Boehner defends GOP against charges it's backtracking on promises
January 6th, 2011
01:56 PM ET
9 years ago

Boehner defends GOP against charges it's backtracking on promises

Washington (CNN) - Under fire for already backtracking on promises for more openness, House Speaker John Boehner admitted Thursday there are limits.

"I promised a more open process. I didn't promise that every single bill was going to be an open bill," said Boehner during his first news conference as the new House Speaker.

"There will be many open rules in this Congress, just watch," he said.

Boehner was responding to a question from CNN about the fact that House Republicans plan to bring a health care repeal to the House floor without committee hearings, and without giving Democrats an opportunity to offer amendments. Republicans have repeatedly promised that legislation would not be written behind closed doors without committee hearings, and that Democrats would be allowed to offer changes to bills on the House floor.

House Republicans have also angered some tea party activists by saying the $100 billion in spending they promised to cut in the first year is likely out of reach, blaming it on the fiscal calendar among other things.

Boehner avoided answering CNN's question about a specific dollar figure.

"On September 24th, we made clear in a pledge that we want to go back to 2008 spending levels. And if we had been able to move on September 24th, we would have been able to go back to 2008 spending levels. But we're halfway through the year.

I will say this: We will meet our commitment to the pledge in this calendar year. There's no ifs, ands or buts about it."

Just before Boehner's news conference, the Congressional Budget Office released a report saying the GOP bill to repeal the health care law would add $230 billion to the federal debt by 2021.

Democrats pounced, calling that proof that not only are Republicans wrong to repeal the health care law, that they're going back on yet another promise not to add to the deficit.

Boehner tried to brush off the CBO report.

"I do not believe that repealing the job-killing health care law will increase the deficit. CBO is entitled to their opinion," he said.

"Listen, even the actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid have made clear that this bill will not save the kind of money that was predicted earlier," said Boehner.

House Democrats also criticized Republicans for exempting the health care repeal bill from the new GOP rule that requires any legislation that adds to the deficit to be paid for with spending cuts. Pressed on why they didn't follow this rule for health care, the Speaker again dismissed the CBO's assessment.

"I don't think anybody in this town believes that repealing Obamacare is going to increase the deficit." Boehner said.

Boehner's office insists House Democrats "rigged the CBO score" last year when they provided the budget office with a set of what Republicans say were inaccurate assumptions about the economic impact of the health care law.

Over and over, Boehner defended the GOP push to repeal health care, despite the reality that Republicans don't have the votes to pass it the Senate.

"We made a commitment to the American people. We're listening to the American people. They want this bill repealed, and we are going to repeal it," said Boehner.

One issue the Speaker has been careful not to take sides on is the politically thorny issue of whether to raise the debt limit, as President Obama has now formally asked Congress to do.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says if the government doesn't raise the $14.3 trillion borrowing limit by spring, the U.S. will default.

Boehner said only that he first wants to make sure federal spending is being cut.

"If the House is going to move an increase in the debt limit, I think we have a responsibility to cut spending and to make changes in the process by which we spend the American people's money," said Boehner.

"I think it would be irresponsible to try to deal with a debt limit without taking corrective action so that we're not facing this each and every year," he said.


Filed under: House • John Boehner • Republicans
soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. Julie C

    This guy is such a political sleeze bag. What a bunch of crap; pretending to really be interested in the deficit when his party is the one that created the hellacious mess in the first place. Crap in the cat box and blame it on someone else; great GOP tactic. I am an American and I want health care reform! I do not want to continue to pay for the uninsured people in this country with increasing premiums. Insurance carriers have been increasing premiums consistently for the past 5 yrs.; I work in HR, I've seen this. Do not continue to fall for GOP scare tactics.

    January 6, 2011 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  2. PalmReader

    The 112th Congress is looking much like the 107th, 108th, & 109th Congress. Any doubts why we ended where we did in 2007? Double talking Boehner ought to be the first clue:

    "We made a commitment to the American people. We're listening to the American people. They want this bill repealed, and we are going to repeal it," said Boehner."

    Dude's spent too much time yelling "HELL, NO", and not enough time actually coming up with solutions. At a time when he needs to be focused, he's coming up empty. Wonder how long before Cantor starts flaying around in desperation?

    January 6, 2011 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  3. Whatever

    LMBO everyone that voted in the Republicians thinking you were going to get anything different... DUH!!!!!!!
    They will share what they want you to know otherwise they've flipped the bird at ya!!! How does it feel?!!

    January 6, 2011 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  4. Superhiro

    It's cool. If he ends up breaking his promises he can just cry it off.

    January 6, 2011 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  5. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    When it comes to budget costs, who has more credibility, the bipartisan CBO or a lying partisan politician?

    January 6, 2011 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  6. Dyan

    Hey, Mr. Boener, I have an idea. Why don't you also listen to the American people who you don't agree with? You keep acting as if all Americans share the same view and that happens to be the same view that you hold. But I'm an American, and I happen to want a single payer (yes, Government run) health care system. There is a significant number of Americans who hold similar views. So will our views get an 'open and fair' hearing? No? Somehow I expected as much.

    January 6, 2011 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  7. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Tea baggers are dreamers, this Republican party is very powerful and will squash them like a fly on the wall. The reading of the Constitution will be the weapon against tea baggers who are totally ignorant about the Constitutional and lack the ability to understand what they read. I advise anyone who thinks they are so-called "shakers and movers" to read the Constitution and what you don't understand seek higher understanding before you're caught in an act of treason not knowing why; that is especially important for Palin and her husband Todd.

    January 6, 2011 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  8. Vic of New York

    GOP is for USA!!! ..."United Stupids of America", that is.

    January 6, 2011 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  9. vic nashville tn

    "I don't think anybody in this town believes that repealing Obama care is going to increase the deficit." Boehner said

    Speaker Boehner we don’t trust that town we don’t care what that town believes

    January 6, 2011 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  10. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Republican motto, "A promise made does not count."

    January 6, 2011 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  11. ABM

    The truth is YOU LIE Mr. Tan.

    Thank you Red States for installing 2 years of lies and disruption of progress.

    January 6, 2011 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  12. John

    Not a very promising start for the Republicans.

    January 6, 2011 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  13. John

    That is the most idiotic thing I have ever heard of. We'll be open when we want to, but not all the time, like when we don't want to be. Or when we don't want you to see something. Like me literally handing out tobacco lobbying checks to members of the house as we vote on legislation pertaining to said industries. Someone get that man a dictionary and show him what transparent means...geez...

    January 6, 2011 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  14. Paul ny

    Um Republicans lie. This is news?

    January 6, 2011 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  15. ATL Guy

    The problems with Republicans is that they don't realize the can of worms that they are about to open in their pursuit to discredit Obama. If they repeal the healthcare reform bill, they open the door to the repeal of all kinds of laws already passed by Congress. What about repealing No Child Left Behind? Or the Bush Medicare Prescription Bill? Or the tax cut bill? Or......

    January 6, 2011 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  16. indie voter

    I don't want health care repealed. And polls show a balanced split of opinion, so Mr. Boehner should stop acting as though he has been bestowed with this as a mandate.

    January 6, 2011 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  17. kayla

    a leopard cannot change it's spot.

    January 6, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  18. Jacob

    you're in charge! fix the country!
    you didn't give Obama a chance, so we're watching! you should have everything fixed by the end of the week!

    January 6, 2011 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  19. jake

    LOL give these idiots enough rope and they will hang their own selfs. any one want to donate money for some strong rope?

    January 6, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  20. Russ

    Boehner and his counter parts were all talk to get elected. Now that they are in there, it will be back to the same old same old. Just now they are in better shape to help their rich buddies and corporate lobbyists. So all you poor bible thumpers that fell for the same old rhetoric again, shame on you. You would think after Reagan and the Bushes you would have learned that Republicans help the rich, Democrats the poor. Got it?

    January 6, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  21. Democrats Class Warfare - Destroying the economy and country

    Come on John... You had to know the whining loser DemocRATS had 2 long months to put together their attack on you after their humiliating lose on Nov. 2nd. Just tell them to sit down, shut up and move to the back of the bus because "we won". I'm sure we're in for two years of constant leftist whining and crying as you cut the deadbeat lefties off from their government handouts. I'll send you a set of earplugs. Keep up the good work!!!

    January 6, 2011 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  22. Dave

    "If the House is going to move an increase in the debt limit, I think we have a responsibility to cut spending and to make changes in the process by which we spend the American people's money," said Boehner.

    Fine. No government run health care for any Senator or Congressperson (especially those making over 1 million per year). Have each member of the House justify in writing every single federal expenditure in their district over 100,000. If the federal handout goes to the state then the two senators have to justify it in writing. How is the money spent and where does it eventually end up.

    Limit each congressperson to 3 staff persons and each Senator to 6 staff persons. Limit each congressional committee to 10 members. Cap the pay of each of these individuals at 100,000 dollars with the health insurance coverage cost coming out of the congresspersons/Senators pocket.

    This is just a start. I am sure I can think of more later.

    January 6, 2011 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  23. Living in America

    Not one Republican is working for free and say they don't want their perks. That will balance the budget. Lunch anyone

    January 6, 2011 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  24. ThinkAgain

    ""I do not believe that repealing the job-killing health care law will increase the deficit. CBO is entitled to their opinion," he said."

    No, Cry-Baby Boehner, the CBO uses FACTS to draw its conclusions.

    On the other hand, the GOP uses out-right lies, fear-mongering, hatred and division to make its arguments – because all of your policies are PROVEN FAILURES.

    Not everyone is as stupid as your goose-stepping base ...

    January 6, 2011 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  25. Patriots Salute the Flag! Traitors don't!!!

    Why should they be? Obama signs bills that have never been approved by Congress. The Democrats are as secretive as Hades. To note the Birth Certificate of the Illegal.

    January 6, 2011 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
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