Entries in John Boehner (4)


Small Signs of Progress Show in Student Loan Impasse

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Is progress being made in the student loan impasse? Perhaps a little.
Late Thursday Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., counter-offered two proposals of his own to pay for the one-year extension of student loans rates to prevent them from doubling on July 1.
And in a sign of tiny steps of progress, the letter was initially well-received by Republican leadership.

Reid proposes a combination of two ideas to pay for the extension, changing and allowing more flexibility to employers pension insurance premiums, which would garner about $9.5 billion, and changing contributions to Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation premiums, which would raise about $8 billion.
“The combination of these two proposals will provide sufficient resources to fund both a one-year extension of the current student loan interest rate and reauthorization of the nation’s surface transportation programs,” Reid writes in a letter sent to House Republican leaders Thursday. “My preference would be to use the funds raised by these two proposals to pay for both measures, and pass them immediately -- since, as you know, both are critical to the economic security of middle class families, and both must be addressed before the end of June.”
Republican aides say they are still waiting for a response from the White House on their own proposals, sent last week, but received Reid’s proposals Thursday positively, indicating that they believe they “may be making progress.”
“We are encouraged to see the majority leader drop his insistence on taxing job creators,” Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, said Thursday. “We will review these new proposals and hope that they will finally review the bipartisan proposals we sent a week ago. But bottom line, now that Democrats are willing to take this issue seriously, and not just use students as props, we may be making progress.”
Both Republicans and Democrats believe the subsidized Stafford loan rates should not be doubled this July from the current 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent and agree the current rates should be extended for at least another year. But both sides thus far have not agreed on how to pay for the $6 billion bill.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Congress Pays Tribute to 9/11, Sings ‘God Bless America’

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With the same sense of unity that pulled Congress together after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, members of Congress from both the House and Senate gathered on steps of the Capitol Monday night to pay tribute to the victims and heroes of the 9/11 attacks.

Congress was not in session Sunday during the 10th anniversary of 9/11.  Instead, many members traveled to their home states to participate in local events marking the date, and to New York, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon to attend ceremonies.

“The 11th of September will always be a day of remembrance,” House Speaker John Boehner said.  “It is up to we who live on -- particularly we who serve -- to ‘never forget,’ to never yield, but to hold fast until we have preserved the blessings of freedom for those who come after us.  If we are successful, no one will have to tell them what to do.  They will know, and they too will ‘never forget.’”

Monday night was reserved for a moment of silence and the singing of “God Bless America” on the steps of the Capitol -- a sight recreated from the spontaneous rendition of the patriotic tune the night of Sept. 11, 2001.

“Here 10 years ago we reaffirmed in our own way that our commitment was for freedom and democracy -- that’s what makes America the greatest nation in the world,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said of that moment.  “Little did we know then the effect that [Maryland Senator] Barbara Mikulski suggesting to us, members of Congress here assembled, that we would sing ‘God Bless America.’  We did -- the sweetest song I ever heard.”

Reid said the only reason that Members of Congress could share that experience in 2001 was because of the courage of the heroes on board United Flight 93.

“The plane was headed here,” he said.  “We’ve learned since then the ringleader of that evil band had made a decision that it would be the Capitol, not the White House, because it was a much easier target.  That night we didn’t know that when we met here, but we know it now.”

“It was clear what needed to be done.  No one had to tell them.  They saved countless lives.  They steadied our country before a watching world,” Boehner said.

Holding small American flags, hundreds of lawmakers sang along Monday evening while the Marine Corps band played “God Bless America,” 10 years after Congress gathered on the steps of the Capitol to sing the song a cappella.

Each of Congress’s four top leaders also delivered brief remarks, touching on the themes of unity, patriotism, remembrance and progress that characterized the 10-year anniversary ceremonies last weekend.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


$14 Trillion Fiscal Challenge Faces GOP

(WASHINGTON) -- Representative John Boehner, Photo Courtesy US House of RepresentativesA stern test of fiscal discipline almost immediately faces Republicans who took control of the House of Representatives last week with vows to cut federal spending.  Congress is set to raise the country’s debt limit yet again.

The debate is already raging over what to do. Neither option -- refusing to raise the debt ceiling and risking a fiscal crisis versus relenting and risking alienating voters who entrusted the GOP to tighten the purse-strings -- is politically attractive.

Republican Senator Tom Coburn said in a Washington Examiner op-ed Friday “If Republicans vote to raise the debt without insisting on spending cuts, whatever credibility we may have will be gone.”

But Representative John Boehner, the likely new Speaker of the House, told ABC’s Diane Sawyer Thursday that there are “multiple options” for how to deal with the debt limit.  “Increasing the debt limit allows our government to meet its obligations,” he noted. “And I think that there are multiple options for how you deal with it. But for our team, I think we’re going to have to demonstrate that we’ve got to have reductions in spending. The government’s spending more than what we bring in. We can’t afford it.”

At this point experts say it appears Congress will have to raise the debt ceiling  early next year. The national debt is fast approaching the limit of $14.29 trillion.

Raising the limit is easier said than done.  Just look at the last time Congress voted to increase it. Last February, the Senate vote fell strictly along party lines, with all 60 Senate Democrats supporting the raise and all 39 Senate Republicans opposing it. Come next year, the Democratic majority in the Senate will have shrunk to 53.

If Congress were to refuse to increase the debt limit, the consequences could be severe for the global financial system. Think of the debt ceiling like the limit on your credit card. If you max out, your life doesn’t automatically shut down, but you do have to find other means of funding, such as borrowing cash from family and friends or selling belongings. The government, for instance, could continue operating with cash on hand or cash coming in. Or it could can postpone or delay paying certain obligations, such as payments to contractors. But resorting to moves like that sends an unnerving message to the rest of the world.

While election momentum might be on the side of Republicans, history is on the Democrats’ side. No Congress has ever voted against approving an increase in the debt ceiling.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Boehner and Pelosi Trade Jabs on Jobs Report

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) --  The next likely Speaker of the House, John Boehner, reacted to this morning’s Department of Labor jobs report by once again calling for an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts, although the House Republican Leader believes the 151,000 net job gain is “a positive sign.”

“Any job growth is a positive sign, but stagnant and stubbornly high unemployment makes clear why permanently stopping all the looming tax hikes should top Washington’s to-do list this month,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said. “Stopping these tax hikes – and cutting spending to pre-‘stimulus,’ pre-bailout levels – would help eliminate the uncertainty gripping small businesses and show Americans asking ‘where are the jobs?’ that Washington is finally on the job.”

Throughout the campaign, Republicans blasted House Democrats who voted for the stimulus, which the Obama Administration had projected would keep the unemployment rate below eight percent. While the latest jobs report showed a net-gain of 151,000 jobs, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.6 percent.

“Our economy will ultimately recover, but it will do so because of hard work and entrepreneurship, not more of the same Washington spending sprees and job-killing policies the American people have repudiated so loudly and clearly,” Boehner stated.

Reacting to the jobs report, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi touted legislation passed by Democrats that she says helped prevent the financial crisis from getting any worse. She also called on Republicans to bring jobs ideas to the table, saying that Democrats will work with Republicans to find common ground on potential solutions to help the stagnant economy.

“With October marking the tenth straight month of private sector job growth, today's news confirms that Democratic actions have helped bring our economy back from the brink and create jobs for the American people,” Pelosi said. “Republicans also must bring their ideas for job creation to the table. And Democrats will strive to find common ground to accomplish our number one priority: putting the American people back to work.”

But with the unemployment rate unchanged at 9.6 percent, Pelosi admitted Congress has not done enough and “must do much more for those struggling in these difficult times and to strengthen America's middle class.”

Earlier this week, President Obama signaled he might be open to a temporary extension of all of the Bush-era tax cuts as long as it ensured that taxes are not increased on the middle class. The president is expected to sit down with Democratic and Republican leaders from the House and Senate on Nov. 18 at the White House to discuss the issue.

“My goal is to make sure that we don't have a huge spike in taxes for middle-class families,” President Obama said. “Not only would that be a terrible burden on families who are already going through tough times, it would be bad for our economy.”

Boehner said he hoped President Obama would make the extension a top priority when he returns next week from his trip to India and South East Asia.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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