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April 20, 2014

Posts in "John Boehner"

March 7, 2014

Gutierrez Defends Calling Obama ‘Deporter in Chief’

Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez defended his characterization of President Barack Obama as “deporter in chief” during a conference call with immigration activists on Friday.

The Illinois Democrat noted, however, that even though he called the president out for not using executive orders to stop deportations, he still supports him.

“I called the president deporter in chief,” he told reporters on the call organized by America’s Voice. “That is not contradictory with the president being the champion in chief. Look, I want the president to be bill-signer in chief.”

Gutiérrez, a vocal advocate for a comprehensive overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws and a one-time lead negotiator in efforts to advance bipartisan legislation, delivered a floor speech earlier this week in which he slammed Obama for allowing more deportations during his administration than during the tenures of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

At the House Democratic Caucus retreat in Cambridge, Md., last month, Obama told lawmakers in a closed-door question-and-answer session that there are limits to his executive authority when it comes to stopping deportations.

“When I see politicians hiding behind excuses, I feel compelled to call them out on it,” Gutiérrez said. “[It's] dishonest for President Obama to say his hands are tied and there’s nothing more he can do.”

Obama wasn’t the only public official Gutiérrez took to task on Friday.

“Just because I’m saying to the president there is more he can do on deportation doesn’t mean that the speaker … or anyone else is off the hook,” he said.

“Republicans are sitting on their hands,” continued Gutiérrez, naming Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio, Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, and the other lawmakers of the House Republican Conference who are still refusing to schedule floor consideration for any immigration overhaul bill. “We see it every day.”

March 6, 2014

Congressional Black Caucus Brings Resolution Condemning Issa, Asks Boehner to Take His Gavel (Video) (Updated)

fudge 134 062513 445x296 Congressional Black Caucus Brings Resolution Condemning Issa, Asks Boehner to Take His Gavel (Video) (Updated)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 2:23 p.m. | The chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus brought a resolution to the floor Thursday condemning Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa and asked Speaker John A. Boehner to take his gavel, after Issa cut off Rep. Elijah E. Cummings’ microphone at a hearing Wednesday.

Flanked by CBC colleagues and other Democrats, Chairwoman Marcia L. Fudge, D-Ohio, stood on the House floor to introduce a privileged resolution condemning the California Republican for the “offensive and disrespectful manner in which [he] conducted the hearing” and for “turn[ing] off the microphones of the Ranking Member while he was speaking and adjourn[ing] the hearing without a vote or a unanimous consent agreement.

Within hours, the House voted on party lines to shelve the resolution, with Republicans lining up to back Issa.

Cummings, a CBC member and the top Democrat on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, was attempting to ask a procedural question and deliver general remarks at a resumption of a May 2013 hearing to question IRS official Lois Lerner, who again declined to answer questions by citing her Fifth Amendment rights.

Issa’s refusal to allow the Maryland Democrat to engage has set off a new chapter in a running feud between the two senior lawmakers on the panel.

This time, however, Democrats are taking it personally. In addition to the CBC privileged resolution, Fudge sent a letter to Boehner asking that Issa be removed from his chairmanship.

But the Ohio Republican issued a strong defense of Issa Thursday morning at his weekly press conference. Full story

March 5, 2014

Boehner Rips Obama Policies as Emboldening Putin on Ukraine

boehner 197 022714 445x296 Boehner Rips Obama Policies as Emboldening Putin on Ukraine

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Speaker John A. Boehner ripped years of President Barack Obama’s policies for failing to dissuade Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to encroach into Ukraine.

“The steps that had not been taken over the last three or four years by the president allowed Putin to believe that he could do what he’s doing without any reaction from us,” Boehner said Wednesday morning.

The Ohio Republican said his conference and Democrats were “trying to work with the president to strengthen his hand.” Full story

March 3, 2014

Boehner: Immigration Principles Not ‘Amnesty’

Speaker John A. Boehner strongly defended his immigration principles released in January against charges from conservative Republicans that they amount to “amnesty.”

“Some want to call it amnesty,” the Ohio Republican told the Cincinnati Enquirer in a wide-ranging, hourlong interview. “I reject that premise … If you come in and plead guilty and pay a fine, that’s not amnesty,” he said.

Boehner reiterated his desire to pass an immigration overhaul, and the paper characterized his position as “a key area of agreement” between the speaker and President Barack Obama at their White House meeting last week.

“He wants to get it done. I want to get it done,” Boehner said. “But he’s going to have to help us in this process.” Full story

Boehner Predicts He Will Keep Speaker’s Gavel, Calls Putin a ‘Thug’

Updated 6:59 p.m. | Speaker John A. Boehner told The Cincinnati Enquirer he will seek to remain the speaker in the next Congress and is confident his conference will keep him in the top slot.

“It won’t even be close. …I think I’m in better shape with my own caucus than I have ever been in the last three years,” Boehner told the paper, tamping down persistent speculation inside Washington that Boehner could be eyeing the exits, particularly after he recently bought a condo in Florida.

Boehner said the condo purchase “has nothing to do with my future,” the paper reported.

Boehner also called Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin a “thug” and backed a round of sanctions against Russia in the wake of the standoff in Ukraine.

February 27, 2014

Boehner Says Tea Party Is Raising Money ‘Beating Up on Me’ (Video)

boehner 061 020614 445x296 Boehner Says Tea Party Is Raising Money Beating Up on Me (Video)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker John A. Boehner gave a nice assessment of the tea party Thursday on its unofficial five year anniversary, but stressed he isn’t exactly happy with groups like the Tea Party Patriots who are trying to fire him.

“My gripe is not with the tea party; my gripe is with some Washington organizations who feel like they got to go raise money by beating up on me and others,” Boehner told reporters.

The Ohio Republican also said he has ”great respect for the tea party and the energy they have brought to the electoral process.”

As we wrote today, Congress seems to have a mostly mixed assessment of the conservative movement.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi Thursday morning also fielded questions about the tea party and its legacy.

The California Democrat said the tea party had “hijacked” the Republican Party, and that tea partyers “considered it a success when they shut down government.”

Pelosi said her message to Republicans was this: “Take back your party, this isn’t who you are.”

Tea Party Pointing Fingers at GOP Leadership, 5 Years In

bachmann 160 022614 445x296 Tea Party Pointing Fingers at GOP Leadership, 5 Years In

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Rick Santelli rant heard ’round the world five years ago is credited with starting the tea party, and if you ask Republicans in Congress, the conservative movement has a mixed legacy.

“There’s a reality that we have a president that is further left than any president we’ve ever had in history, and there’s a reality that Harry Reid is a compliant, willing accomplice of the president to accomplish his agenda,” Rep. Michele Bachmann told CQ Roll Call. “So knowing that, I think the tea party is doing as well as it can.”

The Minnesota Republican founded and is still serving as chairwoman of Congress’ Tea Party Caucus, but she is calling it quits this year instead of seeking re-election.

Bachmann identified the 2010 election as “clearly” the “high-water mark” for the movement: “The tea party was responsible for removing the gavel from Nancy Pelosi’s hands and putting it in John Boehner’s hand and making him speaker. That effectively put the brakes on the Obama agenda in a very forthright way.”

But five years in, the political movement is not easy to evaluate. Among the sentiments we heard from Republican lawmakers as we assessed the tea party over the past week were that it’s been successful, that it’s pushed legislative change on spending issues, that it’s still experiencing growing pains, and even that it’s “dangerous.”

Full story

February 26, 2014

Boehner Declines to Endorse Camp’s Tax Reform (Updated) (Video)

boehner 009 020414 445x305 Boehner Declines to Endorse Camps Tax Reform (Updated) (Video)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hours ahead of the rollout, Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio declined to endorse Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp’s plan for a rewrite of the country’s tax code.

Pressed repeatedly on whether he supports the bill that the Camp, R-Mich., will unveil Wednesday afternoon, Boehner said only that it is a “discussion draft” that will begin a “conversation” about the issues.

Full story

February 24, 2014

Boehner, Obama Meet in Oval Office (Updated)

Updated: Feb. 25 2:52 p.m. | Speaker John A. Boehner and President Barack Obama met for about an hour in the Oval Office Tuesday morning on a wide range of subjects and agreed to work together “wherever we can.”

That was according to a readout from an aide to the Ohio Republican.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney called the meeting “good and constructive” and “useful.”

Carney noted Boehner had previously said he would not negotiate with the president again. He said generally that Obama is looking at ways to advance his agenda.

Here’s the Boehner aide statement: Full story

February 20, 2014

Steve King: I Was Right and I Won’t Apologize

king 052 100413 445x312 Steve King: I Was Right and I Wont Apologize

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Steve King not only isn’t sorry about his controversial comments about illegal immigrants, he’s taking credit for correcting other lawmakers’ statements.

In a recent interview with his local newspaper, the Spencer Daily Reporter, King deflected all criticism waged against him and stuck by his attempts to thwart efforts by House leaders on both sides of the aisle to move forward with an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws.

“I’m not going to apologize. What I’ve said is objectively true, and any time that Republicans have criticized me, it’s not because of what I said, it’s because they disagree with my agenda,” said King, whose interview was broadcast Thursday by the liberal blog Right Wing Watch.

He was responding to a reporter’s question about what King might say to fellow Republicans who are “upset with what they term the ‘harsh rhetoric’ of the strong right.”

King got considerable flak for comments he made this past summer about the immigrants brought to the United States illegally by their parents, the “DREAMers.”

“For everyone who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds — and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert,” King told the conservative website Newsmax in July.

King alluded to that episode in his Daily Reporter interview, saying that the statement actually played a role in shaping the immigration rhetoric of the left.

“I’ve laid out, and sometimes I’ve made the point for years, and they weren’t listening,” King explained, “so I found another way to get them to pay attention. So for example, [Senate Majority Whip] Dick Durbin, as far as I know, no longer describes the dreamers as valedictorians. We’ve corrected that major flaw and sometimes we have to, otherwise it distorts the public’s understanding.”

He also likened pressure from his peers to soften his tone with a confrontation with a constituent during his days as an Iowa state senator:

“They cannot make a point about anything I’ve said that was anything other than true … I just remember when I was in a debate at Iowa State University back when I was in the State Senate, and it was about same-sex marriage. And one of the people … went to the microphone and he said, ‘why don’t you just be progressive and get with it like Holland?’ … And I said, ‘you’re asking me to emulate Holland? Why would I emulate Holland? … They have euthanasia and abortion and legalized drugs and prostitution,’ and when I said that he gasped into the microphone and I said, ‘what’s the matter? It’s true, isn’t it?’ And he kind of whimpered, ‘you didn’t have to say it that way.’

“Is it really true that we’re to this point in society that now if you disagree with someone, you don’t have the argument … you have to instead call names and criticize the utilization of the language?”

February 18, 2014

CBO Minimum Wage Report Portends Poorly for Democratic Discharge Petition

A Congressional Budget Office report on the minimum wage has posed an old question to Capitol Hill: Are you willing to cut hundreds of thousands of jobs to give higher wages to millions?

The CBO report, which was released Tuesday and has drawn criticism from some Democrats and the White House, said increasing the minimum wage would have two main effects on low-wage workers:

“Most of them would receive higher pay that would increase their family’s income, and some of those families would see their income rise above the federal poverty threshold. But some jobs for low-wage workers would probably be eliminated, the income of most workers who became jobless would fall substantially, and the share of low-wage workers who were employed would probably fall slightly.”

The report, at the request of lawmakers, studied the effects of raising the minimum wage to $9 per hour — as the president proposed a year ago — and $10.10 per hour as he proposed this year and as the so-called “Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013″ would do after two years, subsequently indexing the minimum wage to inflation.

The effect of raising the wage to $9 per hour, according to the CBO, would be a net loss of 100,000 jobs but higher wages for approximately 7.6 million people. In turn, raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would result in 500,000 jobs lost but raise wages for 16.5 million, according to the analysis. Full story

February 11, 2014

Breaking Down the Debt Ceiling Vote

The House voted 221-201 to pass a clean debt ceiling hike for more than a year — and there are a few interesting trends hidden in the breakdown. (The Senate then passed the increase on Wednesday.)

Twenty-eight Republicans voted for the bill, which means this debt ceiling vote was the most extreme example of violating the principle that the speaker does not bring a bill to the floor without a “majority of the majority” — the so-called Hastert Rule, named after former Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., who broke that principle 12 times himself.

Before Tuesday, the greatest number of majority defections on a bill that passed the House was 41. (Coincidentally, Democrats and Republicans both achieved that same watermark. Democrats in 2007 with the “Protect America Act” and Republicans in 2002 with the “Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act.”)

But Tuesday’s debt limit vote now stands alone with the fewest number of votes from a majority on a bill that passed the House since at least 1991, when digital records of roll call votes became available. Full story

The End of Debt Limit Brinkmanship? (Video)

boehner021114 445x314 The End of Debt Limit Brinkmanship? (Video)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio took the podium Tuesday at a private Republican Conference meeting across the street from the Capitol, well aware that he was out of options.

His flock had once again left him, and so a bill suspending the nation’s borrowing cap until March 2015 would come to the floor without preconditions, he announced. Then, shunning questions, he hastily walked offstage to stunned silence.

A moment later, he reconsidered and returned.

“You’re not even going to clap for me for getting this monkey off of our backs?” he implored, drawing applause from many of his rank-and-file members, still loyal to the embattled House figurehead.

The debt ceiling has become more burden to Boehner than boon. The exchange, reiterated by several sources inside the room, points to a fundamental shift in dynamics in the debate over how to extend the nation’s borrowing authority. Boehner’s defeatist approach and the tepid, mixed reaction of his membership underscore a growing realization in the conference that the tactic of attaching legislative demands to a debt limit increase is simply unsustainable.

Full story

Republicans Plan ‘Clean’ Debt Limit Vote Today (Updated)

Updated 11:42 a.m. | Unable to sell their conference on their latest plan to raise the debt limit, Republican leaders plan to vote today on a “clean” debt limit increase.

“We don’t have 218 votes,” Speaker John A. Boehner told reporters. “When you don’t have 218 votes, you have nothing.”

Boehner said he expects nearly every Democrat to back the clean debt limit increase and said he had spoken to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and she agreed they would.

“Let his party give him the debt ceiling he wants,” the Ohio Republican said of President Barack Obama, who had vowed not to negotiate on the debt limit again.

But some Republicans will still have to vote for the bill.

“We’re going to have to find ‘em, I’ll be one of them,” Boehner said.

Boehner, who has long sought to use the debt limit as a leverage point to move other priorities, called the party’s inability to agree on a plan a “lost opportunity” and “a disappointing moment.”

The plan released last night would have restored military pensions that were cut in last year’s budget deal. Republicans now plan to vote on that issue separately — with both votes planned to be held later today to get ahead of a snowstorm expected later this week, GOP leadership aides said.

The military pension plan was only the latest of many Republican leader trial balloons to get shot down by their rank and file — including proposals to attach the Keystone XL pipeline and repeal a portion of the Affordable Care Act.

Republican leaders were caught between White House and Democratic demands for a clean hike and Republican conservatives who didn’t want to vote for anything, and others who were angry that they would have to choose whether to vote to support the troops or vote against raising the debt limit. Other Republicans complained that the plan would effectively increase spending for nine years only to cut it in the 10th year by extending part of the sequester — when many wanted more cuts sooner.

The difficulty of the task was noted by Boehner last week when he said attaching the canonization of Mother Teresa to the debt limit hike probably wouldn’t be enough to get enough Republican votes to pass a debt limit hike.

“Listen: You’ve all known that our members are not big about voting for an increase in the debt ceiling,” Boehner said today.

Republican were “upset” with Obama’s insistence that he would not negotiate on the issue.

And so, Boehner said, Republicans were asking, “‘Why should I have to deal with his debt limit?

“And so the fact is: We’ll let the Democrats put the votes up. We’ll put a minimum number of votes up to get it passed.”

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., said Democrats would provide 180 or more votes. “We’ll see how many Republicans act responsibly,” he said.

But Hoyer reacted incredulously to the GOP leadership’s inability to find 218 Republican votes for any plan.

“Isn’t that pathetic? Isn’t that pathetic? Isn’t that pathetic?” Hoyer said.

Earlier, Boehner left his news conference today singing “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.”

Emma Dumain, Daniel Newhauser and Steven T. Dennis contributed to this report.

February 10, 2014

Republican Leaders Pitch Debt Limit Sweetener (Updated)

Updated 9:39 p.m. | House Republican leaders pitched their members a deal Monday night that would pair raising the nation’s borrowing cap for one year with a rollback of military pension cuts — with a vote possible Wednesday.

Republicans posted the text of the bill Monday night, including a $2.3 billion fund that could be used for a patch for Medicare doctor reimbursements. The debt limit would be suspended until March 15, 2015.

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said Republicans planned to whip the newest proposal during Monday evening votes.

“I think the goal is to put it on the floor Wednesday,” Nunes said. “We’re just going to whip it.”

The deal is designed to attract Democratic support, which became necessary when GOP leaders found last week that none of their plans could garner 218 votes from Republicans alone. Full story

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