Speaker of the House

John Boehner

Speaker Boehner on Ruling to Block President Obama’s Unilateral Immigration Actions

2015/05/26

WASHINGTON, DC -- House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement after the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld an injunction blocking President Obama’s unilateral actions on immigration: 

“The president said 22 times he did not have the authority to take the very action on immigration he eventually did, and the courts have agreed once again. House Republicans are leading the fight to rein in President Obama’s executive overreach and uphold our Constitution, and we will continue to follow this case closely.”

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This Is Our Next Step In Defending The Constitution

2015/05/26

Thursday marks the next step in the House’s litigation challenging President Obama’s unilateral actions on ObamaCare.  A motion to dismiss filed by the Obama administration will be heard in federal court in Washington, DC.   Our lead counsel in the case is Jonathan Turley, Professor of Public Interest Law at The George Washington University Law School.

As a refresher, the House’s challenge addresses two specific unilateral ObamaCare changes:

  • The president’s unilateral decision to waive the employer mandate, and the penalties for failing to comply with the mandate.  This directly contradicts the letter of the law.
  • The administration’s unlawful giveaway of roughly $175 billion to insurance companies.  This is money that was never appropriated, so the administration is using taxpayer funds from a separate account, subverting Congress’s “power of the purse” under Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution.

The administration is now attempting to have the House’s litigation dismissed on the grounds it does not have standing to challenge executive overreach.   Here’s an excerpt from the House’s brief opposing the motion:

“Defendants have acted without Congress – by expending billions of dollars in public funds absent any appropriation to make those payments, and by effectively rewriting statutory provisions not to their liking – notwithstanding Article I of the Constitution. Those actions strike at the very heart of the House’s express Article I legislative and ‘guardian of the purse’ powers.  … Defendants’ extreme position, if accepted, would… enlarge the power of the Executive to dangerous levels... Such a concentration of unchecked power in one branch is precisely what the Framers sought to avoid… and for this reason… the House urges the Court to deny defendants’ motion.”

Time and again – including today in fact – courts have ruled against the administration’s executive overreach.   This is about defending the Constitution, as Speaker Boehner said before the House voted to authorize this litigation:

This isn’t about Republicans and Democrats.  It is about defending the Constitution that we swore an oath to uphold, and acting decisively when it may be compromised.  No member of this body needs to be reminded of what the Constitution states about the president’s obligation to faithfully execute the laws of our nation.  No member needs to be reminded of the bonds of trust that have been frayed, of the damage that’s already been done to our economy and to our people.  Are you willing to let any president choose what laws to execute and what laws to change?  Are you willing to let anyone tear apart what our Founders have built?”

Watch the full floor speech, and stay tuned for more updates on this week’s hearing.  

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Weekly Address: A Raise For Our Troops

2015/05/24

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In this week’s Republican address, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) urges President Obama to drop his threat to veto a defense bill that would give our troops a raise and reinforce the mission to defeat ISIL.  

Honoring Memorial Day, Thornberry says, “We carry a debt to those who have served, and especially to those who have fallen, to focus just on doing what’s right for the country and what’s right for our troops, and we honor them best by building on their sacrifice to pass along to the next generation a country even stronger, even more prosperous, and even freer than we’ve enjoyed.”

Learn more about how this national defense bill helps our troops, and check out these excerpts from coverage of Chairman Thornberry’s address:

GOP gears up for fight with Obama over defense spending.  On this Memorial Day weekend, the Republican Party is gearing up for a fight on the controversial defense spending bill that recently passed the House, despite White House veto threats and steep Democratic opposition.   ‘The House bill authorized exactly the amount the president requested to keep America safe,’ Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, said Saturday in a video. ‘But he wants more money for domestic programs and has threatened to veto the defense bill unless he gets it.’  … Thornberry said the bill ‘gives our troops a raise and updates their benefits’ and helps protect the nation against extremist terror threats like ISIS.” (CBS News)

Armed Services chief to Obama: Don't 'play politics' on defense. Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) urged President Obama on Saturday to drop his veto threat against a defense spending bill.  Thornberry argued that Obama should reconsider using executive power on the $612 billion 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) given it passed overwhelmingly in the House last week and has majority Senate support going forward.  ‘The House bill authorized exactly the amount the president requested to keep America safe,’ Thornberry said in the GOP’s weekly address. ‘But he wants more money for domestic programs and he has threatened to veto the defense bill unless he gets it.’” (The Hill)

Rep. Thornberry: Obama Playing 'Politics With Defense.’ President Barack Obama is playing ‘politics with defense’ with his veto threat of the House-passed defense policy bill, jeopardizing the safety of military service members, Texas Republican Mac Thornberry warns.  Delivering the Weekly Republican Address ahead of Memorial Day, the House Armed Services Committee chairman scolded the president's objection to a host of provisions in the $612 billion bill passed May 15, including one that would make it harder for him to close the military prison for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  ‘We're always going to have our differences, but it's wrong for anyone to play politics with defense,’ Thornberry says. ‘The world is too dangerous and the men and women who serve are too precious for that.’”  (Newsmax)

“Rep. Mac Thornberry of Texas calls on President Obama to honor that nation’s troops by backing a defense authorization bill that provides them with the benefits they’ve earned, and the tools and resources they need to complete their missions.  ‘We carry a debt to those who have served, and especially to those who have fallen, to focus just on doing what’s right for the country and what’s right for our troops, and we honor them best by building on their sacrifice to pass along to the next generation a country even stronger, even more prosperous, and even freer than we’ve enjoyed,’ Thornberry said.” (ABC News Radio)

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Speaker Boehner on Senate Passage of Trade Promotion Authority

2015/05/23

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement applauding Senate passage of bipartisan trade promotion authority (TPA) legislation that will help create more good-paying jobs for America’s workers:

“Trade helps create good-paying American jobs, so it’s good news that the Senate has put us one step closer to eliminating trade barriers.  These reforms have the support of farmers, manufacturers, small business owners, and Americans from all walks of life, and it’s not hard to figure out why.  With trade promotion authority, we’ll be able to hold President Obama accountable so America’s workers can get the best agreements.  Without it, our workers will fall further behind as China writes the rules of the global economy.  This is a no-brainer.  The House will take up this measure, and Republicans will do our part, but ultimately success will require Democrats putting politics aside and doing what’s best for the country.  Let’s seize this opportunity to open new doors for the things Americans make and the people who make them."

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Weekly Republican Address: Honoring Our Commitment to Our Troops

2015/05/22

WASHINGTON, DC – Delivering the Weekly Republican Address ahead of Memorial Day, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) calls on President Obama to honor our troops by backing a defense authorization bill that provides them with the benefits they’ve earned, and the tools and resources they need to complete their missions.  As Thornberry says in the address:

“We carry a debt to those who have served, and especially to those who have fallen, to focus just on doing what’s right for the country and what’s right for our troops, and we honor them best by building on their sacrifice to pass along to the next generation a country even stronger, even more prosperous, and even freer than we’ve enjoyed.”

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

Remarks of Chairman Mac Thornberry of TexasWeekly Republican AddressArmed Services Committee Hearing Room, Rayburn House Office BuildingMay 23, 2015

Hello, I’m Mac Thornberry.  I’m privileged to represent the people of the Panhandle and North Texas in Congress and to chair the House Armed Services Committee.

In my job I get to spend a lot of time around the men and women who serve our nation in the military.  I’m continually in awe of their character, their courage, and their dedication to our country.

Since the beginning, the United States has been blessed with outstanding individuals who cared about something bigger than themselves and have fought – and some even died – for American security and American freedom.

This Memorial Day, we continue to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.  The Greatest Generation took on one of the greatest evils the world has ever known, defeated it, and came home to build a nation.

But their achievement came at a heavy price.  On Memorial Day, all of us should take time to remember and to honor those who sacrificed their lives in answering the call of our country.

I think we have to do more than honor the fallen, however.  We have a duty to honor what they fought for, so that, in the words of Lincoln at Gettysburg, “we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.”

The world today is full of turmoil.  Freedom and decency are still under assault.  ISIS, for example, poses a grave and direct threat to our security and our way of life.

No one knows how to solve all the problems of the world.  But one thing we do know for sure – the world is a safer, better place when the United States is militarily strong.  And a weakened America invites greater danger.

The Constitution endows Congress with specific responsibilities to help “provide for the common defense.”   For 53 straight years, Congresses of both parties have passed and presidents of both parties have signed into law a defense authorization act, which has helped to build that military strength that we need.  The House passed this year’s bill last week.  It gives our troops a raise and updates their benefits.  It eases our warfighters’ transition to the VA and it makes sure we get the most value possible for the taxpayer dollars.  The Senate will take up their version soon.

The House bill authorized exactly the amount the president requested to keep America safe.  But he wants more money for domestic programs and has threatened to veto the defense bill unless he gets it.  

Look, we’re always going to have our differences, but it’s wrong for anyone to play politics with defense.  The world is too dangerous, and the men and women who serve are too precious for that.

We carry a debt to those who have served, and especially to those who have fallen, to focus just on doing what’s right for the country and what’s right for our troops, and we honor them best by building on their sacrifice to pass along to the next generation a country even stronger, even more prosperous, and even freer than we’ve enjoyed.

Of course, no one put it better than Ronald Reagan when he said, “and we owe them something…We owe them a promise to look at the world with a steady gaze and, perhaps, a resigned toughness, knowing that we have adversaries in the world and challenges and the only way to meet them and maintain the peace is by staying strong.”

When this Memorial Day’s passed, there will still be brave Americans stationed all over the world to protect us and our way of life.   

To everyone who wears America’s colors and to everyone who ever has, and to their families, thank you.

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Chairman Mac Thornberry to Deliver the Weekly Republican Address

2015/05/22

WASHINGTON, DC – Ahead of Memorial Day, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has selected House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) to deliver the Weekly Republican Address.  Chairman Thornberry will discuss the importance of honoring America’s men and women in uniform and making sure they have what they need to keep our country safe. 

“America is safer when our military is strong,” Chairman Thornberry said. “And our strength depends first and foremost on the men and women who serve.  All Americans owe a debt to the men and women who have served our country, and especially to those who have given their lives.  On Memorial Day we offer our gratitude, but we must also remember to honor the ideals for which they sacrificed.  Taking care of our troops and keeping America safe must be our top priority.

Last week, the House passed a national defense bill that increases pay and benefits for our troops. President Obama has threatened to veto the measure on account of his demands for more domestic spending. 

Chairman Thornberry is the first Texan of either party to serve as chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and is in his 11th term representing the state’s 13th district.  Learn more by visiting the Armed Services Committee online, or by following the committee on Facebook and Twitter

The Weekly Republican Address will be available nationwide starting Saturday, May 23 at 6:00 am ET on Speaker.gov and GOP.gov.

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Speaker Boehner on the Denver VA Hospital

2015/05/21

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement after the House passed H.R. 2496, a measure to improve veterans’ health care and hold the VA accountable for its Denver hospital fiasco:  

“The VA’s new Denver hospital is more than $1 billion over budget, and years overdue.  At $1.73 billion, this facility is more expensive than just about any skyscraper in the world.  Last month, the VA asked Congress for a $830 million bailout to continue the project.  What was and still is missing from that request is any kind of explanation for what happened or a specific plan for moving forward.  Consider that just last week we learned that the VA is spending some $6 billion a year illegally, and now it expects a bailout without an ounce of accountability.  This is the kind of arrogance our veterans deal with every day.       

“Since VA leaders are clearly not willing to step up, the House is stepping in and allowing the project to go forward in the short-term using resources the VA already has.  Now the VA must lay out a long-term plan for completing the hospital responsibly using existing resources.  This is more than fair.

“As a condition of receiving a chance to get its act together, the VA has agreed to reforms that will make sure more veterans can take advantage of the opportunity to seek private care.  Improving veterans’ care remains one of our highest priorities. 

“Indeed, this is not just about one over-budget hospital.  It is about a culture of arrogance that allows our veterans to be ignored, lied to, and left to die.  Congress will continue to pass legislation to hold the VA accountable, but only the administration can change the culture from within.  When he signs this bill, President Obama should offer an apology for this disgrace, and a plan to fix the VA once and for all.”

NOTE: House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL) has sent a letter to VA Secretary Robert McDonald requesting a detailed plan for moving forward with the Denver project responsibly. 

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Mr. Steel

2015/05/21

At his weekly press conference today, Speaker Boehner took a moment to thank Michael Steel, his longtime press secretary who is wrapping up more than 7 years of faithful service here in Boehnerland:

“Today is the last press conference that my press aide, Mr. Michael Steel, will join me at as he departs the Capitol after spending many years working in my office.  I want to say thanks for a job well done and good luck.”

We’ve asked ourselves a lot of questions since Steel announced his departure:   “Who’s going to call upstairs for fizzy water?” “Who’s going to tell us which upscale Washington eatery to go to?”  “Where are the jobs?” (OK, we always ask that.) “Who’s going to hoard barbecue sauce?” “Who’s going to tweet out photos of their lunches that typically involve barbecue sauce?” “Who’s going to ask us whether we had a ‘pleasant evening?’” “What are we going to do with this poster of the salt marsh harvest mouse?

And, of course, we’ve just generally asked ourselves, “what are we going to do?”

Because Steel’s one-of-a-kind.  He’s as quotable, decentand dapper – as they come.  And we’ll miss him.

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Photos: The American Fighter Aces

2015/05/21

Yesterday, Speaker Boehner and Congressional leaders presented the American Fighter Aces with the highest honor that Congress can bestow: the Congressional Gold Medal.  The Fighter Aces are an exclusive club; in American history, fewer than 1,500 pilots have been awarded with the recognition of shooting down five or more enemy aircraft.  

One such pilot was Lieutenant junior grade Carl Rieman, who, as Speaker Boehner noted, " was a fiery, competitive guy -- loved to fly, and loved his country."  This Medal is for Carl and all the other American Fighter Aces who fought bravely on behalf of a grateful nation.

To hear more about Carl's story, click here.

Click the video below to watch the 5-minute presentation of the medal.  To watch the full, hour-long ceremony, click here.

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More Progress on the People's Priorities

2015/05/21

The House has just wrapped up another week of action on the people’s top priorities, passing bills to help fix the problems at the VA, fight human trafficking, and foster more pro-growth innovation.  Boehner discussed all of these measures and more earlier today:

“It’s been an important week to focus on the people’s priorities here in the House.  We’ve continued our work for jobs and the economy by passing three bills to boost research, innovation, and American competitiveness.  We also passed strong, bipartisan legislation aimed at ending human trafficking.  Our bill will expand services for the victims of these monstrous crimes, and give law enforcement new tools to go after the perpetrators.  I look forward to the president signing the bill. 

“Next week brings Memorial Day and – coincidentally – the one-year anniversary of General Shinseki’s resignation as Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.  But America’s veterans are yet to see the reform that the president promised them. 

“We know funding isn’t the issue.  Congress gave the VA more than $16 billion to improve care and to shorten waiting times.  Meanwhile the number of patients facing long waits is about the same, and the number of patients waiting more than 90 days has nearly doubled.  The administration needs to offer a real, long-term plan to fix the VA.”

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The Final Frontier

2015/05/21

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement applauding the House’s passage of H.R. 2262, the SPACE Act, legislation introduced by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to promote innovation and American leadership in space: “Today the House voted to continue its ongoing mission to explore exciting new industries, to seek out new jobs and new opportunities for growth.  Now the SPACE Act boldly goes to the Senate, and we hope, the president’s desk, where it can begin a long life of helping our kids and grandkids prosper.  Republicans and Democrats should come together to make it so.”

These are the votes of the U.S. House. Its ongoing mission: to explore exciting new industries… http://t.co/0BhhJQPXYG #SPACEact

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

...to seek out new jobs & new opportunities for growth… http://t.co/0BhhJQPXYG #SPACEact pic.twitter.com/BDt83Ho05C

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) May 21, 2015
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“Things Need to Change”: Boehner Reiterates Call for New Iraq Strategy from President Obama

2015/05/21

WASHINGTON, DC – With ISIL terrorists continuing to gain ground in Iraq and Syria, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) once again called on President Obama to scrap the policies that have failed to stop their momentum, and offer a new, overarching strategy to defeat the terrorist threat.  Following are Boehner’s remarks at his weekly press briefing earlier today: 

“On Iraq: It’s been a week now since ISIL fighters stormed Ramadi – the capital of Iraq’s largest province.  Hundreds of innocent Iraqi men, women and children have been executed, dozens of U.S.-supplied tanks and military vehicles have been seized.  

“The White House still insists that no new strategy is needed. It says the president’s policies have been a success.  It just isn’t credible, things need to change.

“A stable and sovereign Iraq is vital to America’s interests.  As I told the Iraqi prime minister when I was there before Easter, I was embarrassed that the Iraqis had to bring the Iranians in to help them with the fight in Tikrit.

“To win this fight, the president is going to have to scrap his policies that aren’t working, lay out a broad, overarching strategy to defeat these savage terrorists.  What could it look like?

“To start, instead of placing artificial constraints on our commanders, it’s critical that we have a strategy that ensures that conditions on the ground dictate our approach.  But I think security is just one piece of this overarching strategy.  I think we need to better engage in a meaningful way with Islamic leaders to address the factors that are driving this radicalization.  And we need a plan to combat ISIL’s sophisticated use of social media and communications. It’s a battle that we’re losing right now.  And, any overarching strategy has to put a priority on backing – not ignoring – America’s allies in the region. 

“In the House, Republicans are committed to working with the president to ensure that our troops have what they need to carry out their vital missions.  Sadly, Democrats continue to say they won’t support a raise in pay for our troops until they get more domestic spending.  So as we pause for Memorial Day to reflect on the great sacrifices made by those who wore the uniform, I hope they’ll reconsider their position. 

“After all, the American people sent us to Washington to focus on their priorities, not Washington’s.”

 

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“Every Life Matters”: Speaker Boehner Signs Human Trafficking Bill

2015/05/21

WASHINGTON, DC – Joined by members of both parties today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) signed S. 178, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act.  This bipartisan legislation is made up of several House-passed initiatives to combat human trafficking and provide additional services to its victims.  Prior to signing the bill, Speaker Boehner made the following remarks:

“In a few minutes, we will sign S. 178, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act.  First, let me thank all my colleagues for being here. This effort started with a group of our members in the House working across the aisle to find common ground and the best ideas.  So it’s certainly another example of bipartisan progress on some of the people’s highest priorities.

“But what this legislation does: it expands services available to victims of human trafficking.  And it gives law enforcement new tools to go after the perpetrators and punish them to the fullest extent.  Because there may be nothing as low as preying on the most vulnerable among us.

“So this is not just a bill signing.  It is the Congress and people of the United States saying ‘we will not tolerate these monstrous crimes.’  Every life matters, and we must make every effort to end human trafficking in every form.

“As the father of two daughters, I will be proud to sign this bill, and send it to the president’s desk.”

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A Gold Medal for the American Fighter Aces

2015/05/20

WASHINGTON, DC – Leaders of the U.S. House and Senate today presented the Congressional Gold Medal to the American Fighter Aces for their heroic service and defense of our nation. 

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) made the following remarks prior to the presentation of the medal, as prepared for delivery:

“In a few moments, we will have the presentation of the Medal.  You know, I found it interesting that the British originally called their aces star turns, which, of course, is a show business term.  When you listen to these stories, it does all feel like something out of the movies.

“Take the tale of the USS Laffey, a Sumner-class Destroyer.  On April 16, 1945, the Laffey was on patrol off the coast of Okinawa.  Sometime after breakfast, the radar operator reported that a group of kamikazes was coming in from the north.  Forty of them descended on the Laffey. 

“The Laffey was taking a terrible beating when four Wildcats arrived from the carrier, USS Shamrock Bay, led by Lieutenant junior grade Carl Rieman.

“Rieman and his aviators dove into the kamikaze formation.  Rieman took out one dive bomber, then another, then a torpedo plane, then another – using up all of his ammunition.  No matter, because on his way out, Rieman made dry runs, scattering the enemy from the Laffey.  The Laffey’s survival is one of the greatest stories in American naval history.

Now, Carl Rieman was born and raised here in Washington, DC.  He was an ace by the age of 23.  And like many in his generation, he was a family man.  Carl’s obituary notes that he was survived by 12 children, 50 grandchildren, 84 great grandchildren, and yes, 2 great-great grandchildren.

“Well, I recently came to learn that one of Carl’s grandsons works for me.  His name is Billy Benjamin.  Billy is in charge of our technology – when I can’t get my iPhone to work, he gets the call.  He’s a good guy … big Washington Redskins fan, but we can forgive him for that.

“But it’s through Billy’s perspective that we can understand why this Medal is so important.  Billy says his grandfather was a fiery, competitive guy – loved to fly, and loved his country.  Carl flew in the Navy for 25 years, then got involved in a printing business, and then went back and did another five years in the Air Force.  He was active in the Knights of Columbus, and he started a family business – which I’m sure didn’t have a hard time finding employees.

“Looking back, Carl was proud of his service, except for one thing: he was still mad that he ran out of bulletsBilly says, ‘If anyone bled red, white, and blue, it was that guy.’

“That is why we award this Medal to these men: it celebrates not just what they did, but how they did it – with daring, with devotion to live what Teddy Roosevelt called ‘the strenuous life.’  It reaffirms that nothing worth fighting for ever comes easy.  And it embodies the thanks of a grateful nation.”

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Ensuring America Remains a Nation of Innovators

2015/05/20

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement applauding House passage of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act (H.R. 1806) and the American Research and Competitiveness Act (H.R. 1880):

“America’s leadership in the world is driven by our ability to innovate, and strategic investments in research and development will help ensure we don’t forfeit that leadership to other countries, like China.  The America COMPETES Reauthorization Act prioritizes funding for basic research that will pave the way for new technologies and scientific advancements that improve lives, bolster U.S. competitiveness, fuel economic growth, and create jobs.  It also supports science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education initiatives that give young Americans the tools they need to drive those innovations. 

“We’ve also passed legislation today to simplify and make permanent the research & development tax credit, giving businesses large and small the certainty they need to invest, grow, and put more Americans to work.  Together, these common-sense measures will help preserve and strengthen our place as a nation of innovators in the 21st century global economy, and I urge the president to reconsider his threat to veto both initiatives.”

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Watch Speaker Boehner’s Floor Speech Calling for VA Reform

2015/05/20

WASHINGTON, DC – In a floor speech today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) challenged President Obama to present a real, long-term plan to fix the VA, citing the department's ongoing scandals and its failure to improve care for America's veterans:

“My colleagues, next week marks the one-year anniversary since General Eric Shinseki resigned as the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.  At the time, the president promised reform.   He said, and I’ll quote, ‘the number one priority is making sure that problems get fixed.’

“But instead of a new day at the VA, the American people are still seeing more of the same.   Last year, Congress gave the VA Secretary new authority to fire employees.  But while some 110 VA facilities kept secret lists to hide wait times – just one person has been fired.  One.

“What the hell happened to the rest of them?   Well, some got to retire with benefits, some got transfers, some got paid leave, some got a slap on the wrist – and all of them go right on collecting checks from taxpayers.  If only the VA did half as good a job taking care of our veterans as they do their own bureaucrats.

“In fact, Congress also gave the VA more than $16 billion to improve care and shorten wait times.   And yet, the number of patients facing long waits is about the same.  The number of patients waiting more than 90 days has nearly doubled.  At this point, the VA can’t even build a hospital – just about every project ends up years behind schedule and hundreds of millions, if not billions, over budget. 

“And just last week, the public learned that the VA is spending $6 billion a year illegally.  An internal report exposed examples of overspending on conferences, improper gifts, inappropriate purchases, and promotional items.  Again: if only VA bureaucrats did as good a job taking care of our veterans as they do themselves.

“The author of the report wrote that at the VA, ‘doors are swung wide open for fraud, waste and abuse,’ and that these actions ‘may potentially result in serious harm or death to America’s veterans.’  That’s their own expert saying this.

“This isn’t run-of-the-mill incompetence.  It is arrogance – arrogance that allows our veterans to be lied to, ignored, and, frankly, left to die.

“My colleagues, it is almost Memorial Day.   This is when we slow down to reflect on the debt of gratitude that we owe to our heroes.   And I commend Chairman Miller and the members of the Veterans Affairs Committee for striving every day to fulfill this obligation.

“Congress will continue to pass legislation to hold the VA accountable, but only the administration can change the culture from within.  The president owes the American people a real, long-term plan to fix the VA.   Not a promise, or a pledge, or a rearranging of deck chairs – a real plan to clean up this mess.   And I will keep coming back to this podium until the administration produces such a plan.”

#Veterans were put on secret wait lists at the VA – but those responsible are still collecting checks from taxpayers https://t.co/3lxcIwzRBU

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) May 21, 2015
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Editorials: President Obama Must Change Course against ISIL, Offer a Real Strategy

2015/05/20

The Obama administration may be ceding swaths of ground to the Islamic State (ISIL) from Iraq to Libya, but it’s refusing to budge in the briefing room. Despite the fall of Ramadi – which resulted in mass killings and the deaths of up to 500 people, both Iraqi civilians and soldiers – White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest insisted that the president’s strategy has been an overall success.

“Are we going to light our hair on fire every time that there is a setback in the campaign against ISIL?” Earnest shot back at skeptical reporters.

If this is what success looks like, let’s hope we never see what would set off alarm bells in the White House. Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said they should already be blaring, as he called the recent events in Iraq “a very serious and significant setback.”

Editorials boards and outside experts agree: it’s time for President Obama to change course and end the half-measures.

  • “It has been apparent for some time that the United States lacks a strategy to fulfill President Obama’s pledge to ‘degrade and ultimately destroy’ the Islamic State …. Mr. Obama will not permit U.S. trainers to work with Iraqi forces on the ground or send U.S. spotters to make airstrikes more useful. … [H]e refuses to commit the Special Forces and military assistance that could meet that threat, portraying any alternative to his minimalist policy as being ‘dragged back into another prolonged ground war.’ … [I]t is Mr. Obama’s unwillingness to match means to strategy that threatens to prolong this war.” (The Washington Post)
  • “President Obama's pledge last year that the U.S. would ‘degrade, and ultimately destroy’ the Islamic State contained more than a touch of bravado. It depended, after all, on the effectiveness of Iraqi troops whose performance against the Islamist extremists had been disgraceful. … In short, the campaign to degrade and destroy the Islamic State is hardly any further along today than it was when Obama announced it.” (The Denver Post)
  • “Ramadi’s fall undercuts White House and Pentagon assurances that the war against Islamic State is going well. The reality is that the political limitations that the White House has put on U.S. military planners have allowed ISIS to hold or retake most of its ground. Half-hearted wars rarely end in victory.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  • “The seizure of Ramadi on Sunday leaves President Obama’s strategy against the Islamic State in ruins not only in Iraq but also throughout the Muslim world. … This defeat was avoidable. … This is what happens when a policy of half-measures, restrictions and posturing meets a skillful and determined enemy on the battlefield. If the president does not change course soon, he will find that his legacy is not peace with Iran and ending wars, but rather the establishment of a terrorist state with the resources to conduct devastating attacks against the United States and a region-engulfing sectarian war. … Setbacks against the Islamic State in Iraq might not be so devastating if the United States and its allies were on the offensive against that group elsewhere. The president’s plan, unfortunately, confined our efforts almost exclusively to Iraq. In the meantime, the group has managed to gain adherents in the Sinai, Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan and even further abroad, as part of its strategy to remain in Iraq and Syria and expand the caliphate. … The choice facing Obama is not between a massive deployment of hundreds of thousands of troops and a tightly constrained mission of under-resourced forces. It is, rather, between the serious application of a limited amount of U.S. military power and the establishment of a terrorist state.” (Kimberly Kagan and Frederick W. Kagan, The Washington Post)
  • “The ISIS takeover of Ramadi in the Anbar province over the weekend exposed the hollowness of the reported progress against ISIS. The U.S.-led bombing campaign in support of Iraqi forces isn’t working. Clearly, the Iraqi government needs greater military assistance if it is to defeat what is proving to be a formidable enemy. … [U.S.-led airstrikes are] not enough. The U.S. needs to play a more robust role against ISIS before conditions in Iraq deteriorate further. … Moreover, the Pentagon needs to end the ‘boots on the ground’ shell game of relying on temporary deployments to work around the president’s 3,000 personnel cap, which has proved dysfunctional. Most of the U.S. troops currently in Iraq are training and advising Iraqi forces. That is useful, but more need to be embedded with Iraqi units to improve the accuracy of U.S.-led airstrikes. … What is needed is decisive U.S. leadership. Without it, the long-term entrenchment of Islamic State in Iraq may become a disturbing reality.” (Norman Ricklefs and Derek Harvey, The Wall Street Journal)
  • “Islamic State's capture of Ramadi, the capital of Iraq's Sunni Muslim heartland, may well lead to the unraveling of President Barack Obama's Iraq strategy. … [The end of any hope for a unified Iraq] would be a disaster for the region and U.S. interests. … To this point, U.S. efforts to train and advise Iraqi forces have been hamstrung by rules barring American personnel from accompanying their charges into battle in noncombat roles. Iran has increased its influence immeasurably by sending its officers to the front lines. U.S. personnel in forward positions could improve coordination with American air support, as well as provide on-the-ground protection against civilian atrocities.” (Bloomberg)
  • “The Islamic State … has won a stunning victory with the collapse of the Iraqi army and the conquest of Ramadi and Anbar. The attempt by the Obama administration to spin it any other way is foolish. The loss is an enormous gain for the forces of radical Islamic terrorism. … If, as seems probable now, Ramadi’s reconquest will be undertaken by Shia militias allied with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, this will be another step to bring Iraq and its vast oil and gas reserves into a subservient satellite relationship with the mullahs in Tehran. Attempts by the White House to minimize the strategic and tactical defeat … are foolish and impress no one. More than two-dozen airstrikes after the fact may impress some critics of the Obama administration’s offensive against the Islamic terrorism that the president cannot bring himself to call by its true name, but spin is never a substitute for a strategy. It will take more than spin to stop a menace that is swiftly becoming more than a regional conflict and threatens the peace of the larger world.” (The Washington Times)
  • “The world has again seen the image of … the brutal slaughter and enslavement of civilians that always follow in the wake of Islamic State conquests. ISIL is making good on its vision of being a quasi-state, taking, holding and governing vast territories in Iraq and Syria. Perceptions are critical in irregular wars, and the perception in the region is that the Islamic State is winning. ISIL now openly controls the Iraqi cities of Ramadi, Fallujah and Mosul, which is more than its parent al-Qaeda franchise could ever have claimed at the height of its insurgency. It is a sobering fact that all the gains made during the execution of the coalition's 2007 ‘surge’ strategy that pacified western Iraq have been given back to the extremists. … Meanwhile ISIL continues to make gains in Syria and is exporting its insurgency to other countries. It continues to recruit international jihadis to either fight in Syria or Iraq, or to encourage terrorism elsewhere, including the United States. … [I]f the Islamic State is losing right now, you wouldn't know from looking at a map.” (James Robbins, USA TODAY)
  • “Fighting ISIS will require a much more robust response than has been utilized thus far. … There is a step between the tepid actions now ongoing and redeploying large conventional American formations. … The tide must be turned on ISIS. If the Iraqis can’t get the muscle to do it from the United States, they will get it from Iran. Vacillation by the Obama administration is leading Iraq to a choice between radical Sunni-Islamist ISIS, and radical Shia-Islamist Iran. Either outcome is disastrous for Iraq and for the interests of America.” (Steven Bucci, The National Interest)
  • “The U.S. urgently needs to reappraise its current strategic posture in both Iraq and Syria. It needs far more realism in shaping its military efforts and far more honesty and transparency in assessing the risks of those decisions. … The Obama administration’s limited U.S. effort … did more in Iraq to empower Iran than win support for the U.S. … As is the case with Afghanistan and earlier with Yemen, the administration has failed to provide any honest transparency about the impact of the limits to its present strategy, the train and assist mission, the real world course of the fighting, and the risks and cost benefits of the present form of U.S. military intervention. There have been no substantive plans, risk assessments, or progress reporting – just spin, positive claims and vacuous reports like that of the lead inspector general over the conflict, which totally failed to say anything meaningful about the progress of the war. It is all too clear that the present U.S. air and train and assist campaigns are not enough. What is totally unclear is that administration has a viable strategy[.]” (Anthony Cordesman, Defense One)

As Speaker Boehner said yesterday, “Hope is not a strategy. The president’s plan isn’t working, it’s time for him to come up with a real, overarching strategy to defeat the ongoing terrorist threat.”

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Further Proof Hillary Clinton Must Turn Over Her Private Server

2015/05/20

.@HillaryClinton Prove you want your emails out. Turn over your private server to an independent, third party. pic.twitter.com/vokiG1sNPc

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) May 20, 2015

Thanks to the work of the Benghazi Select Committee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Obama State Department were forced to reveal in March that she exclusively used personal email to conduct official government business during her tenure as the chief diplomatic officer of the United States, which is a very big no-no.

In response to the Committee’s subpoena of any documents related to Libya that were sent or received through hdr22@clintonemail.com or hrod17@clintonemail.com, her lawyer, David Kendall, stated:

‘hrod17@clintonemail.com’ is not an address that existed during Secretary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State. ... Secretary Clinton used one email account when corresponding with anyone, from Department officials to friends to family.

That’s completely false. The address hrod17@clintonemail.com did exist while she was Secretary of State, according to emails from 2011 and 2012 published by The New York Times on Monday.

Those emails also directly contradict a March 10, 2015, statement from the “Office of Hillary Rodham Clinton,” in which her team described the printed emails they picked to provide to the State Department in 2014 after the Benghazi Select Committee requested them:

Secretary Clinton used one email account during her tenure at State …. At the time the printed copies were provided to the Department last year, because it was the same account, the new email address established after she left office appeared on the printed copies as the sender, and not the address she used as Secretary. In fact, this address on the account did not exist until March 2013.

And let’s not forget that when she was asked why she did not use an official government email address (a policy her department enforced and the law required), Secretary Clinton famously said:

“I opted for convenience to use my personal email account … because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal emails instead of two. Looking back, it would have been better if I’d simply used a second email account and carried a second phone, but at the time, this didn’t seem like an issue.”

That’s also completely false. Here’s why:

  1. As virtually every working professional in America knows, many email addresses can be managed and used from a single phone or device.
  2. Secretary Clinton carried more than one device, and she has admitted to using “an iPad, a mini iPad, an iPhone and a Blackberry.”
  3. Finally – as we now know – she did use a second email account.

All of this begs a crucial question: if what Secretary Clinton and her team said about the existence of two personal email accounts is not true, what about their claim that everything on her private server was deleted? Her lawyer says the emails no longer exist, and thus are not available for anyone to review – is that also untrue?

This is further proof that she must turn over her private server for independent analysis.

According to Politico, “experts say the messages she deleted from it — or at least portions of them — can almost certainly be recovered” since “permanent deletion is extremely difficult to achieve[.]”

“We think the Inspector General at the State Department is the right entity to look at the server, determine what's private, what's public and what's mixed. They've got the ability to do that. … I just frankly think a third party is in a much better position to make this call,” Speaker Boehner said recently.

Answering questions from reporters for the first time in 28 days today, Secretary Clinton said, “I have said repeatedly, I want those emails out. Nobody has a bigger interest in getting them released than I do.”

Of course, she was referring only to the emails she chose to provide to the State Department, and not those she continues to hide. But if she really feels so strongly about the importance of transparency and setting the record straight, let her prove it by turning over the server. 

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After deleting messages on her private server, former Secretary Hillary Clinton says she wants her emails to come out. She should prove it by turning over the email server for independent review.

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday, May 20, 2015
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A Clean Audit Is Always Good News

2015/05/20

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today welcomed the announcement by House Administration Committee Chairman Candice Miller (R-MI) that the House has received its 17th consecutive clean financial audit, this one for fiscal year 2014:  

“A clean audit is good news and another good sign that we are keeping our commitment to protect taxpayer dollars.  This audit reflects the hard work of Chairman Miller, her committee, and the House operations team, which sets the highest bar every day on behalf of the American people. 

“When I came to Congress, the House barely kept a decipherable balance sheet, let alone subjected its books to an independent audit.  Now we are leading by example, demonstrating that government can and should hold itself accountable just as any good business would.   We have more openness, on the floor and in our books.  And we’ve continued to cut the cost of Congress, saving taxpayers $782 million and counting.   There is always more to do, but it’s good that we can report this progress, and show that we are getting results.”

NOTE: Speaker Boehner’s commitment to getting the House’s books in order dates back to 1992, when as part of the Gang of Seven, he first called for independent audits.   In September 1999, as vice-chairman of the House Administration Committee, he stood with House leaders to announce the first-ever clean audit of the House’s books.  “We, in the Congress of the United States,” he said, “are holding ourselves as accountable as anyone in the private sector would do. “  You can watch the full press conference here on Speaker Boehner’s Facebook timeline

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Aces in the Sky

2015/05/20

The United States military has served as an example of excellence around the world for decades.  The accomplishments of fighter pilots engaged in air-to-air combat has played a key role in many of the most influential and transformative moments in modern-day American war history.  While all fighter pilots who have served in battle have exemplified bravery and fearlessness, an elite group of fighter pilots, known as “American Fighter Aces” rose above and beyond.  The honor of being called an American Fighter Ace is awarded to a fighter pilot who has shot down five or more enemy aircraft.  In American history, 1,447 American Fighter Aces achieved this elite designation serving in World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, 77 of whom are still living today. 

Congress will honor the excellence and bravery of these pilots today with a Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor Congress can bestow.  More than 30 American Fighter Aces from across the country will attend the ceremonyDean Caswell, 93, was one of the last Marine fighter pilots to become an Ace in World War II.  He earned his Ace status from seven confirmed kills against Japanese airplanes, three of which occurred while defending aircraft carrier USS Bunker Hill near Okinawa, Japan.  Steve Richie, from Reidsville, NC, is the youngest Ace at age 72, also has the distinction of being the only U.S. Air Force Ace pilot in the Vietnam War and America’s only MiG-21 Ace.  Steve reflected on the common bond these fighter pilots share, “[I]t is the utmost honor and it is unique to be one of the Fighter Aces. All of us who flew combat are grateful for the chance to serve and glad we survived and were victorious.”

The daring missions these American Fighter Aces completed changed the course of American-fought wars throughout modern history.  These Fighter Aces risked it all to defend freedom and democracy around the world.  Air Force Lt. General Charles “Chick” Cleveland, a Korean War Ace and president of the American Fighter Aces Association aptly stated, "If there's an elite among fighter pilots, it's these men. They helped shorten the wars and saved lives. These men are disappearing but must not be forgotten." Cleveland will accept the Congressional Gold Medal on behalf of the American Fighter Aces. 

Congress has the privilege to recognize these living legends for their heroic service to the United States at the Congressional Gold Medal ceremony on Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 3 p.m. in Emancipation Hall.  The ceremony will be live streamed at speaker.gov/live. 

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Working Together to End Human Trafficking

2015/05/19

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) made the following statement after the House passed S. 178, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, to combat the growing crime of human trafficking:

Human trafficking crimes target the most vulnerable and innocent in our communities around the country.  In my home state of Ohio, more than 1,000 children become victims of human trafficking every year.  We must do all we can to stop the monsters who commit these crimes, but more importantly, we must ensure that victims of these despicable acts have the support and resources they need to heal and rebuild their lives. The bipartisan bill passed by Congress today is a big step toward that goal and will help protect our innocent youth, restore the lives of victims, and boost law enforcement resources to target criminals in the human trafficking trade.  This bill is a result of the tremendous effort from a bipartisan group of House Members, who worked tirelessly to ensure these measures become law so we can end human trafficking.  I look forward to the president signing this bill into law.”

NOTE:  S. 178, passed by the Senate in April, includes many of the bipartisan measures passed by the House earlier this year.  

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Human trafficking is a horrific crime that targets the most vulnerable, innocent youth in our country. Today, the House...

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday, May 19, 2015
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House Continues Working Toward Long-Term Highway Bill

2015/05/19

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after the House passed the Highway and Transportation Funding Act (H.R. 2353) to extend highway and transit program authority through July 31st:

“While I’m pleased the House has passed a bill to extend these critical infrastructure programs through the start of the summer driving season, I also share in the frustration of many of my colleagues that we have not yet reached a long-term plan to address the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund.   Our efforts to find a path forward will continue, and I am hopeful that both sides can work together on a long-term solution.”

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$782 Million and Counting

2015/05/19

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement after House passage of H.R. 2250, legislation funding the nation’s legislative branch:

“Fiscal responsibility starts at home, or in this case, the House, where we’ve cut the cost of Congress by $782 million.  When we set out to stop Washington’s spending binge, we knew the best way to start was to lead by example, and all told, we’ve cut our spending by nearly 14 percent.   At the same time, we are increasing funding for the Capitol Police, protecting funding for the Government Accountability Office, and boosting accountability of major Capitol projects.  So beyond the dollars and cents, we are doing more with less, just as hardworking families do every day.  This means tough decisions and careful planning, and the credit goes to the hardworking House officers and staff who strive to make the House less costly and more accountable to the American people.”

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America’s Bravest Come to Washington

2015/05/19

Tomorrow, leaders of the U.S. House and Senate will present a Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor Congress can bestow, to some of the country’s bravest, the American Fighter Aces.

Dating back to World War I with the first use of aviation warfare, a United States Military fighter pilot earned the title “Ace” when their bravery and exceptional skill resulted in the destruction of five or more enemy aircraft.  Fewer than 1,500 pilots have earned this distinction.  More than three dozen of these heroes will take to the skies once again, and make their way to Washington, D.C. 

Here are just a handful of stories from across the country of their courage and valor:

ALABAMA:  “…The recognition of it does put you in an elite level in Air Force fighter pilots.  I was obviously very pleased and thrilled,” says Charles “Chuck” Cleveland, President of the American Fighter Aces Association of earning the “Ace” distinction. (Montgomery Adviser)

FLORIDA: Philip Kirkwood of Seminole, Florida says, “Aviation is dangerous, but if you love it you survive.  I’m a survivor.  I loved it and I’m glad I was able to serve my country.  It was a pleasure.” (Bay News 9)

MONTANA:  Montana’s Frank McCauley recalls his decision to join the service, “And I joined up in the infantry.  After three months I said, ‘no thank you,’ and that’s when I got in the Air Corps, as it was known in those days.  And from there on it was a fancy ride.” (KPAX)

NEBRASKA:  Echoing the sentiment of many of the Aces, Donald McPherson says of his achievements, “It was kind of commonplace.  I was just in the right place.” (Omaha World-Herald)

WASHINGTON:  Steve Ritchie of Washington state says, “Just to be here, to have survived 800 hours of combat, 339 missions, and somehow downed five MiG-21s – for that to all happen takes a tremendous amount of good fortune.  All of us who survived combat and were victorious are just thankful to have had the opportunity to serve our country.” (KING 5 News)

The ceremony will take place tomorrow, May 20 at 3 p.m. in Emancipation Hall and will be live streamed at speaker.gov/live.

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Three More Pro-Growth, Pro-Innovation Jobs Bills Slated for House Action

2015/05/19

The House’s focus on the American people’s priorities continues this week with three more bills that will help promote innovation and U.S. competitiveness, and the new jobs and stronger economic growth that come with it.  Boehner discussed these measures earlier today:

“And while our economy’s shown signs of improvement, middle-class families aren’t seeing the improvement in their day-to-day lives.  We need sustained, robust economic growth, and that’s why this week the House will pass real pro-growth policies to promote research, development, and innovation.  Our focus has to be on helping the middle class get ahead, not just get by.”

The three bills on the House floor this week include:

  • The COMPETES Reauthorization Act (H.R. 1806): Sponsored by Space, Science, & Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX), H.R. 1806 prioritizes funding for basic research that “will help ensure future U.S. economic competitiveness and security,” and “spur private sector technological innovation,” says Chairman Smith.
  • The American Research and Competitiveness Act (H.R. 880): Sponsored by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), H.R. 880 brings more certainty to the tax code by simplifying and making permanent the research & development tax credit, making it easier for businesses to invest, innovate, and create more American jobs.
  • The SPACE Act (H.R. 2262): Sponsored by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), H.R. 2262 “will facilitate a pro-growth environment for the developing commercial space industry by encouraging private sector investment, creating more stable and predictable regulatory conditions, and improving safety,” McCarthy notes.
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Boehner on Defeating the Terrorist Threat: “Hope Is Not a Strategy”

2015/05/19

WASHINGTON, DC – At a press conference with Republican leaders this morning, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) called on President Obama to withdraw his authorization for the use of military force (AUMF), citing the fact that it “calls for less authority than he has today,” and re-submit an AUMF that represents a clear, overarching strategy to defeat the terrorist threat.  Following are Boehner’s comments:

“Here in the House, we continue to make the American people’s priorities our priorities.  Last week, we passed a strong bill to support our troops, and ensure that the Congress and the people have the ability to review any potential agreement with the Iranians.  And with new gains made by ISIL in Ramadi, we know that hope is not a strategy.  The president’s plan isn’t working, it’s time for him to come up with a real, overarching strategy to defeat the ongoing terrorist threat. …

“Well first let me say that I applaud the efforts of our special forces who conducted a very successful mission over the weekend, without casualties and without injuries.  The president’s request for an authorization of the use of military force calls for less authority than he has today.  I just think, given the fight that we’re in, it’s irresponsible.  This is why the president, frankly, should withdraw the authorization of the use of military force and start over.  We don’t have a strategy, and for those of you that come to these regularly, for over two years now I’ve been calling on the president to develop an overarching strategy to deal with this growing terrorist threat.  We don’t have one.  And the fact is, the threat is growing faster than what we and our allies can do to stop it.”

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7 Things To Like About This Legislative Branch Funding Bill

2015/05/19

Today, the House takes up H.R. 2250, legislation to fund the nation’s legislative branch.  Read the bill on docs.house.gov.

Some history:  one of the first pledges Speaker Boehner made – and one of the first votes the new majority took in 2011 – was to cut the cost of Congress.   After all, Washington should have to do more with less, just as hardworking families are every day.   Those cuts marked the first step in stopping Washington’s spending binge – an effort that has put us on track to save taxpayers $2.1 trillion.

Each year, then, the bill to fund the legislative branch is how we continue to lead by example.  There’s a lot to like about this bill, but here are just seven key things:

  • Holds the line on House funding, putting us on track to save taxpayers $782 million – a nearly 14 percent reduction in House spending under the Republican majority.
  • Continues the pay freeze for Members of Congress that has been in place since 2010.
  • Increases funding for the Capitol Police by $21 million, boosting critical safety and security functions, and maintaining public access to the Capitol and the surrounding buildings.
  • Protects funding for the Government Accountability Office, which provides critical oversight for the American people.
  • Boosts accountability for Capitol projects, withholding funds until changes in costs and timelines are submitted and approved. 
  • Increases funding for the Library of Congress, to help the institution better serve the public.
  • And for children of all ages, the committee encourages the Capitol Police to allow sledding on Capitol grounds, so if you’re visiting our capital city on a snow day, you can enjoy the elements without fear. #sledfreeordie
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Increasing VA Accountability & Economic Opportunity for Our Veterans

2015/05/18

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement applauding the House for passing several more bills to increase accountability at the Veterans Administration and help create more economic opportunities for our veterans:

Our veterans have made tremendous sacrifices, and the least we owe them is a VA that serves their needs, and an economy that values their service.  The House continues to lead, passing another bill that will make it easier to hold VA employees accountable.  With more stories of gross mismanagement surfacing every day, it is long past time for the VA to start taking concrete actions to hold employees engaged in corrupt or incompetent behavior accountable, and it is up to the president to ensure that it does. 

“The House also passed legislation today to increase access to job training and encourage small businesses to hire more veterans.  These bipartisan measures represent another step in our ongoing effort to address the problems at the VA, improve access to services, and increase opportunities for our veterans.  From last year’s enactment of the Veterans' Access to Care Through Choice, Accountability, & Transparency Act to the more recent enactment of the Clay Hunt SAV Act, we’ve demonstrated that this is an area of common ground where we can make a real difference in the lives of our nation’s heroes.  I commend Chairman Miller for his leadership, and I urge the president and Democrats to work with us to ensure more of these bills are signed into law.”

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Annual House Republican District Director Fly-In

2015/05/18

Speaker Boehner often says that Members of Congress are only as strong as the staff that surrounds them, not only in Washington D.C., but home in the districts as well.   Last week, he welcomed roughly  170 district directors to the U.S. Capitol for the annual House Republican District Director Fly-In.  Speaker Boehner started the yearly fly-in in 1996 when he was House GOP Conference Chairman as a way to put faces to names and promote more coordination between offices.  

For his part, Boehner has three district offices located throughout Ohio’s 8th Congressional District – in West Chester, Troy and Springfield.  Learn more by going to boehner.house.gov.

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Why Democrats Voted Against A Military Pay Raise

2015/05/18

One of the people’s highest priorities is making sure our troops have what they need to get the job done.  To that end, the House on Friday passed a strong national defense bill, thanks to the leadership of Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) and the House Armed Services Committee

The result of months of bipartisan input, the bill passed the committee with near-unanimous support: just one Democrat voted no.   

At the urging of their leaders, however, 143 House Democrats voted against this bipartisan national defense bill on the floor.  That means they voted against: 

  •  Increasing troop pay and benefits. 
  •  Funding our national defense at the exact level the president requested. 
  • Acquisition reform that will save taxpayers money.
  • Keeping terrorist detainees out of the United States.
  • Reinforcing the mission to defeat ISIL.
  • Lethal aid to Ukraine. 
  • Strengthening our cyber defenses. 
  • Increasing our missile defense capabilities. 

That’s what House Democrats voted against.  Here’s why they did it. 

It wasn’t due to a serious policy concern (they had none), or the addition of a controversial provision (there were none.) 

Democrats voted against the defense bill because they want more domestic spending.  As The New York Times put it, “they could not accept any increases in military spending without equivalent increases for other programs.”  Therefore, they voted no to make a political statement for the president’s sequester. 

Here’s what The Washington Post editorial board – which agrees with Democrats' position on the sequester itself – has to say: 

“Sequestration should be reversed. However, that's not politically realistic… When all is said and done, national defense is a clear constitutional responsibility of the federal government; fully funding it should take priority. … What we haven’t really seen from the president is a clear and convincing explanation of how and where he would tailor U.S. security commitments to fit the smaller budget he is, in effect, threatening to accept.  Far better for him, and his party’s leadership in Congress, to help an adequate defense budget keep moving through Congress, rather than perpetuate a fight all Americans, whether Republican or Democrat, might later regret.

Instead of perpetuating this fight, President Obama and his party should put politics aside so we can deliver a strong defense bill worthy of our troops and their families.

RELATED:

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The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act

2015/05/17

More bipartisan legislation is headed to the president’s desk. It is H.R. 1191, the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which Speaker Boehner signed on Friday.  The bill addresses overwhelming concerns about a potential agreement with Iran.  Those concerns – shared by members of both parties, many Americans, and America’s allies – have only grown in recent weeks. This legislation makes it possible for Congress – and the American people – to have a say in any deal.  The Senate passed the measure with 98 votes and the House followed suit with 400 votes.

Most bills we sign mark the end of a process, but this is only a beginning,” Speaker Boehner said after signing the legislation. “We will do everything we can to stop a bad deal and stand with our allies, and this bill is our only way to fulfill that commitment. I applaud the efforts of those in both parties who came together to get this done.” Also this week, Speaker Boehner signed bipartisan bills to protect families of fallen public safety officers from being taxed, and create an Amber-alert style system for law enforcement officers injured or killed in the line of duty.  

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Speaker Boehner Statement on the Fight Against ISIL

2015/05/16

WASHINGTON, DC -- House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement today in response to the U.S. operation that killed ISIL leader Abu Sayyaf and ISIL’s assault on Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s largest province:

“I want to extend my gratitude and continued support for all of our military personnel involved in successfully carrying out last night’s dangerous mission. The United States and our coalition partners must continue to do everything in their power to defeat and destroy these savage terrorists. 

“While I am encouraged by today’s good news, I remain gravely concerned by ISIL’s assault on Ramadi that threatens the stability and sovereignty of Iraq, which is vital to America’s interests. Yesterday the House passed legislation with bipartisan support to reinforce our mission against ISIL. This legislation authorizes resources for security assistance to Iraqi forces, approves a pilot program to counter propaganda efforts and reaffirms our commitment to working with the sovereign Government of Iraq to bring peace and stability to the region. The United States House of Representatives takes seriously our role in defeating terrorist networks threatening our people, our homeland and our allies.”

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Don’t Tax Our Fallen Heroes

2015/05/15

Families who lose their loved ones in the line of duty — be they police officers, firefighters, or EMTs — should receive the full benefits they deserve.  And that’s precisely what H.R 606 will ensure now that it has been passed by both the House and the Senate.  Sponsored by Rep. Erik Paulsen (R–MN), the Don’t Tax Our Fallen Public Safety Heroes Act clarifies federal law so that survivor benefits for the families of public safety officers who are killed in the line of duty are not subject to federal income tax.  

Earlier today, Speaker Boehner and Rep. Paulsen held a signing ceremony for the legislation.  The next signature to be added to the bill will be the president’s.

Related: 

Boehner Thanks Police for ‘Bravery, Sacrifice, and Devotion'

Blue Alert (Photo)

Honoring the Finest

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Boehner Thanks Police for ‘Bravery, Sacrifice and Devotion’

2015/05/15

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement commemorating  Peace Officers Memorial Day and National Police Week:

“Though our gratitude and respect for law enforcement should always be evident, it’s important for all Americans to take a moment this week to recognize and honor ‘the thin blue line’ – our family members, friends and neighbors that go to work every day seeking to serve and protect. They’re the good guys fighting crime, maintaining order, and sometimes taking bullets. Their duties are stressful and difficult, and their jobs are never done. To those who put their lives on the line – and to the heroes wounded or fallen in service to others – we offer our humble thanks for your bravery, sacrifice and devotion.”

NOTE: The House has passed legislation to help law enforcement officers and their families, including H.R. 606, the Don’t Tax Our Fallen Public Safety Heroes Act, and H.R. 2146, the Defending Public Safety Employees’ Retirement Act.

Yesterday, Speaker Boehner thanked all police officers for their work to keep our communities strong and safe, and later signed the Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act (S. 665), which will now head to the president’s desk.

An FBI report released this week showed “51 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty in 2014,” an increase of almost 89 percent compared to the year before.

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Blue Alert

2015/05/15

On a cold December day just 5 months ago, two New York City police officers were murdered in cold blood.  The Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act (S.665), signed yesterday by Speaker Boehner, bears the names of those officers as a tribute to their service and sacrifice.  But the Blue Alert Act is more than just a tribute; it is a step forward in expanding an alert system nationwide for when a law enforcement official is injured or killed in the line of duty.  Similar to Amber Alerts, Blue Alerts help distribute time-sensitive information to help quickly identify and apprehend violent criminals.

The bill will soon head to the President’s desk, where it is expected to be signed into law.

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A Strong National Defense Bill

2015/05/15

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement following House passage of H.R. 1735, the National Defense Authorization Act:

“Whatever our troops need to get the job done, they should get it, and the House has acted to provide just that.  This bill increases troop pay and benefits, reinforces the mission to defeat ISIL, imposes greater restrictions on transferring terrorists, strengthens our cyber defenses, provides lethal aid to Ukraine, boosts our missile defense capabilities, and much more.   Indeed, Chairman Thornberry did fine work putting together a bipartisan bill that passed in committee with near-unanimous support.  Yet, many Democrats turned around and opposed fully funding our troops.  They did so without listing a single serious policy concern, letting politics come before national security.  With all the threats our troops face and the sacrifices they make, Democrats’ opposition to this defense bill is in fact indefensible.”

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House Backs Tougher Sanctions on Hezbollah

2015/05/14

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today applauded House passage of H.R. 2297, the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act:

“Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, and Hezbollah is one of its top enforcers.  It compromises Lebanon, props up Assad in Syria, and threatens Jordan and Israel.  This bill empowers the administration to target the financial network Hezbollah uses to carry out Iran’s orders.  By taking this action, we are backing the security of our partners in the region.”

 

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Boehner: Bipartisan Legislation Only Way Congress Will Have Opportunity to Stop Bad Deal with Iran

2015/05/14

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement today applauding House passage of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (H.R. 1191):

“Iran cannot be allowed to develop or obtain nuclear weapons. It is committed to the destruction of our ally Israel, continues to hold Americans hostage, and is feverishly working to support the spread of terrorism and promote instability in the region.

“So President Obama’s admission that his current framework would allow Iran to achieve a nuclear breakout time ‘almost down to zero’ is more than extremely troubling – it’s unacceptable.

“This is why Congress must have a role in reviewing any potential deal the president cuts with Iran. The American people are worried – and America’s allies are worried – that the White House will do anything to get one. So my colleagues and I have one goal: stop a bad deal. The bipartisan legislation the House passed today is the only way Congress will have that opportunity.”

NOTE: The Senate passed the bill last week. Recently, the Iranians fired on and seized a neutral vessel traveling in international waters, and it was reported that President Obama kept Iran’s short breakout time a secret.

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Breaking News About Potential Iran Deal

BREAKING NEWS → The House just overwhelmingly passed a bill that will require Congressional review of any potential deal President Obama tries to make with Iran.

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Thursday, May 14, 2015
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Boehner Thanks Police Officers for Their Service & Sacrifice

2015/05/14

WASHINGTON, DC - Marking National Police Week, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today thanked our nation’s police officers for all that they do to keep our communities strong and safe.  Following are Boehner’s remarks:

“Let me also take a moment to recognize National Police Week.  The job of a police officer is not easy. It’s also very dangerous, as a report from the FBI this week confirmed.  There are more than 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers in our country.  We’re surrounded by some of the finest of these officers right here at the Capitol.  So on behalf of the whole House, I want to thank all of our police officers and their families for their service and their daily sacrifices.”

 

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Boehner Calls on Dems to Support American Jobs, Trade

2015/05/14

With trade promotion authority (TPA) legislation poised to pass the Senate, Speaker Boehner today pledged support for the measure – which will mean more trade and more American jobs - and urged Democrats to do the same.  Following are Boehner’s remarks:

“Here in the House, we continue to make the American people’s priorities our priorities – starting with jobs and the economy.  We’ve passed real entitlement reform, a balanced budget plan, and good bills to make a difference for working families. 

“And I’m pleased to hear that the Senate has found a path forward to deal with trade promotion authority.  More trade means more jobs for the American people.  When the Senate completes its work on this important legislation, the House will follow suit.  Republicans are going to do our part.  Ultimately, however, success is going to require the Democrats putting aside politics and doing what’s best for our country.” 

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Boehner on Defense Bill: This Vote Is About Supporting Our Troops

2015/05/14

WASHINGTON, DC – At his weekly press briefing today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) took Democrats to task for reversing support for a defense authorization bill that passed the committee with overwhelming bipartisan support.  Following are Boehner’s remarks

“On national security, today the president is going to huddle with Middle East leaders, and we’re reminded of the growing threats posed by Iran and by ISIS terrorists.  In the House, we’re addressing these challenges head-on. 

“This week the House passed reforms to improve our foreign intelligence capabilities that helps keep Americans safe.  Today we’ll act to ensure that Congress – and the people – will have an opportunity to review any potential agreement with Iran.

“And tomorrow, we’ll take up a strong defense bill to ensure that our troops have the tools and the support they need to carry out their missions.  This shouldn’t be a tough vote.  But incredibly, after helping to pass this bill through committee by a vote of 60-2, Democrat leaders have pulled their support. 

“So let me be clear: this vote is about whether you support our men and women in uniform.  The bill authorizes all the funding the president requested for our national defense.  It improves pay and benefits for our troops and their families.  It calls for greater protection of our troops from sexual assault.  And it includes other common-sense measures that members of both parties have supported for years. 

“So Democrats are now saying they support our troops before they oppose them.  You’ll have to ask them, but I think it’s downright shameful that they’re even contemplating turning their backs on American troops.

“So I would urge all Democrats – especially those on the Armed Services Committee who voted for this bill in committee – to give our troops the support they deserve as they put their lives on the line to keep America safe.”

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Democrats are threatening to vote against a bill that would increase pay for our military and their families. They are playing politics, and it is downright shameful.

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Thursday, May 14, 2015
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Providing Our Intelligence Community the Tools It Needs to Protect Americans

2015/05/13

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement today applauding House passage of the USA Freedom Act (H.R. 2048), legislation that renews and improves our foreign intelligence surveillance capabilities, while enhancing transparency and civil liberty protections:

“Terrorists across the globe are bent on destroying our nation and our way of life, and we must provide our intelligence community the tools it needs to stop them.  The USA Freedom Act, which passed the House on a strong, bipartisan vote, reauthorizes and improves foreign intelligence surveillance capabilities critical to keeping Americans safe.  It strengthens our ability to deter and prevent attacks on U.S. soil by allowing authorities to monitor terrorists who enter the United States, and increasing penalties for those who support them.  And it ensures Americans’ civil liberties are protected by ending bulk records collection and enhancing transparency of the FISA court.  In short, this critical measure continues our focus on putting Americans’ priorities first.”

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Speaker Boehner Urges House to Protect Unborn Babies

2015/05/13

WASHINGTON, DC – In a floor speech today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) urged the whole House to support H.R. 36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.  Today marks two years since the conviction of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who was found guilty of murdering three babies by severing their spinal cords following unsuccessful abortions.

Following are Boehner’s floor remarks, as prepared for delivery:

“My colleagues, I rise today to urge the whole House to support H.R. 36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.  H.R. 36 is the most pro-life legislation to ever come before this body.  And it reflects the will of the American people. 

“As such, it also reflects the contributions of many people and perspectives.  Let me take this opportunity to thank Mrs. Black, Mr. Franks, Mr. Pitts, and Mr. Smith of New Jersey for their hard work bringing this bill to the floor.   Let me also thank our Conference Chair, Mrs. McMorris Rodgers, for her leadership.  And I want to take a moment to recognize all the Americans who spoke out for this bill.  Your voices have been heard. 

“After all, we may have no higher obligation than to speak out for those who can’t speak for themselves – to defend the defenseless.  That’s what this bill does.  Because we know that, by five months in the womb, unborn babies are capable of feeling pain, and that it is morally wrong to inflict pain on an innocent human being.  Protecting these lives is the right thing to do.  And, again, a majority of Americans agree.   

“My colleagues, growing up with 11 brothers and sisters, I didn’t need my parents to tell me that every child is a gift from God.  But let me tell you, they did – early and often.  Because that respect – that sanctity and dignity – is everything.  A vote for this bill is a vote to protect innocent lives and protect our dearest values for generations to come.  We should all be proud to take this stand today.”

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Honoring the Finest

2015/05/13

This week is National Police Week, when we honor the courage of local law enforcement and salute the sacrifice of those officers who have fallen in the line of duty.  Each year, thousands of officers and their families come to Washington, D.C. to join together and pay tribute to the fallen.  It’s also an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to those men and women in blue who have served and who continue to serve.  They have taken an oath to wear their badge with honor, integrity, and bravery to protect our communities and make a positive difference.  These men and women, the finest, are every day heroes. 

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation designating May 15th as a holiday to honor peace officers.  The week that this holiday, National Peace Officers’ Memorial Day, falls is known as ‘National Police Week.’  So far this year, 44 police officers have died in the line of duty.   Among our fallen heroes is a Capitol Police officer who spent time serving on the Speaker’s security detail: Clinton ‘Stretch’ Holtz.  His name is now carved on the marble wall at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, where he was honored on Monday  and remembered for his commanding presence, selfless leadership, and welcoming smile.

Amid recent tragedies, it is important to shine light this week on the men and women who serve proudly and faithfully because they care for their communities.  Congressman Dave Reichert (R-WA), a former law enforcement officer, wrote in his Monday op-ed:

“This year, it is particularly important that we come together as a nation to remember the men and women who wear the badge. …. Let’s make this Police Week count as we work together on policies that will strengthen our neighborhoods and communities, and protect both the people who live in them as well as those who serve to keep them safe.”

In addition, the House has passed legislation to help law enforcement officers and their families, including H.R. 606, the Don’t Tax Our Fallen Public Safety Heroes Act, and H.R. 2146, the Defending Public Safety Employees’ Retirement Act.  These bills allow retired officers to enjoy their retirement benefits and allow families of the fallen access to their full compensation.  

During this National Police Week, we honor those who put their lives on the line each and every day to protect us.   We pay tribute to their memories by remembering their service this week and all through the year.  As the Speaker expressed yesterday, this is a week to share our humbled gratitude and eternal respect.

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44 police officers have died in the line of duty this year. This Police Week, take a moment to thank those who protect and serve.

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday, May 12, 2015

 

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Weak: Dems Pull Support For Troops Bill

2015/05/13

By the looks of things, House Democrats are in the process of pulling their support for the national defense bill that funds our troops and their missions.  That’s right, the one that the Armed Services Committee passed by an overwhelming vote of 60-2.   The one that just one Democrat opposed in committee.

But why? 

It can’t be about funding: this bill authorizes all of the funding the president requested for our national defense.

It can’t be about Guantanamo Bay: this bill extends the same restrictions on transferring terrorist detainees that both parties have supported for years now.

It can’t even be complaints about the process: there will be a robust debate on a number of amendments from both sides.  And, again, this bill reflects hours of thoughtful committee consideration that resulted in a big bipartisan vote.

So what is it then?  Politics before troops?  Less than two weeks before Memorial Day? 

What every American should know is that, by voting NO on this defense bill, Democrats would be voting against:

  • ALL of the funding the president requested for our national defense.
  • A revolutionary improvement in troop benefits, including allowing troops to use a portable retirement system.
  • A joint formulary to ease troops’ transition from the Department of Defense to the VA.
  • Keeping terrorist detainees out of the United States and rolling back the president’s authority to unilaterally transfer detainee, which led to last year’s unlawful transfer of five top Taliban leaders.
  • Reinforcing the mission to defeat ISIL, including a program to combat propaganda, and accountability for political reconciliation in Iraq.
  • The lethal aid Ukraine needs to combat Russian aggression.
  • Stronger cyber defenses at a time when we remain vulnerable to a ‘Cyber Pearl Harbor.’
  • Stronger missile defense capabilities, and much more.

So are Democrats saying they supported the president’s funding levels before they opposed them?  Supported keeping terrorists out of America before they opposed it?  These are good questions to ask them.

For more, watch this video from the Armed Services Committee and check out this list of 10 reasons to back the national defense bill.  

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Three Bills to Help Keep Americans Safe

2015/05/13

WASHINGTON, DC – This week, the House will take up three bills to help strengthen our national defense and keep Americans safe.  House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) discussed these critical, bipartisan measures at a press conference with Republican leaders earlier today: 

“The House continues to make the people’s priorities our priorities.  We’ve passed real entitlement reform, a balanced budget plan, and good bills to create more of an opportunity economy.

“Another top priority for the people is a strong national defense – especially at a point when we face grave dangers all around the world.  Today, we’ll pass reforms to the foreign intelligence capabilities that help keep Americans safe.  Tomorrow, we’ll act to ensure that Congress – and the people – can review any potential agreement with Iran.  And Friday, we’ll pass a strong national defense bill that provides our troops with the resources they need to do their job to protect the American people. 

“These bills were written in a bipartisan fashion, and they continue our focus on getting things done for the people of the United States of America.” 

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‘Defend the Defenseless’: House to Vote to Protect Unborn Babies who Feel Pain from Abortion

2015/05/13

We have a moral obligation to defend the defenseless. http://t.co/otu8lLmCiY #ProLife pic.twitter.com/IHthlLfqpO

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) May 13, 2015

This week marks two years since the conviction of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who was found guilty of murdering three babies by severing their spinal cords following unsuccessful abortions. It’s estimated that Gosnell similarly killed hundreds of other live babies over decades at his clinic, which the local NBC News affiliate dubbed a “House of Horrors”:

In addition to the murder charges, the 72-year-old [Gosnell] was found guilty Monday of involuntary manslaughter in the overdose death of former patient Karnamaya Mongar.

Gosnell was also found guilty of several other crimes including one count of infanticide, two counts of conspiracy, 21 of 24 counts of abortion of an unborn child of 24 weeks or more and 208 of 227 counts of violation of informed consent of an abortion.

Self-described liberal Kirsten Powers wrote at the time:

What we need to learn from the Gosnell case is that late-term abortion is infanticide. Legal infanticide. That so many people in the media seem untroubled by the idea that 12 inches in one direction is a “private medical decision” and 12 inches in the other direction causes people to react in horror, should be troubling. …

[M]edical advances since Roe v. Wade have made it clear to me that late-term abortion is not a moral gray area, and we need to stop pretending it is. No six-months-pregnant woman is picking out names for her “fetus.” It’s a baby. Let’s stop playing Orwellian word games. We are talking about human beings here.

Science and modern medicine show that unborn babies are capable of feeling pain by 20 weeks, or five months, in the womb.

That’s why the House will vote today on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36), which protects unborn children from abortion after five months.

According to public opinion surveys, a majority of Americans – including majorities of independents, women, and people 18-29 years old – support such a measure:

  • 60 percent of adults (including 59 percent of women) prefer restrictions on abortion after 20 weeks. (Quinnipiac, 11/14)
  • 56 percent of adults (including 51 percent of Democrats) back restrictions on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, with an additional 10 percent supporting even greater limits. (Washington Post-ABC News, 7/13)
  • 59 percent of Americans either strongly or somewhat favor a federal law banning most abortions after 20 weeks. (Huffington Post/YouGov, 6/13)
  • 52 percent of people 18-29 years old support banning virtually all abortions nationwide after 20 weeks. (United Technologies/National Journal, 6/13)
  • 64 percent support a law prohibiting abortion after 20 weeks. (The Polling Company, 3/13)
  • 64 percent think abortion should generally be illegal after the first three months of pregnancy. (Gallup, 12/12)

We have a moral obligation to defend the defenseless,” Speaker Boehner said when the House passed similar legislation in 2013. “When we affirm the dignity of life, we affirm our commitment to freedom.”

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The House will vote today on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36), which protects unborn children from abortion after five months. #ProLife

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday, May 13, 2015
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Infographic: Will You Benefit from a Balanced Budget?

2015/05/13

Sometimes, math can be hard, but here's something that's easy to understand: balanced budgets are good...for everyone.  

As Speaker Boehner said in this video, it's simply not fair to leave our kids and grandkids saddled with insurmountable debt.  That's why last week, Republicans in Congress did the responsible thing and passed 10-year balanced budget agreement without raising a single tax.

Check out the infographic below to see if you fall into one of the categories of people who will benefit from a balanced budget.

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Balanced budgets are good for everyone, no matter your gender, age, or political party. That’s why Republicans in...

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday, May 13, 2015
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10 Reasons To Back The National Defense Bill

2015/05/13

This week, the House takes up the National Defense Authorization Act, legislation fulfilling Congress’s constitutional obligation to provide for the common defense.  Read the bill on docs.house.gov

In this new video from the House Armed Services Committee, Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) says, “What we’re trying to do with this NDAA is to improve agility, help us be able to be more responsive.” 

Here are ten reasons to back this critical legislation:

  1. It provides the resources for a strong national defense.  The bill reflects both Congress’s balanced budget plan and the president’s budget request, and it does so in a fiscally responsible way to ensure Americans get the most defense for the dollar.
  2. It improves pay and benefits for our troops and their families, including allowing servicemembers to contribute to a portable retirement plan, cutting the backlog for military childcare, and implementing a joint formulary for medications between the VA and the Department of Defense.  Amid calls for better care at the VA, this is an important step to ensure servicemembers receive the best and most consistent treatment as they leave military service.
  3. It initiates landmark reforms to the Department of Defense’s broken acquisition system by streamlining the process, improving accountability, and eliminating outdating regulations.  This will help ensure our military has the agility and technological edge to respond to the evolving security threats we face.
  4. It calls for greater protection of our troops from sexual assault, including recommending expansion of sexual assault prevention training to ROTC and Junior ROTC programs, and enhancement of sexual assault prevention for male victims in the Armed Forces. 
  5. It reinforces the mission to defeat ISIL, including authorizing resources for security assistance to Iraqi forces, training and equipping Syrian rebels, enhancing Jordan’s military capabilities, and approving a pilot program to counter propaganda efforts.   ISIL’s sophisticated use of social media was a frequent topic of discussion during Speaker Boehner’s visits with key partners in the Middle East, and he considers this kind of program to be vital to an overarching strategy to defeat this threat. 
  6. It imposes greater restrictions on transferring terrorists.  In addition to continuing a bipartisan policy that keeps terrorists out of the United States, the bill rolls back the president’s authority to unilaterally transfer terrorists to other countries.  This provision addresses the administration’s unlawful transfer of five top Taliban leaders from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl – an action that was taken without notifying Congress. 
  7. It strengthens oversight of terrorist transfers and communications, withholding 25 percent of funding for the Secretary of Defense’s office until he fulfills Congress’s request for documents related to last year’s unlawful transfer of five top Taliban leaders.  The bill also requires the Department of Defense to report to Congress when former detainees attempt to re-engage and communicate with terrorists. 
  8. It strengthens the nation’s cyber defenses, including fully authorizing all U.S. Cyber Command and Military Service programs, and boosting incentives for companies to share information on threats and defensive measures with the Department of Defense.  The House recently passed a series of cybersecurity reforms
  9. It provides for lethal aid to Ukraine, so that Ukraine can better defend itself against Russian aggression.  In March, a bipartisan group of House leaders wrote to President Obama urging him to approve lethal aid based on authority he has already been given, but he has yet to act. 
  10. It improves our missile defense capabilities, including authorizing resources for the planning and design of an East Coast missile defense site.  As the committee notes, this follows the president’s concessions to the Russians on missile defense, and a recent test showing that Iran continues to develop capabilities. 

BONUS: The bill passed with strong bipartisan support in the House Armed Services Committee by a vote of 60-2. 

For even more reasons to back this bill, check out this full summary.

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Speaker Boehner Statement on House’s Bipartisan WOTUS Bill

2015/05/12

WASHINGTON, DC -- House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after the House passed HR. 1732, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act, which requires the Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw a proposal to greatly expand the federal government’s power over waterways without stakeholder input:

“The flawed ‘WOTUS’ rule is a breath-taking power grab by the Obama administration and today’s bipartisan vote is another clear rejection of its heavy-handed Washington decrees.  If allowed to proceed the proposed rule would greatly impact the rights of America’s small businesses, farmers, and manufacturers.  The rule unilaterally expands federal power over waters in a way never before contemplated – all of which could have serious consequences for our economy, threatening jobs, inviting costly litigation, and significantly restricting the ability of landowners to make decisions about their property and the rights of state and local governments to plan for their own development.  More than 30 state governors and state legislators across the country have voiced their concerns about the threats to freedom and opportunity posed by this regulatory overreach.  The House now joins them in opposing a flawed and ill-informed proposal.”

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The Flawed “WOTUS” Rule Explained

2015/05/12

In March 2014, the Obama administration announced a proposed rule that would unilaterally expand the federal government’s authority over waters in a way never before contemplated – all of which could have serious consequences for our economy, threatening jobs, inviting costly litigation, and significantly restricting the ability of landowners to make decisions about their property and the rights of state and local governments to plan for their own development.  Dubbed by many the “WOTUS” rule, the proposal would allow waters traditionally off-limits to federal regulation to be subjected to the dictates of the Environmental Protection Agency and a gratuitous misapplication of the Clean Water Act. 

For decades the term “Waters of the United States” has been applied to mean “navigable waters” upon which boats or ships could operate.  The administration’s WOTUS rule would jettison this traditional understanding and would greatly extend the reach of federal authority.  The rule would give Washington, DC bureaucrats unprecedented powers to regulate virtually any place that water flows or accumulates anywhere in the United States.  It would allow regulation of a host of land features, including minor wetlands and typically dry streambeds that only occasionally carry storm water.

The EPA is attempting to implement this proposed rule without the input of farmers, landowners, business owners, or other affected parties.  All of these stakeholders and more would be greatly impacted should the rule move forward.  They would find great difficulty building or expanding their businesses, farm operations, or manufacturing activities—potentially on their own land. 

Since its proposal last year, many states and local governments have weighed in on the rule’s unfavorable consequences to their various jurisdictions, especially in completing infrastructure projects like roads, bridges, and transmission lines.  This flawed rule is opposed by at least 32 states, cities large and small, counties, towns, and townships.   

The nation’s governors have been quite pointed in their assessments as well.  Here’s a sampling of their comments from the many letters and formal comments they have sent the Obama administration since the spring of 2014:

  • Wyoming Governor Matt Mead: “The EPA and Army Corp of Engineers have overstepped with this proposed rule, ignoring state sovereignty and more than 100 years of law.  This is in essence another regulatory power grab of unprecedented magnitude.  The proposal should be withdrawn.”
  • Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin: “This proposal makes the development rights of Oklahomans more ambiguous, rather than providing the common sense and clarity necessary for our citizens.  If the current proposal moves forward, it will harm development, cause construction delays of critical infrastructure, and burden our farmers and ranchers.”
  • North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple: “As written, this proposed rule would drastically expand the EPA’s authority to include virtually all surface water, including seasonal streams, ponds and dry ditches.  It is a clear example of government overreach and it’s unworkable for our farmers, ranchers and other landowners.”
  • Iowa Governor Terry Branstad: “State of Iowa leaders care deeply about improving water quality and that is why we are so concerned about that this Federal rule, which is a one-size-fits-all approach that will create unnecessary barriers for the advancement of conservation, water quality and economic development projects throughout the State of Iowa.”
  • North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory: “Such dramatic expansion of federal authority over a state matter must come from Congress, not a federal agency acting alone.  This proposed rule will impose burdensome and overreaching regulations, hindering the work and livelihood of North Carolina farmers, landowners and others.”

In addition to state governors, state legislators have also raised particular concern about the costs that would be passed on to those impacted by this flawed rule.  In formal comments to the EPA, members of the American Legislative Exchange Council—a group of one-third of the nation’s state legislators—noted the already exorbitant cost of obtaining Clean Water Act (Section 404) permits.  Private and public entities already spend an average of $271,000 and wait an average 788 days to obtain these Section 404 permits to complete projects.  By redefining WOTUS, notes ALEC, “the federal government would likely impose even greater burdens on farmers, businesses, local governments, and landowners than those that already exist.”

The idea of redefining WOTUS is nothing new.  Partisan attempts in the years liberals controlled the House of Representatives were turned back by bipartisan opposition.  The WOTUS rule is another clear example of a disturbing pattern of an Imperial Presidency seeking to use executive action while ignoring Congress.

This week the House will consider the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act (H.R. 1732).  This bill, authored by House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, would give the EPA 30 days to withdraw the current flawed rule and charge the agency with developing a new proposed rule.  This bill upholds the integrity of the federal-state partnership to regulate the nation’s waters by preserving existing rights, and requires EPA and other agencies to perform real outreach and consultation with stakeholders and those affected by the rule.  A veto threat already issued by the White House on the bill is further proof of its determination to seize more power, federalize all waters, and regulate land use around the country.

The House’s effort will move ahead despite this veto threat and will demonstrate a bipartisan majority to slow down this flawed EPA overreach.  By fixing a flawed process and working with state and local governments and stakeholders, the EPA and other agencies might find the clarity they seek for enforcing the Clean Water Act—and do so without wrecking our economy, trampling on existing rights, and significantly increasing stakeholder costs.

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Boehner Statement on Senate Trade Vote

2015/05/12

WASHINGTON, DC - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after Senate Democrats voted against beginning consideration of trade promotion authority (TPA) legislation:

“More trade means more jobs for the American people.  This has always been a difficult issue for the president’s political party, but I hope that Democrats in both the House and Senate will put politics aside and do what’s best for the country.  The House will continue to work to advance trade promotion authority, but success will require the president and his party to rethink their approach to this important issue.”

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Honoring Speaker Wright

2015/05/11

On Wednesday, the 48th Speaker of the House, Jim Wright of Texas, passed away at the age of 92. 

In his honor, flags at the Capitol were lowered to half-staff, and – as is custom – both Speaker’s chair on the rostrum and Speaker Wright’s portrait in the Speaker’s Lobby have been draped in black.  Noting his passing, Speaker Boehner said last week:

“We remember Speaker Wright today for his lifelong commitment to public service, from flying combat missions over the South Pacific to fighting for Fort Worth on the House floor.  Speaker Wright understood as well as anyone this institution’s closeness to the people, calling the House ‘the raw essence of the nation.’  It is in this spirit that we send our deepest condolences to his family and community.”

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National Debt: Can You Explain It In 10 Seconds?

2015/05/11

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Charts, numbers, lists, videos, graphics, even throwbacks

There are so many ways to talk about the 10-year balanced budget plan Congress passed last week – the first blueprint of its kind since 2001.

But when a 16-year old blogger asked Speaker Boehner, “Can you explain this debt to me so I can explain it to my friends?,” he went with a more straightforward approach. Take a look.

Over seven years, President Obama has NEVER proposed a budget that balances.  But now, just four months into the new Congress, Republicans have worked together to pass the first joint 10-year balanced budget since 2001.  

As former Speaker Newt Gingrich wrote last week, “The comparison between undisciplined, out-of-control spending and a pro-growth plan to cut spending and reduce the size and scope of the federal government should hearten every conservative.”

Of course, this budget is just a blueprint, and as we continue to build on it, it's worth putting in perspective  – as Speaker Boehner did here -- why this work is so important.

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Benghazi Committee Releases Interim Report

2015/05/11

Marking the one-year anniversary of its establishment, the House Benghazi Committee has released a new interim report outlining the progress it has made in its investigation thus far, and laying out the next steps in its effort to determine what happened before, during, and after the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.  Here are a few highlights from the report, courtesy of the committee:

  • “More than 20,000 pages of emails and documents never before released to Congress have been produced by the State Department.”
  • “The Committee has interviewed State Department and CIA personnel, including survivors of the Benghazi terrorist attacks who had never been interviewed by previous committees, as well as others who have been able to provide indispensable firsthand details of the U.S. presence in Benghazi, Libya.”
  • “The Committee has also held over two dozen classified and unclassified briefings with the Administration and Executive Branch agencies that have information relevant to the investigation.”
  • “These negotiations resulted in the State Department producing 15,000 pages of new documents to the Committee.  These productions were the first time:  (1) the State Department produced any email to or from former Secretary Clinton; and (2) the Committee became aware the former Secretary had used a private e-mail account to conduct official State Department business.”

While the committee’s work continues, the report notes that its progress is being impeded by the Obama administration’s continued stonewalling – including the State Department’s refusal to turn over all of the emails and documents requested by the committee:

  • “The committee has taken particular issue with the fact that the State Department has failed to release all of the requested emails and documents from then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her staff relating to the Benghazi attack.” (Daily Caller)
  • “It also hammers the State Department for taking months to hand over material and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email account. ‘The fact that the secretary exclusively used and maintained a private email server, leaving her with sole and unfettered access to the complete universe of her emails, raises a number of transparency and accountability issues,’ wrote Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), the panel’s chairman.  He repeated his demand for Clinton to turn the server over to a neutral third party.” (The Hill)
  • “[Gowdy] contended that ‘the greatest impediment to completing this investigation in a timely manner has been the level of cooperation by the executive branch.’” (Bloomberg)
  • “In the report, Gowdy criticized the Obama administration for the slow pace of turning over documents to the panel. He noted that dozens of subpoena requests have not been answered — making it hard, Gowdy argued, to effectively question Clinton. … ‘The State Department has told the Committee that it cannot certify that it has turned over all documents responsive to the Committee’s request regarding the former Secretary’s emails’...the report said.” (Politico)

To ensure the American people have all of the facts surrounding the terrorist attack in Benghazi that took the lives of four Americans, Speaker Boehner has repeatedly called on Secretary Clinton to turn over her email server to a neutral third party to determine what emails belong in the public domain.  With an additional 4,000 documents released just in the last month, it is clear that the committee’s work must, and will, continue until the families of those who were lost, and the American people, have the answers they deserve.

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Weekly Address: Hold President Obama Accountable on Trade

2015/05/10

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“I am tired of years of economic stagnation, of watching our country marginalized, and of an administration that often operates in direct defiance of Congress and the American people.  This bill is a giant step to solving these problems.”

That’s Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) in this week’s Republican address making the case for Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), important legislation to make sure the president makes good trade agreements – and stop him if he doesn’t.

Here are a few highlights of what’s in the address:

  • The Hill reports that “House Republicans called top-priority trade legislation the ‘key to restarting America’s trade engine’… Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), delivering the GOP’s weekly address, framed the measure as a win for Congress in an explicit rebuke of President Obama.  ‘Some of the right oppose [this bill] because they don’t trust the president and his history of executive overreach,’ McClintock said. ‘Well, I don’t trust him either. That’s why I support this bill. Without it, he can negotiate anything he wants.  Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) binds him to the will of Congress before the agreement is reached.’”
  • According to Newsmax, “McClintock allows that the bill has critics on both sides of the aisle, noting, for example, ‘some on the right oppose it because they don’t trust the president and his history of executive overreach.’  ‘Well, I don’t trust him either," he said. ‘That’s why I support this bill. Without it, he can negotiate anything he wants. Trade Promotion Authority binds him to the will of Congress before the agreement is reached.’  McClintock adds: ‘I’m particularly concerned about illegal immigration. This bill forbids the president from making any changes to our laws, including our immigration laws.’”
  • From ABC News Radio: “As such, the congressman explains, ‘If -- and only if -- he meets Congress' objectives, will Congress then agree -- not necessarily to pass the agreement -- but only to vote on it after the American people have had their say.’    ‘I am tired of years of economic stagnation, of watching our country marginalized, and of an administration that often operates in direct defiance of Congress and the American people.’ McClintock says. ‘This bill is a giant step to solving these problems.’

Learn more about TPA by checking out this list of 10 things TPA is and isn’t about.

Read More

Weekly Republican Address: Trade Means Freedom & Prosperity

2015/05/08

WASHINGTON, DC – Delivering the Weekly Republican Address, Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) outlines how Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) works, why we need it, and how it will help create jobs and grow the economy.  As Rep. McClintock explains, TPA – a bicameral, bipartisan initiative – will allow Congress to set objectives for trade agreements, ensure a transparent negotiating process, and provide for a final vote on any agreement reached by the administration.  Without it, the United States will continue losing ground in the global economy to other countries, like China, which “is writing the rules while we’re left behind,” McClintock says.    

“I don’t know about you, but I am tired of years of economic stagnation, of watching our country marginalized, and of an administration that often operates in direct defiance of Congress and the American people,” McClintock adds. “This bill is a giant step to solving these problems.”

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

Remarks of Representative Tom McClintock of CaliforniaWeekly Republican AddressMay 9, 2015

Hi, I’m Congressman Tom McClintock from California.

Right now, Congress is considering important legislation to help create more jobs and prosperity for the American people.  It’s called ‘Trade Promotion Authority,’ and I’d like to visit with you about it.

Trade means prosperity.  More markets for American products means more jobs and higher wages for American workers.  More products entering our economy means more consumer choices and lower prices. 

But here’s the problem: unfair trade regulations, labor standards, high taxes and foreign subsidies often put American workers at a real disadvantage.  To remove these barriers, we have to negotiate trade agreements to put Americans back in the game under fair and equal rules.  

We haven’t done that recently because the legal authority to effectively negotiate these agreements expired years ago, and we’re seeing the result.  Since 2000, there have been 48 trade agreements among Asian nations, and Americans were part of only two of them.  China is writing the rules while we’re left behind.  

That’s why Trade Promotion Authority is so important.  It’s the key to restarting America’s trade engine.

Here’s how it works.  Congress sets 150 objectives that our negotiators have to advance – fair rules that both sides have to follow – everything from food safety and labor standards to rules for trading on the Internet. 

If these objectives aren’t met, the deal’s off.  End of discussion.  If they are met, then the agreement’s published in full for 60 days so the American people can weigh in, and only then will Congress vote to approve it or reject it. 

This process gives our negotiating partners the confidence that the concessions that they make won’t be endlessly altered once the agreement gets to Congress.  It’ll either be voted up or voted down.  That assures our negotiators will bring back to Congress the very best offer from our trading partners without their holding anything back.

We’ve negotiated trade agreements this way generally since the 1930’s, and very much like this since the 1970’s.  But now, in some quarters it’s become controversial. 

Some on the left oppose it because of pressure from protectionist special interests.  Well, they’ve forgotten the painful lessons of history.  Protectionism is the fastest way to destroy an economy, as this nation has learned repeatedly, going back as far as Jefferson’s time. 

Some on the right oppose it because they don’t trust the president and his history of executive overreach. 

Well, I don’t trust him either.  That’s why I support this bill.  Without it, he can negotiate anything he wants.  Trade Promotion Authority binds him to the will of Congress before the agreement is reached.  If – and only if – he meets Congress’ objectives, will Congress then agree – not necessarily to pass the agreement – but only to vote on it after the American people have had their say.  

I’m particularly concerned about illegal immigration.  This bill forbids the president from making any changes to our laws, including our immigration laws.   

I don’t know about you, but I am tired of years of economic stagnation, of watching our country marginalized, and of an administration that often operates in direct defiance of Congress and the American people.  This bill is a giant step to solving these problems. 

The free exchange of goods – whether between people or nations – means that both sides go away with something of greater value to themselves – or the trade wouldn’t take place.  Freedom creates prosperity, and the greater the freedom, the greater the prosperity.  Trade Promotion Authority is the means by which this freedom is advanced – for ourselves and for our children.

Freedom works.  And it’s time that we put it back to work.

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Victory in Europe

2015/05/08

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the day in which the United States and its allies of World War II accepted Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender, securing victory in the European theater.  To commemorate the anniversary of “Victory in Europe” Day, or VE Day, dozens of vintage World War II aircraft flew over the National Mall and U.S. Capitol Complex in Washington, D.C. to honor the heroes of the war and to all those Americans who made the victory possible.  The aircraft flew over our nation’s capital in a special, historical sequence representing formations used in the major battles of WWII.  This historic event – known as the Arsenal of Democracy Flyover – can be seen in the video below.

After today’s special event, Speaker John Boehner said: 

“Today’s VE Day flyover is a wonderful way to honor our heroes and marvel at the achievements of our World War II pilots, air crew, and mechanics.  It’s nice to see the good guys in the air once more.”

Over the years, Congress has bestowed the Congressional Gold Medal – the nation’s highest civilian honor – to World War II veterans whose bravery and valor played a significant role in ending the war. Congress has awarded medals to the Tuskegee Airmen, Japanese-American WWII Veterans of the 442nd RCT/100th Battalion, the Montford Point Marines, the Devil’s Brigade, Native American Code Talkers, and the Civil Air Patrol.  In addition, today’s flyover included formations from the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders, who were awarded with the Congressional Gold Medal last month

Speaker Boehner and congressional leaders will present the Congressional Gold Medal to the American Fighter Aces on May 20, 2015, providing us with an opportunity to thank these brave volunteers for their military service and exemplary record.  The ceremony will be broadcast at Speaker.gov/live.  

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Speaker Boehner on the April 2015 Unemployment Report

2015/05/08

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement in response to the Department of Labor’s unemployment report for April 2015:

“While the economy continues to show some signs of improvement, too many middle-class families are struggling just to get by.  Too many Americans remain out of work, and too many are working harder only to lose ground to stagnant wages and rising costs.  We can do better.  That’s why Republicans remain focused on solutions that will help create jobs and make a real difference for working families.  We’ve passed a balanced budget that paves the way for stronger economic growth, and allows Americans to keep more of what they earn.  Instead of taxing 529 college savings plans, as the president proposed, we’ve passed a bill to protect and expand this critical tool to help families save for college and avoid crushing student loan debt.  And we’re keeping up the fight for more trade, which means more jobs and higher wages for millions of Americans.  We’re off to a good start in the new Congress, but we’re far from finished.  We’ll continue pressing for solutions that address Americans’ top priorities, and I encourage the president to work with us to get more of these common sense measures signed into law.” 

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Rep. Tom McClintock to Deliver the Weekly Republican Address

2015/05/08

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has selected Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) to deliver the Weekly Republican Address on Saturday, May 9, 2015.  McClintock will discuss bipartisan legislation to hold Washington accountable for better trade agreements that mean more jobs, prosperity, and freedom for the American people.

The Constitution gives Congress the authority to regulate commerce with other nations,” Congressman McClintock said.  “Since the 1930s, Congress has chosen to exercise its responsibility by establishing the broad terms of trade agreements it seeks and then giving explicit instructions to our negotiators at the beginning of the process.  That process is now called Trade Promotion Authority.  It has stood the test of time and has been used to the great benefit of our nation.  It is freedom that produces prosperity – the free exchange of goods between people and between nations for their mutual betterment.  The greater the freedom, the greater the prosperity.  Trade Promotion Authority is a means by which this freedom is advanced.”

Rep. McClintock is in his fourth term representing California’s Fourth Congressional District.  Learn more about Rep. McClintock by visiting his official website, or by following him on Facebook andTwitter.

The Weekly Republican Address will be available nationwide starting Saturday, May 9, at 6:00 am ETon Speaker.gov and GOP.gov.

 

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Speaker Boehner on Senate Passage of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act

2015/05/07

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement following Senate passage of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act:

“This important, bipartisan legislation will ensure that Congress has a role in reviewing any potential agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear weapons program.  Our goal is to stop a bad agreement that could pave the way to a nuclear-armed Iran, set off a regional nuclear arms race, and strengthen and legitimize the government of Iran – which threatens Israel and other allies in the region, as well as supports terrorism throughout the Middle East.  I applaud the Senate for passing this bill, and thank Sen. Corker and others for their hard work.  I look forward to House passage of this bill to hold President Obama’s administration accountable.”

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National Day of Prayer

2015/05/07

Today is the 64th National Day of Prayer and Speaker Boehner is marking the occasion with a short message offering prayers in solidarity for persecuted Christians in the Middle East and around the world.

“If ever a National Day of Prayer was needed, it is certainly now,“ Boehner says from his office in the United States Capitol.  “When you look at the number of Christians being killed in the Middle East – killed because of their faith – I think it’s time for all us to take a moment and say a prayer for them, because they need our help today.”

On Easter Sunday, shortly after returning from the Middle East, Speaker Boehner wrote about this on his Facebook page:

“In Iraq, where I was this week, ISIL has been replacing crosses with Islamic State flags and destroying centuries-old churches.   In Egypt, 21 Christians were beheaded after being called ‘people of the cross.’  In Syria, some 220 Christians were abducted.  And in Kenya, Christian students were hunted down in a massacre that left 148 dead.  Among those reduced to rubble was the Virgin Mary Church in northern Iraq. ...  It can be trying to wait for life amid such strife.  But to consider the empty tomb is to see that love will conquer fear, and that light will always overcome the darkness.”  

For more, read this recent post on Speaker.gov, which examines whether our government is doing all it can to protect persecuted Christians.

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What can trade do for you?

2015/05/06

There has been a lot of talk about international trade lately, and rightfully so, since trade supports almost 40 million jobs in the United States.  But, many of you may be asking: What does free trade do for me?

These are just a few examples of how the 20 trade agreements we have with countries around the world benefit American families and workers.   And, currently, the U.S. is pursuing ambitious trade agreements with our allies in Europe and Asia that would further benefit American families, farmers, ranchers and businesses.   Combined, these agreements could result in 1.4 million new American jobs.  

It is no wonder more Americans are embracing how free trade can benefit them and the U.S. economy.  However, for Americans to realize the full benefits of these agreements, one thing is missing – trade promotion authority (TPA).  TPA is the key to unlocking the full benefits of our trade agreements.   As Speaker Boehner noted in a recent interview, every president over the last 50 years has had trade promotion authority, and there is no reason why President Obama shouldn’t have it because trade is good for our country.   

Republicans are working to pass this key economic priority.  Recently, the Ways & Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee approved H.R. 1890 - the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act – legislation to renew trade promotion authority and help secure the best trade agreements for our workers and our economy.  

Republicans stand ready to work with President Obama to make this a reality.  As Speaker Boehner has said before, “If both parties work together, we can create more jobs, increase wages, and expand opportunity for American families and small businesses.” 

Now it is time for the president to get Democrats off the sidelines and secure their support so we can get things done for the American people.  

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Speaker Boehner on the Passing of Speaker Jim Wright

2015/05/06

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement mourning the passing of former Speaker Jim Wright (D-TX):

“The whole House mourns the passing of Speaker Jim Wright of the state of Texas.  We remember Speaker Wright today for his lifelong commitment to public service, from flying combat missions over the South Pacific to fighting for Fort Worth on the House floor.  Speaker Wright understood as well as anyone this institution’s closeness to the people, calling the House ‘the raw essence of the nation.’  It is in this spirit that we send our deepest condolences to his family and community.”

 

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Working Together to Balance the Budget for the American People

2015/05/05

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BIG NEWS → Congress just passed a 10-year balanced budget without raising anyone's taxes.

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday, May 5, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement today applauding Senate passage of the first joint 10-year balanced budget agreement since 2001:

“In seven years, President Obama has never proposed a budget that balances. For a span of four years, Senate Democrats didn’t pass a budget at all. Now, four months into the new Congress, Republican majorities in the House and Senate worked together to pass the first joint 10-year balanced budget in 14 years. This is a big win for the American people, and a fulfillment of our promise to govern responsibly and return the annual appropriations process to regular order. Workers and families deserve a federal government that spends within its means and treats Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars with respect.”

NOTE: The House passed the budget agreement on April 30. Learn more about 10 things this budget does to help hardworking taxpayers.

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Progress on Expanding College Savings

2015/05/05

Last week, we got one step closer to making it easier for families to plan and pay for college

The Senate Finance Committee approved bipartisan legislation to expand and modernize popular 529 plans, which millions of families use to save for college tax-free:

  • “The school year is winding down across most of the United States, but Congress is continuing work on expansion of a popular tax-favored college savings plan that could help future students. … President Barack Obama earlier this year floated the idea of limiting 529 plan options. That prompted an immediate outcry… The House responded quickly, passing a bill in late February to expand rather than restrict 529 plans.   Now it's the Senate's turn. … The Senate Finance Committee bill is encouraging for folks who count on 529s to help pay college costs.” (Bankrate)
  • “The bill, S. 335, was introduced by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in February.  It mirrors Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KY) and Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI)’s bill, H.R. 529, that the House passed in February. … The way 529 plans work now is that you put away after-tax money into an account where it grows tax free and comes out tax free when you use it for college or grad school expenses. Obama’s proposal was to impose income tax on the earnings when you take out money, negating the driving reason to set up an account.” (Forbes)
  •  “The Senate Finance Committee last week joined a movement initiated by the House earlier this year. It is sending a firm message to the administration not to mess with tax-deferred college savings accounts again.” (National Journal)

Of course, the president didn’t just float the idea of taxing the millions of middle-class families who use these plans, he dropped it right in his budget.  Actually, the White House still thinks it is a good idea. 

We can’t afford that, which is why our plan does some simple but important things: it allows 529 savings to be used to buy computers, it eliminates unnecessary paperwork, and it waives penalties for re-depositing money.  This is a good plan, and the state treasurers who run these programs agree.

It’s important we get this done, especially now in college decision season, when families are beginning to grapple with the reality of paying for their kids’ education.  

If recent years are any indication, most of the Class of 2015 will walk away with both a diploma and a pile of a student loan debt – nearly $30,000 on average.  All told, student loan debt has nearly quadrupled since 2004, to just under $1.2 trillion.  This debt is a drag on our economy, as it makes it less likely for young people to buy a home and start a business.  What’s more, The Washington Post noted that one reason millennials are “putting off parenthood more than any other generation” is the anxiety surrounding paying off loans and finding financial stability.   

The president has talked about “enhancing” – read: complicating – the borrowing experience, but families need more options to avoid borrowing altogether, and that’s what our plan is all about.  The full House has acted, and hopefully the Senate will soon.

Read More

The Top 5 Photos from April

2015/05/05

1. While traveling in the Middle East, Speaker Boehner talks with President Obama about the parameters of a potential deal with Iran.

 

Click here to learn more.

2.  Speaker Boehner signs the biggest entitlement reform in nearly 20 years.   

Click here to learn more.

 

3.  Speaker Boehner Visits the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at Ground Zero.

Click here to learn more.

4. Speaker Boehner welcomes Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as the first Japanese leader to address a Joint Meeting of Congress.

Click here to learn more.

 

5.  Flat Stanley visits the U.S. Capitol with Rep. Mike Bost of Illinois. 

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Rep. Mike Bost of Illinois brought a special visitor by the office recently → Flat Stanley.

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Saturday, May 2, 2015
Related Story: Photos from 7 Countries in 7 Days Read More

Boehner & Ryan Continue Trade Push

2015/05/04

As infighting among Democrats continues to threaten an important trade bill, Speaker Boehner has challenged former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to help pass this bipartisan priority.  His comments came during an appearance yesterday on NBC’s Meet The Press:

  • Boehner says Hillary Clinton should support White House on trade.  Republican House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner challenged Hillary Clinton on Sunday to help the White House get trade legislation through the U.S. Congress by speaking out in favor of it.  ‘She can't sit on the sidelines and let the president swing in the wind here,’ Boehner said on NBC's ‘Meet the Press.’  Boehner said that Clinton … supports both fast-track authority and the TPP, but ‘she just won't say so.’”  (Reuters)
  • Boehner: Obama needs Clinton on trade. … House Speaker John Boehner says he believes Hillary Clinton supports President Barack Obama's free trade push, but ‘she just won't say so.’ … He said every President over the last 50 years has had trade promotion authority and there's ‘no reason why President Obama shouldn't have it either, because trade is good for our country.’  That, Boehner said, is where Clinton comes in.  She can't sit on the sidelines and let the President swing in the wind here,’ he said.” (CNN)
  • Boehner: Clinton needs to bring Democrats along on trade. … House Speaker John Boehner says Hillary Rodham Clinton needs to back trade legislation that President Barack Obama wants — and help get Democrats on board.  Boehner says Republican votes alone aren't enough to give Obama the negotiating authority to complete an Asia-Pacific trade deal. He tells NBC's ‘Meet the Press’ that Obama ‘needs her help’ and Clinton should be more involved.” (Associated Press)
  • Boehner tells Clinton don’t let Obama 'swing in the wind' over Asia-Pacific trade deal … Clinton as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013 supported such legislation. But as a presidential candidate she appears noncommittal …  ‘Hillary Clinton was for trade promotion authority,’ Boehner added. ‘Hillary Clinton is for the trade bill with the Asians, she just won't say so.’ He also said Clinton ‘can't sit on the sidelines and let the president swing in the wind.’” (Fox News)
  • Boehner accuses Hillary Clinton of letting Obama ‘swing in the wind.’  … In an interview aired on NBC’s Meet the Press, Boehner, R-West Chester, said that when she Obama’s secretary of state, Clinton was an enthusiastic supporter of the proposed 12-nation Pacific deal, referring to it in 2012 as ‘the gold standard in trade agreements.’’” (The Columbus Dispatch)
  • Obama needs Hillary Clinton to clinch trade deal, John Boehner says.  But right now, Mrs. Clinton is willfully putting the president in a difficult political position, the Ohio Republican added.”  (The Washington Times)

During the interview – which you can watch here – Boehner noted, as he has from the start, that this bill will have strong support from Republicans, but the president must do his part as well.

 

Also yesterday, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) continued his trade push during an appearance on Face the Nation: “If you’re standing still on trade you’re losing, you’re falling behind. There were 48 trade agreements in Asia since 2000; we were a part of two of them. Only two! As a result, our share of trade in Asia has gone down 42 percent… The rules of the global economy are being written right now, there is no question about that. The question is: Who is going to write them? Are we going to write the rules with our allies? Or is China going to write them for China’s benefit, which is not in our interest?” For more, check out this list of 10 things TPA is and isn’t. 

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Obama Administration Oversees Big Decline in American Energy Production on Federal Lands

2015/05/04

With the exception of his speech at the Florida Everglades last week, President Obama likes to tell virtually every crowd that “America is number one in oil and gas” production. He’s right – but to borrow his line from 2012, he didn’t build that.

A new, nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) report reveals that from 2010 to 2014:

  • Crude oil production on state and private lands increased by 89 percent, while production on land controlled by the federal government decreased by 10 percent. 
  • Natural gas production on state and private lands increased by 21 percent, while production on land controlled by the federal government decreased by 31 percent.
  • The federal share of total U.S. crude oil production fell from 36 percent to 21 percent.

The numbers don’t lie: President Obama can’t claim credit for America’s energy boom, or the lower gas prices and jobs it created. Indeed, throughout his political career, President Obama has argued against increasing production, insisting that it would never result in lower prices. He was wrong.

Republicans, on the other hand, have led the charge to empower American energy manufacturers and lower costs for American workers and families. In fact, Speaker Boehner has laid out five key things we can do as a country to capitalize on this energy boom and reset America’s economic foundation for the future.

Our recovering economy still has a long way to go, but there have been some positive signs in recent months. Lower gas prices are certainly a factor, reported Ohio’s Journal-News:

Gas prices … still are more than $1 less than this time last year, and that is driving the economy. … Average gas prices in the Cincinnati area … are still about $1.17 lower than they were a year ago, according to cincygasprices.com. … Economists say the benefits from cheaper gas accrue slowly over time. As a result, changes in behavior are often seen only after three to six months. Drivers will see the lowest summer gasoline prices in about six years, according to the Energy Department.

“[T]he latest drop in energy prices … is disproportionately helping lower-income groups,” The New York Times reported in January. “Some say lower gas prices help fuel [the] local economy,” read a Lancaster Eagle-Gazette headline in early April.

Republicans in Congress are embracing the boom, passing legislation to help keep it going, and urging the Obama administration to get on board. Unfortunately, the White House only seems to be interested in expanding the reach of burdensome regulations and red tape.  The president vetoed a bill to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in February, pledged to veto a bill to help expedite the expansion of American energy infrastructure, and failed to back increasing natural gas exports – something that is vital for jobs and global security.

And as if the Obama administration hasn’t discouraged energy production on federal lands enough, it recently announced plans to increase royalty rates and institute a duplicative rule that will raise production costs.

That’s not going to help strengthen the economy. Americans deserve better, and that’s what Republicans are going to continue to focus on.

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Watch Speaker Boehner's Meet The Press Interview

2015/05/03

In an interview with Chuck Todd for NBC’s Meet the Press, Speaker Boehner highlighted the progress Congress is making on jobs and the people’s priorities, including trade, energy, education, balancing the budget, and more.

Watch the full interview on NBC News, and below check out excerpts that may interest you:

On trade, Hillary Clinton can't sit on the sidelines: “Hillary Clinton was for trade promotion authority.  Hillary Clinton is for the trade bill with the Asians, she just won’t say so.  And the fact is, is the president needs her help in order to get Democrat votes in the House and Senate to get this passed.   … Every Democrat leader in the Congress is opposed to the president’s position.  Now listen, we’ve got a majority here in the House, in the Senate, but we can’t do this by ourselves.  And we’re going to carry the bulk of the votes to get trade promotion authority done for the president because this trade promotion authority – every president over the last 50 years has had this.  There’s no reason why President Obama shouldn’t have it either because trade is good for our country.  But, she can’t sit on the sidelines and let the president swing in the wind here.”

A good start on getting things done for the American people: “So far this first hundred days of the new Congress we’ve gotten off to a good start.  Whether it’s our plan to balance the budget, which now has passed the House, the Senate passed a bill, we have a conference report and I expect the Senate to approve their budget.  Whether it was getting the Keystone pipeline through the House and Senate, on the president’s desk.  Preventing veterans’ suicides, or, the president called for taxing college savings plans, we moved a bill to expand college savings plans – all of it in a bipartisan way.  But there’s a lot more work to do.”

More opportunities for bipartisan progress: “Most of these bills were moved in the last Congress on a bipartisan basis through the House, but went nowhere in the Senate.  … Our members came here to listen to the American people, make their priorities our priorities, and we’ve done it.  We look at cybersecurity, you look at collecting foreign intelligence to keep Americans safe.  There’s a lot of other bipartisan bills that are underway, a lot of discussion about trade.”

Baltimore and strengthening America’s communities: “How about we find a way to educate more of America's kids?  Half of our kids get an education, more than half get a diploma, but they get a diploma they can't read.  And when you look at the schools in these inner cities, these families are trapped in bad schools that don't provide a real education.  And look what you get.  Chuck, what we have here is 50 years of liberal policies that have not worked to help the very people we want to help.  It's time to look at all these programs and determine what's working and what isn't.  Because until we start to find programs that actually work and we provide more opportunities, and a better education, we're going to have more of the same.”

The American people deserve the truth about what happened in Benghazi: “I don’t want to extend it into the presidential year.  I wish it was over last year.  But when the administration stonewalls, stonewalls, and stonewalls, you have no choice.  I only have one goal here, and that is the truth about what happened before Benghazi, the night of Benghazi …How about the 4,000 documents that we just got from the State Department that we never have seen before? How about the documents that the State Department turned over from Hillary’s server that we had never gotten before? We wouldn’t even know that Hillary Clinton had this server in her home if it weren’t for the Benghazi Committee.  And if they would cooperate and turn over documents, we could have had this over a long time ago.  But they’re doing everything – from Secretary Clinton to the White House to the State Department – doing everything they can to lock down our access to the documents, and they’re locking down access to the American people about the truth of what happened.”

Immigration and President Obama: “Every time he goes off on his own, and does things that even he said he wasn’t allowed to do, he said 22 times he wasn’t allowed to expand … 22 times the president said he couldn’t do what he did.  And every time he’d lean out there, all he did was create an environment that made it almost impossible for us to do real immigration reform here.” ObamaCare: “ObamaCare is not good for America's health care system, it's not good for the country, and we still want to repeal ObamaCare and replace it with a patient-centered system that empowers people and empowers doctors, not empowers a bureaucracy.”

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For Benghazi Investigation to Conclude, All the Evidence Needs to be Presented

2015/05/01

In order for Americans to know the truth about what happened in Benghazi, all the evidence needs to be presented.

And yet, more than two years later, new information – like the existence of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email system and server – and new documents are just now being revealed:

The House committee investigating the fatal attacks in Benghazi, Libya announced Thursday that it had received 4,000 pages of new documents from the State Department.

Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said he received the documents and notes from the State Department Benghazi Accountability Review Board, which was created by the department after the attacks to examine the administration’s response.

It is the first time ARB documents have been turned over to Congress. The documents have not been reviewed by the other groups that investigated the 2012 attacks.

“The Benghazi Committee continues to build the most comprehensive and complete record on what happened before, during and after the Benghazi terrorist attacks,” Gowdy said. “Contrary to those who said all had been asked and answered, the Benghazi Committee has shown there is more still for Congress to consider. The committee will provide the final, definitive accounting of what happened with regards to Benghazi, reaching conclusions based solely on facts.”

The committee has received thousands of pages from the State Department and the Obama administration on its response to the attacks but is still waiting for additional documents and records requested or subpoenaed.

One of those requests is that the personal server former Secretary Clinton used to conduct official business be turned over for independent analysis. Her lawyers say the server is staying in her possession and her emails have all been deleted, but Speaker Boehner has continued to demand that a neutral third party be allowed to examine the server:

"They deleted all the Lois Lerner emails, but they keep finding them," Boehner told a group of conservative journalists Thursday afternoon. "You know, these things just don't go away. So I don't know where the server is, I don't know what condition it's in, I have no idea, but the American people deserve the facts. That's all. Just tell us what the facts are."

Boehner does not want the House itself to search Clinton's email system. "We have no interest in physically having the server," he explained. "We think the Inspector General at the State Department is the right entity to look at the server, determine what's private, what's public and what's mixed. They've got the ability to do that. … I just frankly think a third party is in a much better position to make this call than [the House of Representatives itself]."

Whatever happens, Boehner appears in no mood to back down on Benghazi. "[Hillary Clinton] doesn't have the right to decide what's public and what's private," he said. "The secretary can't continue to hide the truth from the American people."

The fact that documents requested years ago are just now being turned over is proof that President Obama and former Secretary Clinton have obstructed and delayed the Benghazi investigation. Why?

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SUNDAY: Speaker Boehner to Appear on NBC’s Meet the Press

2015/05/01

This morning, Speaker Boehner sat down with NBC’s Chuck Todd for an interview that will air on this Sunday’s Meet the Press.   Meet the Press airs at 10:00 am ET in Cincinnati, OH and 10:30 am ET in Washington, DC.  Check local listings for airtimes in your neck of the woods. 

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Energy & Water Bill Puts Jobs & Economic Growth First

2015/05/01

WASHINGTON, DC - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement praising House passage of the energy & water appropriations bill (H.R. 2028):

“Every taxpayer dollar the government spends should reflect the priorities of the hardworking Americans who earned it, and the energy and water bill does just that.  It puts jobs and economic growth first by maintaining the ports and waterways critical to facilitating commerce and increasing U.S. competitiveness.  It also does so by advancing an all-of-the-above energy agenda to help create jobs, address costs for middle-class families, and enhance our energy security.  And it puts our national security first by ensuring the safety and reliability of our nuclear arsenal in the face of numerous threats worldwide.  With economic growth uneven at best, it’s more imperative than ever that we focus on common-sense solutions that will help create more jobs, strengthen the economy, and increase opportunities for all Americans.  I commend the committee for producing a strong, bipartisan measure that meets that standard.”

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Boehner: America was ‘Founded on the Principle of Religious Freedom’

2015/05/01

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement today applauding House passage of H.J. Res. 43:

“America was founded on the principle of religious freedom, and faith-based employers deserve the ability to hire people who share their beliefs. The measure passed by the D.C. Council, however, discriminates against religious and pro-life Americans, violates their conscience rights, and runs completely counter to the ‘free exercise’ clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. As a proud pro-life Catholic, I condemn this form of discrimination and urge the president to reconsider his veto threat of our joint resolution.”

NOTE: Under Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution, Congress has direct oversight of the District of Columbia. Under the Home Rule Act of 1973, Congress has the authority to review – and disapprove – all policies passed by the District of Columbia City Council and signed by the District of Columbia Mayor.

In December, then-Mayor Vincent Gray urged the City Council to postpone voting on the so-called Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act (RHNDA) “until significant legal concerns … are resolved.” Gray, a Democrat, wrote that:

“the bill raises serious concerns under the Constitution and under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA). Religious organizations, religiously-affiliated organizations, religiously-driven for-profit entities, and political organizations may have strong First Amendment and RFRA grounds for challenging the law's applicability to them. Moreover, to the extent that some of the bill's language protects only one sex's reproductive health decisions, that language may run afoul of the Fifth Amendment's equal protection guarantee. … While I applaud the goals of this legislation, as currently drafted, this legislation is legally problematic.”

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Another Step Toward Improving Care for Our Veterans

2015/04/30

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Good news for veterans → The House just passed a bill to increase funding and improve your access to quality health care.

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Thursday, April 30, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement today praising House passage of H.R. 2029, legislation funding Military Construction & Veterans Affairs:

“There is no excuse for the problems that plague the VA, and no excuse for the administration’s failure to put forth a long-term plan to make things right for our veterans.  The House is continuing to do its part by increasing funding for the VA, and directing those resources toward the areas that need it most: improving health care, expediting claims, advancing medical and prosthetic research, modernizing electronic health records, and more.  The bill also funds critical infrastructure, like hospitals, health clinics, base housing, and schools, to enhance the quality of life for our veterans, active duty service members, and their families.  The House is starting the appropriations process earlier than we have in decades, and we’re starting with the men and women to whom we owe so much.  It’s an important step, but more must be done.  With more stories of gross mismanagement and lengthy wait times arising a year after the scandal at the Phoenix VA first came to light, President Obama owes our veterans a real plan to make sure their lives are never again put at risk by a failed system.”

NOTE: Last year, the House passed and the president signed the Veterans’ Access, Choice & Accountability Act (H.R. 3230), legislation aimed at bringing real accountability to the VA.  The House has continued focusing on veterans issues in the new Congress, passing the Clay Hunt SAV Act (H.R. 203), which was signed into law in February, to help prevent veterans’ suicides, and the Hire More Heroes Act (H.R. 22) to make it easier for small businesses to put more veterans on the payroll.

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A Balanced Budget

2015/04/30

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement after the House passed the first joint 10-year balanced budget agreement since 2001:

“Finally, a real blueprint for a balanced budget.  For hardworking Americans, it adds up to more than 1.2 million new jobs and more than $5 trillion in savings.  Families will be able to keep more of what they earn, entrepreneurs will have an easier time starting and growing a business, seniors will have more security and peace of mind, and taxpayers will have a smaller, less costly, and more accountable government – all while ensuring a strong national defense.

“This is what we can achieve when we stop spending money we don’t have, which is what Washington has been doing for decades now with disastrous results.  It has been 14 years since the House and Senate have passed a budget blueprint of this kind.  President Obama has had seven chances, and not once has he proposed a budget that ever balances.  Today, thanks to Chairman Price and the members of the Budget Committee, we have taken a big step towards restoring fiscal sanity in Washington.”

NOTE: Visit Speaker.gov to learn more about 10 things this budget does to help hardworking taxpayers

 

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“Bucket”: President Obama’s Veto Threats Hurts American Families & Workers

2015/04/30

Here’s a look at the bipartisan House-passed jobs bills President Obama is blocking. http://t.co/CHOxTfBqRT pic.twitter.com/1hhWVYkwQR

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) April 30, 2015

At Saturday’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner, President Obama had a joke to sum up his my-way-or-the-highway approach for his last two years in office. “Well, I have something that rhymes with bucket list,” the president said. “Take executive action on immigration? Bucket. New Climate regulations? Bucket.”

This “bucket” attitude – which Ezra Klein says is no joke at all – also explains the “record pace” in which President Obama has thrown out veto threats this year. 

On Tuesday, the president threatened to veto House bills to fund the Department of Veterans Affairs, military construction, and energy and water infrastructure projects. Never mind that a strong bipartisan majority in the House has passed VA/MilCon appropriations bills with more than 400 votes each of the last four years – “bucket!”

In all, President Obama has now issued 30 veto threats this year on measures ranging from jobs, to Iran sanctions to preventing taxpayer funds from paying for abortions. These are good solid bills that address the American people’s concerns and priorities – and many are bipartisan – but President Obama would rather pick political fights than work with Congress to get things done. 

Here’s a quick look at some of the bipartisan jobs bills that have passed the House this year that President Obama says he will (or did) veto:  

  • H.R. 30 – Save American Workers Act. A bill to help the thousands of Americans who either have, or are at risk of having, their wages and hours cut by repealing the 30-hour penalty in the president’s health care law and restoring the 40-hour work week. Despite the president’s veto threat, H.R. 30 passed the House on January 8 with the support of 12 Democrats.
  • H.R. 3 - Keystone XL Pipeline Act. Twenty-eight Democrats defied President Obama’s veto threat and joined Republicans in passing this bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline and it’s tens of thousands of jobs. The president ultimately chose to stand with environmental extremists over American workers and vetoed the bill in a move Speaker Boehner called “a national embarrassment.” 
  • H.R 37 – Promoting Job Creation and Reducing Small Business Burdens Act. A bill to reduce the regulatory burden on Main Street workers and businesses. Passed the House on January 14 with 29 Democratic votes. 
  • H.R. 161 - Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act. A bill to help expedite the expansion of America’s energy infrastructure and create jobs. Passed the House on January 21 with the support of 14 Democrats.
  • H.R. 527 – Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act. A bill to ensure agencies adequately analyze proposed rules for their potential impacts on small businesses. Passed the House February 5 with 19 Democratic votes.
  • H.R. 636 – America’s Small Business Tax Relief Act. A bill to help give small businesses greater certainty to grow and expand by making permanent a bipartisan small business expensing measure in the tax code that’s been in place since the 1950’s. Passed the House on February 5 with 33 Democratic votes.
  • H.R. 622 – State and Local Sales Tax Deduction Fairness Act. A bill to extend and make permanent a provision allowing families and small businesses to deduct sales tax from their tax filings to help them keep more of what they earn. Passed the House April 16 with the support of 34 Democrats. 

America’s new Congress has made some real progress over the first 100 days. We’ve reached a balanced budget agreement, stopped the president’s proposed tax hikes on middle-class college savings, enacted the first real entitlement reforms in decades, and provided new mental health resources to help veterans to get the care they need.

Still, we could be doing a lot more for America’s families and small businesses if President Obama stopped toying around with items for his list that rhymes with “bucket” and actually worked with Congress in a bipartisan way. Reconsidering our House-passed bipartisan jobs bills would be an easy place for the president to start.   

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Myth and Facts: Funding – and Fixing – the VA

2015/04/30

Today, the House will vote on legislation funding the nation’s military construction and veterans’ affairs, while holding the VA bureaucracy accountable.  Read the bill at docs.house.gov.

This plan – which starts the appropriations process at the earliest point since 1974increases VA spending by $4.6 billion, provides for the treatment of approximately 6.9 million patients, and 770 new staff to tackle the claims backlog.   

And at a time when Americans are demanding VA reform, our plan limits changes in the scope of VA construction projects (we’ll come back to this) and restricts the VA from taking certain spending actions without notifying Congress.

This is a solid plan through and through but, because it is lower than the president’s budget request – a budget that mustered just one vote in the Senate – it is being called a ‘cut.’

Now, only in Washington would a $4.6 billion spending increase be called a ‘cut.’

And only in Washington would it be called a ‘cut’ to hold the line on funding for major construction projects – one of the epicenters of VA mismanagement.

In fact, a nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that delays led to $1.5 billion in cost increases for projects in Denver, Las Vegas, New Orleans, and Orlando.  CNN reports:

“Lorelei St. James, the GAO director of infrastructure issues at the time of the investigation, told CNN ‘conflicting direction’ from the VA has repeatedly caused cost overruns on different projects.  As an example, St. James said VA managers have told contractors to wait for equipment before designing specific hospital rooms, but VA's central office or other VA managers have ordered contractors to proceed with designs anyway.  These contradictions have caused unnecessary work and extra costs, she said.”

Yet, the VA requested nearly double what it received last year for construction, with no new transparency attached.   But as we’ve said before, what’s lacking at the VA isn’t money, it’s accountability.  In fact, during the Obama administration, the VA has enjoyed a larger budget increase by percentage than any other Cabinet department.

So instead of doubling – or cutting – funding for construction, we are holding the line and implementing new reforms to help the VA become more efficient and effective.  It’s just good budgeting and good government.

We face a critical choice: we can increase spending for the VA with transparency and accountability, or we can increase spending without reform and continue the status quo that has failed our veterans and their families.

With this plan, we choose to hold the VA accountable.

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Boehner: Strengthening Our Communities & Expanding Opportunity for All Americans

2015/04/30

WASHINGTON, DC – In the wake of this week’s events in Baltimore, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said that finding new solutions to expand opportunity for all Americans is one way we can strengthen our communities and help more families out of poverty.  Following are Boehner’s remarks: 

“The people of Baltimore have certainly been in our prayers, especially the family of Freddie Gray and the police officers who have been injured.  Like many Americans, I’ve been inspired by the stories of residents banding together to clean up the damage.

“Now, the president has suggested more taxpayer money is the answer – again.  We believe the answer is more jobs and more opportunity.  Listen, our government spends hundreds of billions of dollars a year on well-intentioned programs designed to help people get out of poverty.  We’ve been doing this for decades, but from what we’ve seen around the country, it’s clear that this approach is not working.

“I think we first should be asking the question, what is working and what isn’t?  And if they’re not working, how can we fix these programs?  How can we make sure that we educate more of America’s kids?  How can we put in place more economic policies that expand opportunities for all Americans?  And how can we put the focus on what will help the most people in need and will do the most good for our communities?

One of my political icons, Jack Kemp, was asking these same questions nearly three decades ago.  Today, my friend Paul Ryan, and many others, are continuing that work – focus on expanding opportunity instead of creating more dependency. And I think we owe it to every American to take a long, hard look at this problem, begin to think of new solutions.”

 

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Boehner: Iran’s Actions Underscore Need for Accountability

2015/04/30

Iran – “by its words and its actions” – is showing why it is imperative for Congress to review any potential nuclear agreement negotiated by the Obama administration, Speaker Boehner said at a press briefing earlier today.  Here’s more:

“This week, the Iranians fired on and seized a neutral vessel traveling in international waters.  A top Iranian general stated that the United States was responsible for the 9/11 attacks.   And Iran’s top diplomat now says any economic sanctions would be lifted ‘only days’ after a deal is signed.

“None of this should be taken lightly – or silently, as the administration would apparently have us do.  We’re getting closer to making sure Congress can review any potential agreement with Iran.   And Iran, by its words and its actions, is showing exactly why we need this type of accountability.”

Following his visit to the Middle East, Speaker Boehner has repeatedly underscored the danger Iran poses as it continues supporting terrorism and fomenting instability in the region – a persistent topic of discussion throughout his visit.  Boehner has pledged that the House will continue pressing the administration on questions that remain regarding its nuclear framework with Iran, and stands ready to impose sanctions in the absence of an agreement. 

 

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Boehner Touts Pro-Growth, Balanced Budget

2015/04/30

WASHINGTON, DC – The House is continuing to get things done for the American people, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said at his weekly press briefing today, pointing to today’s vote on a pro-growth, balanced budget as the latest in a series of moves to help the economy grow and create more jobs.  Following are Boehner’s remarks:

“Here in the People’s House, we continue to get things done for the American people.  After enacting the first entitlement reform in nearly two decades, we’re starting the appropriations process earlier than at any time since 1974.  We’re also making progress on cybersecurity, reauthorizing our foreign intelligence capabilities, and have a real opportunity to work together on trade. 

“And today, we’ll pass the first joint 10-year balanced budget plan since 2001.  Just yesterday, we saw GDP figures that reflect what many middle-class families are going through: running in place and getting nowhere.  Frankly, I think it’s unacceptable.  America needs real growth, and that means real pro-growth policies to fix the tax code, expand American energy production, and solve our spending problem.  All of those things are in this balanced budget. 

“As the Majority Leader has noted, in our first 100 days, both the full House and our committees essentially doubled their output from the last Congress.  We’ve got a lot left to do, but we’re listening to the American people and we’re getting things done.” 

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10 Ways This Budget Helps Hardworking Families

2015/04/30

Today, the House will vote on a balanced budget – the first of its kind since 2001.  Read the bill at docs.house.gov.

Coming just weeks after the first entitlement reform in nearly two decades, this budget continues our commitment to get things done for the American people and focus on their priorities.  This plan helps hardworking families by:

  • Balancing the federal budget without raising taxes to help create 1.2 million new jobs, save taxpayers more than $5 trillion, and protect future generations from crushing debt.
  • Making the tax code simpler and fairer so that families can keep more of what they earn and manufacturers can bring good-paying jobs home. 
  • Making it easier to repeal ObamaCare so that we can replace it with reforms focused on lowering costs, protecting jobs, and strengthening the doctor-patient relationship.
  • Preserving Medicare so that our seniors can have the security, peace of mind, and quality care they deserve.
  • Ensuring a strong national defense so that our military personnel have the resources they need to confront threats at home and abroad. 
  • Expanding America’s energy boom to help create more good-paying jobs and save families money on their bills.
  • Reining in red tape so that it’s easier to start and grow and business in the Land of Opportunity. 
  • Increasing employment opportunities for disabled workers and improving the administration and coordination of benefits to protect communities and our most vulnerable citizens.  
  • Cutting waste and eliminating redundancies so that taxpayer dollars are spent with transparency and accountability – or not at all.
  • Calling on Congress to pass a balanced budget amendment so that fiscal responsibility is locked in for future generations.

Now, compare this – the first joint 10-year balanced budget since 2001 – to the president’s budget, which demands more spending, more taxes, and more debt – all of which would cost hardworking people more.  

Our budget is focused on helping families get ahead and building a stronger, more competitive economy – and, of course, it’s another step in getting things done for the American people. 

For more, check out this full summary from the House Budget Committee. 

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Photos of History: Prime Minister Abe of Japan Addresses Congress

2015/04/30

Yesterday, history happened at the United States Capitol.  Prime Minister Shinzō Abe became the first Japanese leader to address a joint meeting of Congress.  And he did it with grace and style, paying tribute to America's fallen heroes of World War II.  

However, as Speaker Boehner said, Prime Minister Abe's visit was about much more than the history of the past, "it is also about the future of hope that lies ahead."    

Thousands tuned in to watch the address live on Speaker.go/LIVE.  If you weren't able to join, you can still watch the full speech here.  

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Speaker Boehner on Japanese PM Shinzo Abe’s Address to the U.S. Congress

2015/04/29

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan addressed a joint meeting of Congress:

“It was my honor and privilege today to welcome Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the Capitol as the first Japanese leader to address a joint meeting of the United States Congress.  His address honored the American people, and we are truly grateful for his tribute to our fallen heroes of World War II. 

“As much as today is about history, it is also about the future of hope that lies ahead, a future based on shared values and common aspirations.   We seek the best opportunities for our workers and businesses, which is why we are pursuing lower trade barriers and deeper economic ties.  We seek peace and security for our children, which is why we are committed to strengthening our strategic partnerships in the Asia-Pacific region.  We have much to look forward to, and we can hope future generations will look back on this day as a proud and pivotal moment in the history of our alliance.”

 

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Watch Japanese PM Abe’s Address to Congress Live

2015/04/29

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Tune in live this morning at 11AM ET at http://www.speaker.gov/live

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday, April 29, 2015

This is going to be a historic day at the Capitol, and we want you to be part of it. At 11:00 am ET, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will become the first Japanese leader to address a joint meeting of the United States Congress.  We invite you to watch his speech at http://speaker.gov/live.

Around the time you’re getting ready to tune in, Speaker Boehner will be welcoming Prime Minister Abe to the Capitol at a meeting in the Speaker’s Ceremonial Office, where they will exchange gifts.  After that, the Speaker will head to the floor to gavel the joint meeting to order, while a committee of Republicans and Democrats greets the Prime Minister and escorts him to the House chamber.  Then, just as he does for the State of the Union, the Sergeant at Arms will announce the Prime Minister’s presence.

This joint meeting isn’t just historic, it’s timely.  Last week, the House Ways & Means Committee approved legislation that will make it easier to secure the best trade agreements for America’s workers.  One agreement currently in the works, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), involves Japan. In a Washington Post op-ed previewing the Prime Minister’s visit, Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) highlighted the importance of expanding our economic partnership.  Here’s an excerpt:

“The U.S.-Japan alliance is the hub of the Asia-Pacific order. The United States has pledged to defend Japan in case of attack, and in exchange, Japan allows the United States to station roughly 50,000 troops on its islands.  As a result, U.S. forces can maneuver throughout the region, protecting sea lanes and maintaining order.  A rising China is trying to test the boundaries of that order by asserting control over disputed territory and pressuring its neighbors to grant special privileges to its products.  In fact, China is negotiating trade agreements all over the world and trying to rig the rules in its favor. So our two countries have to ask ourselves, ‘Is China going to write the rules of the global economy, or are we?’  If the United States and Japan lock arms, we can resist China’s bullying and reassert leadership in the Asia-Pacific.”

This will be the third joint meeting of the year: Congress heard from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan last month.  More background – and an explanation of the difference between a joint meeting and a joint session – is available at history.house.gov.

For news and updates throughout the day, follow Speaker Boehner on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  

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After Bergdahl, Republicans Impose Greater Restrictions on Releasing Terrorists from Gitmo

2015/04/28

The Obama admin wants to close #Gitmo & bring terrorists to America. Not on our watch: http://t.co/kEmc1ts2ZS pic.twitter.com/TaPpQNYFY8

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) April 28, 2015

Nearly a year ago, President Obama announced he had negotiated with terrorists and released five top Taliban leaders from the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in exchange for the return of a hostage, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. National Security Advisor Susan Rice said Bergdahl “served the United States with honor and distinction” and “was an American prisoner of war captured on the battlefield.”

Here’s what we know now:

Just last week, The Washington Post reported that:

the Pentagon is racing to move dozens of detainees out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in coming months before lawmakers can block future transfers and derail President Obama’s plan to shutter the U.S. military prison. … In the event that Congress does pass legislation that would freeze Guantanamo Bay’s population, currently at 122, White House officials are exploring options for the unilateral closure of the prison and moving detainees into the United States, an action that Congress has opposed from the president’s first months in office.

Yesterday, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, released the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY2016. According to the summary of the bill, it:

"reauthorizes the bipartisan prohibitions against transferring detainees to the United States and against building detention facilities in the United States. … [And] rescinds the President’s authority to unilaterally transfer detainees and reverts to the stronger transfer policy established in the FY13 NDAA. Transfers may take place only when the Secretary of Defense can certify that the foreign country to which the detainee is being transferred will maintain control over the detainee and ensure the detainee cannot threaten the United States or reengage in terrorist activity. The Chairman’s proposal also prohibits the transfer of detainees to combat zones, intended to address instances such as a recent transfer of detainees to Afghanistan, where U.S. Servicemembers are still engaged in combat."

The bill also includes a provision to withhold money from Secretary of Defense Ash Carter’s office budget until the Pentagon ends its stonewalling of the congressional investigation into the Bergdahl swap.

As Speaker Boehner said in October:

“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. … 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.”

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Gold Medal Ceremony for American Fighter Aces

2015/04/27

WASHINGTON, DC - On Wednesday, May 20 leaders of the U.S. House and Senate will present a Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of the American Fighter Aces’ heroic service to the United States throughout the history of aviation warfare.

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

Dating back to World War I with the first use of aviation warfare, an American Fighter Ace is any fighter pilot whose tremendous skill and valor resulted in the destruction of five or more enemy aircraft.  Of more than 60,000 United States military fighter pilots that have taken to the air, fewer than 1,500 have become known as American Fighter Aces.

The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian honor the United States Congress can bestow.  Pursuant to H.R. 685, a single gold medal has been struck to honor their distinguished service. For more information on how a Congressional Gold Medal is struck, watch this behind-the-scenes video.

The ceremony will take place May 20, 2015 at 3 p.m. in Emancipation Hall and will be live streamed at speaker.gov/live.  

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Weekly Address: Jobs, Trade, and Stronger American Leadership

2015/04/26

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Transcript

In this week’s Republican Address, House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) discusses an important step we can take right now to secure better trade agreements, which will mean more jobs, a stronger economy, and stronger American leadership in the world.

Learn more about how this legislation helps hardworking peopleread the bill, and check out these select excerpts from coverage of Chairman Ryan’s address:

CBS News: “Obama, GOP tag-team over trade deals” “Former vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, took up the trade mantle Saturday, in a nod to the ‘two historic trade agreements’ the U.S. is currently negotiating with allies in the Pacific and Europe. … The Wisconsin Republican said his committee was ‘pretty excited’ about TPA, calling it ‘one of the most important things Congress can do for the country right now.’ … ‘TPA will hold the administration accountable and get us the highest quality agreements possible,’ the congressman said.”

The HillRyan pushes lawmakers to support trade bill” “A top Republican is calling on fellow lawmakers to unite around trade legislation that would help break down barriers for American companies doing business abroad.  In the weekly Republican address, House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said that following through with trade agreements in Europe at the Pacific would create jobs and grow the economy. … Ryan, the 2012 Republican vice presidential candidate, said this ‘puts Congress in the driver’s seat’ because they can reject trade agreements they disapprove of.”

Newsmax: “Ryan: Trade Agreement Legislation Will Boost Economic Growth” “Ryan is pushing his fellow lawmakers to approve bipartisan legislation to secure new trade agreements, saying the law will create jobs, boost wages and bring stronger economic growth. … The fact of the matter is, Ryan said, other countries are setting the trade agenda, like China, which is ‘trying to rig the rules in their favor.’ … Nationwide, people are supporting TPA, he said, including farmers, manufacturers, and people from both parties who know what the law would mean to the United States.  ‘We’re the only country that can do this,’ he said. ‘We’re the only country that can stand up for free enterprise and the rule of law.’”

Latin PostRepublican Rep. Paul Ryan Urges Congress to Pass Obama-Backed Trade Bill” “Rep. Paul Ryan is calling on fellow Republicans in Congress to pass trade legislation backed by the Obama Administration that would help American companies conduct business overseas.  In the weekly Republican address, the House Ways and Means Committee chairman stated that granting trade agreements in Europe at the Pacific would lead to U.S job creation and economic growth.”

Breitbart: “Ryan: Trade Fast Track ‘One of the Most Important Things Congress Can Do’” “Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) pushed trade promotion authority as ‘one of the most important things Congress can do for the country right now’ during Saturday’s GOP Weekly Address.”

Investor’s Business Daily: “GOP’s Paul Ryan: We need TPA to hold the president accountable” 

ABC News Radio: “In this week’s Republican address, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin spoke of new legislation regarding Congressional control over new trade agreements he argues will create jobs and boost wages to fuel economic growth.  Ryan, the House Ways & Means Committee Chairman, said the proposed ‘trade promotion authority’ bill is widely supported by farmers, manufacturers, and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.”  

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More from Speaker Boehner’s Bloomberg Interview

2015/04/24

In an interview on Bloomberg’s With All Due Respect, Speaker Boehner discussed the first 100 days of the new Congress, his recent visit to the Middle East, and more.  Here are excerpts from his appearance: 

  • The need for an overarching strategy to defeat the terrorist threat: “Clearly the message I heard from all of our allies, from Israel to Saudi Arabia to Iraq to Jordan and others, is they’re wondering where America is.  When’s America going to lead?  … The problems of ISIL and Iran spreading terrorism in the region are growing faster than what we and our allies are able to get our arms around.  What’s missing here is an overarching strategy that we develop with our allies to deal with both of these problems.  That overarching strategy does not exist today.”
  • The Middle East peace process: “The president wants peace between Israel and the Palestinians.  And so do I.  And for that matter, so do the Israelis.  You can’t force a peace agreement on people who cannot come to an agreement.  As long as Hamas is in the powerful position they are with regard to the Palestinians.  This is a terrorist organization supported by Iran, who have made it clear Israel should be wiped from the face of the Earth.  I think the administration has overplayed their hand, overpressured the Israelis, and the prime minister of Israel – been a longtime friend of mine – he came and gave I thought a fabulous address to Congress about the real threats that America and the rest of the world face.” 
  • Finding common ground for the American people: “I think the fact that we have a change of leadership in the Senate has certainly made a difference. … The fact that the Senate is actually working is helping us.  It’s fostered bipartisan, bicameral discussions on cybersecurity, on trade, on the collecting of foreign intelligence, elementary and secondary education reform.  There’s a whole host of things where there are bipartisan, bicameral conversations.”

In the first part of the interview, which aired yesterday, Boehner discussed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of private e-mail to conduct government business.   With Americans deserving to know the full truth about what happened in Benghazi, Boehner expressed his openness to having the full House vote to subpoena Secretary Clinton's e-mail server, saying, “If we need to do that, we may have to.

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Weekly Republican Address: Expanding Trade to Create More American Jobs

2015/04/24

WASHINGTON, DC – Delivering the Weekly Republican Address, House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) makes the case for bipartisan, bicameral legislation that will help secure new trade agreements to create American jobs, boost wages, and fuel stronger economic growth.  As Chairman Ryan notes, the bill is widely supported by farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, and will give Congress a stronger hand in outlining priorities for trade negotiations and holding the administration accountable.

“We have a chance here to write the rules on our terms, to raise other countries to our standards, to create more opportunity for our people,” Chairman Ryan says in the address.  “This is our moment. It’s our chance to lead, to restore American leadership in the world.”

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

Remarks of Chairman Paul Ryan of WisconsinWeekly Republican AddressU.S. CapitolApril 25, 2015

Hi, I’m Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

This week, our committee passed a bill that we’re pretty excited about.  It would establish what we call TPA—or “trade promotion authority.”  And soon that bill will go before Congress.

I think this is one of the most important things Congress can do for the country right now.  So, here’s the issue.

Right now, the United States is negotiating two historic trade agreements—one with our friends in the Pacific Rim and another with our friends in Europe.  We need these trade agreements so we can lay down fair and strong rules that tear down trade barriers and open markets to American products.

You see, ninety six percent of the world’s consumers—they don’t live in the United States; they live in other countries.  We have to make more things in America and sell them overseas, so we can create more jobs here at home.  And when we do, American workers benefit.  Manufacturing jobs that rely on trade pay 16 percent more on average.

But today, the deck is stacked against our workers in far too many places.  We let other countries sell their products over here.  But they’ve put up trade barriers that make it hard to sell our products over there.

These trade agreements will level the playing field for America’s workers.  But to complete them, we need TPA.

So what is it?

TPA is a process for getting the most effective trade agreements possible—and for holding the administration accountable all along the way.

TPA puts Congress in the driver’s seat—because it lets Congress set the agenda.  We say to the administration three things.  First, here are your negotiating objectives—150 of them.  Tear down barriers to our products.  Beef up protections for intellectual property.  Get rid of kickbacks for foreign-government firms.

Second, here are your transparency requirements.  To name a few: You’ve got to let any member of Congress read the negotiating offers at any time.  You even have to allow any member to attend the negotiating rounds.  And 60 days before the administration even agrees to any agreement, you’ve got to publish the full text so the American people can read it for themselves.

And third, Congress gets the final say.  If you meet all of these requirements, we will give the agreement an up-or-down vote—without amendment.  This will give our trading partners the confidence they need to make their best offers.

But if the administration doesn’t do all that we have said, we can cancel the vote, we can change it, or stop it completely.  In short, TPA will hold the administration accountable and get us the highest quality agreements possible.

You know, the stakes are really high—because in the global economy, if you are not moving forward, you are falling behind.  China is negotiating trade deals all over the world, and they’re trying to rig the rules in their favor.  So it all comes down to this question: Is China going to write the rules of the global economy, or are we?

Are we going to rise to the occasion and provide American leadership in the world?

This is our challenge—and our opportunity.  We have a chance here to write the rules on our terms, to raise other countries to our standards, to create more opportunity for our people.

All across the country, people are coming together to support TPA: farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, Democrats, Republicans.  They know the stakes.  They know what this means for our country.  And Congress should not let them down.

We’re the only country that can do this.  We’re the only country that can stand up for free enterprise and the rule of law.  This is our moment.  It’s our chance to lead, to restore American leadership in the world.

We’ve still got a lot of work to do.  But it all begins with TPA and this vote.  Thank you.

 

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Chairman Paul Ryan to Deliver the Weekly Republican Address

2015/04/24

WASHINGTON, DC - House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) will deliver the Weekly Republican Address, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced today.  Following House and Senate committee approval of the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities & Accountability Act this week, Chairman Ryan will discuss how this critical legislation paves the way for increased U.S. trade, and the new jobs and stronger economic growth that come with it. 

“We need to make more things in America and sell them overseas,” Chairman Ryan said. “That will create more jobs and higher take-home pay right here in the U.S. And, as I’ll talk about this week, the first step to opening more markets to American products is establishing trade promotion authority.”

Chairman Ryan is in his ninth term representing Wisconsin’s First Congressional District.  Learn more about Chairman Ryan and his efforts to advance Americans’ priorities – from trade to tax reform and much more - by visiting the Ways & Means website, or by following the committee on Twitter.

The Weekly Republican Address will be available nationwide starting Saturday, April 25, at 6:00 am ET on Speaker.gov and GOP.gov.

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10 Things TPA Is & Isn’t About

2015/04/24

FACT: Trade supports more than 1 in 5 American jobs. http://t.co/Lzn0f0NjRr #TPA4USJobs pic.twitter.com/oHWONDrruu

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) April 24, 2015

This week, the House Ways & Means Committee approved H.R. 1890, the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act (TPA), legislation strengthening the nation’s ability to secure the best trade agreements for our workers and our economy.    Read the bill here, and check out this top 10 list of things TPA is and isn’t about: 

1. TPA is about more jobs and better pay.  Trade supports more than 1 in 5 American jobs, and manufacturing jobs tied to trade pay 16 percent more.  This plan will mean stronger agreements with fewer trade barriers, which means more jobs and better pay for hardworking people.

2. TPA is about a level playing field. America has some of the lowest trade barriers in the world, but the countries we compete and negotiate with make it as hard as they can for us to sell our products to their consumers. This plan will lead to agreements with strong and enforceable rules that put our workers, manufacturers, farmers, ranchers, and exporters on a level playing field, where they can outcompete anyone.

3. TPA is about common ground.  This legislation creates a partnership whereby the administration negotiates based on priorities and objectives approved by Congress.  In other words, it does exactly what the American people send us here to do:  build common ground and show a united front to the world.  Otherwise, it’s the same old story:  the Obama administration going off on its own, and our allies and partners confused about America’s intentions.

4. TPA is about unprecedented transparency.  This legislation applies ‘Read The Bill’ principles to trade agreements.  For the first time, the text of any completed trade agreement must be made public for at least 60 days before the president may sign.   In addition, the administration will have to publish detailed summaries of our specific objectives for any negotiation.   

5. TPA is about clear benchmarks for success.  With our plan, we will set nearly 150 clear objectives on priorities like protections for intellectual property rights, rules for agricultural trade, labor standards, and measures to combat currency manipulation. This includes objectives that address the unique issues facing the global economy in the 21st century.  Americans like to keep score, and TPA will allow them to do just that.

6. TPA is about clear accountability for failure.  Only if the administration follows the objectives and fulfills the transparency requirements will there be an up-or-down vote on any agreement.  If those conditions aren’t met, a trade agreement can be stopped.  It’s that clear-cut.

7. TPA is about bolstering American leadership. At a time when the world is desperate for American leadership, this plan will make it easier for the United States to write the rules of the global economy.  If we don’t do it, China and our toughest competitors most certainly will.   

8. TPA is about listening to the American people.  This initaitive is backed by just about everyone:  manufacturers and farmers, major employers and local businesses, conservatives and newspapers, Barack Obama and Ted Cruz, you name it.  Trade is good for America, and America agrees. 

9. TPA isn’t about Congress and the president.  The new ‘authority’ in this bill flows to the American people – not Washington, and certainly not the president.  TPA is designed to make sure that, when our negotiators are at the table, their priorities are the people’s priorities.  

10. TPA isn’t about immigration.  Any trade agreement this administration makes is going to be subject to scrutiny with regards to immigration.  Given the executive overreach we’ve seen, that’s no surprise.  That’s exactly why we need TPA, which specifically bars the president from making any changes to our laws, and why we’ll have the power to stop any trade agreements.

BONUSTPA isn’t about politics. This legislation enjoys support from Republicans and Democrats across the country, and it will need strong bipartisan support to pass.  As Speaker Boehner has said, “This bill will have strong support from House Republicans.  We’ll do our part, but the president must do his part as well.”

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Lawn Care 101

2015/04/24

He may be the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, but he still irons his own shirts, washes his own dishes, and yes…cuts his own grass.  From the floor of his garage to his local lawn shop, get an exclusive look at how Speaker Boehner prepares his push mower for the spring season.

Watch on Facebook or Instagram

Related: How the Speaker Cuts His Grass 

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On Bloomberg, Boehner Discusses Secretary Clinton’s E-Mails, Benghazi, and More

2015/04/23

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It's time for Secretary Clinton to turn her e-mail server over to the inspector general at the State Department.

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Monday, April 27, 2015

Appearing on Bloomberg’s With All Due Respect, Speaker Boehner discussed a range of issues, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of private e-mail to conduct government business:

“The idea that she was going to use her own server and do official business on it goes against every transparency issue that the president likes to tout. ... At some point they just can't ignore the fact that there a lot of public documents on this server that the American people have a right to see. We believe it's time for Mrs. Clinton to turn that server and all those documents over to the IG, the inspector general at the State Department.  Let them sort out what's official, what's private. ... It’s important for the American people to know the truth about what happened in Benghazi. It's important to know what was going on at the State Department before, during, and after the events that occurred in Libya.”

Boehner also said he is open to having the full House vote to subpoena Secretary Clinton's server, saying, “If we need to do that, we may have to.”

Earlier in the day, Benghazi Select Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) sent a letter to Secretary Clinton’s lawyer calling on her to appear before the committee to answer questions regarding her records and the events surrounding the attacks in Benghazi.

During the interview, Boehner also discussed his ongoing mission to build a smaller, less costly, and more accountable government:

“I came here to fight a fight for a smaller, less costly, and more accountable government. I think that means more resources in the private sector, better jobs, better wages, than this big government solution to everything...I'm engaged in that fight, and as long as I am, I'll be here."

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Working Together to Protect Americans from Cyber Attacks

2015/04/23

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement today applauding House passage of the National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act (H.R. 1731):

“Today’s vote was a testament to Chairman McCaul’s persistent work on cybersecurity and leadership at the Homeland Security Committee. The threats facing Americans aren’t only physical – they’re often digital. Hackers and cyber criminals prey on individuals, businesses, and governments with just a few keystrokes, stealing personal information and sensitive data from virtually anywhere in the world. This bill will help facilitate voluntary collaboration between the private sector and the federal government in the fight against cyber attacks and protect those who choose to help from legal harm.

“I’d also like to thank Ranking Member Bennie Thompson and Rep. John Ratcliffe for their help on this issue. I urge the Senate to pass this legislation and the president to sign it into law.”

NOTE: Since 2011, the House Republican majority has worked to pass bipartisan reforms to strengthen cybersecurity. Yesterday, the House passed the Protecting Cyber Networks Act (H.R. 1560).

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We Are Getting Things Done For the American People

2015/04/23

WASHINGTON, DC – At his weekly press briefing today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) ticked off a list of accomplishments in the first 100 days of the new Congress, from enacting the first real entitlement reform in decades to passing a balanced budget and much more.  Boehner also previewed what’s ahead for the House, including the ongoing effort to advance job-creating trade legislation, and action on legislation to help keep Americans safe.  Following are Boehner’s remarks: 

On the House’s Progress on the People’s Priorities in the First 100 Days of the New Congress:

“Here in the House, the people’s priorities are our priorities.  The American people didn’t send us here to sit on our rear ends and do nothing.  They sent us here to get things done.

“And, 100 days into this new Republican Congress, that’s exactly what we’re doing.  Some things we’ve passed, like the Keystone pipeline bill and ambush election bill to protect American workers, are still being blocked by Washington Democrats.  Some things, like our balanced budget, we can do on our own. 

“But – after years of gridlock under President Obama and Senate Democrats – we’re making progress on areas of common ground.  We’ve passed, and the president signed, the first real, bipartisan entitlement reform in nearly two decades.  We’ve passed, and the president also signed, a bill to prevent suicides amongst our veterans.  And shortly, we’ll pass bills to protect consumers – and our economy – from hacking and cyber attacks.”

On the Need for Democratic Support to Pass Trade Legislation, Pave the Way for Stronger Growth & More Jobs:

“We’re getting things done, but there’s a lot more to come.  This week, committees in the House and Senate passed trade bills that will make it easier to reach trade agreements that will help our economy – and give Congress a bigger role in making sure that those agreements are fair. 

“This bill is always a heavy lift, but I’m confident that we’ll get it done.  But in order to accomplish our goal, we’re going to need some bipartisan support.  This bill will have strong support from House Republicans.  We’ll do our part, but the president must do his part as well.”

On Concerns About the Administration’s Framework for a Nuclear Agreement with Iran:

“We’re also working in a bipartisan way to reform and reauthorize the foreign intelligence capabilities that help keep Americans safe.  And, after the White House saw the writing on the wall and withdrew its objections, we’re going to have a bipartisan, bicameral bill to ensure that Congress reviews any potential agreement with Iran.  Because there really are concerns shared by members of both parties that what’s being discussed could lead to a nuclear-armed Iran.”

On Continuing to Advance Solutions to Address Struggles Facing Middle-Class Families:

“Look, American families and small businesses are still struggling.  Many are still asking the question, where are the jobs?  Some Americans are doing better, and frankly that’s great news.  But most middle-class families aren’t seeing the improvement in their daily lives.  So we’ve got a lot more work to do. 

“That said, we’re finding common ground and getting things done for the American people.  That’s progress.” 

We’re getting things done for the American people. That’s progress & there’s a lot more to come. pic.twitter.com/NwvMOKsf1o

— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) April 23, 2015
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Speaker Boehner on Hostages Killed in Counterterrorism Operations

2015/04/23

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) made the following statement today at the start of his weekly press conference:

“On behalf of the U.S. House of Representatives, let me begin by expressing our condolences to the families of Warren Weinstein and Giovanni LoPorto.  As President Obama indicated, this is not a time for excuses.  The president announced that an independent review is underway, and I think that is entirely appropriate.  We need all the facts – for the families and so that we can make sure nothing like this ever happens again in our efforts to keep Americans safe.”

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House Acts to Strengthen Cybersecurity, Protect Privacy

2015/04/22

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement today applauding House passage of the Protecting Cyber Networks Act (H.R. 1560):

“I’m grateful to Chairman Nunes for introducing and shepherding this important piece of legislation through the Intelligence Committee. As cyber attacks from hackers and criminals grow more numerous and more costly to both citizens and businesses, the ability to share information about threats is more crucial than ever before. This bill will allow voluntary collaboration between the private sector and the federal government, and establish strong protections for civil liberties and privacy when it comes to Americans’ personal information.

This bill would not have been possible without the strong foundation built by former Chairman Mike Rogers, and Congressmen Dutch Ruppersberger, Mac Thornberry, and Jim Langevin. I’m proud of the leadership Devin and Ranking Member Adam Schiff have shown, and I look forward to helping them get this essential information-sharing legislation to the president’s desk.”

NOTE: Since 2011, the House Republican majority has worked to pass bipartisan reforms to strengthen cybersecurity.

 

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MYTH VS. FACT: Setting the Record Straight on Trade Promotion Authority

2015/04/22

Trade is good for America, and Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) has already picked up strong support from farmers, conservatives, local businesses, editorial boards, and Americans from all walks of life.  So it’s no surprise that TPA’s opponents are relying on a campaign of fear and misinformation to support their case against this bipartisan initiative.  But with new American jobs and a huge boost for our economy at stake, here’s a look at how their false claims stack up against the facts: 

MYTH: Trade Agreements Destroy U.S. Jobs

FACT: Expanding Markets for American Exports Will Fuel Stronger Economic Growth & Create Jobs

There is widespread consensus that expanding trade is good for the economy and good for jobs – from editorials to farmers and ranchers to local business groups to the textile and agriculture industries - and there is no shortage of data to back that up.  Trade supports one in five American jobs, a total of 38 million jobs nationwide.  Last year, “the United States also enjoyed a trade surplus in manufactured goods with our FTA partners totaling $55 billion,” according to the International Trade Administration.  The TPA bill will expedite progress on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, which will help level the playing field for American goods and services with “some of the U.S.’ biggest and fastest-growing commercial partners, accounting for $1.5 trillion worth of trade in goods in 2012,” and “40 percent of the world’s GDP and 26 percent of the world’s trade,” the Washington Post reports. [READ MORE]

MYTH: TPA Vastly Expands the President’s Executive Authority at the Expense of Congress

FACT: The TPA Bill Enhances Congress’ Ability to Outline Its Priorities & Increases Its Participation in the Negotiating Process

“Trade Promotion Authority has been maligned as a congressional capitulation or executive power grab.  It is neither,” says the Cato Institute’s Daniel J. Ikenson.  Indeed, the TPA bill actually strengthens Congress’ role in the negotiating process by allowing Congress the opportunity to outline its priorities – such as “protections for intellectual property rights, rules for agricultural trade, labor standards, and measures to combat currency manipulation” – and requires the administration to adhere to those negotiating objectives.  If it fails to do so, the bill includes a new provision that allows either the House or the Senate to ‘turn off’ TPA, removing expedited procedures for the implementing bill in either chamber.  The measure also enhances consultation between Congress and the administration, creating House and Senate Advisory Groups on Negotiations to confer with the administration on all aspects of trade negotiations and give Congress a stronger voice in the process. [READ MORE]

MYTH: TPA Gives the President the Ability to Negotiate Secret, Backroom Trade Deals

FACT: The TPA Bill Increases Transparency & Ensures Public Access to Information Prior to a Vote in Congress

The bipartisan TPA trade bill “provides for unprecedented congressional oversight of the negotiating process,” says the Washington Examiner.  It does so by allowing Members of Congress to review the negotiating text, attend negotiating sessions, and receive briefings from the administration upon request.  The measure also ensures the American people have the opportunity to review the agreement, and fully understand its economic impact through public reporting requirements, before it comes to a vote in Congress.  In addition, the bill creates “a Transparency Officer at USTR [U.S. Trade Representative] that will consult with Congress and advise the USTR on transparency policies,” the Ways & Means Committee notes. [READ MORE]

MYTH: TPA Opens the Door for ‘Unrestricted Immigration’

FACT: TPA Has Nothing to Do With Immigration & Explicitly Prevents Any Changes to U.S Law without Congress’ Approval

As the House Ways & Means Committee makes explicitly clear: “TPP has nothing to do with the President’s recent action on immigration—period.”  There is no provision in the pending free trade agreement expanding or changing immigration laws or authorities, much less opening the door for the president to advance his immigration agenda.  Additionally, “under fast track, the president does not exercise any new authority that he lacked before,” law professor John Yoo writes in National Review.  The TPA bill specifically bars the president from enacting any changes to U.S. law, and retains Congress’ ability to vote down any trade agreement that does not satisfy the administration’s obligations under TPA. [READ MORE]

For more, visit the Ways & Means Committee’s trade page for a comprehensive resource on everything you need to know about this critical measure.

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No More Regulation Without Representation

2015/04/22

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today applauded House passage of H.R. 1195, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Advisory Boards Act, which would establish a small business committee to advise regulators throughout the rule-making process:

“One reason small businesses are still struggling is that they don’t have a seat at the table where regulators are making the decisions.  This bipartisan plan ends regulation without representation and gives small business owners a real say in the process.  We shouldn’t just be listening to the people who create most of the new jobs in America; we should be empowering them to help develop rules that will protect investment and innovation.  I'm sure I'm just one of many current and former small business owners pleased we have acted today to hold the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau accountable.”

 

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Contact Information

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

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

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