Boehner defends GOP against charges it's backtracking on promises
January 6th, 2011
01:56 PM ET
12 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. bcrunner

    He looks like he has been crying AGAIN!! Already going back on his promises... Open process?? Yeah right... All he knows how to do is repeat the talking points "job killing"... "job killing"... Did you see the last two days? They are all repeating it all over the television talk shows... "job killing"... again and again...

    January 6, 2011 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  2. Robert

    Boehner and his fellow Republicans have only been in control of the House one day and already they are flip-flopping all over the place. No surprise. They will continue to offer little gestures (reading the Consitution aloud = pure theater) and other window dressing, but it will really be business (BIG business) as usual.

    January 6, 2011 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  3. True American

    and let the broken promises begin!

    January 6, 2011 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  4. Texas Doc

    More of the same GOP BS that got us into this mess in the first place. It would be funny were it not for the fact that these idiots are running the House of Representatives. At least the adults still run the Senate and the Executive.

    January 6, 2011 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  5. CBR

    Rep. Boehner will discover his new job as Speaker of the House will require him to think before speaking. He is also going to learn that making cuts and changing budgets are not easy matters. Of course, the 5% cut should be a little easier since Congress will only be in session three days a week.

    The vote to repeal health care will cost billions. Why can't these politicians work to make it better? They can make changes without throwing the whole package away. The result of continually refusing to work in a bipartisan fashion may come back to haunt them. You can't say no all the time and then say well I am in power now and everything will change. It is not so easy.

    January 6, 2011 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  6. Kirk Hankla

    If truly sincere, what the Republican Leadership needs to do now is demonstrate true leadership. In their effort to repeal Obamacare, they need to tie any failure to repeal it to subjecting themselves and their congressional staffs to it. In this manner, they will demonstrate their sincerity and they may actually get enough votes to override a certain veto.

    January 6, 2011 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  7. james Miller

    Clarification, that`s what it is or to put it plainly, --WE are in office now so forget what we promised earlier during the election. --SPIN, SPIN, SPIN and more SPIN. BLA, BLA, BLA

    January 6, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  8. REG in AZ

    When the truth is not important to the people, when appeals to their biases, prejudices, emotional preferences and self-interests all;ow them to rationalize, be conned and to ignore the truth, then politics will degrade itself to what we have today. When objective and rational thought can't overcome arrogant and stubborn self-serving subterfuge, then the politicians will focus totally and irresponsibly on their political ambitions and on placating the 'big money' that allows them to and will just give the people the deceptive rhetoric they literally ask for. The blame has to be laid on the voters and their biased blindness.

    January 6, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  9. jc

    He is sooo regretting this job now. Not so easy making real decision huh?

    January 6, 2011 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  10. Seriously?

    Sounds like a lot of political double-talk to me. If the reports supports his position, then it will be shoved down our throats. If not, then it will be dismissed. When did John Boehner become an economist? I must have missed that on his Resume. Hang on folks, I see a very bumpy ride coming.

    Dear President Obama – please hold your ground!
    Signed: "The American People"

    January 6, 2011 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Funny, when Obama said and did the same thing, he lied to America ( Boehner's comment) but when he dioes it, it's OK.
    Only a couple days with authority and already seeing it's not all rosey.
    Better start crying now- it's not going ot get easier

    January 6, 2011 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  12. kyle

    Once a liar, always a liar!!!!!!

    January 6, 2011 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
1 2 3