Boehner warns Obama headed for 'brick wall'
January 28th, 2014
11:11 AM ET
7 months ago

Boehner warns Obama headed for 'brick wall'

Washington (CNN) – House Speaker John Boehner warned President  Barack Obama that he will "run into a brick wall" by using his executive power and bypassing Congress, as the White House has signaled the President intends to do.

"We’re just not going to sit here and let the President trample all over us," said Boehner.

"This idea that he's just going to go it alone, I have to remind him we do have a constitution. And the Congress writes the laws, and the President’s job is to execute the laws faithfully. And if he tries to ignore this he's going to run into a brick wall."

Boehner, speaking during an annual State of the Union day breakfast in his Capitol office with reporters, also said raising the minimum wage for new federal contractors, which the President is expected to announce tonight, won't have much real world effect.

"I suspect it affects absolutely no one," said Boehner.

His aides later clarified that he meant immediately, since the executive order will be for a minimum wage increase for new hires.

Boehner Says House Republicans Need to Get Back on Offense

The Speaker conceded that his party has spent so much time railing against the President's agenda, they have gotten off track over the last several years in putting forward their own policy prescriptions – something he hopes to help correct this year.

"As we look at this year I think we go back to what we did in '07,'08, 09, '10 and that is to be the party of better solutions. When I took over as leader in '07 I told our members you can’t go out there and criticize Democrats unless you tell them what you're for."

He said that will include a health care reform alternative to Obamacare, in addition to bread and butter issues of the economy, jobs, education, and infrastructure.

When asked if he was admitting Republicans were simply the party of "no" over the last several years, Boehner responded he “wouldn’t go quite that far, but we spent an awful lot of time in opposition as opposed to spending time on offense saying what we're for."

Boehner Tries To Set Welcoming Tone

The Speaker insisted there is common ground on many issues the two parties can find over the next year.

"Listen, just because we have divided government doesn’t mean that it has to be dysfunctional. As a matter of fact I would argue we've come a long way in the last few months," said Boehner, citing the budget agreement and spending bill which passed with bipartisan majorities. He also said he expects a bipartisan farm bill to pass this week.

"If the President is serious about a year of action it would be nice if he would just reach out and work with us," said Boehner, ticking off a list of issues he thinks they can find common ground, from trade promotion authority, energy, immigration reform, water infrastructure, patent reform, cyber security and more.

Boehner Relationship with President Obama

"It's perfect," is how Boehner responded to a question about the state of his relationship with Obama.

When that was met with laughter from reporters, Boehner quickly added "No, it is!"

"I know you don't believe this but he and I have a nice relationship. We talk on the phone from time to time. There's hardly a meeting at the White House where once it’s over he doesn’t pull me aside and we chat for another 10 minutes about whatever. We have a very nice relationship. We just don’t agree on a lot of big things"

Debt Ceiling Increase

Boehner continued to make clear he has no desire to wage a fight with the President next month on raising the debt ceiling, saying  "I want it dealt with sooner rather than later."

But he wouldn’t say whether that could mean passing a clean debt ceiling, which would almost surely only pass with significant Democratic support.

The President has made clear he will not negotiate over paying the country's bills, but House Republicans are worried about retribution from the conservative base if they vote to increase the debt ceiling without any concessions.

Still, House Republican leaders will discuss possible options to ask the President for in return for increasing the debt ceiling at their retreat later this week.

Boehner said some of the ideas they're kicking around are changes to federal health care law that many Democrats support, like doing away with a provision that gives government aide to insurance companies, known as the "risk corridor," doing away with the medical device tax, doing away with a fee that affects unions as well as small businesses, and more.

"The President has said he's not going to negotiate. After dealing with the President for three years on our debt and deficit it's clear he won’t touch our entitlement programs without an agreement to raise taxes. We're not going to raise taxes. I've also made clear through this entire three year fight that we're not going to default on our debt. We're going to have a discussion on Thursday with how to deal with it," said Boehner

Obamacare will "crash on its own"

Even so, Boehner said he does not believe the President or Senate Democrats will ever do anything to change the Affordable Health Care Act, because its "the President's pride and joy" but said he still believes it is unsustainable and will "crash on its own"

He joked about saying the blowback he got the day after election that Obamacare is the "law of the land"

"I never got slapped around more in my whole life...you'd think i had taken God's name in vein or something"

Shutdown – Lessons Learned

Boehner said he believes his members learned a lot from last fall's federal government shutdown, which he admits was a mistake.

"I tried to tell them this wouldn’t work," said Boehner, speaking of his discussions with his GOP rank and file who wanted to tie defunding Obamacare to funding the government, which led to the government shutdown.

What did House Republicans learn?

"They’re the ones in charge of their voting cards, no one else," Boehner said, including conservative outside groups who "need to be put in check.

soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Where's Our $24 Billion?

    "If the President is serious about a year of action it would be nice if he would just reach out and work with us,"
    ---------------------------------------–
    And there lies the problem Boehner. You & your republican House colleagues have collectively sat on your behinds and done NOTHING! Have you seen your unfavorable rating lately Mr. Speaker? You yourself have said the less legislation passed is a good thing. Under YOUR failed leadership, the 113th Congress is the least productive Congress in modern history. That's not something to be proud of. When history looks back on this Congress, they'll say it was the worst Congress ever because House republicans had no intention on working with the 1st African American POTUS just so they can nullify him and delegitimize his presidency. You should be ashamed of yourselves. Just how long has the Senate immigration bill been stuck in the House dying a slow death Mr. Speaker?

    January 28, 2014 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  2. Sniffit

    "he still believes it is unsustainable and will "crash on its own""

    About 50 desperate messaging votes, a gov't shutdown, numerous hostages and brinksmanship games, constant demagoguery and a continuous stream of state and federal legislation designed to dismantle key parts of the ACA in order to cause it problems, etc., all suggest otherwise. He doesn't believe it will crash on it's own. None of them do. That's why they're so desperate to break down the door to the cockpit and fly it into a building.

    January 28, 2014 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  3. NEVER to VOTE REPUBLICAN again

    So tired of you do nothing Republicans. Go for it Mr. President and get the great country moving forward!

    January 28, 2014 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Ah, yeah. I'd almost completely forgotten all about the Republican pre-buttal speeches to the SOTU address. What's new about the President running into a brick wall with the Congress? It's that same brick wall is why he's using his authority to write executive orders. While Congress has the power to make the laws, the executive branch hs the power to define the policy that determines how those laws are carried out, or executed.

    It seems that therer is a proposal to change the wage schedules that are included in future government contracts. Republicans want to hold the people at the bottom of the economic ladder at the bottom. It's a disgrace that someone in this country can work a full time job, and still not be able to earn enough to be above the poverty line, much less support a family of four.

    January 28, 2014 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  5. Bob in Alabama

    In other words, Mr. Boehner, you're preparing us for further obstructionism by your party. What a surprise!

    January 28, 2014 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  6. Sniffit

    "he still believes it is unsustainable and will "crash on its own""

    About 50 desperate messaging votes, a gov't shutdown, numerous hostages and brinksmanship games, constant demagoguery and a continuous stream of state and federal legislation designed to dismantle key parts of the ACA in order to cause it problems, etc., all suggest otherwise. He doesn't believe it will crash on it's own. None of them do. That's why they're so desperate to break down the door to the cockpit and break the controls.

    January 28, 2014 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  7. Sniffit

    "he still believes it is unsustainable and will "crash on its own""

    About 50 desperate messaging votes, a gov't shutdown, numerous hostages and brinksmanship games, constant demagoguery and a continuous stream of state and federal legislation designed to dismantle key parts of the ACA in order to cause it problems, etc., all suggest otherwise. He doesn't believe it will crash on its own. None of them do. They want desperately for it to fail though. That's why they're so desperate to break down the door to the c0ckpit and fly it into the ground.

    January 28, 2014 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  8. Thomas

    President Barack Obama has been dealing with a congressional brick wall since he was elected .

    The Speaker conceded that his party has spent so much time railing against the President's agenda, they have gotten off track over the last several years in putting forward their own policy prescriptions.

    The GOP has no new ideas , bricks don't have brains !

    January 28, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  9. Sniffit

    "it would be nice if he would just reach out and work with us,"

    Says the man who just spat this out: The President wants X and we want Y, but we refuse to give any X, so he should just give us Y.

    January 28, 2014 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  10. Silence DoGood

    Before the conservative frothing at the mouth about Obama abusing power: Executive orders are subject to judicial review if unconstitutional. And no, just issuing them is not unconstitutional. Almost all presidents have done it from G.Washington on down. Even Bush made some very sketchy ones like power brokering and furthering establishment of a state religion ("faith based"). The just-say-no GOP has itself to blame for the policy that it will attempt to thwart all Obama's initiatives.

    January 28, 2014 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  11. Malory Archer

    If President Obama and his proposals are so bad why don't the rethugs just let him run with them? Won't that guarantee them a landslide in November? I mean, it's barely 9 months to election day so it isn't like they couldn't put the kibosh on his proposals in 2015 before they have a chance to spiral out of control... right? Unless of course, they're afraid Americans will see before election day that his proposals are actually making things better. I say give him the keys and let the chips fall where they may.

    January 28, 2014 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  12. Wake up People!

    Thanks guys for relaying my sentiments that I'm apparently not allowed to do myself......

    January 28, 2014 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  13. Lynda/Minnesota

    Sniffit
    "it would be nice if he would just reach out and work with us,"

    Says the man who just spat this out: The President wants X and we want Y, but we refuse to give any X, so he should just give us Y.
    -----------

    Might be why CNN chose this particular photo of him for their cover story.

    January 28, 2014 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  14. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Where's Our $24 Billion?

    This President has the least amount of Executive Orders than his republican predecessors. Now all of a sudden he's a dictator huh? Go blow it out your a$$. I hope the President asserts his executive power so much right now that his pen runs out of ink.

    January 28, 2014 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  15. Silence DoGood

    Sniffit
    "he still believes it is unsustainable and will "crash on its own""

    About 50 desperate messaging votes, a gov't shutdown, numerous hostages and brinksmanship games, constant demagoguery and a continuous stream of state and federal legislation designed to dismantle key parts of the ACA in order to cause it problems, etc., all suggest otherwise. He doesn't believe it will crash on its own. None of them do. They want desperately for it to fail though. That's why they're so desperate to break down the door to the c0ckpit and fly it into the ground.
    ---------
    Don't forget the phony web sites to mislead people and the campus beer cozy campaign to stop young sign-ups and conservative h@ckers distributing attack software to crash the ACA site. We quickly get into some nasty stuff. They know it will not fail without sabotage.

    January 28, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  16. Wake up People!

    Stay warm Lynda!! We're freezing here in MI too. Right now it's a balmy -3, but there's sun.....

    January 28, 2014 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  17. Smitty

    Another day and more excuses for Obammy, Don't you people get tired of making lameo excuses for this inept jerk ??? Lets start from the beginning my stimulus will take unemp to 5.6%. Its been all downhill from there for THE BIGGEST LIAR OF THE YEAR WINNER. Just too many bonehead moves to list !!

    January 28, 2014 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  18. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    When asked if he was admitting Republicans were simply the party of "no" over the last several years, Boehner responded he “wouldn’t go quite that far, but we spent an awful lot of time in opposition as opposed to spending time on offense saying what we're for."
    -------------------------------------------------
    You should go as far as to tell the truth and admit you've been nothing is not the Party of Hell No!
    I do believe that you have an amicable relationship with the President which is why it is so much more incongruous that you would be such a coward and not work with him on the things you claim to have in common.
    The fact is Boehner that you're too scared to lead that pack of saboteurs you preside over.
    It has made you ineffectual and a puppet to those that really pull the strings for your Party.
    When the President speaks tonight I would suggest you shut up, sit down, take notes, and learn something.
    A leader, our country's leader, will be at the mike. Something you will never be.

    January 28, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  19. jerry bigness

    Obama has already violated the constitution. His upgrades to the NSA has violated free speech and the right to privacy. He can be impeached for violating his oath of presidency, in that he had promised to uphold the constitution. Boehner and his cronies won't do it because they have their hands dirty as well.

    Empty threats will get you nowhere. And to think that the last three months will make up for 6 years of dysfunction, you have got to be desperate or are just targeting midterm elections. It takes time to earn trust back. Some of these Repubs will never get the chance because they shut down the govt as their own agenda when their job is to represent the people in their districts. I have never heard a single person say that they wanted the govt shut down. They may have said that they wanted the Dems or Repubs out of office, the Pres out of office, but never said to shut down the govt.

    January 28, 2014 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  20. Malory Archer

    jerry bigness

    Obama has already violated the constitution. His upgrades to the NSA has violated free speech and the right to privacy.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    What upgrades to the NSA?

    January 28, 2014 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  21. Lynda/Minnesota

    Wake up People!
    Stay warm Lynda!! We're freezing here in MI too. Right now it's a balmy -3, but there's sun.....
    ---------

    You also my friend. I haven't decided if I should open my drapes and let the sun in, or keep them shut against the chill. Ah, the cavern existence we live in the upper mid-west ... yes?

    January 28, 2014 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  22. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Lynda/Minnesota

    Wake up People!
    Stay warm Lynda!! We're freezing here in MI too. Right now it's a balmy -3, but there's sun.....
    ---

    You also my friend. I haven't decided if I should open my drapes and let the sun in, or keep them shut against the chill. Ah, the cavern existence we live in the upper mid-west ... yes?
    -------------------------------------------------
    Gee guys, you make our 5 with the wind chill factor here in Maryland sound almost tropical...almost!
    Be safe, be warm babes.

    January 28, 2014 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  23. Wake up People!

    So true Lynda! I opened my blinds this morning so my plants could get some sun. Here's to hoping we get some relief soon!!

    Come on Spring!!!

    January 28, 2014 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  24. Duke

    To date Mr. Obama has issued issued few Executive orders than Reagan, Bush1 or Bush 2.

    Anyine remember Haliburton and no-bid contracts?

    January 28, 2014 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  25. Gunderson

    Well Lessee,
    After 100 years of Liberal Policies and now 5 years of Big Liberal Ideas some of you still can't see the forest for the trees. Now that all those big liberal ideas have went the route of the Soviet Union why do some of you want to continue them? The over 17 Trillion Dollar Federal Debt is no Mirage. The fact that all the big social programs are running (Actually) out of money still you ignore it. Look at Obama Care. The Experts said the Web Site was up and ready to go. Another big liberal success. When you look at Obama Care you are looking at the last 100 years of Liberal Politics. So sad.

    January 28, 2014 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
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