March 20th, 2010
09:52 AM ET
13 years ago

Boehner: Dems chose partisan and costly path

(CNN) - House Minority Leader John Boehner took aim at the Democrats' health care bill in the weekly GOP radio and Internet address Saturnday, saying,"Democrats in Washington chose a partisan path and a costly, big-government agenda. "

“It’s clear where the American people stand. They want no part of this bill, and they haven’t been shy about saying so. We’ve seen standing room only crowds at town hall meetings," Boehner said in the address. "Rallies in towns and cities around the country. And now, jammed phone lines on Capitol Hill. All of this coming from citizens yelling ‘stop’ at the top of their lungs."

“But Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrat Leaders are too blinded by their ‘Washington knows best’ attitude, too out-of-touch with the concerns of working families, to listen," he also said.

Full transcript of the address after the jump

“Hello, I’m House Republican Leader John Boehner.

“I’m speaking to you from the Capitol, where in a matter of hours, the House of Representatives will vote on health care legislation sure to have a drastic effect on our economy and our lives.

“It was here fourteen months ago that President Obama took the oath of office with a promise to govern from the center. Republicans stood ready to work with our new president and find common ground to address the issues Americans care about.

“Unfortunately, President Obama and Democrats in Washington chose a partisan path and a costly, big-government agenda.

“The trillion-dollar ‘stimulus’ isn’t working as struggling families continue to ask: ‘where are the jobs?’ And taxpayers’ hard-earned money is being spent so fast that two trillion dollars has been added to the national debt on President Obama’s watch.

“Now Democrats want the federal government to take over health care, which represents one-sixth of our economy.

“From the beginning, the one thing the American people wanted out of health care reform was lower costs. That’s why Republicans proposed a bill based on common-sense reforms that, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, would reduce premiums for families and small businesses by up to 10 percent. Our bill achieves these goals without cutting Medicare or raising taxes. All of the details are available at

“The Democrats’ bill, which runs more than 2,300 pages, actually raises premiums and ushers in a massive expansion of government – with roughly 160 new boards, bureaus, and commissions.

“Instead of finding a responsible way to pay for all this, Democrats impose more than half-a-trillion dollars in Medicare cuts and more than half-a-trillion dollars in tax hikes.

“In fact, this bill requires 10 years of tax increases and 10 years of Medicare cuts just to pay for six years of supposed benefits, many of which don’t even go into effect until 2014. That’s not reform.

“It’s clear where the American people stand. They want no part of this bill, and they haven’t been shy about saying so. We’ve seen standing room only crowds at town hall meetings. Rallies in towns and cities around the country. And now, jammed phone lines on Capitol Hill. All of this coming from citizens yelling ‘stop’ at the top of their lungs.

“But Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrat Leaders are too blinded by their ‘Washington knows best’ attitude, too out-of-touch with the concerns of working families, to listen.

“Instead of trying to do better, Democrats have packed this bill full of kickbacks, payoffs, and sweetheart deals in order to buy the support of lawmakers and Washington special interest groups.

“Democrats are so afraid of the public’s outrage that they have devised a strategy that would allow them to force this massive bill through Congress without even voting on it. It’s outrageous, and it’s an affront to the principles of representative democracy.

“We were elected to make tough choices, not run from them. And this vote is certainly one of the toughest.

“With that in mind, I asked Speaker Pelosi to have the final health care votes recorded by a ‘call of the roll.’ Under this procedure, each lawmaker will have to stand before the American people and announce his or her vote.

“The stakes are too high, and this bill is too controversial, for anything less than complete transparency and accountability. It’s time to stand up and be counted.

“Don’t let Democrats in Washington take this debate away from you. Don’t let them make this about arm-twisting and backroom deals.

“And don’t let President Obama get away with asking his fellow Democrats to vote for this bill to save his presidency.

“Because this vote isn’t about saving a presidency or a politician. It’s about doing the right thing for our kids and grandkids. It’s about ensuring that freedom and opportunity remain the birthright of our people. And it’s about listening to the hard-working taxpayers who sent us here.

“That’s why the only responsible course of action is to scrap this health care bill. Let’s start over with a clean sheet of paper. Let’s work together on a step-by-step approach focused on lowering costs for families and small businesses.

“Republicans can’t beat this bill, but the American people can. It’s not too late to make your voice heard.

“Thank you for listening.”

Filed under: Health care • John Boehner
soundoff (146 Responses)
  1. Arlene

    Boehner stands and lies through his teeth. Nor all Americans want this bill to fail. Just those starry-eyed followers who are so blind by party they can't think for themselves. All he is concerned with is grabbing seat of power and keeping his job so he can afford those fake oroange tans. If Republicans and Democrats were really working for the American people, they would have worked together to have a strong Health Care Bill with a strong public option so Insurance companies could not control our health. He says the Democrats would not work with the Republicans, but everytime the democrats accepted something the repubs suggested then it wasn't enough and the repubs still voted against it. Those democrats who are no votes are trying to protect their jobs also, but what they don't understand is their jobs will end if they do not pass this bill. The guy from Texas who said the President would not be out there protecting his job, is just as bad. He doesn't care about the people, just wants to keep his fat job. We need to clean house and get rid of all of them and start over with people who want to go to Washington to do the will of the people instead of big business or being so afraid of losing their job that they fail to do their job. Our nation is in a big mess and it will take new blood in both the house and senate to ever get us back on track.

    March 20, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  2. Proud to be hated by conservaloons

    Yep, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Eric Cantor and the rest have decided FOR YOU that you want no part of this health care bill. In fact, they want to make it so easy for you, they've even decided to SPEAK for you. What a great buncha guys, huh?

    March 20, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  3. minnie

    You see standing room only crowds protesting the health care bill because that is how they choose to expres their view. We, the people who support the bill, are quietly emailing and calling our Senators and Congressmen and letting them know that we support it. We are out here in droves too; we're just not as obvious. And we thank God that they can hear us and are listening to us.

    March 20, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  4. Chris

    Oh, I see, its the Democrats who are the hyper-partisan party. All this time I thought it was the Republicans, who insist on all members being in complete lockstep with one another and denounces anyone who strays even a little as a RINO, who mindlessly vote NO against every bill, whose only concern is returning to power, who blame the Democrats for everything, and who have publically said they are working to make the President fail. And all those offers of bipartisanship that Obama gave to GOP that they completely snubbed, must have all been just products of my imagination. Thanks for clearing that up for me.

    March 20, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  5. stop the nonsense

    Mr Boehner has obviously not read recent polls that show that now that most of the lies and rhetoric have been dispelled and poeple are fining out for themsleves what the bill covers, the tide has returned to a 46 -42 in favor of this bill.
    Based on the logic the Republicans continue to use, they should be jumping on the bandwagon,
    First it was the public option they didn't like- gone
    They said states rights were stepped on- gone
    They said the cost was too high- CBO – shows the deficit reduction- gone
    Abortions paid for- never in there
    Like the hot air they have blown all over the country- their arguments have all gone up in smoke

    March 20, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  6. Sandy

    Why should we listen to you when you apparently are not listening to us. We WANT this health care reform. You are the one not listening. All you do is talk, talk talk just to hear yourself. You are a joke!

    March 20, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  7. GI Joe

    The orange man doesn't speak for me and I wish he would stop his fear and lies.

    I was one of the people jamming the phone lines, trying (successfully) to reach my republican representative and republican senator (again) to let them know I still believe this health care reform bill is needed. My democra senator hears from me regularly so that she is kept informed that I still prefer the public option if it is feasible.

    So quit lying orange man - you don't speak for the entire country.

    March 20, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  8. Sherry

    I imagine if Boehner were being totally honest, there were as many citizens saying please pass this bill, as there were saying no. Being against any sort of healthcare reform he would not acknowlege those who are in favor of such a bill. IF the Republicans truly wanted healthcare reform, they would have tried to come up with a bill during the Bush Administration years or come up with some ideas of their own, rather than constantly being a NO VOICE. Let's face it. If the Republicans had their way, the rich would swim and those less fortunate would sink or drown. Their mindset seems to be that those who cannot help themselves, don't have the money to pay for ridiculously high healthcare/insurance, just simply aren't trying hard enough in life and therefore, do not deserve to be helped.

    Maybe it's time for the Washington decision makers to pay for their own insurance and NOT be allowed to continue being paid their salaries upon retiring. This would cut a chunk from the budget I would think. Since they felt the need to steal from the SS Funds all these years for other things, why should they be allowed to continue the perks when THEY retire?

    March 20, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  9. Pedro

    Yeah, costly health plan that pays for itself and cuts the budge by nearly 2 trillion dollars in 20 years. Let's see, how about the GOP's prescription drug bill from a few years ago, also passed without having to gain 60 votes in the Senate and the vote was left open for hours in the house (when it is only supposed to be left open for 20 minutes) so that you and your cronies could twist arms. Now that bill did not even come close to paying for itself, has helped to increase our deficit and this bill has not even come close to helping curb health care spending.

    Yeah, John, this bill might not be perfect, but it is by comparison to your best efforts!

    March 20, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  10. Jim

    The Republicans really should be for something and not just against the President. They haven't made a serious suggestion about how to fix health care. If they had spent as much energy solving the problem when they had the chance as they are spending now to stop it, they might still be the majority party. I have no respect for this group of Republican leadership.

    March 20, 2010 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  11. Darrell

    Is this guy for real? Please give me a break. Boehner and the Republican Leadership are a joke.

    March 20, 2010 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  12. Dixie

    This man has no idea what the American people want.

    March 20, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  13. Kevin in Ohio

    We need to be working NOW on total REPEAL of the Health Care Travesty so we are prepared on January 1. And once we take back Congress, refuse to fund ANYTHING associated with this bill.

    March 20, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  14. KC

    I love how the Repubs keep saying the American People want no part of this bill. The American people voted for President Obama and one of the things he ran on was fixing health care. The Repubs had many years and did nothing just as they are trying to do now, NOTHING.

    Mr. Boehner you do NOT speak for all Americans. Your party has to get past just saying NO to everything.

    Funny if this vote was to go to war or stay in war, my bet is your party would be the first to vote yes.

    March 20, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  15. badger

    It's time to pass health care reform, the Republican's will never want to pass a bill in our lifetime. Their best shot at it would only insure 3 million more people. Boner & NoConnel will do everything to make sure President O'bama agenda will fail.
    People nothing is prefect but you have to start somewhere.
    Boner & NoConnel never said one thing when the Bush tax cuts would cost the debt to increase 1.3 trillion or the medicaid drug bill to increase the debt more than 1 trillion or how about the war in Iraq.
    They say Reagan economics were so great, how come he raised the national debt from 700 billion to 3 Trillion during his 8 years. Taking America from the largest creditor to being the largest debt nation in the world.

    March 20, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  16. Swedish Chef

    What does Orange Bohener know? A majority of Americans want healthcare, not more obstruction. Teaparrots had 300 people at last event in DC, seems like their influence is over.

    March 20, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  17. Tom from Vermilion, Ohio

    Hey folks, what John Boehner said is all well and fine, but did you know that he recently spoke at the 'American Bankers Association',saying something like: "Don't let those little
    punk staffers take advantage of you, and stand up for
    yourselves. ... All of us are hearing from our friends and
    constituents on lack of credit, you can't get a loan. The more
    your government takes and taxes, the more regulations you have
    to comply with, the more cost you have there and less amount
    you are going to have available to loan to customers." Further
    more, he had funding of just over $1/2 Million from the
    Finance, Insurance, Health and Real Estate Sectors for his
    campaign cycle. Could it be that he is representing his
    contributors over and above his contituents? Should the Health Care Bill get the thumbs down, what then? Just let the situation sit as is, completely off the table or is immediately put on the table something better than what's currently on it. How do the Republicans propose to contain the costs that are rampant in every sector of the United States Health Care System, to the point of it not being affordable to anyone who has a income of less than $75,000/year. I have yet to hear or read anything of substance from him, just party line retoric. And one more thought. We've been at this health care debate for a year, I read and heard innumerous complaints, virtually all concerning Heath Care COSTS. I can't find anywhere, a single complaint of abortions costing too much, or of cosmetal medical costing too much. Where did these "fears concerning" come from? John Boehner is what one might call a "rightous man". His vision is directed towards where the money is, to date I see little or nothing of substance or concept there. In some peoples eyes, he might be seen as corrupt.

    March 20, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  18. jim

    no, mr boehner, it's NOT clear (by your measure) where all americans stand. this health care bill NEEDS to pass. it's decades overdue and you and your fellow republicans are hindering progress. it is time you republicans tried to be part of the solution instead of being part of the problem.

    i say "SHAME ON YOU"

    now get to work and make this country a better place for us all to live.

    March 20, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  19. ED FL

    What is BOEHNER going to do .Cantor and Boehner can go jump into a two [PEOPLE] Tanning tub. Note the people, vice two man tub. these two jokers are about as impressive as watching paint dry.

    March 20, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  20. Victor

    The republican party put my country in it knee by started two
    war and given two tax cut mostly to the riches people without
    paying for. I think that was the most etupid thing a country can
    do. Now they conplaining because democrat try to fix the
    problem. Distroy is cheap-Rebuilt is expensive.

    Republican are too greed and the follower are blind.

    March 20, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  21. D. Tree

    Actually, Mr. Boehner lies. Almost every republican idea is included in this plan therefore the Law itself will be bi-partisan whether or not the party of No votes for it! The GOP act like a bunch of spoiled children with their rich insurance company friends.

    March 20, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  22. carlos

    boner you are a repulsive criminal of the worst kind.........your last term as a non representative is coming to an end.......the sharks are waiting for you and all the rest of those CONServatives

    March 20, 2010 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  23. Ed, Santa Fe, NM


    March 20, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  24. Debbie from AZ

    The Republicans keep saying that Americans don't want this health care bill passed. Well, I am an American, a veteran, and a mother and I want this health care bill passed. Boner said that the Democrats are out of touch with the middle class, what a load of crap. The Republicans are the party for the rich and the corporations and they will protect these interests above all else, to the detriment of our entire country. Please, stop lying about what the American people want. We want affordable health care and we want you to protect our best interests not your own. This also applies to those Democrats who vote no on this bill, especially for those who are voting no because they think it will help them get reelected. I guarantee, that if you vote no on this, I am one vote you will not get.

    March 20, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  25. jack

    Mr. "Boner", to borrow a phrase from your colleague Joe Wilson,"YOU LIE ! Americans DO want health care reform. Just not the reform you and your party are offering.

    You and your party need to remain in the MINORITY. Otherwise you will once again take this country down the tubes. You crashed this economy and put it in the gutter for political gain, Dems are trying to prevent you an your kind from flushing our country into the sewer system.

    March 20, 2010 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
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