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. Lando

    This punk just does not care for anything good for the people...If these
    Retuglicans really think that health care reform is bad....why bother...
    let the people speak in the coming elections...It will be to the advantage of the Retugs...But...wait.....they know that Americans will wake up to the reality that it is a reform that may not be perfect but had more upside that
    the current status quo....Hey Boehner...just shut your stupid mouth...
    Americans are not stupid....Your thrash and lies will eventually boomerang to your ill conceived party...

    March 20, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  2. Donnatella

    I am sick to death of Boner and his negative bull, the republicans had 8 years to pass some kind of health plan, but they were 2 busy giving rich people tax cuts and starting stupid wars. Why people keep saying they are going to clean house in November, I have to wonder what are they doing so good to deserve a vote, we have a new republican governor in NJ his budget consist of cuts for schools, teachers, firemen, transit, and to really dig it in, tax cuts for the wealthy, if NJ is in that bad of shape how is that possible. He said we all must sacrifice, what about the wealthy, why are they excluded., I'm beginning to believe the republicans work exclusively for rich people, some of you may not be happy with the present administration but trust me when i tell you It can be a lot worst, please think long and hard before you vote republican, because a lot of us in NJ have big regrets, Christie will be a one term governor.

    March 20, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  3. ThinkAgain

    If the Republicans really wanted to do something about health care reform and help the American people, they would have done something during the Bush/Cheney years.

    They didn't – because they don't want to.

    End of story. No matter what concessions are made to them, they will never vote for this bill.

    So to heck with all of them!

    March 20, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  4. ThinkAgain

    Republicans are an incredibly nasty group of people, who love to whine and play the victim, but who will never bargain in good faith.

    They can't get over the fact that they LOST in November 2008 and that the American people REJECTED their tried-and-failed economic, military and foreign policies.

    It's time to brush them all aside. They are spoiled little children who want to take and take and take from our country and her citizens, caring more about the wealthy and the corporations than for providing for the "general welfare" of our nation, as the Constitution tells them to.

    GOP = Party Before Country

    March 20, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  5. Charlie in New Mexico

    For some reason Mr. Boehner and the Republicans feel that the average American is suffering memory loss. I, for one, am NOT. My memory is quite clear in that the national debt DOUBLED durning the Bush administration. It did not suddenly come into being when Mr Obama was elected. (Despite the fact that the GOP and Mr Boehner swears that the contrary is true.) Perhaps if Mr Boehner spent less time and money in the tanning parlor and at the hairdresser he would be in better touch with Main Street America. FYI....The true example of an "oxymoron" is the term "honest politican"..........

    March 20, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  6. from the middle

    The Democratic party includes all sorts of folk. White,brown, etc. The GOP has very little diversity. Old, angry, white, & orange. All Boehner has going in his district is King's Island amusement park.

    March 20, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  7. Ohio Dem

    They are going to trick these poor democrats into voting for it with the promise of the "fix-it" bill. Unfortunately, that "fix-it" bill will fail in the Senate and they will have voted for this monstrosity as it is. Then their butt will be on the line during their next election. So sad...

    No to mention that I just found out the IRS will be the main enforcement body in this bill. They will have to confirm your insurance on a monthly basis and make sure it is up to the "governments standard" of care, whatever that is. If not, prepare for fines. Also, this bill will allow companies to increase your insurance rates if you are overweight or have other issues. READ THE BILL, don't blindly follow!!!

    March 20, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  8. Robert

    Republicans are the ones who chose a partisan path. The president tried his hardest to get them to negotiate.

    As for costly? He's assuming the polls show people opposing this bill due to their opposition of the effort. That is not true. Prior to them dropping the public option a majority of citizens, myself included, supported the effort.

    Although the public option is not included now, most of us know we still need this bill, and that it is only a first step toward creation of a public option or even, preferrably, a single payer system.

    That is why Dennis Kucinich switched his opposition to support, and it's why I have. In the weeks to come as the benefits are explained more fully, you will see a majority of people supporting the bill having been passed...

    And it is Republicans who will then pay the costs of partisanship.

    March 20, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  9. Jilli

    Whenever I've seen John Boehner since the Obama election, I always wonder – is he really as stupid as he appears to be?

    He never has anything of substance to say – particularly on the issues. It's just schoolyard taunts.

    C'mon Ohio, is this the best you can do?

    March 20, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  10. T'SAH from Virginia

    “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..."

    I am so sick of hearing about this 'clean sheet of paper'! By now, that sheet of paper is 'wrinkle' and 'old'.

    The ONLY reason why you want to start over – on something YOU know the American people really need – is because YOU are thinking about the political outcome. If the bill starts over than it would seem YOU created it – and you did not!!! Most of what you want is already in the bill... Case and Point!!

    March 20, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  11. vijay

    Boehner bring shame to congress. we don't need this type politicians in government.

    March 20, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  12. John

    Mr.Boeher and his colleague's need a lesson on representation..

    "Your representative owes you,not his industry only,but his judgement and he betrays instead of serving you,if he sacrifices it to your opinion." Edmund Burke

    March 20, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  13. melody, Snohomish, wa

    It is the repub's who are out of touch with the American people. They forget that most of the deficit was run up under bush, and it was bush who gave the banks the first bailout with no strings attached.

    Boner needs to get his body out of the tanning bed and get out and listen to the people.

    March 20, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  14. Susan Frishkorn

    If Mr. Boehner were not quite so bone-headed he would realize that the Republicans did nothing but play partisan politices for eight years. Does anyone remember President Bush asking the Democrats for their advise on anything?

    The American people were for the healh care bill before FOX news, with the help of huge insurance money, flooded the airways with misinformation.

    Fortunately most Americans are informed enough to see through the smoke screen. The civilized population of the United States wants to see 34 million fellow Americans have health care protection. It has always fallen to the Democrats to protect those who cannot protect themselves.

    The Republicans merely want to see President Obama fail in his efforts.

    They hurt the Country for eight years, and they continue to throw up roadblocks for any type of improvement. They have lost all honor and principle, but still call themselves Patriots.

    Their irresponsible behavior is an embarrassment to this great nation.

    Susan Frishkorn
    Pensacola, Florida

    March 20, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  15. Mark

    and the dems will pay dearly for their actions. UNFORTUANETLY, we all will have to pay the price in the long run.

    March 20, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  16. Shelly

    How dare this President and Congress pass this bill that will alleviate much suffering and pain for millions of our fellow Americans??? How dare he reduces the deficit? I really want to go back to those good ole days when Bush/Cheney shoved the bill that gave the 2% of the wealthy tax cuts and increased our deficit. And the best time was when we were spending a trillion and more to kill thousands of Americans and Iraqis in a far away land! I miss those times. yup

    March 20, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  17. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Boehner is missing his tanning days on the goft course and that makes him angry enough to just say NO. Every time he's seen on the goft course, we need to know because that means he's truly not working for America he's working on his tan.

    March 20, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  18. jimmm

    "By the way – wasn't one of the first things Obama said about his healthcare bill that "People who already have health care will not be affected?" But he lied again. Now we are being told that those of us who have healthcare will be paying a 'cadillac tax' on it. Jeez, don't punish me for having a good job, being able to afford my own healthcare, and not waiting for a gubmint handout."

    ummm...where does anything in the bill say it affects your insurance? Are you paying 27k a year for insurance?? Probably not, since very few employers offer thos plans.

    March 20, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    If it weren't so serious, what a sad joke this man is calling the Democrats "partisan." That is what his party is completely about. They will defeat one of their own if he/she doesn't follow their party's line exactly.

    March 20, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  20. jimmm

    So lets see what path the Republicans have chosen:

    1. Deregulation, which caused the financial meltdown
    2. Unfunded tax cuts and war waged under false pretenses
    3. The nomination of activist justices who tear down years of predences
    4. A government that wants to get involved in every social aspect of your life...anyone remember Terri Schiavo
    5. Repeal of social security, medicare, and limiting goverment so that we can not react to Hurricane Katrina, the Madoff scandal and the Toyota issues.

    March 20, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  21. Death Panel Sarah

    This 'Boner' is a prime example of what is wrong with the republican party. They refuse to acknowledge that the PEOPLE want, and NEED, is healthcare reform. They continually LIE about what the PEOPLE want.
    Everyone knows what the insurance companies WANT. That would tell an 'intelligent' person that what is best for America is the opposite stand of the insurance industry!

    March 20, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  22. Change In America

    The republicans had there chance when Bush was in office .
    Our country have been in a mess when the Republicans had control of the white house.

    March 20, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  23. Dick_NH

    Hey, Mr. Tangerine Man,

    NO MORE "no" from you or your "do nothing" accomplices !!! You are a disgrace !!!

    March 20, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  24. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Boehner accusing anyone of partisanship is the most un-funny joke in politics.

    March 20, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  25. Martin Blonstein

    John Boehner, Eric Kantor, Sarah Palin, Michelle Malkin,
    Sean Hannity, Michelle Bachmann, Marco Rubio, JD Hayworth
    Ron Christie, Mary Matalin, Glenn Beck, Bill O Reilly are all
    great American heroes. They know what the American people
    want. They are convinced that Americans would prefer to die
    in the streets rather than receive Communistic health care that
    might save lives. The Republican party....they stand for the
    workers and common people !! { not } .

    March 20, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
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