes a declaration of an enforcement policy does require notice and comment procedures.

This leads to the second inaccurate conclusion from the authors of this article, who claim that the CRS report concludes that the administration followed all the necessary procedures when implementing the second delay in February 2014.  “Having been asked whether the Obama administration had crossed all its t’s and dotted its i’s,” the authors write, “the CRS’ answer was unequivocal: yes it had.”  The report, however, makes no such judgment.  Remember that this report sought merely to describe what procedures, if any, would be required to enact an administrative delay.  It did not attempt to analyze the process taken by the administration and judge whether it was adequate.  The report simply states that notice and comment rulemaking may be required, and by implying otherwise, the authors falsely project their own pre-conceived judgments onto the report. 

If the administration followed the procedures required by the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), is the legal basis of the House litigation undermined?

Not at all, and it is this assertion by the authors of the article that most misconstrues the report and the House’s legal theory.  The CRS report is a discussion of regulatory process.  The legal theory behind the House lawsuit, however, is not based on a violation of regulatory procedure.  When agencies implement new rules or regulations, the APA requires that certain rulemaking procedures are followed.  However, an agency is not able to do whatever it pleases simply because it follows a rulemaking procedure.  It cannot override or ignore the intent of Congress signified by clear language in a statute.  The President acted beyond the scope of his authority when he chose to not enforce the employer mandate because the terms of the mandate were laid out in clear, unambiguous language – you can’t get much clearer than a firm date.  The changes the administration seeks to enact cannot be promulgated through the regulatory process, regardless of whether APA procedures are followed.  The only way this could be done is through an act of Congress. 

When will the House file its litigation?

It will be filed soon, and the timing certainly won’t change simply just because two liberal advocates – one of whom testified before two House Committees opposing the House litigation – draw inaccurate conclusions from a CRS report.

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Speaker Boehner Condemns Obama Administration Rhetorical Attacks on Israel


Pres Obama sets the tone for his admin. He either condones profanity & disrespect used against Israel or he does not: http://t.co/3fMPiBN30N

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

WASHINGTON, DC - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after senior officials in the Obama administration launched profanity-laced rhetorical attacks on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the State of Israel:

“The strength of America’s leadership in the world is predicated on the universality of our values, including freedom, democracy, and economic opportunity, and our unwavering support for our friends and allies.  This unwavering support is not mere sentiment, but the bedrock of security alliances and security guarantees that have ensured peace and suppressed the desire for international arms races.  For the last six years, this long-standing and bipartisan framework has been tested by an Obama administration that has repeatedly chased after adversaries at the expense of core U.S. national security interests and the security, confidence, and trust of our allies.   

“Nowhere is the fundamental failure more apparent than in the disrespectful rhetoric used time and again by this administration with respect to the special relationship the United States has with the state of Israel.  The administration has tried to convince Congress and the American people that we should trust the president’s pursuit of a nuclear deal with the government of Iran while refusing to address substantive concerns about the regime’s sponsorship of terrorism and abysmal human rights record.  The administration scoffs at the enduring willingness of members of both parties to maintain commitments to our friends and allies, contending that those commitments are mere sentiment, while all the while the administration and the president himself are taken aback that friends and allies won’t support him when he ignores them and, in some cases, belittles them. 

“When the president discusses Israel and Iran, it is sometimes hard to tell who he thinks is America’s friend and who he thinks is America’s enemy.  The House of Representatives has no trouble drawing that distinction.  Over the last several months, I have watched the administration insult ally after ally.  I am tired of the administration’s apology tour.  The president sets the tone for his administration.  He either condones the profanity and disrespect used by the most senior members of his administration, or he does not.  It is time for him to get his house in order and tell the people that can’t muster professionalism that it is time to move on.” 

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The Complete Five Points Roadmap


“If we were to do these five things, along with the energy boom that’s underway, we could reset the economic foundation in America for the next two or three generations and beyond.  This is a big deal that requires real leadership.” – Speaker John Boehner

Point One: Fixing Our Tax Code

Navigating our tax code can feel like a full-time job, even though you’re the one who’s paying dearly.  By lowering rates for all Americans, simplifying the maze of loopholes and deductions, and making it possible for families to do their taxes on two sheets of paper, we can make our country a more attractive place to do business, and make it easier to do everything from buy a home to save for college and retirement.

Point Two: Solving Our Spending Problem

For 53 of the last 60 years, the federal government has spent more than it’s taken in – you wouldn’t do this in your home or business and we can’t do it as a country.  By addressing the drivers of our debt and putting our entitlement programs on a more sustainable path, we can secure our children’s ability to invest in their futures, pursue their aspirations, and have stability all the way through retirement.

Point Three: Reforming Our Legal System

Excessive litigation amounts to a stealth tax driving up the cost of all of our goods and services.  By boosting transparency in the judicial system, enacting real medical malpractice reform, and combating abusive patent litigation, we can better protect victims and consumers while giving confidence to manufacturers and small business owners that they can keep jobs and ideas here.

Point Four: Reforming Our Regulatory System

The way the federal government hands down regulations is coercive, combative, and expensive.  By making major rules contingent on congressional approval, streamlining the permitting process, and making agencies focus on lower costs, we can reshape federal regulatory policy so that it’s more practical and productive for workers and small business owners.

Point Five: Improving Our Education System

America’s ability to compete is tied to our ability to educate our young people.  By reforming the K-12 system, making college more affordable, and expanding charter school programs, we can eliminate the barriers that keep students from getting the best possible education and becoming the best-prepared workers.

Sign up for e-mail updates on the five points and much more at http://speaker.gov/email

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Five Points Roadmap: Improving Our Education System


A broken tax code.  Unsustainable debt.  Excessive litigation.  Overregulation.  Dealing with these challenges would go a long way towards resetting the foundation of our economy.  Still, even if we were to do all four of these things, Speaker Boehner says, we still wouldn’t be close to maximizing our potential. America’s ability to compete is tied to our ability to educate our young people. That’s why the fifth – and perhaps most important – of his five points is improving our education system.

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BACKGROUND Less than half of America’s students are proficient in reading and math.  According to the results of the Nation’s Report Card, only 38 percent of 12th graders performed at or above proficient in reading and 26 percent performed at or above proficient in math.  These results were unchanged from 2009.  Similarly, the Governing Board estimates that only 39 percent of high school seniors are academically prepared for college in math and 38 percent are prepared in reading. Employers find graduates are ill-equipped for the demands of our labor market.  According to a report from the nation’s leading human resource officers, “employers … find graduates are generally ill-equipped to function adequately in today’s high technology work environment and they require considerable additional training … in basic competencies.”  72 percent of employers found new workers with a high school diploma deficient in writing, and 54 percent find them deficient in math.  “A lost generation of workers.”  Nearly 6 million young Americans are neither in school nor working.  “We risk really having this lost generation of workers,” Elisabeth Jacobs, senior director for policy and academic programs at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, said earlier this year.  “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 … it's alarming.”

SOLUTIONS Earlier this year, President Obama signed into law H.R. 803, a workforce development law based on Rep. Virginia Foxx’s (R-NC) SKILLS Act.  This bill will help our workers develop the skills they need to take on good-paying jobs.  Closing that skills gap is important, but we also have to close the gap that keeps students from getting the best possible education and becoming the most prepared workers.

  • Reforming our K-12 education system.  The House has passed H.R. 5, which would eliminate barriers to progress by, among other things, (1) revamping teacher evaluations to ensure the best teachers stay in the classroom; (2) putting state and local education leaders in control of how money is used in the classroom; and (3) taking steps to give parents more options for their children’s education.
  • Making education more accessible and affordable.   From early childhood education to college, the cost of education continues to rise across the board.  In July, the House passed three bipartisan bills to address the cost of college: H.R. 3136H.R. 4983, and H.R. 4984.  The House has also passed H.R. 3393, which would make it easier for families to utilize tax credits to save and pay for college.
  • Expanding successful charter school programs. The House has passed H.R. 10, which would allow 42 states and the District and Columbia to apply for grants to build and expand charter schools.  Today there are more than 6,000 charter schools, serving more than 2.5 million students, with 1 million students on waitlists.  By modernizing the current Charter School Program, which has broad public and grassroots support, states would be able to create, expand and replicate innovative public charter schools to meet the growing demand.

These bills are among the dozens of House-passed initiatives stuck in the Democratic-run Senate.

The House has also consistently reauthorized the popular and successful D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, a landmark school choice initiative that has allowed thousands of low-income families to choose the best learning environment for their children.

Five Points Roadmap

Introduction: America’s Energy Boom Point One: Fixing Our Tax Code Point Two: Solving Our Spending Problem Point Three: Reforming Our Legal System Point Four: Reforming Our Regulatory System Point Five: Improving Our Education System


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With New Video on IRS Scandal, House Committees Keep Heat on Obama Admin


The House Oversight & Government Reform and Ways & Means Committees released a new video today highlighting the timeline of events surrounding the Obama administration’s unlawful targeting of conservative groups, and the House’s ongoing effort to hold the administration accountable.  Titled “Time for the truth and an end to IRS targeting once and for all,” the video underscores the House’s commitment to “work to fully expose what really happened at the IRS so we can ensure that no American is targeted for their beliefs by their own government,” says Ways & Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI).  Watch the full video here.

As the video notes, the House passed a resolution earlier this year holding former IRS Exempt Organizations Division Director Lois Lerner – a central figure in the targeting scandal - in contempt of Congress, and a second resolution calling on the Attorney General to appoint a special counsel to investigate the targeting of conservative groups.  The administration, for its part, has done nothing but deny and stonewall the House’s efforts – even going so far as to claim there was “not ‘even a smidgen of corruption’” in the scandal, when the facts uncovered by the committees clearly prove otherwise. 

“This new presentation should remind Americans that this is not over,” says Oversight & Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA). “The House of Representatives continues our investigation, our demand for a credible criminal probe, and to protect the rights of all Americans to participate freely and openly in the political process.”

Visit gop.gov/IRS for a comprehensive list of reports, hearing transcripts, and other materials associated with the House’s investigation of the IRS targeting scandal to date, and follow @WaysandMeansGOP and @GOPoversight for more updates.

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What Is President Obama’s Plan to Reverse the Terrorists’ Momentum?


With Ebola and the Islamic terrorist attacks in Canada and New York City dominating the headlines, America’s ongoing military action against ISIL in the Middle East cannot be forgotten. After all, more than 2,000 U.S. military personnel are already on the ground.

Last month, Speaker Boehner said, “If the goal is to destroy ISIS, as the president says it is, I don't believe the strategy that he outlined will accomplish that. … At the end of the day, I think it's going to take more than air strikes to drive them out of there.”

Everyone wants the president’s strategy to succeed, but as The Washington Post editorialized over the weekend under the headline “Mr. Obama’s half-hearted fight against the Islamic State,” concerns are mounting over his lack of leadership and resolve:

“An unlikely consensus is emerging across the ideological spectrum about the war against the Islamic State: President Obama’s strategy to ‘degrade and eventually destroy’ the terrorist entity is unworkable. It’s not just that, as some administration officials say, more time is needed to accomplish complex tasks such as training Iraqi and Syrian forces. It’s that the military means the president has authorized cannot accomplish his announced aims.”

Indeed, ISIL’s momentum is not being reversed:

  • “Iraqi forces are months away from being able to start waging any kind of sustained ground offensive against the Islamic State and any similar effort in Syria will take longer, officials at the U.S. military's Central Command said on Thursday.” (Reuters, 10/24/14)
  • “[The] Islamic State still generates tens of millions of dollars a month in illicit income despite a U.S.-led effort to cut the financing streams …. The slow progress on the financial front comes as …. More than 600 airstrikes by the U.S. and allies have yet to dislodge the militants from any major cities or areas in Syria and Iraq.” (Los Angeles Times, 10/23/14)
  • “The Syrian opposition force to be recruited by the U.S. military and its coalition partners will be trained to defend territory, rather than to seize it back from the Islamic State, according to senior U.S. and allied officials, some of whom are concerned that the approach is flawed.” (The Washington Post, 10/22/14)
  • “The Obama administration's strategy to train Syrian rebels to defend, but not seize, territory from Islamic State militants is facing stiff resistance from America's partners in the Syrian opposition. … On Thursday, the Syrian National Coalition, which is recognized by the United States as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, told Foreign Policy that the plan ‘just doesn't make sense strategically. The only way to defeat ISIS is to defeat ISIS. You cannot be reactive and wait for them to besiege liberated towns and villages,’ said Oubai Shahbandar, a senior advisor to the group.” (Foreign Policy, 10/23/14)
  • “The allied air campaign remains limited compared with past air wars because of a relative lack of targets in Syria and Iraq. … [W]ith relatively few Iraqi ground operations so far, the officials said the militants had not been forced out into the open as much as allied planners had hoped.” (The New York Times, 10/23/14)
  • “A defense official who did not want to be identified said Wednesday that the number [of ISIL fighters] killed was in excess of 350. As many as 9,000 ISIS fighters have streamed to the town [of Kobani] to take on 3,000 Kurdish fighters who are seeking to repel the ISIS advance. Defense officials have suggested that the number of ISIS fighters killed is not the only metric of progress, or even the primary one. ‘The effort there isn't just about warheads on foreheads,’ [Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John] Kirby said Wednesday. ‘I'm not diminishing the importance of taking fighters off the battlefield. But that's not ... the overarching goal here.’” (The Hill, 10/23/14)
  • Kobani may fall to Islamic State fighters even after U.S. airstrikes have focused on the Kurdish town in Syria, U.S. military officials said today [Thursday].” (Bloomberg, 10/23/14)
  • “At least one bundle of U.S. weapons airdropped in Syria appears to have fallen into the hands of ISIS, a dangerous misfire in the American mission to speed aid to Kurdish forces making their stand in Kobani.” (The Daily Beast, 10/21/14)
  • “A setback in Kobani would show the fragility of the American plan and hand the Islamic State an important victory. … The big missing piece in the American operation is Turkey, whose reluctance to assist Kobani’s Kurds highlights the enduring weaknesses in America’s strategy. The decision to resupply the Kurds was a desperation move; the Kurds were at risk and Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has refused to help despite repeated entreaties from Washington. … The failure to secure the full cooperation of an important ally leaves the success of the fight against the Islamic State increasingly open to question.” (The New York Times, 10/23/14)
  • “The Islamic State now controls the town [of Al-Zwaiha in Anbar province, Iraq], which straddles a strategic highway. The extremists’ domination of the entire province is one step closer.” (The Washington Post, 10/23/14)
  • “Dizzy, vomiting and struggling to breathe, 11 Iraqi police officers were rushed to a government hospital 50 miles north of the capital last month. The diagnosis: poisoning by chlorine gas. The perpetrators, according to the officers: Islamic State extremists.” (The Washington Post, 10/23/14)
  • “[There is strong evidence that] Islamic State fighters in Iraq are using advanced surface-to-air missile systems that pose a serious threat to aircraft flown by Iraq and the American-led coalition.” (The New York Times, 10/26/14)

Republicans are committed to the safety and security of American families, and will continue to advocate for nothing less than a comprehensive strategy to defeat ISIL and a strong, decisive foreign policy. As Speaker Boehner said, “These are barbarians. They intend to kill us. And if we don't destroy them first, we're going to pay the price.”

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Five Points Roadmap: Reforming Our Regulatory System


Often cited as one of the biggest challenges facing manufacturers and small businesses, coercive, combative, and expensive federal regulations hurt our economy and make it harder to capitalize on our energy boom.  That’s why reforming our regulatory system is one of Speaker Boehner’s five points for resetting America’s economic foundation.


Despite the Obama administration’s pledges to rein in red tape, the number of regulations continues to increase.  In the first five years of the Obama administration, 157 major federal regulations were issued – more than 2.5 times the amount issued during the first five years of the previous administration.  Another 125 major regulations are in the works, many of which are tied to Dodd-Frank – a law that hurts small banks while failing to end ‘too big to fail’ as promised.

Worst of both worlds: we have more regulations and less scrutiny.  Looking at a recent seven-year period, the Government Accountability Office found that 35 percent of major rules were issued without the opportunity for public comment.  The GAO also found a lack of responsiveness: in the case of one ObamaCare regulation, 4,627 comments were received, but no responses were issued.

Overregulation makes it harder to capitalize on America’s emerging energy boom.  The oil and natural gas success story is a perfect example of failed federal regulatory policy:  oil and natural gas resources do not know federal versus state boundaries, but it takes 10 times as long for the federal government to issue a permit as it does the states.  As a result, oil and gas production is going up sharply on state lands and down on federal lands.

Regulatory costs are passed on directly to middle-class families.  American Action Forum research found that “36 regulations issued during the Obama Administration will increase consumer prices by more than $11,000.”  For example, regulations will increase the cost of household products – including fluorescent lamps, microwaves, air conditioners, and dishwashers – by up to $1,600.

Regulatory costs disproportionately hit small manufacturers. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, small manufacturers incur regulatory costs of $34,671 per employee per year – more than three times that of the average American company.

ObamaCare alone has small businesses drowning in red tape.  In its first four years, ObamaCare’s effect on small businesses amounts to $1.9 billion in regulatory costs and 11.3 million hours of compliance.  This amounts to a “regulatory tax” of 3 to 5 percent.  Again, this is just the cost of one law’s regulations.


By implementing a system to review and eliminate excessive regulations, streamlining the permitting process, ensuring public and congressional input, and reining in the ‘sue and settle’ process, we can give the public more of a voice, small businesses more of a chance, and make America a more attractive place to invest.  The House has acted on examples of these common-sense policies to bring jobs home, including:

  • H.R. 367, the REINS Act, which would reshape federal regulatory policy by making approval of every major new rule contingent on an up-or-down vote in both houses of Congresses.   
  • H.R. 2122, which requires federal agencies to choose the lowest cost rulemaking alternative that meets statutory objectives.
  • H.R. 2641, which streamlines the regulatory process by, among other things, setting reasonable deadlines for bureaucratic reviews and establishing a 180-day statute of limitations for lawsuits challenging permitting decisions.  The bill also empowers agencies to manage environmental reviews efficiently, avoiding waste and duplication. 
  • H.R. 2804, which includes reforms requiring agencies to account for the costs of new regulations on small businesses and find flexible ways to reduce them.  This bill also addresses the problem of “sue and settle” regulations that are issued after agencies and special interest groups enter into legal settlements, thereby circumventing the legislative process.

These proposals are among the dozens of House-passed initiatives stuck in the Democratic-run Senate

Five Points Roadmap

Introduction: America’s Energy BoomPoint One: Fixing Our Tax CodePoint Two: Solving Our Spending ProblemPoint Three: Reforming Our Legal SystemPoint Four: Reforming Our Regulatory System Point Five: Improving Our Education System (Tuesday, October 28)


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The Lindy Claiborne Boggs Room


Every day, visitors file through National Statuary Hall, which served as the Chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1807 – 1857.  What they may not realize is just off that hall, steps from a statue of Rosa Parks, is a room of great historical significance to women and all Americans.

It is H-235, which, on October 25, 1990, was renamed the “Lindy Claiborne Boggs Congressional Women’s Reading Room,” marking the first time a room in the Capitol was named for a woman.  The resolution passed by voice vote and was named in honor of the Congresswoman from Louisiana “as a testament to her unparalleled service.”

Today, the room is a gathering space for Congresswomen and has been witness to more than 200 years of history, as historians believe this room is one of the few that survived the fire of 1814.  Through its many years, this room has been inhabited by the Speaker’s Office, the Clerk of the House, and various committees.  It has hosted presidents and political figures, and most notably, it is where John Quincy Adams died after suffering from a stroke. 

How did the room come to its present designation?  Since 1917, more than 300 women have served in the United States Congress, but until 1962, they lacked a space close to the House Chamber.  After petitioning Speaker Sam Rayburn, they were granted control of H-235.  “We have few opportunities to be together informally,” Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) said last year.  This room “provides an opportunity for women to meet together, which is a good thing.”

This is an important day in Congressional history and a chance to reflect on the storied career and legacy of Lindy Claiborne Boggs that lives on in this unique Capitol suite.

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Five Points Roadmap: Reforming Our Legal System


Excessive litigation in the United States limits job creation, stymies innovation, and increases costs of goods and services.  It also tips the scales against victims and the small business owners at the heart of our economy.  That’s why reforming our legal system is one of Speaker Boehner’s five points for resetting America’s economic foundation.  BACKGROUND America’s high liability costs are to a great extent a result of the legal environment.  An Institute for Legal Reform study found that U.S. liability costs are more than 2.5 times the average level of Eurozone economies, and nearly half of those costs “are a result of its legal environment or factors statistically explained by the legal environment.”

These costs fall disproportionately on small businesses and are passed on to consumers.  Small businesses shell out more than $100 billion per year for liability costs.  They account for 81 percent of liability costs while taking in only 22 percent of business revenue.  In a bipartisan survey, roughly 7 out of 10 small business owners said that being sued – or just the potential for being sued – “translates to increased costs that would make businesses like theirs hold back on hiring, cut back on existing employees’ benefits, and pass costs on to their customers.”

Litigation costs stymie innovation and limit job growth.  A report from the Congressional Research Service notes that “faced with lower profit margins and uncertain but potentially significant risk, manufacturers may find that some R&D projects, features, and product improvements are simply not worth doing, even if beneficial to consumers.”  Excessive permitting and litigation often lead to a loss of income and jobs.  For example, an Energy & Commerce Committee policy paper detailed how, between 2005 and 2008, Shell Oil, among other companies, purchased leases in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas off the coast of Alaska for oil exploration.  These leases have the potential to support approximately 63,500 jobs annually through 2050.  Because of bureaucratic permitting delays and litigation brought by environmental groups, these projects have yet to get underway.

Medical liability fears lead doctors to practice defensive medicine, which increases costs in the health care system.  One study found that defensive medicine costs $45.6 billion annually, “accounting for more than 80% of the $55.6 billion total yearly cost of the medical liability system.”  Ten percent of health care costs are attributed to “too much care in the form of defensive medicine and associated legal costs.” The system isn’t just costly, it’s inefficient: victims aren’t being compensated, lawyers are.  Because of excessive legal fees, victims generally receive less than half of their own settlements. In addition, “increasing litigation delays effectively reduce compensation as inflationary pressures reduce the value of damage awards.” SOLUTIONS

By boosting transparency and restoring fairness, enacting real medical malpractice reform, and addressing excessive regulations, we can reform our legal system to better protect victims and consumers while giving confidence to manufacturers and small business owners that they can keep jobs here.

Here are examples of solutions the House has acted on to date:

  • H.R. 982, which promotes transparency in the asbestos bankruptcy trust system, reduces fraud and enhances victims’ recoveries.  According to the House Judiciary Committee, the measure would “increase the ability of legitimate victims to obtain maximum recoveries for their injuries and illnesses.”
  • H.R. 2655, which reduces excessive litigation while preserving the right of citizens to file legitimate suits.  It also provides a path for victims of frivolous lawsuits to receive full compensation.
  • H.R. 2804, which includes reforms requiring greater transparency, rights for regulated entities and the public, judicial scrutiny, and flexibility to rein in existing consent decrees.
  • H.R. 3309, which combats abusive patent litigation. Among other things, the Innovation Act “requires plaintiffs to disclose who the owner of a patent is before litigation, so that it is clear who the real parties behind the litigation are.”

These bills are among the dozens of House-passed initiatives stuck in the Democratic-run Senate.

In the 112th Congress, the House passed H.R. 5, medical malpractice reform that sought to ensure patients could recover full economic damages while setting a statute of limitations and limiting attorney’s fees based on the establishment of a sliding scale.  Five Points Roadmap

Introduction: America’s Energy Boom Point One: Fixing Our Tax Code Point Two: Solving Our Spending Problem Point Three: Reforming Our Legal System Point Four: Reforming Our Regulatory System (Monday, October 27) Point Five: Improving Our Education System (Tuesday, October 28)

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Obama Administration Hiding the Truth about Immigration Actions


After delaying his announcement until after the election, President Obama promised liberal activists he will go around Congress and grant amnesty by executive action “between the November elections and the end of the year.”

In response, Speaker Boehner denounced the president’s scheme to hide the truth from the public, saying, “The American people deserve honesty, transparency, and accountability.”

The Obama administration must disagree, however, because it’s clear from recent news reports that it is going to great lengths to keep the American people in the dark:

  • The federal government refuses to say whether prosecutors in Yuma, Arizona, have scaled back a years-old program that guarantees jail time for most immigrants caught crossing the border illegally and which law enforcement officials say is crucial to public safety. … Yuma County Sheriff Leon Wilmot said … that he had been informed that federal prosecutors in Yuma are no longer going after first offenders. But the government has been completely silent on the issue. Public affairs officials from the Department of Homeland Security, Justice Department and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection have all refused to answer questions about whether the program has been scaled back. Brett Worsencroft, president of the Border Patrol union for Yuma Sector border agents, said the U.S. Attorney’s Office has in fact ended prosecutions of first-time offenders. … Getting rid of prosecutions for first-time offenders is a ‘free ticket into the U.S.’ for those who cross the border without legal status, he said.” (Associated Press, 9/19/14)
  • “An official with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement revealed that about 70 percent of immigrant families the Obama administration had released into the U.S. never showed up weeks later for follow up appointments. The ICE official made the disclosure in a confidential meeting at its Washington headquarters with immigration advocates …. The Associated Press obtained an audio recording of Wednesday's meeting and separately interviewed participants. … The AP reported in June that the administration would not say publicly how many immigrant families from Central America caught crossing into the U.S. it had released in recent months or how many of those subsequently reported back to the government after 15 days as directed. The AP noted that senior U.S. officials directly familiar with the issue, including at the Homeland Security Department and White House, had dodged the answer on at least seven occasions over two weeks, alternately saying that they did not know the figure or didn't have it immediately at hand. The Homeland Security Department's public affairs office during the same period did not answer roughly a dozen requests for the figures.” (Associated Press, 9/25/14)
  • “[León] Rodríguez’s agency [Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)] will be front and center once President Barack Obama announces the executive action he’ll take on immigration. … ‘We’re going to be ready,’ Rodríguez said. … Rodríguez declined to elaborate when he was asked by a reporter to give more details on what types of preparations he is making.” (NBC News, 10/21/14)
  • “The Homeland Security Department appears to be preparing for an increase in the number of immigrants living illegally in the country to apply for work permits after President Barack Obama announces his long-promised plans for executive actions on immigration reform later this year. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services … published a draft contract proposal to buy the card stock needed to make work permits and Permanent Resident Cards, more commonly known as green cards. … The contract calls for as many 34 million cards over five years. … The administration has repeatedly declined to say what options Obama was considering[.]” (Associated Press, 10/22/14)
  • “During the White House press briefing Wednesday, [President Obama’s spokesman Josh] Earnest laughed at CBS’ Major Garrett — among others — for questioning why green-colored paper is being ordered in possible preparation to give legal status to up to nine million illegal immigrants. … ‘Don’t be absurd with us,’ Garrett shot back. … Earnest ensued to refer the CBS News reporter to the Department of Homeland Security[.]” (The Daily Caller, 10/22/14)
  • “New records contradict the Obama administration's assurances to Congress and the public that the 2,200 people it freed from immigration jails last year to save money had only minor criminal records. The records … show immigration officials released some undocumented immigrants who had faced far more serious criminal charges, including people charged with kidnapping, sexual assault, drug trafficking and homicide.” (USA TODAY, 10/22/14)

As it actively undermines the safety and security of U.S. families, it’s understandable that the Obama administration would want to keep its actions a secret. But Americans have a right to know the truth – not to mention secure borders that actually mean something.

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Five Points Roadmap: Solving Our Spending Problem


This is the third post in an in-depth series on Speaker Boehner’s five points for resetting America’s economic foundation.

We left off yesterday talking about how we can fix our tax code by bringing down rates and clearing out loopholes.  To the powers-that-be in Washington, ‘tax reform’ often means finding new ways to raise your taxes when the reality is the federal government will collect a record amount from taxpayers this year.  Spending is and always has been the issue, and solving our spending problem is one of Speaker Boehner’s five points for resetting America’s economic foundation.


Despite falling deficits, the nation’s debt is rapidly increasing. 

  • “Arguably the most important metric of a country’s fiscal health is its debt-to-GDP ratio,” according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, and “as a percent of GDP, debt has grown extremely rapidly,” going from 35 percent in 2007 to 74 percent in 2014.  The only other period when it’s been so high was around World War II.
  • The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that, by 2039, our debt will exceed 100 percent of GDP.  “Debt would be on an upward path relative to the size of the economy,” CBO says, calling this “a trend that could not be sustained indefinitely.” 

This rapidly increasing debt is driven by unsustainable entitlement programs.

  • Looking at health care programs, CBO says that “aging is the key driver of spending over the long-term,” with more than 10,000 Baby Boomers retiring each day.  Over the next 25 years, the number of people who receive Social Security benefits will increase by more than 77 percent. 
  • Projections show that the Social Security Disability Insurance trust fund will run out by 2016.  The Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI) trust fund is set to run out by 2033.  Absent legislation, beneficiaries of these programs will face deep and immediate cuts.
  • Medicare is another picture of unsustainability.  For example, a married couple – both 66, both with average earnings – will receive more than double the amount of benefits than they contribute in Medicare payroll taxes over their lifetimes.  

The increasing debt level hurts economic growth and burdens future generations.

  • CBO continues to warn about the “substantial negative impact” our growing debt has on the economy.   The large amount of federal borrowing would draw money away from private investment in productive capital in the long term,” their recent report says, with the result being “a smaller stock of capital and lower output and income than would otherwise be the case, all else being equal.”
  •  In a study of the history of advanced economies, economists found that “high levels of public debt have been associated with lower growth.”  In addition to discouraging private investment, “high levels of public debt also call into question whether the debt will be repaid in full.”  Those concerns often lead to “higher long-term real interest rates, which in turn has negative implications for investment as well as for consumption of durables and other interest-sensitive sectors, such as housing.”


“These programs are important to tens of millions of Americans,” Speaker Boehner said in his five points speech. “You can’t throw them out, and you don’t want to throw them out.  But they need to be fixed and put on a sustainable path, and we can in fact do that.”

On April 10, 2014, the House passed H. Con. Res. 96, a balanced budget resolution that contains examples of solutions to strengthen our entitlement programs: “This budget protects and strengthens Medicare for current and future generations.  It also requires the President and Congress to work together to develop a solution for Social Security.  This budget recognizes that the federal government must keep its word to current and future seniors.  And to do that, it must reform these programs.”

In the near-term, the Republican majority has worked to cut government spending by $2.1 trillion over 10 years.  To lead by example, we’ve cut the cost of running the House by nearly 14 percent.  And to make it easier to measure the scope of the problem, we’ve passed three budget reform bills.

But to truly reset the foundation of our economy, we need to address what’s driving our debt.  By sustaining these programs for our children, we can secure their ability to invest in their futures, pursue their aspirations, and have stability all the way through retirement.

Five Points RoadmapIntroduction: America’s Energy BoomPoint One: Fixing Our Tax CodePoint Two: Solving Our Spending Problem Point Three: Reforming Our Legal System (Friday, October 24) Point Four: Reforming Our Regulatory System (Monday, October 27) Point Five: Improving Our Education System (Tuesday, October 28)

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Boehner Statement on the Attacks in Canada


WASHINGTON, DC - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement offering the House of Representative’s full support to the people of Canada and its government after two days of attacks:

“The House of Representatives sends its strongest support to the Canadian people and to the government and Parliament.   While we are still seeking answers as to the motivation and intention of the attacks on Canadian forces and on the Parliament over the last two days, Prime Minister Harper and Speaker Scheer have and will continue to have friends and allies in the U.S. Congress who are prepared to stand shoulder to shoulder with them against our common enemies and who are prepared to move forward in our aims to improve the quality of life and economic opportunities for both our countries. 

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the fallen and injured, as well as the families and friends who endured uncertainty today while waiting to receive confirmation that their loved ones were safe.  The world is growing more complex and dangerous by the day, but we will not be intimidated by those who seek violence, repression, and fear.  Our common cause and fight – dignity and freedom for all – will always persevere, even during the darkest of times.”

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Five Points Roadmap: Fixing Our Tax Code


This is the second part of our in-depth series exploring Speaker Boehner’s five points for resetting America’s economic foundation.

Running a small business in Southwest Ohio, Speaker Boehner saw firsthand how the federal government was making it harder for hardworking people to get ahead.  It’s a big reason why he got involved in public service, and why fixing our tax code is one of his five points for resetting America’s economic foundation.


Our tax code makes it harder to compete and keep jobs here.  Since the mid-1980s, when our code was last updated, the average corporate tax rate among our competitors has fallen by nearly 35 percent.   As a result, we now have the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world, which helps explain why the Tax Foundation ranks our system as one of the least competitive, ahead of only Portugal and France.

By failing to keep pace, the United States has lost growth and wages.  According to Ernst & Young, GDP  in 2013 was reduced by anywhere from 1.2-2.0 percent on account of the high corporate rate.  That rate stands to go up, resulting in as much as $345 billion in lost output each year.  Over the long-term, wages would be depressed by 1.2 percent. 

Meanwhile, the tax incentives that do help spur job creation are temporary.  Congress has gotten in the habit of requiring annual votes on parts of the tax code that in all reality are permanent.  This uncertainty reduces their potential benefits as businesses can’t plan ahead.  For example, the Research & Development tax credit has been a regular part of the tax code since 1981.  Instead of making it permanent, Congress has chosen to extend it more than a dozen times.  “Uncertainty here is the enemy,” Joe Harpaz writes in Forbes, “and having the innovation credit up in the air is a double whammy for businesses that are already dealing with a highly unpredictable marketplace.”

One thing that makes the tax code so costly is that it’s so complex.  The average taxpayer has to spend 13 hours preparing their returns.  It’s not hard to figure out why.  For example, did you know that there are currently 15 different education tax breaks with a corresponding 90 pages of IRS instructions?  While big companies have the resources to navigate the code and push for loopholes, middle-class families remain overtaxed. 


Here are examples of ways we could turn our tax code from a weakness into a strength so that it helps make our country a more attractive place to start and grow a business, and make it easier for families to do everything from buy a home to save for college and reirement:  

  • Lower the corporate tax rate.
  • Modernize the taxation of companies doing business abroad.
  •  Lower and simplify the rates paid by individuals and pass-through businesses.
  •  Simplify the tax code for families and businesses, so families can do their own taxes and businesses can plan for the future, and neither can wonder if someone else is getting a better deal.
  • Simplify the maze of credits and deductions families use for things like education and retirement planning. 
  • Reform the IRS to make it more accountable to taxpayers and less susceptible to bureaucratic abuse. 

On February 26, 2014, Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) released a discussion draft for tax reform that addresses these priorities.  The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that Chairman Camp’s proposal would create 1.8 million private-sector jobs over the next 10 years, and his plan sets the stage for further action on reform.  In addition, the House has acted on:

  • H.R. 3393, which would permanently reform and consolidate the maze of high education tax incentives into a single American Opportunity Tax Credit.
  • H.R. 4457, which would permanently allow small businesses to deduct the up-front cost of purchasing new equipment and property.
  • H.R. 4718, which would make permanent 50 percent bonus depreciation.
  • H.R. 4719, which would make permanent and simplify charitable provisions of the tax code.

These bills are among the dozens of House-passed initiatives stuck in the Democratic-run Senate.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at how solving our spending problem would go a long way towards resetting the foundation of our economy.  

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Five Points Roadmap: America’s Energy Boom


Beginning tomorrow on Speaker.gov, we’ll be taking a more in-depth look at Speaker Boehner’s five points for resetting America’s economic foundation:  

1.Fix our tax code

2.Solve our spending problem

3.Reform our legal system

4.Reform our regulatory system

5.Improve our education system

But first, every plan requires some groundwork, and for Speaker Boehner, that’s where America’s emerging energy boom comes in.


America’s energy boom has been a bright spot in a challenging time for middle-class families and small business owners.  The states where the energy boom is happening are seeing lower unemployment.  Last month, The New York Times pointed to Ohio as an example, specifically “the once-moribund downtowns of Northeast Ohio cities,” including Youngstown and Canton.  One local expert said, “Both Youngstown and Canton are places which experienced nothing but disinvestment for 40 years… they’re not ghost towns anymore.” 

The problem is, for all its potential, this boom is confined to state and private lands.  From 2009 to 2013, oil production on non-federal lands increased 61 percent while falling 6 percent on federal lands.  Natural gas production has seen similar trends: a 33 percent increase on non-federal lands, but a 28 percent drop on federal lands.

Bringing the state and private boom to the federal level would help create jobs and facilitate broader growth.  The construction of the Keystone XL pipeline alone could support roughly 42,100 jobs and $2 billion in earnings throughout the country. 

Speaker Boehner believes America’s energy boom has the potential to not only grow our economy, but reset its foundation across the board, starting with manufacturing.  For example, as of March 2013, nearly 100 new manufacturing investments in the chemical industry valued at $71.7 billion had been announced.  This translates to 1.2 million jobs during the investment phase, and a total of 530,000 permanent jobs by 2020.


We have to enact laws and policies that allow the nation to fully enjoy the benefits of this energy boom by (1) building the infrastructure that connects the boom to consumers and companies alike, (2) pushing for federal lands to contribute to increased domestic energy production, and (3) stopping regulations that undermine this renaissance.  The House has already begun to act on examples of these policies, including:

  • H.R. 3, which would green light the Keystone pipeline and eliminate legal and regulatory barriers that could delay its construction for years.  
  • H.R. 6, which would expedite the approval of liquefied natural gas (LNG) export applications.  Just the construction involved in supporting LNG exports would, according to one study, create anywhere from 2,000 to 40,000 onsite jobs, largely in the Gulf Coast region, between now and 2018.
  • H.R. 1582, which would stop further ozone regulations by the EPA.  These EPA rules could lead to 2.9 million fewer jobs per year on average through 2040.
  • H.R. 1900 and H.R. 2641, which would accelerate the development of new energy infrastructure.  As  an example, the construction of 351 delayed energy projects could have boosted the economy by $1.1 trillion and created 1.9 million jobs annually during the years of construction.  After that, each year of operation of these projects could support 791,000 jobs.
  • H.R. 2728, which prohibits Washington from overriding states that have been safely and successfully regulating hydraulic fracturing on federal land.  Shale oil and natural gas activity is set to support nearly 2.5 million jobs next year, a 45% jump since 2012
  • H.R. 2824, which prevents the government from imposing excessive, unnecessary regulations on coal-fired energy.  The administration’s proposed rewrite of coal production regulation could cost at least 7,000 jobs and hurt the economies of at least 22 states. 
  • H.R. 3826, which prevents a new de facto national energy tax from taking effect.  These new rules could, in addition to causing double-digit percentage electricity rate increases in most states, close 45,000 megawatts of coal production. 
  •  H.R. 4899, which promotes more onshore and offshore energy production.  This bill’s offshore provisions alone, according to an economist at Louisiana State University, could create 250,000 short-term jobs during exploration and development, and 1.2 million long-term jobs.

Taken together, these bills – all of which are among the dozens stuck in the Democratic-run Senate – would help protect and expand America’s emerging energy boom.

We can’t stop there.  Once we lock in this boom, what do we need to do to bring jobs home and make America a more attractive place to work and invest?   We’ll have more on that tomorrow.

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The Capitol Christmas Tree’s Journey


The Capitol Christmas Tree’s final destination is right here in the shadow of the Capitol Dome, but first, this 88-foot-tall white spruce will spread holiday cheer in a town near you.  In keeping with tradition, the tree will make nearly 30 stops as it travels 2,000 miles to our capital city.

It all starts next week with a public cutting ceremony in Minnesota’s Chippewa National Forest.  The forest’s supervisor will make remarks, and a traditional blessing will be offered by the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe members.  Minnesota’s Logger of the Year, Jim Scheff, who runs a family-owned logging and trucking business in nearby Marcell, will do the honors of cutting the tree.       

The tree will then appear in seven different states, where preparations are already underway.  One stop will be the Mayo Clinic, where children have already planted a permanent tree for the holidays.  All the tour dates – including three stops in the Speaker’s home state of Ohio – are available here

In late November, the tree will arrive in Washington, where it will be entrusted to the professionals from the Architect of the Capitol’s team and trimmed with 10,000 ornaments from Minnesota communities. 

Then, with some carols and the flip of a switch, the spruce will light up the West Front Lawn of the Capitol for the holiday season. 

More updates soon, but for now, you can watch last year’s tree-lighting ceremony here:

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Americans Prefer Republicans on the Economy & Jobs


In the House, Republicans have consistently made the American people’s priorities our priorities.  We’ve done it by passing more than 45 jobs bills that remain stuck in in Harry Reid’s dysfunctional, do-nothing Senate.  We’ve done it by offering real solutions and working to find common ground on initiatives to, among other examples, reform our workforce development programs, help meet the needs of families looking for work, and bring greater accountability to the VA for our nation’s veterans – all measures that have been signed into law.

We have focused like a laser for the last three and a half years on jobs and the economy,” Speaker Boehner said during a recent interview on ABC News’ “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.”  When it comes to the economy, surveys show that Americans prefer Republicans over Democrats:

  • By a 50-39 percent margin, Americans believe Republicans would do a better job handling the economy than Democrats, according to the latest Gallup survey.
  • Similarly, the latest CBS News survey gives Republicans a 49-40 percent edge over Democrats on handling economic issues.
  • And the Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey gives Republicans a 10-point advantage over Democrats.

The Speaker has also outlined five key things we should do as a nation to bring jobs home and reset the foundation of our economy for generations to come: 

  1. Reform our tax code.
  2. Solve our spending problem.
  3. Reform our legal system.
  4. Reform our regulatory system.
  5. Improve our education system.

As today’s Washington Times notes, “another factor boosting U.S. and global growth is the oil and gas boom,” with one expert saying that it is “serving to attract investment and manufacturing jobs back to the U.S.”  Speaker Boehner’s five points are all about building on this boom to help Americans achieve real security and stability.  Learn more at speaker.gov/5points

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The House’s Response to the Ebola Outbreak


On Wednesday, Speaker Boehner laid out the actions the House and its committees have taken to assist and assess the government’s response to the Ebola outbreak.  “Numerous committees,” he said, “are actively assessing the administration’s response, and hearings have already begun.   These oversight efforts will continue, and the House stands ready to act if it becomes clear legislation is needed to ensure the threat is countered aggressively and effectively.”

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Here is a summary of our committees’ efforts to date.  We will update this list as the committees’ work progresses.



Armed Services

  • September 25: Announced the release, in concert with the Appropriations Committee, of $50 million to support Operation United Assistance, the Department of Defense-led mission to combat the Ebola outbreak.
  • October 7: Held a committee briefing with interagency representatives on DOD support to Operation United Assistance, including its mission scope, biosecurity plans, deployment timelines, force protection measures, and spend plan.
  • October 9: Announced the release, in concert with the Appropriations Committee, of an additional $700 million to support Operation United Assistance.
  • October 14: Sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Hagel expressing concern for the protection and wellbeing of troops deploying to West Africa.

Energy & Commerce

  • September 12: Sent a letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell seeking more information regarding the Ebola outbreak and preparedness efforts.
  • October 16: Held a subcommittee hearing examining the U.S. public health response to the Ebola outbreak, with testimony from the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other administration officials.
  • October 23: Sent a letter to President Obama and administration officials seeking further answers on the administration’s response and preparedness efforts to treat those with Ebola, prevent any further spread in the United States, and stop the spread of the virus at its source in West Africa.

Foreign Affairs

  • August 7: Held a subcommittee hearing to examine global efforts to combat the Ebola outbreak, with testimony from the director of the CDC and other administration officials.  
  • September 17: Held a subcommittee hearing to examine global efforts to combat the Ebola outbreak, with testimony from administration officials.
  • October 15: Sent a letter to the State Department calling for the immediate suspension of the issuance of visas for non-U.S. nationals in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

Homeland Security

  • September 16: Sent a letter to the Secretary of Homeland Security inquiring about inbound international screening procedures and training for Customs and Border Protection personnel.
  • October 10: Held a field hearing at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to examine the coordinated federal, state and local response to the Ebola case in Dallas, Texas. 
  • October 10: Sent a letter to the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection requesting enhanced entry screening at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and George Bush Intercontinental Airport.
  • October 15: Sent a letter urging the president to re-establish the position of Special Assistant to the President for Biodefense Policy.
  • October 15: Sent a letter calling on the Departments of State and Homeland Security to temporarily suspend the visas of individuals from Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.


  • October 16: Sent a letter urging the president to use his authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act to temporarily ban foreign nationals who were recently in an Ebola-ravaged country from traveling to the United States. 
  • October 21: Sent a letter to the Departments of Homeland Security and State inquiring about reports that the Administration is putting together a plan to allow non-U.S. citizens infected with Ebola to enter the United States for treatment.  

Oversight & Government Reform

  • October 24: Held a hearing on the multi-agency response to the Ebola crisis. 

Transportation & Infrastructure

  • October 14: Sent a letter calling on the Departments of Transportation and Homeland Security to institute a temporary travel ban for affected West African countries.
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Democrats Like ObamaCare, & They’re Going to Force You to Keep It


Recent polls continue to find that, by a wide margin, more Americans view ObamaCare unfavorably than favorably. The reason why is pretty obvious: virtually everything that President Obama and his Democrats in Congress said about their health care law turned out to be untrue.

This makes President Obama’s latest shtick on the stump amusing to say the least. As he brags to crowds about how wonderful the economy is, he likes to say he’s “just telling the truth now.” Why the supposed turn at honesty? “I don’t have to run for office again, so I can just, you know, let her rip.” It’s an act that can only convince the most gullible. Indeed, President Obama admits that while his name isn’t on the ballot next month, all of his policies are.

And he stubbornly defends them, despite evidence they have failed. Confronted by a steel plant worker in Indiana who has seen his health care premiums increase dramatically, President Obama blamed him for not “shopping effectively enough,” essentially insulting his intelligence.

Of course, from this president, that’s nothing new. Who can forget these three gems?

President Obama: “If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.” (6/15/09)

  • The truth: Politifact named this the 2013 “lie of the year,” and there are more cancellations coming. “[N]early 50,000 people will lose their current health coverage in the coming weeks,” reported The Hill.

President Obama: “For Americans who get their insurance through the workplace … your employer, it's estimated, would see premiums fall by as much as 3,000 percent, which means they could give you a raise.” (3/15/10)

  • The truth: Kaiser Health News reports that “Health Premiums And Costs [are] Set To Rise For Workers Covered At Work,” but Americans won’t find out exactly how much until after the election. On top of that, ObamaCare has meant smaller paychecks for workers who have had their hours cut.

President Obama: “I will not sign it [a health care reform bill] if it adds one dime to the deficit now or in the future – period.” (7/23/09, 9/9/09)

  • The truth: “Analysis of [nonpartisan] Congressional Budget Office projections by the Senate Budget Committee finds that …. Obamacare will increase deficit spending by $131 billion from 2015-24,” reports The Weekly Standard. “That’s a $311 billion swing from the extrapolated 2012 numbers, a $240 billion swing from the actual 2012 numbers, and a $255 billion swing from what we were told when Obamacare was passed.”

Senate Democrats followed President Obama’s lead and repeated these false claims over and over again. Now that they’ve proven untrue, they’re full of new promises. They say they will fix the law and make things right.

But if that’s true, where’s their legislation? President Obama hasn’t proposed any, and Senate Democrats certainly haven’t passed anything.

Republicans in the House have passed more than 350 bills that are currently being blocked by Senate Democrats, including bills that would eliminate the worst parts of ObamaCare, like the tax on medical device manufacturers that is sending jobs overseas and the arbitrary 30-hour rule that is hurting workers. But Senate Democrats have only said no.

Apparently, they like the law they passed, and they’re going to force you to keep it – even if they are guilty of false advertising. 

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The Facts About Funding for the Fight Against Ebola


With the United States and the entire world facing a global health threat, the last thing anybody has time for is political opportunism.  But as The Washington Post has noted, that hasn't stopped a few from attempting to distort the facts about government funding in a shallow attempt to gain a political edge. Contrary to political claims being made by some, the Republican-led House of Representatives has acted decisively and consistently when it comes to efforts to combat the deadly disease, even providing more funding than requested for the agencies on the front lines of the fight against Ebola. Here are the facts:

  • Congress Has Released Up to $750 Million in Funding to Combat Ebola.  The House last week released up to $750 million to support Operation United Assistance, the  mission “to provide medical, logistical and security support” to combat Ebola in West Africa.
  • Congress Provided More CDC Funding Than the President Requested Last Year.  The FY 2014 budget agreement reached in January of this year provided the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] “an 8.2 percent budget increase for fiscal 2014,” The Atlanta Business Chronicle reported at that time. “This is more than the agency anticipated, because the president's fiscal year 2014 budget request for it was just $6.6 billion -- a decrease of $270 million from fiscal 2012,” the Chronicle adds.  Even The Huffington Post admits “President Barack Obama hasn’t been consistent on funding the [CDC], the dominant U.S. public health agency combating the outbreak,” and “indeed explicitly posed significant cuts at times.”
  • The White House Proposed the Sequester.  This isn’t the first time the White House has tried to shirk responsibility for the sequester it proposed, and the president signed into law, in 2011.  But as Politico reported back in 2012, “the book ‘The Price of Politics,’ by Washington Post Associate Editor Bob Woodward, makes it clear the idea for the draconian spending cuts originated in the White House – and not in Congress.”  In fact, Congress’s 2014 budget agreement restored $1 billion worth of National Institutes of Health [NIH]cuts made under the president’s sequester.  In addition, “It’s worth noting that President Obama’s 2015 budget request did not call for a major increase in funding for the NIH,” The Washington Post reports.

On many levels, this line of attack is absurd,” says Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler, who rated the claim a “whopper.”  Instead of trying to point the finger, “the administration must be able to assure Americans that we will stop the spread here at home,” Speaker Boehner said yesterday. “We will continue to press the administration for better information about what steps will be taken to protect the American people, including our troops, from this deadly virus.  And we will work with the administration on appropriate policy options that will help stop the spread of this horrific disease both here in the United States and around the globe.”

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Boehner: Travel Ban Should Be Considered by President as Ebola Crisis Worsens


On #Ebola crisis: our hearts go out to those affected. President should consider travel ban. Full statement: http://t.co/8sNK0sMyVg

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

WASHINGTON, DC -- House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement on the growing Ebola crisis:

“Our hearts go out to the health care workers who have contracted the Ebola virus here in the United States, as well as those who have been impacted by it around the globe.  We pray for their speedy recovery, and we pray for those who are helping to treat and care for these individuals, including our medical experts and military personnel who are in West Africa to help stem this deadly disease.  Concerns about the possibility of an outbreak of this sort prompted the House to provide more funding for the CDC than requested, and the tragic developments seen in recent weeks demonstrate that decision was a prudent one.

“In a September 16 speech in Atlanta, President Obama said the ‘chances of an Ebola outbreak here in the United States are extremely low.’  Since that time, several Americans have been diagnosed with the virus and untold more potentially exposed to it.  Today we learned that one individual who has contracted the virus flew to Ohio through the Cleveland airport in the last few days.  A temporary ban on travel to the United States from countries afflicted with the virus is something that the president should absolutely consider along with any other appropriate actions as doubts about the security of our air travel systems grow.

“It is also imperative we ensure that federal, state and local agencies, along with our public health infrastructure, are prepared, remain vigilant, and follow proper protocols to identify the virus and take appropriate measures for those who have been exposed to it.

“Numerous committees – including the House Armed Services Committee and the Committees on Appropriations, Homeland Security, Energy & Commerce, Foreign Affairs, and Transportation & Infrastructure – are actively assessing the administration’s response, and hearings have already begun.  The Homeland Security Committee held a hearing in Dallas to examine the federal, state, and local response thus far.  Tomorrow, the Energy & Commerce Committee will hear from the CDC and NIH to look into their response to the crisis.  These oversight efforts will continue, and the House stands ready to act if it becomes clear legislation is needed to ensure the threat is countered aggressively and effectively.

“The administration must be able to assure Americans that we will stop the spread here at home.  We will continue to press the administration for better information about what steps will be taken to protect the American people, including our troops, from this deadly virus.  And we will work with the administration on appropriate policy options that will help stop the spread of this horrific disease both here in the United States and around the globe.”

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Is the White House Conceding Kobani & Other Key Territory to ISIL?


That’s an important question that must be answered after a noteworthy exchange in the White House briefing room yesterday.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest claimed the president’s strategy, limited as it may be, is “succeeding” despite all the evidence to the contrary.  He then goes on to admit that the White House doesn’t want Kobani to fall but that the U.S. airstrikes won’t be enough to save the town: “So we certainly do not want the town to fall.  At the same time, our capacity to prevent that town from falling is limited by the fact that airstrikes can only do so much.”

The White House and the administration say this fight will be a long-term proposition.  We agree, but reversing the momentum of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) doesn’t have to be a long-term proposition.  We don’t have to cede key territory to the terrorists in the hope that someday down the road, we can win it all back. 

Everyone wants the president’s strategy to succeed, but right now we are not reversing ISIL’s momentum.  That has to change.  And it’s why the speaker and many others continue to call on the president to outline and implement a broader strategy for winning this fight.  Full transcript of the exchange yesterday below:

MR. EARNEST:  The meeting that is being convened at Andrews Air Force Base later today is with about 21 of the U.S.’s partners in this broader international coalition against ISIL.  Those who are participating in the meeting are at the chief-of-defense level.  This is something I’ve only learned in the last couple of days.  These are, essentially, the international counterparts to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  So again, these are the military leaders of the militaries who are participating in this broader international coalition.

This is a meeting that Chairman Dempsey convened here in this country.  It will last for a couple of days.  The President will participate in one meeting of this broader series of meetings.  And this is all part of the effort to continue to integrate our broader strategy and to ensure that the military capabilities or our partners is integrated and effectuated in pursuit of this operation.

QUESTION:   Integrated and effectuated.  Are you sticking with the same strategy?  You believe it’s working?

MR. EARNEST:  Yes.  And we’re in the early days of the execution of that strategy, but certainly the early evidence indicates that this strategy is succeeding. 

QUESTION:   Because there are -- and I don’t need to tell you this -- several analysts who look at Kobani, if it falls, it will be the third city on the Syrian-Turkish border to do so.  Anbar is now 80 percent controlled by ISIS.  They are 15 miles away from Baghdad.  If you take that outer perimeter from Baghdad and go east, it’s an area of control of about 350 miles.  That doesn’t read to many analysts like success.  Why does it look like success to this administration?

MR. EARNEST:  Well, I can cite -- we’ve gone to this a few times before, that there are specific episodes where the use of military force has succeeded in beating back an ISIL advance, or stopping the siege of a vulnerable humanitarian target.  We have seen that our strikes have had an impact on targets in Syria, that the ability of ISIL to command and control their forces has been affected by the airstrikes. 

At the same time, I don’t think anybody has sought to leave you or anyone else with the impression that these kinds of airstrikes were going to dramatically reverse the situation on the battlefield overnight.  They won’t.  We’ve been pretty candid about the fact that this is a longer-term proposition, and it’s predicated on something that necessarily does take a long time, which is building up the capacity and capability of forces on the ground to take the fight to ISIL.  The President has made a strategic decision that there will not be American boots on the ground, in a combat role, taking the fight to ISIL. 

But what we can do is we can build up the capacity of Iraq security forces, and we can build up the capacity of Syrian opposition fighters to take the fight to ISIL.  That is a core component of this strategy.  And until that aspect of the strategy is ramped up, that is a necessary component of the strategy that will allow us to see more significant results on the battlefield.  But the aspects of the strategy that have been implemented so far have been characterized by having an impact on ISIL in a negative way for them.

QUESTION:   To follow up on Roberta’s question, does the President regard Kobani as strategically significant and worthy of defense?

MR. EARNEST:  Well, in terms of our broader strategy, our broader strategy is to ensure that ISIL cannot operate in a virtual safe haven in Syria.  And so to the extent that ISIL is trying to carve out a safe haven in Syria in the midst of all this violence, we want to take airstrikes that can degrade their ability to do exactly that.  That, ultimately, at some point, is going to require some forces on the ground who can take the fight to them.

More broadly, we have sought, where possible, to try to avoid humanitarian -- terrible humanitarian situations from occurring.  So I talked about the situations at Sinjar Mountain and Amerli in Iraq.  Our capability to do that in Syria is limited by the fact that we don’t have ground forces that can follow up on coalition airstrikes.  So --

QUESTION:   But what Roberta is getting at is that we should not interpret the increased volume of airstrikes in and around Kobani as a strategic decision on behalf of this government and its coalition to protect it at all costs; that it is so strategically important that you don’t want it to fall, and therefore that is why the airstrikes have stepped up in number and ferocity.

MR. EARNEST:  Well, again, of course we don’t want the town to fall.  We are very concerned, as we’ve said many times, about the citizens who live there and the citizens who are threatened by ISIL.  Again, the fact that they are encroaching on this city and seeking to take it over is just further evidence that ISIL is an extremist organization that is willing to perpetrate terrible acts of violence that are worthy of global condemnation.

So we certainly do not want the town to fall.  At the same time, our capacity to prevent that town from falling is limited by the fact that airstrikes can only do so much.  Airstrikes can have an effect and have an impact, and they already have, but they are made more effective when there is a ground force that can take the fight to ISIL in the aftermath of those kinds of airstrikes.  That ground force doesn’t yet exist, but is a ground force that we are actively working to ramp up our assistance to and setting up training-and-equipping operations in Saudi Arabia and Turkey, where we can provide additional training and expand the capacity of Syrian opposition fighters so that after they’re trained and after they’re equipped, they can be used -- or they can go and fight ISIL in their own country, and they can do so with the strong backing of coalition airstrikes in a way that will make them, we think, more effective.

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White House Says It’s Your Fault If You Pay More For Insurance


When a steel plant manager in Indiana recently asked President Obama why the business is still seeing big premium increases, the president turned the question around, saying, “The question is whether you guys are shopping effectively enough.”  

Along the same lines, HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said that “part of the problem is that many people don’t understand how to buy health insurance.”  “We need to spend time educating people,” she said. 

Educate people on what, exactly?  After all, the president repeatedly promised that the typical family would see their costs go down by $2,500.  During the push to get this monstrosity through Congress, he said that savings would go “back into the pockets of American consumers in the form of lower premiums.”  

Instead, we continue to see just the opposite. Under the headline, “Health Premiums And Costs Set To Rise For Workers Covered At Work,”Kaiser Health News reports today that average premium increases will be higher than last year and “the shift toward higher out-of-pocket costs overall for consumers will continue.” 

We’re already seeing double-digit premium increases in Iowa and Louisiana.  In Minnesota, some small businesses “face increases of 40 percent or more.”  “We had no idea it was going to be as dramatic as it is,” according to one dental group practice manager. 

And in Southwest Ohio, Speaker Boehner has been collecting stories from constituents struggling with higher costs.  The newest one comes from the finance director for Coldwater, a small town that’s about to take a big hit: 

“Since ObamaCare became law, the village has seen its insurance premiums more than double – a direct blow to the village’s 24 insured employees that will … also be felt by the roughly 4,500 people who call the Village of Coldwater home.  Yet again, the village will see premiums increase 14 percent next year.

And get this: even though the new HealthCare.gov is up, it won’t display premiums until the second week of November.  So much for spending time educating people so they can shop more “effectively.”

Instead of putting the blame on hardworking people, we can help them by repealing this health care law and starting over with patient-centered solutions that focus on lower costs.

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Obama’s Obsession with Closing Gitmo is Wildly Unpopular


Fact: a majority of Americans have consistently opposed closing our terrorist prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba:

  • “Twenty-nine percent of Americans support closing the terrorist detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and moving its prisoners to U.S. prisons, while two in three (66%) oppose the idea.” (Gallup, 6/13/14)
  • “[J]ust 27% of Likely U.S. Voters think the prison for suspected terrorists at the Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba should be closed. … Fifty-four percent (54%) disagree and say the Guantanamo prison should not be closed, consistent with most surveys for several years.” (Rasmussen, 5/27/14)
  • 70 percent [of Americans] favor keeping open the Guantanamo Bay detention center[.]”  (ABC News/Washington Post, 2/8/12)
  • “By more than 2-1, those surveyed say Guantanamo shouldn't be closed. By more than 3-1, they oppose moving some of the accused terrorists housed there to prisons in their own states.” (USA TODAY/Gallup, 6/1/09)

Americans know all too well that the threat of Islamic terrorism is still very real. After all, ISIL continues to make significant gains in Iraq and Syria and al Qaeda is resurgent in Yemen. President Obama, however, is preoccupied with legacy-building, which is why he’s focused on giving Iran more flexibility with its nuclear program and closing Guantanomo, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal:

“The White House is drafting options that would allow President Barack Obama to close the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by overriding a congressional ban on bringing detainees to the U.S., senior administration officials said. …

The core obstacle standing in the White House’s way is Congress’s move in 2010 to ban the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the U.S. That legislation was passed after the administration sparked a backlash when it proposed relocating detainees to a maximum-security prison in Thomson, Ill.

“[A]dministration officials say the detention center can’t be closed without sending at least some of the remaining inmates to the U.S. mainland.”

In response to this news, Speaker Boehner said:

Even as Islamic jihadists are beheading Americans, the White House is so eager to bring these terrorists from Guantanamo Bay to the United States that it is examining ways to thwart Congress and unilaterally re-write the law. Not only is this scheme dangerous, it is yet another example of what will be this administration’s legacy of lawlessness.”

The Obama administration also sparked a bipartisan backlash earlier this year when it broke the law and released five top terrorist leaders from Guantanamo, even though President Obama said they could “absolutely” return to plotting attacks on Americans. The House passed a resolution last month condemning the release, which a majority of Americans also opposed.

Still, President Obama is obsessed with closing the prison, “raising it weekly,” according to his staff. He believes its “continued operation hurts U.S. standing overseas and is a recruitment tool for terrorists.” He’s chasing a fantasy, holding out hope that showing a softer side will convince radical Islamic jihadists to end their murderous crusade.

It’s a naive way of thinking – not to mention absurdly inconsistent with the Obama administration’s anti-terrorist social media campaign.

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Five Great Things About the Library of Congress


Today marks the 200th anniversary of the resolution that permitted Congress to purchase Thomas Jefferson’s book collection to create a new Library of Congress (LOC).  After the British burned the White House, U.S. Capitol, and Library of Congress in August of 1814, the rebuilding process required replacing the collection.  The resolution passed and Congress purchased Jefferson’s books for just $23,950.  To honor this important anniversary, here are five great things you may not know about the Library of Congress:

1)      Veterans History Project.  Through the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, the Veterans History Project welcomes stories and personal accounts of American war veterans from World War I to the present conflicts our troops face today.  To date, Speaker Boehner, representing Ohio’s Eighth District, has contributed 172 interviews from his constituents to the Veterans History Project, one of which was with Colonel Tom Moe, the former Director for the Ohio Department of Veterans and a POW of the Vietnam War.  Through this project, Boehner and his staff have helped veterans get the recognition they deserve for their service by awarding upgraded service medals and honorary high school diplomas.

2)      Promoting transparency and open-government.  The Library has been a leading institutional partner in making the legislative branch more open and accountable to the American people.  In 2012, the LOC unveiled the new Congress.gov , which has made it easier for citizens to find information about the legislative process and what bills are being debated.

3)      Legislative Branch Bulk Data Task Force.  This task force was created to examine how best to increase availability of congressional information in bulk while still considering costs, timelines, authenticity of data, and further the mission of increasing transparency for the American people.   As the Deputy Librarian of Congress said last year, “The Library works closely with the Congress and related agencies to make America’s federal legislative record more widely available.”

4)      The Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.  Each year the Library of Congress recognizes an artist of popular music for their outstanding contributions to American music, theatre, and culture, and to the Library of Congress.  Next month, the Library will present the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song to legendary singer-songwriter Billy Joel.  Speaker Boehner congratulated the Long Island native on this well-earned honor, saying, “The man makes great music, and we are grateful for his contributions.”

5)      Open door policy.  As stated earlier, the Library of Congress is architecturally and visually beautiful.  From the Neptune fountain outside to the marble floors and custom arches inside, the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress is a stunning achievement for America.  The preservation of our history, and accessibility of those resources, is at the forefront of its mission.  So, with that accessibility comes one of the greatest things about the Library of Congress: it is open to the public and free to visit

We owe a debt of gratitude to the Library of Congress and those lawmakers – and, of course, Thomas Jefferson – for making all of this possible. 

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Does The President Have a Secret Plan to Fight Inequality?


Standing in Gwyneth Paltrow’s backyard last night, President Obama launched into a discourse about inequality.  “Most of the gains in our economy go to the folks who are in this lovely yard,” he said. 

The president could have admitted he hasn’t done enough.  Instead, he absolved himself, saying “that’s a trend that preceded me.”  Meanwhile, the numbers clearly show that “income inequality has grown faster on his watch than any time in the past two decades, at least.

Indeed, what the president fails to mention is that his own policies have made the problem worse.  Here are just a handful of examples:

  • Energy. By actively blocking, hindering, and delaying American energy production, the president has increased the squeeze on middle-class families and sent good-paying jobs and opportunities overseas. 
  • Banks. Four years after Dodd-Frank and its $21.8 billion in compliance costs became law, ‘too big to fail’ is alive and well, while the community banks that lend to small businesses are tangled up in red tape.
  • Taxes. Instead of leading the charge for tax reform that brings down rates and clears out loopholes, the president has time and again tried to raise taxes on small businesses, many of which pay rates more than double those of large corporations.  
  • Education. By fighting our efforts to help students in underperforming schools gain access to a quality education, the president and the education establishment make it that much harder for low-income families to climb the ladder.
  • Health Care. ObamaCare is making millions of small business employees pay more for insurance while turning full-time workers into part-time workers.  One union did a report on this problem.  The title? “The Irony of ObamaCare: Making Inequality Worse.”

Still, maybe there’s hope yet.  You see, also on hand in that lovely yard was Bradley Whitford, who, of course, played White House Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman on The West Wing.  Maybe this means the president has a secret plan to fight inequality?  Because more of the same clearly isn’t going to cut it. 

While we wait on tenterhooks for the Obama/Lyman plan, Republicans have acted on real solutions to close the gap, to help middle-class families get ahead, not just get by.  And Speaker Boehner has outlined five points to reset our economy from the bottom up – so people from all walks of life can pursue their aspirations without Washington getting in the way.   Learn more by going to speaker.gov/5points.

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Speaker Boehner Statement on President Obama’s Efforts to Import Gitmo Terrorists to the United States


President Obama's plan to import #Gitmo terrorists to the U.S. is another example of admin’s legacy of lawlessness http://t.co/MqkOJB1gg3

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) October 10, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after The Wall Street Journal reported that President Obama is considering options to re-write the law and import terrorists housed at Guantanamo Bay to the United States: “An overwhelming majority of the American people and bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate oppose importing the terrorists imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay into the United States, yet the White House continues to move forward with its plan.  Even as Islamic jihadists are beheading Americans, the White House is so eager to bring these terrorists from Guantanamo Bay to the United States that it is examining ways to thwart Congress and unilaterally re-write the law.  Not only is this scheme dangerous, it is yet another example of what will be this administration’s legacy of lawlessness.  

“While Republicans stand united against this ploy, each and every Democrat should make their position known.  Do they support the president’s maneuver to override a bipartisan law, thumb his nose at the American people and the Constitution, and bring these terrorists to U.S. soil?  Or do they stand with the American people and oppose this dangerous plan?  House Republicans have kept our Pledge to America to keep these terrorists out of the United States, and we will do everything within our power to keep our pledge and hold the administration accountable.”

NOTE: Over the last four years, bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate have consistently passed – and President Obama has signed – legislation that prohibits him from transferring the terrorists housed at the Guantanamo Bay prison to the United States.

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


Washington, D.C. – House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) released the joint statement below following the remarks made yesterday by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest that President Obama delayed his decision to act unilaterally on immigration until after the November elections because he didn’t want Republicans to win on the issue.

“It’s shocking that the White House now openly admits that President Obama is delaying his unilateral actions on immigration until after the November elections simply because of raw politics. Whether before or after the election in November, it is never acceptable for the President to re-write our laws by executive decree – the Constitution does not give him the authority to do so. By taking unilateral action on immigration, President Obama will inject serious constitutional questions into an already heated debate. Such shortsighted actions will undermine the American people’s trust in the President’s commitment to enforcing our immigration laws and will further setback any chance of enacting immigration reform.”

Last month, House Judiciary Committee Republicans wrote to President Obama demanding that he disclose to the American people the recommendations he has received for the anticipated executive actions he will take to further dismantle our nation’s immigration laws. To date, the President has failed to respond.

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The 25th Anniversary of the Peaceful Revolution


This is the fourth post in our series recounting the events of 1989 that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

An 800-year old church in a city 118 miles southwest of Berlin.  It’s an unlikely epicenter for one of the great democratic movements of the 20th century, but on October 9, 1989, it was exactly that.  That day, thousands of dissidents gathered at Nicolaikirche (St. Nicholas Church) in downtown Leipzig and proceeded to march through the city, holding candles and chanting “We Are The People” in protest of the East German regime. 

“This was no spontaneous flash mob,” Der Spiegel reports.  In fact, it was years in the making:

“By the summer of 1989, East German dissidents had been meeting at Leipzig's 800-year-old Nicolaikirche for almost a decade to pray and talk politics.  At times there were fewer than a dozen people in the church, but all through the 1980s the meetings happened every Monday without fail.  Eventually, they attracted people eager to discuss a wide range of causes, from the environment to the right to travel freely.  By the fall of 1989, the prayer meetings had evolved into a nationwide movement centered in Leipzig.”

Despite their growing numbers, these dissidents had good reason not to take their cause to the streets.  Remember, this was only four months after the Tiananmen Square Massacre.  The potential for a crackdown was very real.  In many homes, one parent stayed behind in case the worst came to pass.  But when the day came, and the crowd swelled to at least 70,000, the police stepped aside.  Thus the protest became known as the “Peaceful Revolution.”  

German President Joachim Gauck said, “The images of the peaceful march around Leipzig's city center ring road became an inspiration which encouraged more and more people in more and more towns and cities … to come out and protest in public.”

Indeed, two weeks later, more than 300,000 people filled the city center.  Two weeks after that, the Berlin Wall fell. 

Today, we pay tribute to the men and women of the Peaceful Revolution, especially those believers who met every Monday in that old church in that old city.  The risks they took and the faith they kept made Europe – and the world – safer for democracy.

The House’s celebration of the Revolutions of 1989 will culminate on Wednesday, November 19, when we dedicate a bust of Vaclav Havel, the playwright turned dissident who became Czechoslovakia’s first elected president. 


June 4: 25 Years of Freedom in Poland August 19: 25th Anniversary of the Pan-European PicnicSeptember 10: 25th Anniversary of the Opening of Hungary's Border

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Consciously Uncoupling Rhetoric From Reality


Consciously uncoupling rhetoric from reality on #jobshttp://t.co/V3bCdmGfW2

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) October 9, 2014

The American people’s confidence in the president’s economic leadership has sunk to a new low.  So what’s he doing about it?  According to the White House, he plans to give a speech tomorrow in California about “the progress our economy is making.”  Hmm.  That may strike many Californians as odd, given that their state’s unemployment rate has been stuck at 7.4 percent – well above the national average – for the last three months. As a matter of fact, in Los Angeles County, where the president will attend “an intimate dinner” at the home of actress Gwyneth Paltrow, average wages dropped by 1.9 percent last year – one of the biggest drops among the nation’s large counties.

Looking ahead, economists at UCLA say that “the fundamentals of California and the U.S. suggest the most likely evolution of the California economy is more of the same — slow, steady and unexceptional growth.” Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

The president tried to pull off the same bragging routine last week in Illinois, which has 300,000 fewer jobs than it did six years ago – one of a host of critical facts he overlooked.   There’s also this: the president hasn’t just presided over California’s struggles; he has contributed to them.  As the nation’s second-largest exporting state, California is poised to benefit from real, pro-growth solutions like trade promotion authority.  “California would be a major beneficiary of these agreements,” Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) wrote last January. “There would be more business for our small manufacturers and service providers, increased traffic through our ports, new customers for Silicon Valley technology, and more exports of dairy goods, nuts, citrus and other agricultural goods. … President Obama should lead from the front and work closely with Congress to pass trade promotion authority…”

Yet despite bipartisan support for the idea, the administration has done little to nothing to pass trade promotion authority, a missed opportunity for California and the country.   So if anything, California is a microcosm for what a letdown the president’s policies have been, and why so many are still asking, ‘where are the jobs?

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Delays, Denials, Dishonesty: President Obama’s Deficit of Leadership on Debt & Entitlements


Over the years, President Obama has talked a good game about addressing the national debt and saving entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security from bankruptcy:

  • “We’re going to have to take on entitlements, and I think we’ve got to do it quickly. … I’d like to do it in my first term as president.” (10/7/08)
  • “The real problem with our long-term deficit actually has to do with our entitlement obligations …. [W]hat we have done is kick this can down the road. We’re now at the end of the road, and we’re not in a position to kick it any further.” (1/15/09)
  • “[I]f you look at the numbers, then Medicare in particular will run out of money and we will not be able to sustain that program no matter how much taxes go up. I mean, it’s not an option for us to just sit by and do nothing.  … [W]e have an obligation to make sure that we make those changes that are required to make it sustainable over the long term.” (7/11/11)

Today, Medicare and Social Security are still scheduled to go bankrupt and the national debt stands at $17.8 trillion, an increase of $7.2 trillion under President Obama – who has still not proposed a credible plan to balance the budget, despite admitting in 2011 that “all this rising debt will cost us jobs and damage our economy.”

Not only has he unfairly attacked Republicans who have tried to propose solutions, but President Obama now actually denies there is a problem. He’s even gone so far as to brag about cutting the annual budget deficit, which is still bigger than any year before he took office.

In an op-ed criticizing “Obama’s false victory over the deficit,” The Washington Post’s editorial page editor Fred Hiatt writes:

“Anyone looking beyond that date [when President Obama leaves office] should be alarmed at the satisfaction Obama proclaims despite the prospect of ever-rising government debt. …

“Federal debt has reached 74 percent of the economy’s annual output (GDP), ‘a higher percentage than at any point in U.S. history except a brief period around World War II,’ the [nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office] CBO says, ‘and almost twice the percentage at the end of 2008.’ With no change in policy, that percentage will … [rise] to a dangerous 78 percent by 2024 and an insupportable 106 percent by 2039.

“As a result, by 2039 the government will be shelling out interest payments equal to 4.5 percent of GDP, more than twice the average share of the past 40 years.

“Meanwhile, with the population aging and costs still rising, payments for Social Security and health programs including Medicare and Obamacare also will soar, the CBO estimates. By 2039 those programs will consume 14 percent of GDP, again double the average of the past 40 years. …

“Put those together and the government will be spending on entitlement programs and interest alone just about what it spends today on the entire budget. …

“[Obama] should at least return to speaking honestly, which might make it a bit easier for the next round of (hopefully) more responsible leaders to make politically difficult decisions. …

“It is sad that Obama, never to face the electorate again, is squandering his chance to push in the right direction.”

President Obama may be fine with repeating dishonest political attacks and failing to lead, but Speaker Boehner isn’t satisfied with the status quo. He’s still pushing for common-sense reforms, and recently unveiled his five points for resetting America’s economic foundation and getting the country back on the right track, which includes saving programs like Medicare and Social Security from bankruptcy. Here’s what Speaker Boehner said:

[W]e’ve got to solve our spending problem. … [I]t’s bad for our economy.  It’s stealing from our kids and our grandkids, robbing them of the benefits they’ll never see and leaving them with burdens that are nearly impossible to repay. …

“The question isn’t what’s driving this debt – it’s who. It’s Baby Boomers like me retiring at the rate of 10,000 a day, 70,000 this week, 3.5 million this year, and this is going to go on for another 20 years. …

These programs are important to tens of millions of Americans. So you can’t throw them out. And you don’t want to throw them out. But they need to be fixed and put on a sustainable path, and we can in fact do that.”

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ObamaCare Deals Another Blow to Part-Time Workers


President Obama sold his health law on the promise that it would “bend the cost curve” and allow Americans to keep the health plans they liked and could afford.  Those promises have long gone by the wayside, and now the rising cost of health care has dealt a fresh blow to part-time workers already struggling in the Obama economy. 

According to the Associated Press, an estimated 30,000 part-time employees in just one company are losing their health benefits due to “the impact of higher health care costs.”  The move will force thousands of families onto the ObamaCare exchanges where they face skyrocketing costs across the country, at the same time that incomes are dropping and middle-class families are paying more for nearly everything they need. The bad news doesn’t stop there.  As we recently noted here on the blog, the president’s health care law is also wreaking havoc on jobs.  “Three Federal Reserve Banks in Philadelphia, New York and Atlanta have surveyed the folks in their area and roughly one fifth of the employers are saying they cut back on employment,” Fox News reports, and “more than one in ten are saying they're doing more outsourcing - all this because of the new health care reform.” 

According to the most recent Department of Labor jobs report, the number of involuntary part-time workers “was little changed in September at 7.1 million.”  That’s more than seven million Americans, “almost 5 percent of the labor force, who want, but can’t find, full-time jobs,” one of the Vice President’s own former economic advisors admits. 

House Republicans have taken action to protect part-time workers’ hours and wages from the fallout of the president’s health care law with the Save American Workers Act, but Senate Democrats have refused to act on it, or the dozens of other common sense, House-passed jobs bills sitting in that chamber.  “The American people recognize that ObamaCare is hurting our economy and making it harder for small businesses to hire,” says Speaker Boehner.  “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 solutions Republicans have put forth to help lower costs, expand opportunity, and help more Americans find work at GOP.gov/solutions, and bookmark speaker.gov/5points to learn more about Speaker Boehner’s long-term, five-point vision for resetting America’s economic foundation.

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Announcing Speaker.gov/5points


Last month, Speaker Boehner outlined his five points for resetting America’s economic foundation. 

Last week, we gave you a two-minute snapshot of this plan. 

Now we’re introducing the one-stop shop version.  It’s speaker.gov/5points, a page where you can easily find – and share – all the information you need about the five points. 

Right now on speaker.gov/5points, you can:

  • Check out a review from Newt Gingrich, who calls the five points a “realistic, positive vision for governing in the 21st century.”
  •  Learn more about how these five points build on our American solutions to help get people back to work, lower costs at home, and restore opportunity for all.

Of course, we’ll be adding to the page as we go, just as we do with speaker.gov/jobs, which tracks the dozens of jobs bills being blocked by Senate Democrats. 

Speaker Boehner first announced the new site in an e-mail to Speaker.gov subscribers.  If you missed it, you can sign up for future updates at speaker.gov/email.  

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It’s Still The Question


“Look at the state of things,” Speaker Boehner said last month in his speech at the American Enterprise Institute, “flat wages, higher prices, a six-year slog to regain the jobs lost during the recession, and millions still asking, ‘where are the jobs?’“

By several measures, Friday’s unemployment report shows we’re not much closer to where we need to be:

  • The number of long-term unemployed is “essentially unchanged” at historically high levels.
  •  The number of involuntary part-time workers is “little changed.”
  • Average hourly earnings “changed little,” yet another reminder that the middle class has become poorer on the president’s watch.
  • Unemployment rates for women, teenagers, and African Americans showed “little change.” 
  • Employment in manufacturing also showed “little change” and its “share of total U.S. jobs has hit a record low.” 
  • The labor force participation rate “changed little."  Actually, it fell to a 36-year low, a trend Andrea Mitchell noted on Meet The Press, saying, “that’s just not a sustainable recovery.”

The White House may look at this and see “incredible progress,” but for far too many families, the question remains essentially unchanged: where are the jobs?

That’s why the House has focused on real solutions to help get people back to work, lower costs at home, and restore opportunity for all.  In addition, in that speech at AEI, Speaker Boehner outlined these five points for resetting America’s economic foundation:

1.       Fix our tax code.

2.       Solve our spending problem.

3.       Reform our legal system.

4.       Reform our regulatory system.

5.       Improve our education system. 

This vision is about getting beyond the new normal and helping middle-class families achieve security and stability – the kind of change the president once promised, but has failed to deliver. 

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Another Obama Policy on the Ballot: Amnesty


“I am not on the ballot this fall,” President Obama said yesterday. “But make no mistake: These policies are on the ballot – every single one of them.” Last night, he made it very clear that one of those policies is amnesty by executive action. It’s “not a question of if, but when,” the president said. “It will be taking place between the November elections and the end of the year.”

Why will President Obama grant amnesty after the election? Because he knows the American people oppose it, and he doesn’t want his fellow Democrats to be held accountable on election day.

Speaker Boehner has been very clear that “There is a never a ‘right’ time for the president to declare amnesty by executive action.” And while the Speaker has long supported fixing our broken immigration system, he also told ABC News that if President Obama does what he is threatening to do, such unilateral action “would poison the well. And I've told the president this directly: if you want to get immigration reform done, and you want to get it right, don't do things that will poison the well.”

Unfortunately, President Obama isn’t interested in upholding or following the law, or listening to the American people. Even though he admits that “no matter how bold I am, nothing I can do will be as comprehensive or lasting as” real legislation, he says he’s going to do whatever he wants and create his own law – but that’s not how our democratic system of government works.

President Obama has admitted that previously, on many, many occasions:

  • “I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own. … Not just on immigration reform. But that's not how our system works. That’s not how our democracy functions. That's not how our Constitution is written.” (7/25/11)
  • I am president, I am not king. I can't do these things just by myself. We have a system of government that requires the Congress to work with the Executive Branch to make it happen.” (10/25/10)
  • “The problem is that I’m the president of the United States, I’m not the emperor of the United States. My job is to execute laws that are passed.” (2/14/13)
  • [U]ntil Congress passes a new law, then I am constrained in terms of what I am able to do.” (3/6/14)
  • “[I]f we start broadening that [executive actions], then essentially I would be ignoring the law in a way that I think would be very difficult to defend legally. So that's not an option.” (9/17/13)
  • “I, as the President, am obligated to enforce the law. I don't have a choice about that. … With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case, because there are laws on the books that Congress has passed …. [F]or me to simply through executive order ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as President.” (3/28/11)
  • “[T]here are those in the immigrants’ rights community who have argued passionately that we should simply provide those who are [here] illegally with legal status, or at least ignore the laws on the books and put an end to deportation until we have better laws. ... [T]his could lead to a surge in more illegal immigration.” (7/1/10)
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Speaker Boehner on the September 2014 Unemployment Report


WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement in response to the Department of Labor’s unemployment report for September 2014: “Only Republicans are offering real solutions to help get people back to work, lower costs at home, and restore opportunity for all.  We have dozens of good jobs bills stuck in the Democratic-run Senate that would help hardworking families.  In addition, I have laid out five things we can do as a nation to reset our economic foundation for the next two or three generations.  They are: fix our tax code, solve our spending problem, reform our legal system, reform our regulatory system, and improve our education system.  This is the kind of long-term plan Americans are not getting from the president and Senate Democrats, who continue to preside over a new normal of flat wages, higher prices, and too many part-time jobs.  Every day I hear from people in my district who say no matter how hard they work, they still struggle to make ends meet.  Instead of trying to convince Americans that things are great, Washington Democrats ought to show they’re serious about helping middle-class families get ahead, not just get by.”

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Desperate for a Foreign Policy Accomplishment, Obama Offers Iran More Flexibility


As the Obama administration plays catch-up in combatting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS), it should not be forgotten that President Obama made history by talking with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani by phone on September 27, 2013. The subject of the phone call was Iran’s ongoing nuclear program, but since then, President Obama’s negotiations with Iran have been complicated by the current surge of terrorism in the Middle East. Recent news reports indicate that the United States has unofficially entered into an informal partnership of sorts with Iran – a country that just last month forced a military-chartered plane carrying roughly 100 Americans to land within its borders and one that is still on the State Department’s list of official State Sponsors of Terrorism.

Last week, Speaker Boehner urged President Obama to not back down in negotiations with Iran, reminding the administration that the rogue country “has no interest in a stable, strong Iraq …. has a deplorable human rights record, and it still has American hostages.” This week, 354 members of the U.S. House of Representatives – including Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Majority Whip Steve Scalise, and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer – sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry stating they “remain deeply concerned with Iran’s refusal to fully cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency.”

Here is a timeline of recent events:

  • “With the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, an offshoot of al Qaeda, rapidly gaining territory, Iran deployed Revolutionary Guards units to Iraq, according to Iranian security officials. … The involvement of Iran would pose yet another security challenge for the White House, and raises the prospect of the U.S. and Iran fighting on the same side. (The Wall Street Journal, 6/12/14)
  • “[Secretary of State John] Kerry said the United States would be willing to work with Iran on ways to stem the progress of ISIS[.]” (ABC News, 6/16/14)
  • Some administration officials are also suggesting that Iran could be a partner in a post-war Syria, helping to ensure security there during a transition period, after which Assad would negotiate his own departure.” (The Daily Beast, 7/3/14)
  • Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran would need to significantly increase its uranium enrichment capacity, highlighting a gap in positions between Tehran and world powers as they hold talks aimed at clinching a nuclear accord.” (Reuters, 7/8/14)
  • “The fight in northern Iraq appeared to be the first time American warplanes and militias backed by Iran had worked with a common purpose on a battlefield against militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, even though the Obama administration said there was no direct coordination with the militias. Should such military actions continue, they could signal a dramatic shift for the United States and Iran, which have long vied for control in Iraq. They could also align the interests of the Americans with their longtime sworn enemies in the Shiite militias, whose fighters killed many United States soldiers during the long occupation of Iraq.” (The New York Times, 8/31/14)
  • Iran remains ‘quite optimistic’ it can reach a nuclear deal with six major powers by Nov. 24, the country's foreign minister said …. Iran and the six powers failed to reach a final, comprehensive nuclear deal in Vienna in July. At the time, Iran and the six-power group—the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Russia and China—decided to adjust the deadline for a deal by four months to Nov. 24 from July 20. A final agreement would see the West gradually lift tight economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for steps by Tehran to limit its nuclear program and activities.” (The Wall Street Journal, 9/1/14)
  • The tacit alliance that has emerged in Iraq between the United States and Iran is further stirring unease that the new strategy will only further empower Iran and its Shiite allies at the expense of Sunni influence in the region.” (The Washington Post, 9/10/14)
  • “A spokesman for [Secretary of State John] Kerry acknowledged the U.S. has held discussions with the Iranian government about efforts to counter ISIS amid negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear program.” (The Hill, 9/15/14)
  • “[S]enior administration officials confirmed to The New York Times rumors that they are offering Iran a deal that would allow them to ‘disconnect’ some of their 19,000 uranium enrichment centrifuges instead of actually dismantling them …. Behind the scenes there’s a lot of concern that Iran may be just playing for time and not ready to make any real sacrifices, jeopardizing the negotiations and a pillar of what President Obama wants to be his foreign policy legacy, a new relationship with Iran.” (The Daily Beast, 9/20/14)
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met his Iranian counterpart for more than an hour on Sunday and stressed the need to make progress in nuclear negotiations this week on the sidelines of U.N. meetings.” (Reuters, 9/21/14)
  • “Iran is ready to work with the United States and its allies to stop Islamic State militants, but would like more flexibility on Iran's uranium enrichment program in exchange, senior Iranian officials told Reuters. … U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday that Iran has a role to play in defeating Islamic State, indicating the U.S. position may also be shifting.” (Reuters, 9/21/14)
  • The United States informed Iran in advance of its intention to strike Islamic State militants in Syria and assured Tehran that it would not target the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a senior Iranian official told Reuters.” (Reuters, 9/23/14)
  • “With the clock ticking down on the [negotiations] deadline, diplomats have told The Associated Press that the U.S. is considering a new approach. They said the tentative proposal would allow Tehran to keep nearly half of the centrifuges already spinning but reduce the stock of uranium gas fed into the machines to the point where it would take more than a year of enriching to create enough material for a nuclear warhead.” (Associated Press, 9/26/14)
  • “While Obama probably will try to ease [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s suspicions about diplomacy with Iran, the U.S. president will stop short of meeting the Israeli demand that Tehran be required to completely dismantle its nuclear capability under any comprehensive accord, a U.S. official said.” (Reuters, 10/1/14)

David Frum sums up the situation:

“[Iran] stand[s] on the verge of scoring a stunning diplomatic triumph over the United States. … On the present trajectory, any final agreement will leave Iran paused on the verge of nuclear-weapons capability—and this time, with the U.S. having signed away any non-military means of preventing Iran’s final drive to complete a bomb.”

President Obama – who in 2009 declared his intention to seek a “world without nuclear weapons” – thinks such a deal with Iran would be a legacy-enhancer. He’s wrong. And while he may be in sore need of a foreign policy accomplishment, he shouldn’t be offering Iran “more flexibility” for political reasons.

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Secretary Panetta: The White House Was Wrong on Iraq


Though he may claim otherwise, it’s no secret that President Obama underestimated the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). But his first big mistake – one that led directly to the rise of ISIL and its expansion into Iraq – was the full withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country and the administration’s failure to negotiate a status of forces agreement (SOFA). 

In an excerpt from his upcoming book posted online at TIME with the title, “How the White House Misplayed Iraqi Troop Talks,” former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta discusses how the White House put a higher priority on getting out of Iraq than preserving the hard-won gains of American troops. The White House failed to use its leverage to reach an agreement that would have helped prevent the rise of ISIL and the sectarian violence now playing out in the country:

"Through the fall of 2011, the main question facing the American military in Iraq was what our role would be now that combat operations were over. When President Obama announced the end of our combat mission in August 2010, he acknowledged that we would maintain troops for a while. Now that the deadline was upon us, however, it was clear to me–and many others–that withdrawing all our forces would endanger the fragile stability then barely holding Iraq together. …

"My fear, as I voiced to the President and others, was that if the country split apart or slid back into the violence that we’d seen in the years immediately following the U.S. invasion, it could become a new haven for terrorists to plot attacks against the U.S. Iraq’s stability was not only in Iraq’s interest but also in ours. I privately and publicly advocated for a residual force that could provide training and security for Iraq’s military.

"Under Secretary of Defense Michèle Flournoy did her best to press that position, which reflected not just my views but also those of the military commanders in the region and the Joint Chiefs. But the President’s team at the White House pushed back, and the differences occasionally became heated. Flournoy argued our case, and those on our side viewed the White House as so eager to rid itself of Iraq that it was willing to withdraw rather than lock in arrangements that would preserve our influence and interests. …

"The deal never materialized. To this day, I believe that a small U.S. troop presence in Iraq could have effectively advised the Iraqi military on how to deal with al-Qaeda’s resurgence and the sectarian violence that has engulfed the country."

In January, long before the administration started to take the ISIL threat seriously, Speaker Boehner urged the president to get engaged:

“That progress is now threatened and, in the case of Fallujah, it’s been reversed.  A status of forces agreement with Iraq should have been agreed to, and this administration failed to deliver. … [T]he 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.” 

As ISIL took control of city after city in Iraq, getting closer to Baghdad, the president and his team were finally forced to act. Speaker Boehner hopes the president’s military actions succeed, because destroying ISIL is critical to the safety and security of the United States.

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5 Things the President Forgot & 5 Points to Consider


The president pivoted back to the economy – again – but forgot to bring some key facts with him.  Before he goes back to focusing on something else, we thought we’d offer him this list of reminders:

Tax inversions.  Wasn’t this going to be the Democrats’ big push this fall?  It received nary a mention in today’s speech.  (That much of a dud, huh?

Minimum wage. The president called for raising the minimum wage, but failed to mention that the CBO – which he had just cited – says his plan would destroy roughly 500,000 jobs.  On a tour this spring of Neaton Auto Products in Eaton, OH, Speaker Boehner heard more about this issue.  As his OH-08 blog reported, “Neaton’s company leadership predicts that the president’s plan to increase minimum wage would cost the company about $500,000 per year. For our local area, that means less flexibility to hire more people and support our local communities.”

Workplace flexibility.  The president touted the need to remove barriers to workplace flexibility, but stuck in his Democratic-run Senate is a bill to do just that.  Authored by Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL), H.R. 1406 would allow private-sector employers to offer workers the choice of time off or cash for overtime.   Either way, they get to make that decision - not their boss, and not Washington.  The president should call on Senate Democrats to give this a vote.  

Making college more affordable. The president is right to say we need to make college more affordable, but – you guessed it – stuck in his Democratic-run Senate are good bills to do just that.  As an example, H.R. 3393, authored by Rep. Diane Black (R-TN), makes it easier for students and families to use the tax credits available to them to help pay for college.  The president should call on Senate Democrats to take up these bills as well.   Ideas for jobs. To be fair, there’s nothing wrong with giving a speech about harnessing America’s energy boom and creating jobs – it’s what Speaker Boehner did exactly that two weeks ago today, with his five points for resetting America’s economic foundation:

1.       Fix our tax code

2.       Solve our spending problem

3.       Reform our legal system

4.       Reform our regulatory system

5.       Improve our education system

This vision builds on the American solutions Republicans have offered to help get people back to work, lower costs at home, and restore opportunity for all.  

The president says a true opposition party should offer ideas – well, we’ve done that and then some, passing dozens of good jobs bills that are stuck in his party’s Senate.  This has been, and will continue to be, our focus.  Americans are still waiting for the president and his party to make it theirs as well.  

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Old and New: September in Photos


The month of September provided many opportunities to bring new faces and fresh perspectives to these old halls.  So grab a cup of coffee, and check out some photos from last month: An Old Photo on Instagram…

A look back at Fall back home in West Chester, Ohio in 1993.

A New Perspective at an “Instameet”

Speaker Boehner hosted an event that provided Instagrammers from the Washington D.C. area a behind-the-scenes look at our nation’s Capitol.

A Meeting with one of the World’s Oldest Democracies:

Speaker Boehner speaks with the leader of the world’s largest democracy, Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, before a meeting with other Congressional leaders.

And One of the Newest Ones:

Speaker Boehner welcomed President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine to the Capitol prior to his addess to a joint meeting of Congress.

A Medal Older than Our Republic:

An officer with the Sergeant at Arms prepares the Congressional Gold Medals honoring the fallen heroes of 9/11 at a ceremony in Emancipation Hall in the U.S. Capitol. 

And Another New Bill Off to the President’s Desk:

Speaker Boehner signs H.R. 4323, the Debbie Smith Reauthorization Act, bipartisan legislation that helps protect victims of sexual assault by cutting down on the backlog of DNA test kits.

And Finally, A New Portrait of an Old Friend:

Speaker Boehner speaks at a portrait unveiling ceremony for Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI).  The two came into the House together in January of 1991, when Boehner began his first term as representative of Ohio’s Eighth District.

Be sure to take a look at the Speaker’s Flickr page and Instagram page for more photos from September.

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Obama in 2006: ‘Increasing America’s Debt Weakens Us Domestically & Internationally’


With very little notice, the U.S. passed a major milestone in June. For the first time in history, foreign entities owned more than $6 trillion of America’s $17.7 trillion national debt. The largest share is, of course, held by China, with friends like Ireland and foes like Putin’s Russia holding smaller amounts.

Why does this matter? Well, “the more we depend on foreign nations to lend us money,” one U.S. Senator said in 2006 as he voted against raising the debt ceiling, “the more our economic security is tied to the whims of foreign leaders whose interests might not be aligned with ours. Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally.”

That senator is now the President of the United States, and today he’s giving a speech about how America’s economic greatness fuels America’s leadership around the world. President Obama is right about that, but he’s also correct that his reckless spending and refusal to fix our debt problem has weakened America’s standing and made us less secure.  Three years ago, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time, Navy Admiral Mike Mullen, said, “I believe the single, biggest threat to our national security is our debt[.]” Today, the national debt is $3.1 trillion higher than it was then – and the world certainly isn’t getting any safer. “I don't remember a time when there have been so many national-security issues on the front burner as there are today,” former Deputy Director of the CIA Michael Morell said in August 2013 when he warned about growing al Qaeda extremism in Syria.

The fiscal year ended just a couple days ago, and this year’s budget shortfall is expected to be more than $500 billion, an amount greater than any of President George W. Bush’s deficits. It’s amazing that President Obama actually brags about cutting the deficit, especially considering the fact that he has fiercely opposed nearly every Republican attempt to address the drivers of the government’s exploding debt: autopilot spending on “entitlements.” Again and again, the president has denounced Republican efforts to strengthen important programs like Medicare to help them avoid bankruptcy.

The truth is, this president has chosen to leave these issues for future generations to deal with, refusing to discuss even basic changes to entitlement programs unless Republicans agree to massive, job-destroying tax increases on families and small businesses.  

It’s one thing to give a speech about the debt; it’s another to actually lead at crunch time when key decisions have to be made.  And on those occasions during his presidency, President Obama has consistently fumbled the ball. Coupled with the failed “stimulus” spending binge that marked his first years in office, his confrontational, market-rattling rhetoric and demonization of even the most straightforward proposals for spending reform have plunged the nation far deeper into debt and left America at constant risk of downgrades to its credit rating. In fact, his administration’s fundamental public position for years has been that spending reforms actually threaten the economy and that the mere discussion of them puts America at risk. When Republicans have pressed for spending reforms to go along with his requested increases in the nation’s debt limit, President Obama has likened them to terrorists, accusing them of “holding the economy hostage,” “holding a gun to [his] head” and threatening to drop a “nuclear bomb” on the U.S. economy. (This is the same president who originally dismissed the threat to our nation from actual terrorists – the ones American military personnel are currently risking their lives fighting in the Middle East – as “jayvee.”)

With virtually no experience in the private sector and a barely-concealed disdain for small business entrepreneurial capitalism (“You didn’t build that!”), President Obama believes economic growth and job creation is generated by increases in government taxation and spending, not by the hard work of the American people.  It’s little wonder job creation during his presidency has fallen woefully short of the levels his administration promised when he took office and left Americans asking: where are the jobs?

In contrast to this president’s dismal record, Republicans have worked tirelessly to trim spending, support private-sector job creation, and enact common-sense reforms, passing balanced budgets that have been blocked by President Obama and Senate Democrats. And while more progress is absolutely essential, Republicans did successfully work to cut $2.1 trillion in government spending over 10 years. Solving our spending and debt problem remains a top priority for Speaker Boehner. In fact, it’s one of his five points for resetting America’s economic foundation. “For what lies ahead, the world needs a strong America, and that means we need a strong economy,” he says.

If President Obama agrees, he should work with Republicans to rein in out-of-control spending, encourage entrepreneurship and small business job creation (instead of trying to tax it and punish it), and reduce the debt. Otherwise, his big speech in Chicago is just more empty bluster.

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5 Key Facts About President Obama’s Dismal Economic Record – & A Positive Alternative


For the umpteenth time, President Obama is attempting to “refocus attention on the economy” – this time with a speech on “economic greatness.”   The trouble is, the Obama economy is anything but ‘great’ for the vast majority of Americans who are paying the price for the president’s failed policies with higher costs, stagnant wages, and too few opportunities to get ahead.  Here are five key facts to keep in mind as the president seeks to defend his dismal economic record:

  • A 15 Percent Increase in the Long-Term Unemployed: The number of long-term unemployed Americans – those who have been out of work for 27 weeks or more – remains at “historically high levels,” up from 2.6 million when the president took office to three million last month, a 15 percent increase.  As the Los Angeles Times notes, “The longer people remain jobless, the more likely they are to suffer the scarring effects of unemployment that can hurt their earnings permanently and create a cycle of instability.” 
  • 45.3 Million Americans Living in Poverty: The number of Americans living at or below the poverty line went up by 5.5 million between 2008 and 2013, according to the most recent Census Bureau data.  There is now a total of 45.3 million Americans living in poverty.
  • Higher Costs on Nearly Everything for American Families:  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, groceries, utility bills and health care top the list of added expenses, driven up by energy costs that have nearly doubled on the president’s watch and health insurance premiums that are skyrocketing.  
  • Wages are Down on the President’s Watch: A recent Census Bureau report shows that “between 2009 when Obama took office and 2013, the latest for which numbers are available, median annual household incomes fell by more than $2,100 in inflation-adjusted terms,” Reuters reports.
  • Millions of Americans Have Dropped Out of the Workforce: Labor force participation “dropped to 62.8 percent” in August, “the lowest level since the late 1970s,” says The New York Times.  That’s “equivalent to the disappearance of nearly three million workers” in the Obama economy.    

House Republicans don’t need to “refocus” on the economy – it’s been our priority all along.  The House has passed dozens of good, common-sense jobs bills that are languishing, untouched, in the Democratic-led Senate.  We’ve offered solutions to lower costs and create more opportunities for all Americans, while the president and Senate Democrats have wasted their time on dead-end gimmicks and misplaced priorities.  And Speaker Boehner has laid out a long-term, five-point plan to reset America’s economic foundation, while the president is more concerned with defending his economic record than doing something about it.  The president, and his party’s leaders in the Senate, owe hardworking families more – they owe them a vote, and a signature, on the dozens of House-passed jobs bills they’re blocking.    

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Speaker Boehner Backs Chairman McCaul’s Plan for Independent Review of Secret Service


WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement backing House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul’s (R-TX) plan to establish a blue ribbon commission to conduct a comprehensive review of the United States Secret Service:  

“Given the Secret Service’s proud history and the duties it is charged with, we are right to expect nothing but candor and clarity from its leaders, particularly at a time when Americans are as aware as ever that we live in a dangerous world.  Unfortunately, the Secret Service director’s appearance before Chairman Issa’s Oversight & Government Reform Committee has created more questions than answers.  Already, we have learned of a prior security breach in Atlanta that she failed to mention.  The more we discover, the clearer it becomes that the Secret Service is beset by a culture of complacency and incompetence.  

“As such, the president must make a swift determination on whether the agency is being well-served by its current leadership.  Moreover, I fully support Chairman McCaul’s plan for a top-to-bottom, independent review of the agency.  The courageous men and women of the Secret Service who put their lives in harm’s way every day deserve the best possible leadership and a culture worthy of their sacrifices.” 

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Democracy, Old and New


Yesterday, the leader of the world’s largest democracy visited the the Capitol of the world’s oldest democracy.  Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India met with Speaker Boehner and other Congressional leaders to discuss expanding economic opportunity across the globe. 

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Newt Gingrich: “Five Important Points from Speaker Boehner”


NOTE: Yesterday, Speaker Boehner released a new video highlighting his five points for resetting America’s economic foundation.  This long-term vision builds on our American solutions to help get people back to work, lower costs at home, and restore opportunity for all. 


“Five Important Points from Speaker Boehner” Newt Gingrich September 19, 2014http://j.mp/10l0Sno

Speaker of the House John Boehner gave an important speech at the American Enterprise Institute yesterday.

He offered the American people in simple language the five things we need to do to reset our country’s economic foundation. It was exactly the kind of realistic, positive vision for governing in the 21st century that Americans have been waiting to hear from either party.

Speaker Boehner began with what the House Republicans have accomplished in the last four years, despite Democrats controlling both the Senate and the presidency. Some of their record may surprise you. Republicans cut total federal spending for two straight years–the first time that’s happened in half a century. They guaranteed that 98 percent of Americans would not see permanent income tax hikes. And they pushed through free trade agreements with South Korea, Columbia and Panama.

These are historic accomplishments. They have real meaning for the lives of millions of Americans. And they create room for future economic growth.

Speaker Boehner argued that the real growth in the last few years, however, has come not from government but from an opportunity in American energy–the revolution in energy production that is transforming towns across the country and creating good jobs in places where there have been too few. Thanks to almost unbelieveable advances in engineering and technology, the United States is now the world’s leading producer of both oil and natural gas.

That energy boom, he said, means the U.S. should be one of the best places in the world to make just about anything, with more growth, more jobs, and lower prices. It is a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to reset our economy from the bottom up.”

Taking advantage of this opportunity will require leadership with the wisdom to do five crucial things, the Speaker said.

First, we have to fix the tortuous tax code that punishes companies for doing business here and carves out dozens of special loopholes for the wealthiest Americans while the middle class struggles to get by. Everyone would be better off with a simpler, fairer, and flatter tax code.

Second, we have to fix the spending problem and move toward a balanced budget. This means cutting waste and strengthening Medicare and Social Security for current retirees and the next generation as well.

Third, we have to fix the legal system that makes it impossible for doctors, hospitals, and other businesspeople to do their daily work without fear of getting sued. The cost of litigation here is far higher than in other countries, and we’re all paying the price.

Fourth, we have to tame the sprawling, bureaucratic regulatory state that makes it painful and expensive to do business in the U.S. The bureaucracy has gotten completely out of control.

And finally, Speaker Boehner argued that we have to fix our education system, which has been failing to teach our children for two generations and denying opportunity to millions of students who are trapped in schools where they don’t have a chance. We can go a long way toward resetting the system if we give parents and students a choice about which schools are best for them.

If we do these five things, Speaker Boehner argued yesterday, “we can reset the foundation of our economy for the next two or three generations.”

This was a sincere, heartfelt speech from a leader of the Republican Party who has an optimistic vision for the future. Take the time to watch or read it here today.

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Speaker Boehner Welcomes Prime Minister Modi of India to the U.S. Capitol


WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today made the following comments at a media availability following a meeting at the United States Capitol with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India:

“Today it is our privilege to welcome the Prime Minister to one of the world’s greatest symbols of democracy: the United States Capitol.  His election and pledge to expand economic opportunity have inspired not only the Indian people, but frankly, people all over the world.  India’s growth will offer many opportunities to strengthen the ties between our two countries.  We look forward to that, and we certainly wish him well in his endeavors.”

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Boehner Statement on Bilateral Security Agreement with Afghanistan


WASHINGTON, DC - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after a bilateral security agreement was signed with Afghanistan to keep U.S. troops in the country beyond the end of 2014:

“Today’s announcement is an important step forward in reaffirming our commitment to the Afghan people, solidifying the gains we’ve made, and completing our mission.  As I’ve long said, completing our mission successfully will require retaining a credible residual troop presence to help continue to stop terrorist networks and provide training and advice to the Afghan security forces.  This is what should have happened in Iraq, and it’s essential that the Obama administration does not repeat the same mistakes that it made there.  

“While the signing of this agreement is a positive step, the administration should reconsider its plans to draw down U.S. forces completely over the next two years.  During my visit to Afghanistan in April, it was clear that of all the challenges facing our strategy there, the most potentially damaging and completely avoidable is quitting just short of the goal line.  Friends and foes alike are watching to see whether America has the resolve to see this through.  We must ensure that Afghanistan can never again be used a safe haven for terrorists to attack the United States. 

“Lastly, we owe a debt of gratitude for our troops and civilian personnel who have fought to bring peace and security to Afghanistan.  On behalf of a grateful nation, we thank them and their families for their service to our country.”

NOTE: Speaker Boehner's op-ed on Afghanistan, published in May, can be read here.

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Speaker Boehner Has A Point – Five Of Them, Actually


Speaker Boehner believes America’s energy boom offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reset our economic foundation.  But first, there are five things we need to do as a nation to make it happen.   He’s been sharing this long-term vision throughout the year with constituents in Southwest Ohio, colleagues in the House, and most recently, in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute.

What are those five things?  How do we do them?  What is at stake?

Find out everything you need to know in just two minutes.


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President Obama’s Favorite Fallback?


The way President Obama sees it, he’s never wrong. What may appear to be his mistakes or failures are really just a series of misunderstandings and underestimates.

In no particular order, here are eight times President Obama used one of his favorite excuses and lamented that his team underestimated something:

How ineffective his economic policies would be:

  • “[T]his recession turned out to be a lot deeper than any of us realized. … [E]verybody underestimated it. … So, the die had been cast, but a lot of us didn't understand at that point how bad it was going to get.” (2/14/12)

How horrible his “stimulus” package would be at creating jobs:

  • “Shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected.” (6/13/11)

How difficult resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would be:

  • “This is just really hard … If we had anticipated some of these political problems on both sides earlier, we might not have raised expectations as high.” (1/21/10)

How strong the terrorists were growing on his watch:

  • “Did we underestimate ISIL? I think that there is no doubt that their advance … has been more rapid than the intelligence estimates[.]” (8/9/14)

How easily Libya would become a chaotic terrorist haven post-Qaddafi:

  • “I think we [and] our European partners underestimated the need to come in full force if you’re going to do this.” (8/8/14)

How hard it would be for Americans to enroll in ObamaCare:

  • “Another mistake that we made I think was underestimating the difficulties of people purchasing insurance … and somehow expecting that that would be very smooth.” (11/14/13)

How much Americans would dislike ObamaCare:

  • “[I]t proved as costly politically as we expected - probably actually a little more costly than we expected, politically.” (11/7/10)

How difficult building the ObamaCare website would be:

  • “[W]e probably underestimated the complexities of building out a website that needed to work the way it should.” (11/19/13)
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Under or Over, There’s Just No Way Around the Facts


Never underestimate President Obama’s ability to avoid taking responsibility. Under fire for being out to lunch while the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) was taking over large swaths of the Middle East, the president is hoping that if he blames faulty intelligence estimates often enough, no one will notice just how incompetent his foreign policy prowess has proved.

On August 9, President Obama said, “Did we underestimate ISIL? I think that there is no doubt that their advance … has been more rapid than the intelligence estimates[.]” He was at it again over the weekend, appearing on 60 Minutes. This time, he was careful to replace “we” with “they”:

Steve Kroft: How did they [ISIL] end up where they are in control of so much territory? Was that a complete surprise to you?

President Obama: Well I think, our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria.

As The New York Times noted dryly, “Mr. Obama made no mention of any misjudgment he may have made himself.” Well, what a surprise.

The fact is that everyone knew ISIL was becoming a big problem; Speaker Boehner called for the president to get engaged in January. And if President Obama’s intelligence officials weren’t aware of the threat, the Commander-in-Chief could have read about it in the news.

Tim Arango, The New York Times’ Baghdad Bureau Chief, wrote on Reddit earlier this month:

after 2011 the administration basically ignored the country [Iraq]. and when officials spoke about what was happening there they were often ignorant of the reality. they did not want to see what was really happening because it conflicted with their narrative that they left iraq in reasonably good shape. In 2012 as violence was escalating i wrote a story, citing UN statistics, that showed how civilian deaths from attacks were rising. Tony Blinken, who was then Biden's national security guy and a top iraq official, pushed back, even wrote a letter to the editor, saying that violence was near historic lows. that was not true. even after falluja fell to ISIS at the end of last year, the administration would push back on stories about maliki's sectarian tendencies, saying they didn't see it that way. so there was a concerted effort by the administration to not acknowledge the obvious until it became so apparent -- with the fall of mosul -- that iraq was collapsing.”

Eli Lake, senior national security correspondent for The Daily Beast, reports on the reaction to President Obama’s blame game:

Nearly eight months ago, some of President Obama’s senior intelligence officials were already warning that ISIS was on the move. In the beginning of 2014, ISIS fighters had defeated Iraqi forces in Fallujah, leading much of the U.S. intelligence community to assess they would try to take more of Iraq. …

“Reached by The Daily Beast after Obama’s interview aired, one former senior Pentagon official who worked closely on the threat posed by Sunni jihadists in Syria and Iraq was flabbergasted. ‘Either the president doesn’t read the intelligence he’s getting or he’s bullshitting,’ the former official said. …

“In prepared testimony before the annual House and Senate intelligence committees’ threat hearings in January and February, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the recently departed director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said the group would likely make a grab for land before the end of the year. ISIS ‘probably will attempt to take territory in Iraq and Syria to exhibit its strength in 2014.’

As NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell said in mid-August, for President Obama “to say that he didn’t have intelligence …. The fact is there was intelligence. … The White House wasn't listening.”

That’s the same picture painted by a former military official who spoke to Fox News chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge at the start of September:

“President Obama was given detailed and specific intelligence about the rise of the Islamic State as part of his daily briefing for at least a year before the group seized large swaths of territory over the summer, a former Pentagon official told Fox News.

“The official … said the data was strong and ‘granular’ in detail. The source said a policymaker ‘could not come away with any other impression: This is getting bad.’ …

“But after suggestions that the administration may have been blindsided by the rise of ISIS, and that poor intelligence was to blame, the former Pentagon official said some of the intelligence was so good in the region, that when the president drew a red line on chemical weapons use in Syria in 2012, the information was ‘exquisite.’

“The source said ‘[we] were ready to fire, on a moment's notice, on a couple hundred targets,’ but no order was given. In some cases, targets were tracked for a ‘long period of time’ but then slipped away.”

Herridge also notes:

“Obama, unlike his predecessors who traditionally had the document briefed to them, is known to personally read the daily brief. The former Pentagon official, who has knowledge of the process, said Obama generally was not known to come back to the intelligence community with further requests for information based on the daily report.”

Two years ago, when President Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were caught off guard by a planned terrorist attack on Americans in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, and then attempted to blame it on a YouTube video that supposedly prompted demonstrators to turn violent, Marc Thiessen wrote in The Washington Post:

“It is apparently a point of pride in the White House that Obama’s [Presidential Daily Brief] is ‘not briefed to him.’ In the eyes of this administration, it is a virtue that the president does not meet every day with senior intelligence officials. … He can forgo his daily intelligence meeting because he is, in [then-National Security Council spokesman Tommy] Vietor’s words, ‘among the most sophisticated consumers of intelligence on the planet.’”

All things considered, that’s an overestimation if there ever was one.

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Oh, The Irony: President Criticizes “Endless Regulations”


In a speech last week, President Obama bemoaned the use of “endless regulations” in other countries.  

The irony of that statement surely isn’t lost on many Americans, especially those whose stories we’ve highlighted in recent weeks, from middle-class families who are being squeezed by the president’s policies and workers who are losing their jobs because of his war on coal to small business owners hurting from Obama Care.

All told, Americans oppose the president’s “vast expansion of the regulatory state” by a more than a two-to-one margin.  Most think the government is “trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses.”

And yet, the administration is “hitting the gas” on a number of new rules and regulations. 

That’s why, as The Hill notes, the House acted earlier this month to take “direct aim at agency rule-making”:

“Included in the legislative bundle was the Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, which would require congressional sign-off on the costliest regulations, and the Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act, which would force additional analysis before rules are issued and public disclosure of their ‘true cost.’  The bill would also repeal the Affordable Care Act’s regulation defining a 30-hour workweek as full-time employment, and contains language ensuring the rules enacted under the Dodd-Frank financial reform law don’t divert capital from small businesses.”

Indeed, many of the common-sense jobs bills the House has passed would remove government barriers to growth and opportunity.  In addition, Speaker Boehner, a former small business owner himself, has made fixing our regulatory system one of his five points for resetting America’s economic foundation.

We’ve put these solutions forward to help people like Gavin, whose West Chester, OH small business has to bear more costs and cut the hours of hardworking employees to try and comply with ObamaCare’s rules and regulations.  “What’s sad is that we care about every employee that we’ve got,” he says. “I’m doing everything I can to make their quality of life better.” 

So, if the president wants to do something about “endless regulations” here at home, he’ll urge Senate Democrats – one of the most daunting government barriers of all these days – to stop standing in our way.

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Boehner Discusses Jobs, ISIL, Border Security, and More on ABC’s “This Week”


We have focused like a laser for the last three and a half years on jobs and the economy,” Speaker Boehner said during an appearance on ABC News' “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” that also covered ISIL, border security, and a war authorization vote.  Here are key excerpts:


“We have focused like a laser for the last three and a half years on jobs and the economy.  Over 40 bills sitting in the US Senate.  Let's start with those bills.  How about repealing the tax on medical devices?  Broad bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate. How about the Keystone pipeline?  Broad bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate.”


“If the goal is to destroy ISIS, as the president says it is, I don't believe the strategy that he outlined will accomplish that. … At the end of the day, I think it's going to take more than air strikes to drive them out of there. … These are barbarians. They intend to kill us. And if we don't destroy them first, we're going to pay the price.”


“The president typically in a situation like this would call for an authorization vote and go sell that to the American people and send a resolution to the Hill.  The president has not done that. He believes he has authority under existing resolutions. ... I think he does have the authority to do it. But the point I'm making is this is a proposal the Congress ought to consider.  [Stephanopoulos: “So to be clear - if the president put a resolution forward now, you'd call Congress back?”] ... I'd bring the Congress back.”


“We had a flood of children coming across the border once again proving that no good immigration bill can pass until we have real border security. … Big things in Washington take bipartisan majorities.  Issue of immigration, only way to do it, and frankly the right way to do it, is in a broad bipartisan way.”

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DODGE DENIED: Obama Admin Ordered to Turn Over List of Fast & Furious Docs


The Obama administration’s desperate attempts to hide the truth on the Fast and Furious scandal suffered another blow last week, with U.S. District Court Judge John D. Bates denying the administration’s request to delay turning over a list of documents currently being withheld by the Justice Department. The Free Beacon reports:

“Calling the Obama administration’s request for further delays ‘unconvincing,’ U.S. District Court Judge John D. Bates told the Justice Department to release the list of documents—called a ‘Vaughn index’—that the department is withholding by Oct. 22.

‘The government argues that it must devote significant numbers of attorneys to this matter if it hopes to comply with the current Vaughn index deadline,’ Bates continued. ‘…But the Department has known about its Vaughn index obligations since July 18, 2014 … At best, it means the Department has been slow to react to this Court’s previous Order. At worst, it means the Department has ignored that Order until now.’”

The court’s latest action follows from a previous order, issued in August, demanding that the Obama administration provide a full accounting of the documents that are being withheld in a lawsuit brought by Judicial Watch, and on what grounds the administration is doing so. 

It has been more than two years since the House held Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for his refusal to comply with an Oversight & Government Reform Committee subpoena seeking answers on the botched gun-running operation that cost Border Patrol Agent Brian C. Terry his life.  Even after Holder admitted to providing “inaccurate” information to Congress, he has continued withholding thousands of documents sought in the committee’s investigation. 

The Obama administration’s pattern of obstruction is a disservice to the American people, and an affront to the Terry family and all those law enforcement officers put at risk by this failed operation.  As Speaker Boehner has said, “The American people have not been told the truth about what happened in Fast and Furious,” and the House will not stop until the Obama administration gives them, and the Terry family, the answers they deserve.

Additional information on the House’s Fast and Furious investigation is available here on the Oversight & Government Reform Committee website.

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20th Anniversary of the Contract with America


Today marks the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Contract with America, a document unveiled by House Republicans in 1994 and crafted with the help of a then-second term Congressman from Ohio’s 8th District by the name of John Boehner.

Speaking on the floor of the House 20 years ago today, at about 10:30 a.m. ET, Rep. Boehner said:

“Republicans are going to be signing a contract with the American people. And what makes this effort different than promises made in the past is that we’re saying to the American people that if we are in the majority, we will bring up 10 bills for consideration, in open consideration, on this floor within the first 100 days. And if we don’t live up to our end of the contract, we urge you, the American people, to throw us out.

“The liberal Democrat establishment here in Washington is worried. Judging from their violent reaction to the idea of a Contract with America, it’s clear that they’re afraid. If the American people are given a pledge that is kept, it will ruin their chances of ever making empty promises again. The liberal Democrat establishment in Washington doesn’t understand the concept of a contract because they don’t understand the meaning, or the power, of a kept promise. That is what my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are so unhappy about today.

“Everyone should be aware that the people who are upset with the Contract with America are the same people who promised to deliver health care within 100 days – two years ago. The same people who promised a middle-class tax cut and raised everybody’s taxes instead. The same people who promised to end politics as usual and instead gave us a scandal a week. They never intended to deliver on their promises, so they assume that everyone else is the same. But they’re wrong. Dead wrong.

A few weeks after these remarks, the American people entrusted Republicans with control of the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years. Under the leadership of House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Majority Leader Dick Armey, the new House Republican majority kept its word, voting on measures like a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, welfare reform, legal reform, and middle-class tax cuts. Some of these ideas were vetoed by President Bill Clinton. Some were blocked by Senate Democrats. And one – a term limits amendment to the Constitution – received a majority of Republican votes in the House but fell short of the two-thirds majority required for passage.

America faces some of the same issues today, as well as some new challenges. President Obama promised Americans that his health care law would let them keep their insurance plans if they liked them, but that was not true. He promised his would be the most transparent administration in history, but his administration has covered up the truth about Operation Fast and Furious, the IRS’s targeting of conservatives, and the terrorist attack in Benghazi.

Meanwhile, Americans are still asking, “Where are the jobs?” Millions can’t find any – or enough – good work. Wages are down on President Obama’s watch, but the prices of everyday items are up. The middle class is being squeezed by government policies that are good for Washington, not the American people.

A Republican majority was sent to the House again in 2010 and 2012 with orders to end the status quo. Under Speaker Boehner, earmarks were eliminated, and the cost of running the House has been reduced by nearly 14 percent. Government spending was cut by $2.1 trillion over 10 years, and an open process of considering legislation was brought back. “All of this,” said the Speaker last week, “is about delivering what my friend Newt Gingrich calls a ‘21st century, citizen-directed government;’ one that is smaller, less costly, and more accountable to the people we serve.”

That journey began afresh in 2010 with A Pledge to America, which echoed the principles in the Contract with America and made it clear that House Republicans would listen to the American people and make their priorities our priorities. That’s why we’ve passed jobs bill after jobs bill to strengthen the economy, boost wages, and increase opportunity for all Americans. But at least 46 of those commonsense bills are stuck in the Senate, blocked by Senate Democrats and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).

Speaker Boehner has a five point vision for rebuilding the foundation of America’s economy: fix our tax code, solve our spending problem, reform our legal system, rein in excessive government regulations, and give all kids a better education.

As he’s said, it’s “a path that speaks to both parties and, frankly, to all Americans.” Together, it’s these types of American solutions that will guide our work in the days, months, and years ahead.


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Boehner Honors Youth of the Year at Boys and Girls Club Event


Speaker Boehner congratulated six Boys and Girls Club of America Youth of the Year recipients at a Congressional breakfast last week.  The Youth of the Year title is the highest honor a Club member can achieve.  The recognition puts a spotlight on youth who have overcome great odds to achieve their goals.  As a man of humble beginnings, mopping floors and waiting tables at his dad’s bar, Speaker Boehner is an avid supporter of his local Boys and Girls Club in West Chester, Ohio, as well as the organization’s mission:

“Everyone in this room is here because we were given a chance to achieve the American Dream.  Now we have to make sure we pass that same chance on to ALL of our children – no matter where they’re from.  That’s why I’ve gotten involved in the Boys & Girls Club in my town.”

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Boehner to President Obama: Don’t Back Down on Iran


WASHINGTON, DC - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement responding to a report that the Obama administration is considering further easing its demands on Iran regarding its nuclear program:

“Iran is a state-sponsor of terror.  It has no interest in a stable, strong Iraq.  The country has a deplorable human rights record, and it still has American hostages.  Furthermore, there is no evidence that Iran intends to comply with honest transparency and accountability measures over its nuclear ambitions.  At a time when we are asking other governments in the Middle East to help the United States take on and destroy ISIL, we are giving a pass to Iran, which is the number one threat to the entire region.”

NOTE: The Associated Press reported this morning that “The U.S. is considering softening present demands that Iran gut its uranium enrichment program in favor of a new proposal that would allow Tehran to keep nearly half of the project intact while placing other constraints on its possible use as a path to nuclear weapons.”

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When Does Washington Get Squeezed?


Following up on our piece about how incomes have dropped on the president's watch, Speaker Boehner wrote a guest post for GOP.gov about the challenges middle-class families in his district are facing: 

(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.

Republicans are working every day to lower costs at home so that it’s easier for middle-class families to live, save, and invest.

On the president’s watch, those things have only gotten tougher.  Prices have gone up while paychecks haven’t.  Hardworking people are left squeezed and often overlooked.

Every day, I hear from constituents in Southwest Ohio who say that no matter how hard they work, they’re not getting ahead.  If anything, they are losing ground.

Leona from Troy recently wrote in to describe a typical month in her life, from the “one bedroom apartment you can afford that will not have a washer and dryer hook-up, so you will have to go to the laundromat” to the “emergency that takes the few dollars that you have managed to save and you will be back to no funds for emergencies.”

“When I first heard about the health care reforms, I was very hopeful,” she says.  “When I began investigating the situation, my hopes were quickly dashed.  Things only got worse for me.”

A small business in West Chester is “terrified” by the president’s health care law because they’re “unable to take on the same increase, and our employees cannot afford to pay more.”

It’s a storyline that has become all too common around the country:

  • A machine operator in upstate New York recently said that “it seems you take one step forward and two steps backward.   They give you a raise at work but your health care goes up.”
  • A single mom in Gettysburg, PA lamented, “I’m doing all the right things.  I’m working two jobs.   I’m taking care of two kids.   Why isn’t this getting any easier? Why is this getting harder?”
  • A worker in Manchester, NH “says her income hardly covers her rent and prescription drugs … ‘It’s been tough out there since the 1990s, but back then at least I could live.’”

The president promised the middle class “a better bargain.”  He talked about building an economy that grows “from the middle out.”  His party pledged to fight inequality tooth and nail.

But the reality is, only the top 5 percent have seen their incomes rise since the president took office.

Here’s my question:  when does Washington get squeezed?

Think about it.  Year after year, the federal government spends far more than it takes in, sustains a tax code that leaves middle-class families overtaxed, and imposes regulations that force small business owners to carry the lion’s share of the burden.

To change this, Republicans have cut spending, stopped tax hikes, and made it easier to pay for college. We’re ready to do more, and have passed more than 45 jobs bills to lower costs and restore opportunity.  But they’re being blocked by the very same Senate Democrats who promised to help the middle class.

The president made this his cause  – many times.  He owes an explanation to families in Southwest Ohio and across America who are waiting for him and his party to act.

Visit boehner.house.gov to read more stories from Southwest Ohio.

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Democrats Attack First Amendment, Fight Transparency


Speaking last week at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Speaker Boehner talked about how Republicans are running the House of Representatives differently than it had been run by both parties in the past:

“Today I can report that the people’s House is more open and more transparent than ever. For the first time, legislative data is posted online in XML and in bulk. House proceedings and committee hearings are all streamed online. … Earmarks used to crash our coffers at the rate of about 10,000 at a time – they’ve been eliminated. The cost of the House has been reduced by 13.8 percent. And we’ve considered at least 33 bills under an open process. Consider that my predecessor had no bills on the floor under an open process. … All of this is about delivering what my friend Newt Gingrich calls a ‘21st century, citizen-directed government;’ one that is smaller, less costly, and more accountable to the people we serve.”

The last time we counted the ways that President Obama has failed to keep his promise of running “the most transparent administration in history,” none other than The New York Times agreed, concluding, “John Boehner’s Right on Executive Secrecy.”

Since then, more has been written about the Obama administration’s attempts to eliminate news coverage it doesn’t like and restrict the freedom of the press:

  • The fight for access to public information has never been harder, Associated Press Washington Bureau Chief Sally Buzbee said …. [T]he Obama administration is making it hard for journalists to find information and cover the news: … Information about Guantanamo that was routinely released under President George W. Bush is now kept secret. … Day-to-day intimidation of sources is chilling. … Government press officials say their orders are to squelch anything controversial or that makes the administration look bad. … Many federal agencies simply don’t respond at all in a timely manner [to requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)], forcing news organizations to sue each time to force action. … The administration uses FOIAs as a tip service to uncover what news organizations are pursuing. Requests are now routinely forwarded to political appointees. At the agency that oversees the new health care law, for example, political appointees now handle the FOIA requests.” (Associated Press, 9/19/14)
  • “Journalists who cover the White House say Obama’s press aides have demanded — and received — changes in press-pool reports before the reports have been disseminated to other journalists. They say the White House has used its unusual role as the distributor of the reports as leverage to steer coverage in a more favorable direction. … [T]hat the White House has become involved at all represents a troubling trend for journalists .... In decades of reporting on the White House, Tom DeFrank, contributing editor of the National Journal, said he’s been asked by aides to change something in a pool report only once — during the Ford administration. He refused. ‘My view is the White House has no right to touch a pool report,’  DeFrank said. ‘It’s none of their business.’ … Some journalists say the Obama White House has been more vigilant than its predecessors in scrutinizing pool reports and at times has objected to seemingly trivial details.” (The Washington Post, 9/23/14)

The American people deserve better from the Executive Branch, but the thirst for more control is not unique to the current occupant of the White House. Just this month, Senate Democrats spent their time pushing for a constitutional amendment that would weaken Americans’ First Amendment rights. Many Democrats would like to control what Americans are allowed say about them, whether those citizens write for a newspaper or donate to a political campaign. This is a deeply worrisome trend, and Americans should take note.

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Dems Duck ObamaCare As It Continues to Wreak Havoc on Jobs


“I don’t think we should apologize for it, and I don’t think we should be defensive about it.  I think there is a strong, good, right story to tell.”

That’s what the president had to say back in April, when he urged members of his party to “forcefully defend“ his train wreck of a health care law.  Now, with support for the law continuing its downward slide, it’s no surprise Democrats have been ill-inclined to take the president’s advice, desperately trying “to downplay their past support of the legislation.”  Democrats may try to run from ObamaCare, but they can’t hide from the fact that it is a disaster for jobs, the economy, and middle-class families.  Here are a few recent stories Democrats hope you missed:

  • “Businesses Report Cutting Jobs Due to ObamaCare” “Health economist John Goodman noted that ‘three Federal Reserve Banks in Philadelphia, New York and Atlanta have surveyed the folks in their area and roughly one fifth of the employers are saying they cut back on employment.  ‘Roughly one fifth are saying they’re moving from full time to part time,’ Goodman added. ‘More than one in ten are saying they’re doing more outsourcing - all this because of the new health care reform.’” (Fox News)
  • “Billions of Dollars in Reduced Pay & Hundreds of Thousands Fewer Jobs” “Obamacare is taking a toll on small businesses, according to a new analysis of the effects of the health-care reform law, which found billions of dollars in reduced pay and hundreds of thousands fewer jobs. … Individual year-round employees at businesses with 50 to 99 workers lost $935 annually, while those at firms with 20 to 49 workers are out an average of $827.50 per person in take-home pay, the report found. That report also says that there has been the loss of more than 350,000 jobs due to Obamacare-era premium hikes at small businesses.” (CNBC)
  • “Strong Proof That Obamacare’s Employer Mandate Is Behind Cuts to Work Hours or Staffing Levels” “In the interest of an informed debate, we’ve compiled a list of job actions with strong proof that ObamaCare’s employer mandate is behind cuts to work hours or staffing levels. As of September 5th, our ObamaCare scorecard included 450 employers with more than 100 school districts among them.” (Investor’s Business Daily)
  • “Anderson Community Schools Has Also Cut The Hours of Part-Time Employees…to Avoid Sharp Increases in Health Insurance Costs” “If Ivy Tech had to pay health insurance costs for those part-time employees, [Ivy Tech Community College President Tom] Snyder said, ‘we would have to pass along such increase on the backs of students by increasing tuition. As a result, many of those who are at the lowest income levels trying to improve their lives would no longer be able to afford college.’  Tom Forkner, president of the Anderson Federation of Teachers who also testified at the hearing, said Anderson Community Schools has also cut the hours of part-time employees, including classroom aids and cafeteria workers, to avoid sharp increases in health insurance costs.” (Herald Bulletin)
  • “Seeing Their Hours Slashed & Their Ranks Rising All Because the Federal Government Changed the Math” “Associate school resource officers are part-time employees who are retired from the police force. They work as sworn officers in OPS middle schools, but now they’re seeing their hours slashed and their ranks rising all because the federal government changed the math.  ‘It became apparent when we first started to look at the Affordable Health Care Act, and the implications as far as change in part-time employment that it was going to have an effect on them,’ said deputy Omaha City Attorney Bernard in den Bosch.” (KETV)

House Republicans have given Senate Democrats numerous opportunities to protect workers and small businesses hurt by the president’s health care law, but they have refused to do so.  Most recently, the House passed the Jobs for America Act (H.R. 4), which included measures to repeal the 30-hour rule in the president’s health care law and restore the traditional 40-hour work week, boost veterans’ hiring by exempting those with existing coverage from ObamaCare’s employer mandate, and scrap ObamaCare’s medical device tax that puts thousands of jobs at risk.  It’s all in one bill Senate Democrats could pass immediately if they were more focused on helping the economy than scoring political points with half-baked gimmicks and tired excuses

Democrats have done things their way for years, and have nothing but stagnant wages and dismal economic growth to show for it.  They owe struggling families more than that; they owe them a vote on the dozens of common sense jobs bills sitting in the Democratic-led Senate that could start making a real difference in Americans’ lives.

Visit GOP.gov/solutions to learn more about the numerous solutions House Republicans have advanced to lower costs, expand opportunity, and help more Americans find work, and click here to view Speaker Boehner’s recent speech laying out a five point plan for resetting America’s economic foundation. 

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Photos of a Joint Meeting of Congress


Last week, Petro Poroshenko, the President of Ukraine, became the 114th foreign head-of-state/dignitary to address a joint meeting of the United States Congress.  After meeting with Speaker Boehner to express his country’s aspirations for freedom, democracy, and economic opportunity, President Poroshenko received a warm bipartisan welcome from members of both the House and Senate, many of whom have expressed strong support for the people of Ukraine to determine their own future.

Fun fact: joint meetings and joint sessions have distinct parliamentary differences.  Joint meetings take place when both the House and the Senate agree to recess and meet with one another, generally for the purpose of hearing from a foreign leader.  Joint sessions, on the other hand, occur when the House and Senate adopt a concurrent resolution, such as when the President comes to the Capitol each year to deliver the State of the Union.

The tradition of foreign dignitaries addressing joint meetings of Congress dates back to 1874 when David Kalakaua of Hawaii visited the (then 37) United States.  Learn more about the history of joint meetings here

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Bill Clinton, Opinion Pages Agree: Obama’s Inversions Strategy Doomed to Fail


The rollout of the Obama administration’s gimmicky action on inversions is going about as well as its disastrous launch of ObamaCare.

A fresh round of criticism – including from Bill Clinton – strengthens the consensus that President Obama’s unilateral action may actually make things worse and will certainly fail to address our broken tax code, which is the real problem:

  • Bill Clinton: “A lot of these companies feel duty-bound to pay the lowest taxes they can pay. America has to face the fact that we have not reformed our corporate tax laws …. We have the highest overall corporate tax rates in the world. And we are now the only OECD country that also taxes overseas earnings on the difference between what the companies pay overseas and what they pay in America when they repatriate the money. So a lot of these executives, even if they want to bring the money home, think, ‘Oh, this is crazy.’ … We need to reform the tax system. … Meanwhile, the Treasury should do what they can – it’s their duty – to collect whatever money is owed under American law. If they can find a way to discourage people from moving overseas they ought to, but the best discouragement is to reform taxes and to give incentives to repatriate now nearly 2 trillion dollars overseas.” (CNBC, 9/23/14)
  • “[What the Obama administration] has come up with is little more than a quick fix that may do little to alleviate the problem. … The White House would have done better to embark on a more ambitious drive to reform US corporate taxes.” (Financial Times, 9/23/14)
  • There’s little in the new initiative for the middle class or anybody else to be glad about. … [T]he more successful the administration is in enforcing the U.S. corporate tax system, the more its anomalies will weigh on the U.S. economy – and the less attractive the U.S. will be as a place to start and build businesses with global ambitions. The corporate tax code needs to be reformed, not shored up. … The Treasury’s rule makers have multiplied the complications in the code – the changes are a bonanza for tax lawyers, if not for anybody else – and that creates additional uncertainty. F… Something is wrong when sowing confusion becomes an instrument of tax policy. The U.S. needs comprehensive corporate tax reform. … The middle class, like the rest of the country, has an interest in a code that raises revenue as simply and efficiently as possible and makes the U.S. a great place to invest. Righteous indignation over inversions doesn’t serve that cause.” (Bloomberg, 9/23/14)
  • “[The new actions] are, at most, a short-term fix for one specific manifestation of the code’s overall inefficiency. … Ironically, if the administration plan works, it may actually set back the cause of tax reform.” (The Washington Post, 9/24/14)
  • “Many economists are downgrading their expectations for U.S. growth. So naturally the Obama Treasury this week rolled out a plan to discourage investment in America. … [I]f the changes work as intended, they will make it more difficult and expensive for companies to reinvest foreign earnings in the U.S. Tell us again how this helps American workers. Team Obama knows this, because they spend most of their time talking about tax fairness and the alleged threat inversions pose to federal revenues.” (The Wall Street Journal, 9/23/14)

Of course, from the very beginning, President Obama has been more interested in political talking points than about what’s good for the federal budget. In 2008, he famously said he’d raise taxes on capital gains “for purposes of fairness” even if the government suffered a net revenue loss as a result. Think about it – that doesn’t make sense. But that kind of reasoning is why tax reform still isn’t done, and why the American people have been subjected to cynical distractions like the Buffett Rule every election year under President Obama.

Fixing our tax code is a top priority for Republicans and Speaker Boehner himself – it’s one of his 5 points. As he said last week:

“[O]ver the years, thousands of changes have been made to the tax code, mostly for the benefit of the well-connected. … Let’s fix the whole code. Corporate side and personal side. Make it pro-growth. Make it pro-family.  Bring down the rates for every American, clear out all the loopholes, allow people to do taxes on two sheets of paper. … We do this, we get rid of one of the biggest reasons that jobs are moving overseas, and we make it easier for families to do everything from build a house to save for their college costs for their kids.”

House Republicans are focused on the American people’s priorities of a strengthening the economy, increasing opportunity for everyone, and growing more jobs. America should be the best place in the world to do business – and President Obama needs a new strategy for making it that way.

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A Good Man & A Great Patriot


Speaker Boehner recently had the honor of accepting House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon’s (R-CA) portrait into the House collection.  The two have served in the House together since 1993, and in 2006, McKeon succeeded Boehner as chair of the Education and the Workforce Committee.  When McKeon announced his retirement, Speaker Boehner had this to say:

“Buck McKeon has been a close friend and confidant for more than 20 years.  We worked closely together at the Education & Workforce Committee where Buck succeeded me as chairman and focused on ensuring all children had access to a quality education.  As chairman of Armed Services, Buck has been a tireless advocate for our military and Department of Defense civilian personnel, as well as their families.  No one has worked harder to provide them the resources they need to successfully complete the missions their nation has asked them to perform. I thank Chairman McKeon for his public service and his deep commitment to our war fighters who keep America free and strong.”

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Boehner Writes VA Secretary Seeking Action on Independent Audit


WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) wrote to VA Secretary Bob McDonald yesterday seeking action on the independent audit of veterans’ health care that is required by bipartisan legislation enacted last month.   Boehner, who has repeatedly called on the president to outline a long-term vision for fixing the VA, says that to be truly effective and independent, the audit should be conducted by health care experts from the private sector. 

“The intent of the independent assessment is to gain valuable feedback that can be used to help transform the VA into an effective, 21st-century model of service,” Boehner wrote.  “Accordingly, it is critical that the review rely not on traditional government consultants, but on private sector entities with experience in the successful delivery of modern, quality health care.” The full text of the letter is below.   A signed copy is available here

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September 22, 2014

The Honorable Bob McDonald Secretary of Veterans Affairs 810 Vermont Avenue, Northwest Washington, DC 20420

Dear Mr. Secretary:

Veterans across the country deserve access to timely, quality health care.  Transforming the Department of Veterans Affairs from an outdated government bureaucracy to a 21st Century model of service and responsiveness is essential to achieving that goal.  With this objective in mind, I write to express my support for the independent assessment required under the legislation that recently passed both the House and Senate, and to emphasize the importance of providing veterans with an evaluation that is both effective and truly independent.

As I and other House leaders told President Obama in a letter earlier this year, the VA is a system that needs to be fundamentally transformed in order to meet its mandate of service and care to our nation’s veterans.  I am encouraged the president has chosen as the new VA secretary a strong leader with decades of experience in the private sector, which is necessary to oversee the kind of dramatic change that is needed and long overdue.

As I know you are aware, the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act (H.R. 3230) requires an independent assessment of the health care delivery systems and management processes at the VA.  This top-to-bottom audit requires you to enter into a contract with one or more entities to examine every aspect of hospital care and medical services provided by the VA.  The audit is a critical component of the new law and will help identify long-term reforms to improve the quality and access to care for our veterans.

The intent of the independent assessment is to gain valuable feedback that can be used to help transform the VA into an effective, 21st Century model of service.  Accordingly, it is critical that the review rely not on traditional government consultants, but on private sector entities with experience in the successful delivery of modern, quality health care. 

Including private sector health care entities who may collectively benchmark their health systems with the VA will help identify variances between the strengths and weaknesses of the existing systems.  The entities should, of course, be recognized leaders of excellence in quality and timely health care delivery.

Congress acted to provide the VA with additional resources and the authority to hold senior officials accountable in the wake of the VA scandal.  But passage of this law is just the beginning.  The independent assessment is a step toward fully understanding the systemic problems and ultimately transforming the VA from top to bottom and into the system veterans deserve.  It must be conducted by individuals who are both truly independent of the existing system and versed in the knowledge of how effective, modern health care delivery systems are run.

I look forward to your response as we work to improve the care and services our veterans deserve.


John Boehner Speaker

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On Inversions, Treasury Hits a Dubious Trifecta


Americans continue to rank the economy “and in particular creating jobs” as their top priority for Washington.   That’s what makes the Treasury Department’s new, much-ballyhooed rules to deal with corporate tax inversions so confounding:

First, these rules may not even do what the administration says they would.  “Some analysts,” the Los Angeles Times reports, “have questioned whether the limited action would dissuade companies from reincorporating abroad.”  And “some experts,” MarketWatch adds, “have questioned how much authority the Obama Treasury Department actually has in the area” as it “has little legal ability to block the most common type of inversion.”  (This kind of uncertainty, of course, is the natural result of trying to go-it-alone all the time through executive action.)

Second, these rules could actually make the problem worse.  Not only is it possible that Treasury’s rules won’t stop these transactions, but they could actually make things worse by forcing companies to consider options that are even worse for our economy, like selling out to foreign competitors altogether.   This makes it even harder to bring jobs home and creates a “lose-lose proposition” for America’s workers.

And third, these rules do nothing to address the real problem.   As Reuters points out, “Both Democrats and Republicans have said inversions are a symptom of a broken tax code that needs a thorough overhaul…”  Indeed, tax reform is one of Speaker Boehner’s five points for resetting America’s economic foundation because of how it would lead to long-term growth and mobility.   Yet, the president hasn’t brought parties together to get it done, leaving America’s employers subject to the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world and middle-class families overtaxed.   “Until the White House gets serious about tax reform,” Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) says, “we are going to keep losing good companies and jobs to countries that have or are actively reforming their tax laws.”  

All this goes to show that Washington Democrats have no credible plan for our economy – just gimmicks and half-measures like this that make things worse

Only Republicans are offering real solutions and good jobs bills to help get people back to work,  lower costs at home, and restore opportunity for all. 


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A #CapitolMorning Is a Good Morning


Yesterday, on a beautiful September morning, a group of Instagrammers gathered in the Hall of Columns to begin their tour of the U.S. Capitol building.  The event, hosted by the Architect of the Capitol’s office, gave a cross-section of local Instagrammers a behind-the-scenes look at the grandeur and beauty of the Capitol complex.  Here are a couple photos from the morning:

To see more behind-the-scenes photos from in and around the Capitol, follow @SpeakerBoehner on Instagram and Twitter.

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Chairman and Friend


Last week, nearly 24 years after coming into the House together, Speaker Boehner was honored to accept a portrait of Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) into the House collection.  Camp has chaired Ways & Means, the oldest committee in the history of the Congress, since 2011.   When he announced his retirement last spring, Speaker Boehner said:

“Dave Camp and I were elected to the House the same year.  From the beginning, I have been impressed by his wisdom and thoughtfulness, and grateful for his friendship.  He has been a leader in the fight to increase economic growth and help create more American jobs by reforming our tax code, pushing for more effective free trade agreements, and saving Social Security and Medicare for future generations.  Along with his colleagues on the Ways and Means Committee, the entire House Republican Conference, and the whole House, I will miss him.”

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Speaker Boehner Statement on Airstrikes in Syria


WASHINGTON, DC -- House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after President Obama ordered airstrikes in Syria to destroy and defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL): 

“ISIL is a direct threat to the safety and security of the United States and our allies. I support the airstrikes launched by the president, understanding that this is just one step in what must be a larger effort to destroy and defeat this terrorist organization.  I wish our men and women in uniform Godspeed as they carry out this fight.”

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Republicans & Democrats Come Together to Combat Sex Trafficking


In July, leaders of both parties came together to send bipartisan job training reform to the president’s desk.

Now, another bipartisan agreement is on its way to becoming law. Earlier this year, the House passed Rep. Dave Camp’s Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act (H.R. 4980). Last week, the Senate followed suit. This legislation will help fight child sex trafficking, encourage adoption, and improve the child support system.

According to the Ways and Means Committee, the bill:

  • Requires state child welfare agencies to identify, document, and determine appropriate services for children in foster care or who are otherwise involved in the child welfare system who are victims of child sex trafficking or at risk of becoming victims.
  • Requires state child welfare agencies to promote "normalcy" for youth in foster care allowing them to more easily participate in age appropriate social, scholastic and enrichment activities.
  • Improves the adoption incentives program and extends it for three years.  It also extends the Family Connection Grant Program for one year.
  • Requires states to make necessary changes to implement the Hague Convention in enforcing international child support cases, increasing the amount of child support collected for families.
  • Requires data standardization within the child support enforcement program, improving administration.  This would streamline the child support programs with federal programs including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), child welfare, Unemployment Insurance and food assistance programs such as SNAP.
  • Requires all states to implement electronic processing of income withholding, as most states already do; this will improve the collection of child support and save taxpayers $48 million over 10 years.
  • Creates a task force to explore ways to improve the effectiveness of the child support enforcement program.

As Speaker Boehner has said, “An estimated 300,000 children are at risk of being trafficked every year.  As the father of two wonderful daughters, the stories of suffering and pain that follow from these heinous crimes weigh heavily on me, as they do all Americans, and compel us to action.”

That’s why House Republicans have passed more than a dozen bills to prevent human trafficking and support its victims. And it’s why the Speaker continues to support legislation to combat crimes like rape and sexual assault, like the Debbie Smith Act he signed last week.

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Shorter Lois Lerner: Sorry Not Sorry


President Obama’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began targeting conservatives in the early months of 2010. Lois Lerner, then the director of the Exempt Organizations Unit, was at the center of the discrimination, which included questioning the content of a group’s prayers.

Lerner is a registered Democrat. In official emails, she referred to Republicans as “crazies” and “a—holes.” She sought to investigate Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA).  She called the tea party “dangerous.” She hoped the Federal Election Commission (FEC) would “save the day” by cracking down on Republican political donors. She praised Democrats’ legislation. She ignored political spending by liberal unions. She half-joked about going to work for President Obama’s political organization, Organizing For Action (OFA).

The Ways and Means Committee’s investigation into the scandal “uncovered three specific acts undertaken by Lerner that may have violated one or more criminal statutes.” If convicted, the committee says she could face up to 11 years in prison – which is perhaps why she has twice pled the fifth and refused to testify to Congress.

In May 2013, President Obama called the IRS’s misconduct “inexcusable” and said, “I am angry about it.” This was just days after Lois Lerner publicly admitted – with the help of a planted question – that wrongdoing had occurred, saying:

"That was wrong. That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate. That's not how we go about selecting cases for further review. … The IRS would like to apologize for that.”

What a difference a few hundred days make. President Obama now swears there was “not even a smidgeon of corruption.” Attorney General Eric Holder hasn’t lifted a finger to ensure justice is done: the Ways and Means Committee’s criminal referral letter still sits unanswered, and no special prosecutor has been appointed. President Obama picked a major Democratic donor, John Koskinen, to head the IRS, and he’s worked relentlessly “to stonewall congressional questions.”

As for the retired Lois Lerner, she’s recanted entirely too. In an interview with Politico posted today, Lerner says:

“I didn’t do anything wrong … I’m proud of my career and the job I did for this country. … [I] am not sorry for anything I did.”

Thanks to President Obama and his cadre of cover-up artists, we still don't know what exactly that entailed.

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Bachus Portrait Joins House Collection


One of Speaker Boehner’s institutional responsibilities is to accept new portraits into the House’s collection.  Last week, he did the honors for Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL), who chaired the Financial Services Committee in the 112th Congress.  

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Václav Havel Bust Will Be Dedicated on November 19


WASHINGTON, DC – A bust of Václav Havel, the first president of the Czech Republic, will be dedicated at a U.S. Capitol ceremony on Wednesday, November 19.  House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) made the announcement in a letter to members of the House and Senate.

“A playwright turned political dissident, Havel spent years in prison for challenging the ideology and legitimacy of the communist regime that ruled his native Czechoslovakia during the Cold War,” Boehner wrote. “On the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, which liberated his people and led to his election as president, we will gather to honor Havel and all those whose sacrifices helped bring down the Iron Curtain.”

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

A short time after the dedication in National Statuary Hall, the bust will be added to the Capitol’s Freedom Foyer, joining Winston Churchill, Lajos Kossuth, Abraham Lincoln, and George Washington. 

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Humbled Bragger: Household Incomes Drop on President’s Watch


Back in July, the president “bragged the nation was ‘better off now than we were five years ago’” because of his “pretty smart policies.”  This was all part of the president being in “credit-taking mode on the economy.

Yet, all the while, Americans were “registering record levels of anxiety” about their situation and the future.

Not to worry, the White House spun and spun, people just don’t feel it yet. (Whatever that means.)

Well, according to new Census Bureau data, guess who was right:

  • “The United States has suffered another year of stagnant incomes as the economic recovery fails to translate into rising prosperity for average households.” (Financial Times)
  • “The government’s annual look at U.S. incomes helps explain why … the economic recovery has been so unsatisfying for the broad swath of Americans who rely primarily on wages for income.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  • “The aftermath of the Great Recession has been brutally stagnant for the middle class…” (The Washington Post)
  •  “Middle-Class Incomes: Still Dead in the Water” (Slate)
  • “Between 2009 when Obama took office and 2013 … median annual household incomes fell by more than $2,100 in inflation-adjusted terms…” (Reuters)

Does the president wish to take credit for this, or the stagnant pay and higher prices that middle-class families also have to stomach?   “Give it to me,” the president once said about the economy, and look what he’s done to it.

“If this report tells us anything,” Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) said, “it’s that we can do better.”

That’s why the House has passed more than 45 jobs bills that are awaiting action in the Senate, where Democratic leaders should “do the right thing,” Speaker Boehner says, and – instead of bragging to them – actually help the people still asking ‘where are the jobs?’

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Speaker’s Report: Another Busy Week on Jobs & the People’s Priorities



On Friday, Speaker Boehner signed bipartisan legislation that will help bring more criminals to justice and protect sexual assault victims, wrapping up another busy week focusing on the people’s priorities.  The House also:

  • Reauthorized a vital block grant program that provides child care support for low-income families; and
  • Passed a measure to #AuditTheFed by a more than 3-1 margin.

In addition to all that, here’s a quick roundup of what else you have missed this week on Speaker.gov: JOBS

  • Speaker Boehner has outlined a five-point vision for resetting our nation’s economic foundation.  One of the best things about his plan?  It didn’t come from Washington.
  • Isn’t six years too long to wait for a pipeline that has strong public backing and will support tens of thousands of jobs?  Check out our message to President Obama.


  • A new government report confirms that under the president’s health care law, abortions are being paid for with taxpayer funds.  This information has been hidden from the public for years. 
  • The administration’s war on coal could cause even more pain for consumers and workers than we thought.  Here’s our latest update.


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Boehner Signs Debbie Smith Act to Protect Sexual Assault Victims


This morning, Speaker Boehner signed H.R. 4323, the Debbie Smith Reauthorization Act.  This bipartisan legislation helps protect victims of sexual assault by cutting down on the backlog of DNA test kits.   After being kidnapped and raped in 1989, Debbie Smith went on to push for these reforms so that victims would not have to needlessly wait for evidence to be processed before their attackers could be identified and brought to justice.  The House passed this reauthorization in April, and the Senate acted yesterday. The bill now heads to the president's desk. 

The Speaker also signed:

  • H.R. 4751, to make technical corrections to Public Law 110-229 to reflect the renaming of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial, and for other purposes.
  •  H.R. 4809, to reauthorize the Defense Production Act, to improve the Defense Production Act Committee, and for other purposes.
  • S. 476, a bill to amend the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Development Act to extend to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park Commission.
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Sitting, Waiting, Wishing for Keystone Jobs


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Today marks six years since the first application was filed for the Keystone XL pipeline.  This story can be told by many people – workers, employers, unions – and in many ways – clocks, timelines, even GIFs.  That’s how it goes when the president defies the will of the people for so long by blocking a project that would do so much good.  They say the sixth anniversary gift is candy, so we wish we had sweeter news, but sadly, these six numbers are sure to leave you sour:

  • The building of the Keystone XL pipeline would support 42,100 direct and indirect jobs
  • The pipeline would move up to 830,000 barrels of oil per day, which represents about half the amount we import from the Middle East. 
  • So it’s no wonder that 241 Republicans and Democrats in the House voted last year to approve Keystone, continuing consistent bipartisan support for the project.
  • By a nearly 3 to 1 margin, the American people agree the pipeline should be built.   
  • Still, the president says no, and now the cost of building the pipeline may jump by 85 percent because of the administration’s delays.  
  • Meanwhile, Russian president Vladimir Putin recently broke ground on a pipeline that will send four trillion cubic meters of gas to China, making it the “largest fuel network in the world.” Putin says that this will “expand Russia’s ‘gasification.’ … Depending on the situation in world markets, we can more effectively implement gas flows – either more to the West or to the East.”

Wake up, Mr. President.  We need to build this pipeline.  Now:   

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Two Major Jobs Bills, One Giant Opportunity for Senate Dems to Act


WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement today applauding House passage of the American Energy Solutions for Lower Costs & More American Jobs Act (H.R. 2) and the Jobs for America Act (H.R. 4), two major jobs bills comprised of common-sense solutions to boost American energy and fuel economic growth:

“America’s energy boom provides an opportunity for us to reset America’s economic foundation now and for generations to come, but to get there we need a much different approach than what we’ve seen from the president and Senate Democrats.  While production – and the jobs and growth that come with it - are skyrocketing on state and private land, the Obama administration has repeatedly blocked access to the vast areas under its control.  The House has sent the Democratic-controlled Senate numerous bills to expand our energy infrastructure, increase exploration and production, and stop the onslaught of regulations that are raising costs and destroying jobs.  That’s why we passed a bill today that combines all of these solutions into one measure that the Senate could act on immediately to put more Americans back to work, advance our energy independence, and create a better environment for private-sector growth.   

“There are also, however, a number of additional steps we ought to be taking to spur job creation in America.  The second package of bills we passed, H.R. 4, includes numerous common-sense solutions, like cutting red tape and simplifying and making permanent certain tax provisions, that would do just that.  Many of these bills passed the House with bipartisan support and with millions of Americans still asking the question, ‘where are the jobs,’ they too deserve an immediate vote in the Senate.  Taken together, these two major jobs bills would go a long way toward helping American families not just get by, but get ahead.  Senate Democrats owe them that opportunity.”

NOTE: Earlier today, Speaker Boehner delivered a speech at the American Enterprise Institute laying out his five-point long-term vision for resetting America’s economic foundation, including fixing our tax code, solving our spending problem, reforming our legal system, reining in red tape, and improving our education system.  The full text of the speech is available here.

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FULL TEXT: Five Points for Resetting America’s Economic Foundation


Five Points for Resetting America’s Economic Foundation

Remarks by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) As Prepared For Delivery American Enterprise Institute, Washington, DC

September 18, 2014


I’m honored to be back at AEI. 

I last spoke here shortly before being elected Speaker of the House – a job I love but, looking back on it…I never expected to be doing this.

I always figured I’d be in the House for about ten years, then go back to Ohio and run my business or do something else.  But I’m still here and still on this journey for the same reason many of you are. 

Each of us was fortunate in that we had a chance to succeed, to realize our potential.  And our work isn’t finished until we pass that same chance on to our children.

I have some ideas for how we can do that, and today I’d like to share them with you. 

Let me start by picking up where I left off during my last visit.

That day, I talked about how we would run the House differently than it had been in the past under Democrats and Republicans.

And today I can report that the people’s House is more open and more transparent:

·         For the first time, legislative data is posted online in XML and in bulk. 

·         House proceedings and committee hearings are streamed online.  You can even bring your iPad to the floor (if you must.)

·         Earmarks – which once crashed into our coffers 10,000 at a time – are gone.

·         The cost of House operations has been reduced by 13.8 percent.  

·         And we’ve considered 33 bills under an open process.  There were zero open rules in the last Congress under the previous majority.

So we’re on the right track, and much of the credit goes to the people in the institution who do the heavy lifting.

All of this is about delivering what my friend Newt Gingrich calls a “21st century citizen-directed government,” one that is smaller, less costly, and more accountable to the people we serve.

And it’s why, despite being the minority party in Washington, Republicans have gotten some important things done.

·         We cut total federal spending for two years in a row.  That hadn’t happened since the Korean War. 

·         Completed major free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea. 

·         Made it easier to pay for college by tying student loan rates to the markets instead of politics.

·         Improved our job training system so more people can gain high-quality skills. 

·         And we protected 98 percent of Americans from permanent tax increases. 

There’s a lot more we can do, and our focus continues to be on what we call ‘American Solutions’ to help get people back to work, lower costs at home, and restore opportunity for all.

To that end, we’ve passed more than 350 bills that are pending in the United States Senate, including dozens to help create good-paying jobs and plant the seeds of economic growth. 

As we speak, the House is considering a big energy bill, and with good reason. 

We’ve got an energy boom going on in this country.

Oil and gas production is soaring everywhere from Colorado and North Dakota, to Texas and Louisiana, to the Youngstown corridor of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

This boom is driving real growth.  In Youngstown, for example, unemployment is nearly half of what it was four years ago. 

This is a big deal. 

Except Americans don’t hear much about this boom, and that’s because it’s happening entirely on state and private lands, where the federal government has no say whatsoever. 

We take this approach to the national level – by doing things like approving the Keystone XL pipeline and opening more areas for exploration – and that’ll really get our economy humming.

But let’s not stop there.  I want us to think bigger than just moving the numbers. 

In my view, America’s energy boom presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reset our economy from the bottom up. 

Here’s what I mean.    

North America is on track to be energy independent in the next five years or so.   This is going to mean more growth, yes, but it’s also going to mean lower prices. 

We’re already paying anywhere from 30 to 50 percent less for electricity than many European countries. 

This disparity is going to grow, and as it grows, more manufacturers are going to look at moving their factories here.  They’ll have to.  You can’t produce anything without energy, especially electricity. 

Now, that’s what they’ll look at doing, but will they follow through?

That’s our job, to make sure that happens. 

The problem is, Washington’s approach is so top-down, and the bureaucracy so lumbering, that the government is keeping us from where we need to be.

Look at the state of things: flat wages, higher prices, a six-year slog to regain the jobs lost during the recession, and millions still asking, ‘where are the jobs?’

So we can do this the Washington way, move around some dirt, see what happens.

Or we can lay a solid foundation for growth and mobility.  Not pick one thing over the other, but do all we can to reap the benefits of this boom.  Bring these good-paying jobs home, get our workers off the sidelines.  Build a culture of hard work and responsibility around them.  Make America the best place to work, save and invest.

It can be done.  And there are five things that I think we need to do to make it happen. 

First thing is, fix our tax code.

You’ve heard a lot lately about corporate inversions.  Well, inversions are really just visible symptoms of a much deeper problem: our tax code is terrible.  No one understands it, certainly not the IRS.

People pay an accountant hundreds of dollars in the hopes of paying less to the feds.  They have to, because over the years thousands of changes have been made to the tax code, largely for the benefit of the well-connected, who happily take their share while the middle class remains overtaxed. 

So all this talk about inversions is just making the problem smaller.  It’s fussing over a divot when the road is loaded with potholes.

Let’s fix the whole tax code.  Make it pro-growth and pro-family.  Bring down the rates for every American, clear out all the loopholes, allow people to do their taxes on two – yes, two – sheets of paper.

(See, I can already feel the blood pressure in the room dropping.)

We do this, we get rid of one of the biggest reasons jobs go overseas, and make it easier for families to do everything from build a house to save for college.

Second, we have to solve our spending problem.

For 53 of the last 60 years, we’ve spent more money than we’ve brought in. 

This is where people get on me for comparing apples to oranges, but hear me out. 

Would you do this in your home? No.

Could you do this in your business and live to tell? No way.

And we can’t do it as a country either.  Not just because it’s bad for our economy.  It is stealing from our kids and grandkids, robbing them of benefits they’ll never see and leaving them with burdens that are nearly impossible to repay.

The question isn’t what’s driving this debt – it’s who.  It’s Baby Boomers like me retiring at the rate of 10,000 a day, 70,000 a week, more than 3.5 million every year.

And this is only year four of this 20-year demographic bubble in which Baby Boomers are retiring.

Our entitlement programs weren’t designed to deal with all of us retiring at once, and they certainly weren’t designed for us to live to well past 80.

But we don’t need to throw these programs away.  We need to put them on a more sustainable path, which we can do without making radical changes. 

Third, we have to reform our legal system.

We’ve gotten to a point in America where litigation has become a first resort instead of a last. 

The costs are staggering: Americans are spending more per person on litigation than just about any other country, and it’s not even close.  Our liability costs are more than 2.5 times the average level of Eurozone economies.  Not something to be proud of.

These costs don’t just show up in higher premiums.  Doctors have to charge more.  Businesses have to charge more.  It’s a stealth tax driving up the cost of all our goods and services. 

Our system isn’t just costly; it’s inefficient.  According to one study, victims are generally receiving less than half of every dollar paid out by defendants. 

There has to be a better way.  I’m all for taking care of people who have been injured, but we ought to establish reasonable limits on lawsuits and compensation.

Fourth, we have to rein in our regulatory system. 

The way the federal government hands down regulations is coercive, combative, and very expensive. 

Take the Dodd-Frank law, with its 849 pages and $21.8 billion in compliance costs.

The whole point of all this, we were told, was to end the bailouts, end ‘too big to fail.’   Well, not only has it failed to do that, but those compliance costs are indiscriminately hitting small community banks and credit unions.

For those smaller banks, their bread-and-butter is lending to entrepreneurs and small businesses.  But now, you’ve got more uncertainty and more money going into compliance.  And what happens? The cost of borrowing goes up, and access to credit goes down.  It’s the last thing Main Street needs right now.

Other countries have a more pragmatic process, where you focus on what’s truly necessary and feasible.  The result is, you have fewer regulations, and the ones you have are more important and more easily implemented.

Now, even if we were to do all four of these things, we still wouldn’t be maximizing our potential.

So, the fifth thing is, we have to improve our education system. 

Aside from Arthur Brooks, you won’t meet a more glass-half-full guy than me.  But these are, what I consider, some depressing figures:

·         Last year, about one out of every five students didn’t graduate high school.  One in five.

·         And among those who do graduate, one in five need remedial courses in college. 

·         And that’s because, according to the Nation’s Report Card, only 38 percent of 12th-graders performed at or above proficient in reading, and only 26 percent performed at or above proficient in math.  

We are not educating enough of our kids – it’s that simple.

Now, one thing No Child Left Behind did was require every state to adopt standards and assessments of progress.  That means we can track whether children are learning.

That’s the good news.  The bad news is that we know too many children still aren’t learning.  And many aren’t learning because they’re sentenced to attend a struggling school.

That’s why we created the first federally-funded private school choice initiative in America, the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program. 

And I’ll tell you what: it is succeeding beyond even our highest expectations. 97 percent graduating from high school.  A 92 percent approval rating among parents. 

Why wouldn’t we go ahead and start expanding this initiative to the rest of the country?

Let’s give more poor children and their parents a chance to find the better schools they need and deserve.

So those are the five things. 

We do these five things in a meaningful way, we can reset the foundation of our economy for the next two or three generations.  Provide a reliable stream of good-paying jobs.  More stability and security, straight on through retirement.  And more opportunities for every American to get ahead, not just get by.

Ladies and gentlemen, there’s one more reason to do this – just as, if not more important than the rest.

When fall comes around, I’m reminded of how, after the First and Second World Wars, many cities and universities built memorial stadiums in honor of the fallen. 

One of the classics is the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis.  If you’ve never been, on the façade that surrounds the football field, the great battles are listed: Guadalcanal, Midway, Sicily, Iwo Jima.

The story goes that a William & Mary player once looked at all the names and said, “Man, these guys have a tough schedule!”

Well, America has a tough schedule in front of us.  We cannot avoid that.  Nor should we try.

America is not merely obligated to lead.  We are again called to lead.  And we are driven to serve in the same spirit in which our parents and grandparents built those living memorials – with humility and a desire to leave something that outlasts us.

For what lies ahead the world needs a strong America, and that means we need a strong economy.  One in which all our people can strive to fulfill their God-given potential…and show there is no greater enterprise than free enterprise, and that we will never settle for the safe route. 

We will lead for freedom in every sense of that word.

Today I have tried to lay out a path to do this that speaks to both parties and to all Americans.  Because I trust in them.  I know they can do anything.  And I know their labors will justify our faith.

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KEY POINTS: Speaker Boehner's Address on Resetting America's Economic Foundation


In remarks today at the American Enterprise Institute, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) will outline his five-point long-term vision for resetting America’s economic foundation. Watch an enhanced webcast of the speech at speaker.gov/live, beginning at 2:15 pm ET.  

Following are key background points on today’s address:

  • Even as international issues dominate the headlines, Americans remain deeply concerned about the economy.  That’s why House Republicans have maintained a steady focus 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 languishing in a dysfunctional, do-nothing Democratic-controlled Senate, including dozens of bills to support private-sector job creation and economic growth.  Today, for example, the House is taking up H.R. 2, major legislation to promote the development of America’s energy resources. 
  • Building on this work, Boehner will talk about how America’s energy boom offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reset America’s economic foundation.  Standing in our way, however, is an outdated approach and lumbering bureaucracy that make it harder to prepare for the future.  To bring jobs home, we need to take an “all of the above” approach not just to energy, but to our entire economy.
  • To that end, Boehner will lay out five key things we must do as a nation to fully reap the benefits of America's energy boom:

o   Fix our tax code

o   Solve our spending problem.

o   Reform our legal system.

o   Rein in our regulatory system.

o   Improve our education system

  • These five points, which Boehner has been articulating over the last several months, were developed from his own experience as a small business owner and conversations with his constituents and people outside of Washington.
  • Boehner believes if we do these five things in a meaningful way, we can reset our nation’s economic foundation for years to come and provide more opportunities for every American to get ahead, not just get by.  
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Welcoming Ukrainian Democracy to the U.S. Capitol


WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today welcomed President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine to the United States Capitol.  The two leaders met in the Speaker’s Ceremonial Office before Poroshenko addressed a joint meeting of Congress.  Boehner issued the following statement:

“Today, Vladimir Putin and the world saw Republicans and Democrats stand in unity with President Poroshenko and his people’s aspirations for freedom, democracy, and economic opportunity.  Now we must answer his call for America’s leadership, not only in sentiment, but in action.  We can start by imposing tougher sanctions, providing military and intelligence assistance, and breaking Russia’s energy stranglehold on Europe.  It was my privilege to welcome President Poroshenko to the Capitol, and pledge to him personally that the House will continue to lead the effort to help his people.”

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PREVIEW: Speaker Boehner’s Five Points for Resetting America’s Economic Foundation


Later today, at the American Enterprise Institute, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) will outline his five-point long-term vision for resetting America’s economic foundation.  To take advantage of America’s emerging energy boom, Boehner believes there are five key things we must do as a nation: fix our tax code, solve our spending problem, reform our legal system, rein in our regulatory system, and strengthen education.  Watch an enhanced webcast of the speech on speaker.gov/live, beginning at 2:15 pm ET.  Following are excerpts from Boehner’s address, as prepared for delivery:  “America’s energy boom presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reset our economy from the bottom up. … The problem is, Washington’s approach is so top-down, and the bureaucracy so lumbering, that the government is keeping us from where we need to be.  Look at the state of things: flat wages, higher prices, a six-year slog to regain the jobs lost during the recession, and millions still asking, ‘where are the jobs?’  So we can do this the Washington way, move around some dirt, see what happens.  Or we can lay a solid foundation for growth and mobility.  Not pick one thing over the other, but do all we can to reap the benefits of this boom.  Bring these good-paying jobs home, get our workers off the sidelines.  Build a culture of hard work and responsibility around them.  Make America the best place to work, save and invest.” * * * “We do these five things in a meaningful way, we can reset the foundation of our economy for the next two or three generations.  Provide a reliable stream of good-paying jobs.  More stability and security, straight on through retirement.  And more opportunities for every American to get ahead, not just get by.” *** “For what lies ahead the world needs a strong America, and that means we need a strong economy.  One in which all our people can strive to fulfill their God-given potential…and show there is no greater enterprise than free enterprise, and that we will never settle for the safe route.  We will lead for freedom in every sense of that word.”


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Three Things President Obama Should Do Immediately to Help Ukraine


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'


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’


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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…



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


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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


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.


John A. Boehner Speaker of the House

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


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


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.”


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


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


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


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


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


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


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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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.