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. independant in MO

    What no one seems to be addressing is the way this vote is being handled. If the American people want it so much, why are dems affraid to have a roll call vote? If its a good bill, a roll call vote will only help them. I feel I am entitled to know where my representative stands on a debatable issue, and regardless of whether or not republicans are being helpful, deem and pass is not democracy.

    March 20, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |

    Boehner is a pathetic pathological whining lier. He and his party of NO has no interest in legislating in addressing the pressing issues facing the nation. Their only goal is to destroy Obama by fear mongering. It also gives an insight about the the people who elect him as their representative year after year.

    March 20, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  3. 8 Years of “trickle down economics” has only left a wet spot on our shoes!

    "It is not wrong to vote against what my constituents want but it is wrong to vote against my own conscience."

    A quote from republiklan Cao.

    The irony in that statement and how the Rabid Reich NAZI's in his purity party are acting against the "socialist" trying to bring health care access to 31 million working poor Americans, is actually comical.

    The difference between Cao and President Obama is Cao has lost 40% of his conservative contributions due to his prior Yes vote and President Obama is actually trying to help 31 million working poor Americans.

    Money before people, how very republiKKKan!

    March 20, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  4. Taxpayer

    Please get all partisan/politician/lobbyist thinking out of here. Do right by the american people. This is not the answer. Let the taxpayer vote yes or no.

    March 20, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    The premise that the cost will be reduced, is total fantasy. There is no way to expand the base of coverage to children up to 26 yrs. old, disadvantaged persons from age 55, and all the rest, without EXPANDING the fraud and corruption, in the system.

    You don't have to be Einstein, to see that the Dems numbers don't add up.

    This will become a grossly expensive, grossly mismanaged system, that will cost more, in the end, than a National Health Care plan would cost, because the National plan would gain financing through increased taxes by transferring employer paid plans to the government to pay for services.

    The Democrats are lying to the public, and they are lying big time, to pass this bad bill.

    March 20, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  6. Phil

    If it is taking this long to get the democrats on board, there has to be something wrong with this bill, not to mention the "Chicago style" politics it is taking to get it to this point. By the way, what is a education bill doing tied to a medical related bill. That should be illegal!

    March 20, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  7. Ben

    Sandy – "We WANT this health care reform. You are the one not listening"

    No, Sandy, it's you that's not listening. Don't you dare think you speak for me and the MAJORITY of Americans who oppose having this crap shoved down our throats. Do you even pay attention to the polls? Obviosly not.

    March 20, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  8. Fed Up

    The way John Boehner intentionally distorts facts is truly disturbing. Obama and his party repeatedly sought cooperation and accord with the Republicans over Health Care Reform only to be shot down time and time again.

    Rather than work WITH the other side and maybe getting a comprimise bill that had SOME features Republicans favored, the GOP stone-walled to the point where the Dems decided to go ahead without them.

    When this onerous bill passes, I will blame the GOP along with the Dems. Boehner and others should put the country first, not their financial donors' interests.

    March 20, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  9. beevee

    I think that the GOP leadership is scared to death that the healthcare bill will pass and that their butts will be kicked by the healthcare industry who don't want the bill passed for failing to kill the bill. I hope it will pass and the american public will see the benefit of the reforms that are long overdue to help the uninsured and bring our healthcare costs down.

    March 20, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  10. a

    can you please fire yourslef. thank you

    March 20, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  11. johnrj08

    This man is so stupid that it is beyond belief that ANYBODY would ever listen to a word that comes out of his tanned mouth. Boehner has never had an original thought in his head. EVERYTHING he says is a partisan talking point that we've heard him recite hundreds of times before.

    March 20, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  12. Ben

    GI JOe – "The orange man doesn't speak for me and I wish he would stop his fear and lies"

    If you want to stop the fear and lies go talk to your buddies Pelosi and Reid. They're the REAL fear mongerers here.

    Do you have any clue how damaging a public option would be? Obviously you and your Lib friends don't have much of a ckue about anything. If you want to pay higher taxes go ahead. But leave the rest of us alone.

    March 20, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  13. RRJ

    John Boehner like the rest of the Republicans is out of touch with reality.
    President Obama was elected with health care reform as his main focus. If it wasn't what the people wanted then John McCain would be president.
    A year of anti-health care reform TV ads paid for by the health insurance industry has convinced a "loud gullible minority" that reform is socialism, (like public schools I suppose,) but the silent majority quietly supports the health care reform.

    John Boehner probably believes those TV ads, and his own propaganda machine, but he's a Republican and let's just say, not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

    March 20, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  14. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    You have to love the sheer arrogance of the GOP! The most partisan group of politicians in my lifetime are crying foul...INCREDIBLE!!!!!

    March 20, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  15. Doraine Gordon

    John Boehner is such a liar. He stands out there n his fake tan with his cronies behind him and all of them have the same ugly smirk on their face. Pence always looks very mad. Erik Cantor just looks like a slime ball which he is. These jerks are all so jealous of Obama and the Dems. They had the chance to make changes and would not do it. Now they criticize anyone who tries. You people need to realize that the Republicans are not working for the American people and get rid of them. God help us if they ever regain power.

    March 20, 2010 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  16. David

    Boehner, right, the rheumy-eyed, looks like he was up all night boozing, Republican, has all the answers. What a bafoon!

    March 20, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  17. Independant in Missouri

    I feel many of you are missing a crucial point. Whether or not this bill is good, avoiding a roll call vote is bad. I feel entitled to know how my representative stands on an important issue, and without this information, he can't be fairly reelected or voted out. If, as many of you are saying, the people do want this bill, than a roll call vote will only help the majority party, who many of you are defending. No matter how you feel about this bill, realize using deem and pass sets a precedent to use it when a vote should be taking place, regardless of which party is in power. As an independent, I don't feel I can trust the dems if they use this approach.

    March 20, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  18. Ancient Texan

    David Chesser. Amen!! You nailed it exactly. This smelly garbage bill will bankrupt the country, ruin the best healthcare system in the world and give the government (socialist) control over 47% of the economy when you include the financial sectors, car companies etc. The Progressive Agenda is the only thing important to the Liberals in congress. They could have passed this last summer if they could have gotten the Blue Dogs to go along, but they wanted to be able to call the Republicans "obstructionist" for future elections. The Republicans can't obstruct ANYTHING, they don't have the votes. But after November 2010, I suspect they'll have the votes; thus the sudden rush to pass now.

    March 20, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  19. Pragmatic

    "“It’s clear where the American people stand...." No you over tanned (expletive deleted) republican – you do not speak for ALL AMERICANS!

    Who will be voting for Democrats? 30 million people who can now get some form of health care, students who need Pell grants, those with pre-existing conditions who now get a chance to live long to vote,

    The party of fear and smear ... remember their "mushroom cloud" and John McCain's "black baby!" Even elected, the GOP can not govern effectively and have never, ever cared about the average American people!

    BYW – page down and read greenfish's wonderful comment!!!!

    March 20, 2010 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  20. rightsaid

    I am part of the American people, and I want this bill. The GOP is so good at pretending that the conservative wing of their party is everyone. Well, it is not. This country is diverse. And we want health care reform!

    March 20, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  21. John in WV

    Boehner and the republicans have created this mess by allowing insurance companies to get completely out of control. They claim dems are not being bi-partisan when there are numerous dems standing with them against reform while no repubs stand with reform supporters. Repubs want to start from scratch but say nothing about making insurance companies do likewise.. Repubs claim the stimulus is not working while many economy experts from both sides acknowledge that it saved jobs and helped avoid another depression. Repubs give this president no praise on the war on terror despite news releases indicating terrorist factions are finding it harder to hide and thousands of them have been killed or captured. By the way, bi-partisan? Our defense secretary is a republican. This entire thing is not about health reform, economy, jobs and terror. It's about an angry partisan party hellbent on stopping this president from succeeding at anything.

    March 20, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  22. normajean

    I don't know what John Boehner has been drinking, but if he's hearing voices against the health care bill, he'd better stop drinking it, because the people want and need health care and will take it whereever it comes from. From the day that Barak Obama became our president, the Repubs have been out to get him. They don't care that we need what he's working for. They don't care that he is backed by a majority of the people,They have lied, twisted the truth, fought every move made by the Democrats and have actually accomplished NOTHING in the last year and a half..They are only after money and power for themselves and to heck with the people.. There is a strong feeling out there that votes for the Republican party will be way down in the next election.

    March 20, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  23. Deb

    Isn't this the same guy that voted for Bush's tax cuts and Medicare D with NO way to pay for them? Those two votes were pure deficit spending and they were crammed down the throats of the American people. At last we are seeing something that will help the American people AND help lower the dificit and Boehner is whining about how it is soooo bad for America.

    Hypocrisy is common in Washingotn D.C. but the Republicans in this Congress have taken it to new heights. Everyone of them deserves an Oscar for their great performance of faux outrage and concern for the American people. People they cared nothing when they controlled the Presidentcy and the Congress.

    March 20, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  24. ThinkAgain

    Boehner and the Republicans constantly mention how long the health care reform bill is.

    If the bill had been one page, they would have complained it wasn't specific enough.

    Just because the Republicans rely on ignorance and fear to further their agenda doesn't mean that the rest of Americans can't handle reading and understanding something more complicated than "See Spot Run."

    March 20, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  25. ThinkAgain

    President Obama and the Democrats have listened and made concessions to the Republicans, adding to the health care reform bill for over the past year.

    And yet, not one Republican will vote for it.

    The only conclusion is that the Republicans have no intention of doing anything to reform health care.

    The Republicans goal is to make this President Obama's "Waterloo," in their efforts to make President Obama and our country fail.

    Now more than ever, it is crystal clear that
    GOP = Party Before Country

    March 20, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
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