Transcript: House Speaker John Boehner’s remarks on the debt increase – Feb. 11, 2014

Partial transcript of press conference remarks by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on raising the debt ceiling on Feb. 11, 2014:

On Friday, we got another disappointing jobs report.

…I think the American people are tired of being disappointed, they’re tired of settling for this new normal under the Obama economy. And frankly, they are tired of asking the question “Where are the jobs?”

That’s why we need to be working together with the President to expand our economy, expand the opportunities for our fellow citizens. That’s why we sent the President a letter two weeks ago outlining areas that he talked about in the State of the Union address, bills that we’ve already passed that are sitting over in the Senate, places where we can work together. And whether it’s skills training, whether it’s kids research, other issues – there are places where we can work together. And so we’ve seen no response from the President. Nothing.

Listen, if the President won’t work with us on these simples issues, who would ever expect that he’d be able to work with us on the more complex issues that we face.

Question:
What’s happened in the past 12 hours on this debt ceiling thing? Was this a miscalculation by your leadership or did you feel you needed to take the temperature…?

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio):
Listen, you’ve all known that our members are not crazy about voting to increase the debt ceiling.

Our members are also very upset with the President. He won’t negotiate. He won’t deal with our long-term spending problems without us raising taxes, won’t even sit down and discuss these issues.

He’s the one driving up the debt, and the question they’re asking is “Well, why should I deal with his debt limit?”

And so the fact is we’ll let the Democrats put the votes up. We’ll put the minimum number of votes up to get it passed.

Question:
…Isn’t that some abdication of responsibility by the majority party?

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio):
No, understand it’s the President driving up the debt, and the President wanting to do nothing about the debt that’s occurring, will not engage in our long-term spending problem. So, we’ll let his party give him the debt ceiling increase that he wants.

Listen, this is a lost opportunity for America. We’re on a spending trajectory that’s unsustainable. The President knows it. Every Democrat and every Republican in this town knows it. And it has to be dealt with. And so it’s a disappointing moment I can tell you that.

Question:
Mr. Speaker, this is the first time that you’ve gone forward with a clean debt ceiling bill without you putting up a fight first, putting out Republican priorities. Is this a recognition of post-government shutdown you don’t have the political leverage to fight the President on this?

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio):
No, it’s the fact that we don’t have 218 votes. And when you don’t have 218 votes, you have nothing. We’ve seen that before; we’ll see it again.

Question:
2.5 years ago, the Boehner rule made its debut – equal cuts for equal increase in debt limit. Is the Boehner rule dead?

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio):
I would hope not. As I said before, this is a lost opportunity. We could have sat down and worked together in a bipartisan matter to find cuts and reforms that are greater than the increase in the debt limit. It would have helped us begin to solve the spending problem that we have and begin the process of paying down our debt. So I am disappointed to say the least.

Question:
Mr. Speaker, has the President or Ms. Pelosi given you any indication of how many Democrats will support this?

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio):
I made clear to Ms. [Nancy] Pelosi yesterday that if we went this route, I would expect that virtually every Democrat to vote for it.

Question:
And she said?

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio):
And she agreed.

Question:
If that happens, if every Democrat votes for it, could you say that 18 Republicans will vote for it?

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio):
We’re going to have to find them. I’ll be one of them.

Question:
Mr. Speaker, by at least offering to go back on the COLA cuts for military retirees, haven’t you made it harder in the long-term to deal with military compensation reforms and things like chained-CPI for COLAs, which you guys have talked about…?

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio):
No, I don’t think so. I think what we’re proposing is changing for those who have already retired, those who have already signed up for service part of the law that says those who enlist from January 1st on will be covered under this new formula. It’s a fairer way to assess this.

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2 Comments on “Transcript: House Speaker John Boehner’s remarks on the debt increase – Feb. 11, 2014

  1. Pingback: List of 55 Senators who voted for the "clean" debt limit increase on Feb. 12, 2014 | What The Folly?!

  2. Pingback: List of 43 Senators who voted against the "clean" debt limit increase on Feb. 12, 2014 | What The Folly?!

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