Transcript: Statement by House Speaker John Boehner after President Obama’s press conference – Oct. 8, 2013

Partial transcript of remarks by House Speaker John Boehner after President Barack Obama’s press conference on the government shutdown and debt limit. The press briefing was held on Oct. 8, 2013:

Good afternoon everyone.

As you all know, I had a phone call with the President of the United States this morning. I will say it was a pleasant conversation, although I have to say I was disappointed that the President refuses to negotiate.

When it comes to the issue of funding our government, the House has passed four bills – four bills to fund our government and provide fairness to the American people under Obamacare.

Each of those four bills was rejected by the United States Senate.

Under the Constitution and our system of government, we asked that they sit down and have a conversation with us about funding government, keeping it open, and providing fairness to the American people under Obamacare. They refuse to do it.

Now, over the last 30 years dozens of times there have been negotiations over the funding in our government. All of those negotiations over the last 30 years have resulted in significant policy changes.

And I would remind you that the President of the United States and I sat down in the spring of 2011 to negotiate a funding bill for the government from March all the way through September. During that negotiation, there were all kinds of policy considerations and if you recall the Opportunities Scholarships for kids here in DC was in fact restored into law.

So the President’s position that, “Listen, we’re not going to sit down and talk to you until you surrender” is just not sustainable. It’s not our system of governing.

When it comes to the debt limit, I agree with the President – we should pay our bills. I didn’t come here to shut down the government. I certainly didn’t come here to default on our debt.

But when it comes to the debt limit, again, over the 40 years, 27 times the debt limit has been used to carry significant policy changes that would in fact reduce spending and put us on a saner fiscal path.

President [Ronald] Reagan sat down with Tip O’Neill in the 1980s. President [George] Bush in 1990 went out to Andrew Air Force Base and got into a long debate and negotiations with Democrats here in Congress. Bill Clinton went through this three times in the 1990s. President Obama and I sat down in 2011 and had a serious negotiation.

And while the President today suggested that I walked away from a deal, I would have to remind him that I was in the Oval Office along with the Majority Leader Eric Cantor when we in fact had an agreement that two days later the President walked away from. But there was in fact another negotiation in 2011 that resulted in really the largest deficit reduction bill that we’ve seen here in the last 30 years.

But in 2010, when Democrats controlled the Congress and President Obama was in the White House, what happened was a group of moderate Democrats in the House wouldn’t agree to raise the debt limit without a negotiation. So there was a negotiation then amongst Democrats over raising the debt ceiling.

The long and the short of it is there’s going to be a negotiation here. We can’t raise the debt ceiling without doing something about what’s driving us to borrow more money and to live beyond our means. The idea that we should continue to spend money that we don’t have and give the bill to our kids and our grandkids would be wrong.

This isn’t about me and, frankly, it’s not about Republicans. This is about saving the future for our kids and our grandkids. And the only way this is going to happen is to in fact have a conversation.

So it’s time to have that conversation – not next week, not next month. The conversation ought to start today. And I’m hopeful that whether it’s the President or Democrat leaders here in the Congress, we can begin that conversation.

Question:
… Can you tell us please, what would you say to military families who’ve just been denied death benefits due to this shutdown?

House Speaker John Boehner:
Last week, the Congress passed the Pay Our Military Benefits Act. We gave broad authority to the Department of Defense to pay all kinds of bills, including this. And frankly, I think it’s disgraceful that they’re withholding these benefits. But again, tomorrow, the House is going to act specifically on this and I hope the President will sign it.

Question:
[Inaudible]

House Speaker John Boehner:
At times like this, the American people expect their leaders to sit down and have a conversation. I want that conversation going forward now.

Question:
[Inaudible]

House Speaker John Boehner:
What the President said today was if there is unconditional surrender by Republicans, he’ll sit down and talk to us. That’s not the way our government works.

Thanks everybody.

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2 Comments on “Transcript: Statement by House Speaker John Boehner after President Obama’s press conference – Oct. 8, 2013

  1. Pingback: Transcript: President Barack Obama’s press conference on the government shutdown & debt ceiling – Oct. 8, 2013 – Part IV | What The Folly?!

  2. Pingback: Spotlight: Debt Limit 2013 | What The Folly?!

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