House Speaker Boehner warns against debt default

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH)

Jan 31 (KATAKAMI.COM / Reuters) – House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner on Sunday said that the United States must continue meeting its obligations to fund government debt or risk a global financial disaster.

With the Treasury Department rapidly coming closer to bumping up against its statutory borrowing limit of $14.3 trillion, some of Boehner’s fellow Republicans in Congress have suggested that no further borrowing should be authorized until deep cuts are made in federal spending.

Boehner, interviewed on “Fox News Sunday,” was asked about the impact of a government default if the limit on its borrowing authority was not raised in a timely way.

“That would be a financial disaster not only for our country, but for the worldwide economy,” Boehner responded. He added, “Remember, the American people on Election Day said we want to cut spending and we want to create jobs. You can’t create jobs if you default on the federal debt.”

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has estimated that unless Congress acts to increase the debt ceiling, his agency will run out of borrowing authority sometime between March 31 and May 16.

At that point, the government could default on some loans.

Last week, the Treasury Department initiated the first in what is expected to be several stop-gap moves to delay hitting that $14.3 trillion limit on credit.

Even as he pressed for cutting government spending, Boehner said of the notion of Republicans forcing a government default: “I don’t think it’s a question that is even on the table.”

The U.S. debt — the amount of accumulated government borrowing — has been rapidly rising to a level that many economists say is potentially dangerous.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office noted last week that debt held by the public will most likely jump from 40 percent of GDP at the end of fiscal 2008 to nearly 70 percent at the end of this fiscal year.

The CBO last week estimated that this year’s deficit will hit nearly $1.5 trillion, further worsening the debt problem.

Boehner and fellow Republicans have urged cutting back federal spending to fiscal 2008 levels, which they say would save about $100 billion a year.

During his interview on Fox News Sunday, Boehner said, “There is no limit to the amount of spending we’re willing to cut.”

In his State of the Union speech to Congress last week, President Barack Obama tried to answer Republican calls for spending cuts by offering up a five-year freeze on some spending, which he said would save about $400 billion.

But neither the Republican plan nor Obama’s would produce anywhere near enough in long-term savings to solve the nation’s severe fiscal problems.

Both Boehner and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell on Sunday urged bipartisan talks with the Obama administration to address those long-term problems, which will only grow as an aging U.S. population requires more federal retirement benefits and government-backed healthcare.

McConnell, on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” would not say, however, whether he would consider tax increases — a remedy that many Democrats and private analysts say must be included.

When Fox News Sunday asked Boehner about hiking taxes, he responded, “Now, here you’re getting — you’re getting right in the same old nonsense we’ve always gotten into.”

White House Chief of Staff William Daley, interviewed on CBS News Face the Nation, said that raising taxes now, with the U.S. economy still trying to recover, was not “the way to go at this point.”

While he said the Obama administration wants to sit down with congressional leaders to work on deficit problems, “The reality is … there is no way they (Republicans) are going to look for any revenue raising in any way, shape or form” for the long-term. “That puts a tremendous constraint on obviously the budget and the deficit,” Daley said.


House Speaker John Boehner avoids Nancy Pelosi's strawberry-and-chocolate Air Force shuttle

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) (R) receives the Speaker's gavel from outgoing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (L) January 5, 2011 in Washington, DC. The 112th U.S. Congress will be sworn-in today, with Republican legislators taking control of the House of Representatives and expected to begin attempts to dismantle portions of U.S. President Barack Obamaï¿?ï¿?ï¿?s legislative agenda. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Jan 27 (KATAKAMI.COM / THE OREGONIAN) — House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, counts several lobbyists among his closest pals and is no stranger tolavish golf outings paid for by his and other political committees.  But you can see why he was smart to drop his predecessors’ custom of being shuttled around on an Air Force jet.

Judicial Watch, the conservative watchdog group, has a new batch of documents detailing former Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s use of Air Force planes, both to bring the San Francisco Democrat back and forth from her district and for foreign travel.

All told, the speaker took 43 flights between Jan. 1 and Oct. 1 of last year.  The Air Force provided expenses for just 22 of those flights, which cost taxpayers $1.8 million.

This is probably not an atypical amount of travel for a West Coast member of Congress (although the expense is obviously much more).  But what’s really burning up the internet (to the point that the actual Judicial Watch website had crashed Thursday morning) are the little details that infuriate taxpayers.  Such as her staff requesting “something like chocolate covered strawberries (dark chocolate preferred)” as a birthday treat for the speaker on one flight.

There’s also the trip to Tel Aviv and Baghdad that included these supplies: Johnny Walker Redscotch, Grey Goose vodka, E&J brandy, Baileys Irish Cream, Maker’s Mark whiskey, Courvoisier cognac, Bacardi Light rum, Jim Beam whiskey, Beefeater gin, Dewar’s scotch, Bombay Sapphire gin,Jack Daniel’s whiskey, Corona beer and several bottles of wine.

That well-stocked bar paints in an image in the minds of taxpayers, one that savvy politicians like Boehner know they want to avoid.  (*)

House Speaker John Boehner lends legislative support to Catholic schools

House Speaker John Boehner poses with Catholic school children and Cardinal Donald Wuerl

Washington D.C., Jan 26, 2011 / 06:38 pm (KATAKAMI.COM / CNA).- Speaker of the House John Boehner (R–Ohio) showed his support for Catholic education and school choice on Jan. 26, announcing the introduction of a bill that would restore funding for school vouchers in Washington, D.C.

“There’s only one program in America where the federal government allows parents from lower-income families to choose the schools that are best for their children, and it’s right here in D.C.,” Boehner said in a morning press conference, announcing his plan to restore funding to the program along with Senator Joe Lieberman (I–Conn.).

“The D.C. program provides a model that I believe can work well in other communities around the nation,” the speaker said. “It should be expanded, not ended.”

The D.C. program first received authorization in 2004, and enabled 1,700 children to attend private schools. On average, four families applied for each single scholarship that was given, and just over half of the parents who received the vouchers chose to send their children to Catholic schools. President Obama defunded the program in 2009.

Boehner is placing a high priority on his bipartisan effort to restore vouchers in the nation’s capital. The D.C. voucher restoration proposal is the only bill he plans to sponsor during this session of Congress.

The previous evening, he had indicated his support for Catholic education by inviting several guests from Washington, D.C.’s Catholic schools, along with the district’s Cardinal Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl, to share the Speaker’s Box at his first State of the Union address. The school representatives were involved with the Consortium of Catholic Academies, which benefited from D.C.’s school voucher program before its defunding.

The 2011 State of the Union address took place during the Jan. 23-29 National School Choice Week – an event highlighting the potential of school vouchers, charter schools, tax credits, and other educational alternatives.

Following Republicans’ mid-term electoral gains last year, school choice advocates are once again hoping to advance their cause.

Sr. Dale McDonald, Director of Public Policy and Educational Research at the National Catholic Educational Association, told CNA that she and her colleagues  were “particularly encouraged” by Rep. Boehner’s effort to restore D.C.’s “very successful” Opportunity Scholarship initiative.

She noted that Virginia, Indiana, and New Jersey were giving serious consideration to expanding vouchers or scholarship tax credits. A bill in the Colorado state house would also create income tax credits for private education. The first bill introduced into Pennsylvania’s state legislature during its current session is, like the Boehner-Lieberman proposal, a bipartisan effort to fund low-income students’ attendance at private schools.

Sean McAleer, head of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, told CNA on Jan. 25 that the new proposal was receiving unprecedented support from both Democrats and Republicans.

A decade ago, he said, many Pennsylvanians were “somewhat on the fence” on the question of providing educational vouchers and tax credits to low-income families.

“This time, it’s a total change,” McAleer remarked. “The public outcry has been unbelievable. They understand that we have to do better for our kids.”

McAleer recalled that in 2010, both the Democratic and Republican candidates for governor came out in favor of school choice measures, something he said had “never happened” in the past. Likewise, Senate Bill 1 –the act providing for opportunity scholarships and educational tax credits– was introduced in the state legislature on Jan. 25, with 17 bipartisan cosponsors.

McAleer chalked up the growing support for vouchers and tax credits to a growing frustration with many public schools’ failure to improve, even after significant reinvestment.

“What we’ve done in the past is not working,” he explained. “We spent $23 billion on education last year. People are disappointed in the failures that are offered to them, and they’re demanding more choice.”

The National Catholic Educational Association, which is participating in this year’s National School Choice Week, regards the expansion of educational options as a matter of social justice for low-income families. “The gospel mandate to care for the poor and vulnerable among us motivates NCEA and our members to advocate for educational justice,” Sr. McDonald stated.

Schools that accept vouchers, she said, often do so at a financial loss to themselves. “The voucher programs are based on the published tuition of the school,” she explained, “not the per-pupil cost, which is thousands of dollars more than tuition covers.”

Sr. McDonald said that participating schools were willing to make this sacrifice, because of a fundamental conviction. “They believe that social justice requires that all parents, especially those of low and limited income, should not be denied the opportunity to provide their children with a good education.”  (*)

House to Vote Wednesday on Repealing Democrats’ Health Care Law

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH)

Washington, Jan 19 (KATAKAMI.COM / CNS News / AP) – The new Republican-led House is poised to deliver an emphatic thumbs-down to President Barack Obama’s landmark health care overhaul, with no ready substitute of its own.

The House vote Wednesday could turn out to be the high-water mark for repeal, a goal that energized conservative voters in the midterm elections and helped Republicans return to power in Congress. Democrats, who hung on to the Senate, have vowed to block the GOP drive.

But House Republicans say not to underestimate their determination or their willingness to use parliamentary maneuvers to deny the Obama administration funds needed to carry out the law.

“Our vote to repeal is not merely symbolic,” said freshman Rep. Nan Hayworth, R-N.Y., an ophthalmologist. “It respects the will of the American people. And it paves the way to reform our health care.”

The initial round of debate Tuesday was free of the rancor seen during the marathon sessions that culminated in party-line passage of the historic legislation last year. The law would provide coverage to more than 30 million uninsured people, with tax credits to make premiums more affordable for the middle class, along with an expanded Medicaid program for the poor. Starting in 2014, most Americans would be required to carry health insurance, a first-of-its-kind mandate that Republicans are challenging as unconstitutional in federal court.

Democrats are confident that the law will stand. Millions are already getting its benefits, from lower prescription prices for Medicare recipients with high drug costs to extended coverage for young adults on their parents’ insurance plan.

Republicans are “re-litigating, regurgitating and rearguing” a debate that was settled last year, said Rep. Rob Andrews, D-N.J. Repeal is “the wrong bill at the wrong time,” he added.

After Wednesday’s vote, it’s unclear what will ultimately happen. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., dared Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to prove that he can keep Democrats united in support of the health care law by bringing repeal to the floor.

“He should bring it up for a vote if he’s so confident he’s got the votes,” Cantor told reporters.

Opponents of the law would probably need 60 Senate votes to overturn it, which is a big stretch given that Republicans have just 47 votes.

The House is scheduled to vote Thursday to instruct several major committees to draft health care legislation that reflects Republican priorities, including limits on medical malpractice awards and stricter language barring taxpayer funding for abortions. But an earlier GOP bill that offered a competing vision to the Democrats’ only covered a fraction of the people reached by Obama’s law.

No matter, Republicans say. A modest, step-by-step approach may turn out to be more sustainable in the long run than a major new government program whose costs and consequences are still unclear.

The fate of the repeal effort hinges on the quality of the replacement legislation and the care that Republicans put into drafting it, said Rep. Chris Gibson, R-N.Y., a freshman. If it meets the needs and concerns of the public, Gibson said he believes Democrats in the Senate may be persuaded to give it serious consideration.

Easier said than done, Democrats respond. For example, Republicans say they also want to help people with pre-existing medical conditions find affordable coverage. But many experts say that won’t be possible unless there’s some kind of requirement that healthy people get into the insurance pool as well, thereby helping to keep premiums down.

“They’re going to have to deal with that,” said Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat.

Polls find the public divided over the law and whether it should be repealed. A recent Associated Press-GfK survey found a 43 percent plurality wants the law changed so that it does more to re-engineer the health care system. About one in four said it should be repealed completely. Fewer than one in five in the AP poll said the law should be left as it is and 10 percent want to change it to do less.

Some surveys that only give respondents two options – keeping the law as it is or repealing it completely – find an edge for repeal.  (*)

Speaker Boehner Honors The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Speaker of the House John Boehner

WASHINGTON, DC, Jan 17 (KATAKAMI.COM / SPEAKER.GOV) — Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement in recognition of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day:

“With words that continue to inspire, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. challenged our country to look inward and honor the promises our forebears made to secure the blessings of liberty.  Reverend King stressed faith and grace in his quest to achieve freedom and equality for all, preaching that the ‘time is always right to do what is right.’  Recent events have reminded us that whatever our differences may be, we can disagree without being disagreeable to each other, and we can seek to be right without being self-righteous.  Reverend King led a committed life, and it is right that we continue to honor his memory and reflect on his legacy.”  (*)

Boehner Ends Retreat With Warning About Spending ‘Illness’

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) salutes colleagues before receiving the Speaker's gavel from outgoing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi following his election in the House chamber January 5, 2011 in Washington, DC. The 112th U.S. Congress was sworn-in today, with Republican legislators taking control of the House of Representatives and expected to begin attempts to dismantle portions of U.S. President Barack Obamaï¿?ï¿?ï¿?s legislative agenda. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

BALTIMORE, January 15  (KATAKAMI.COM / THE CAUCUS) — House Speaker John A. Boehner closed down the Republican retreat here Saturday with a final declaration that the new House majority is serious about reducing federal spending.

“Washington has an illness,” Mr. Boehner said, according to remarks distributed by his office. “The illness is spending. The debt is a symptom of that illness. The American people want it cured.

“President Obama and Congressional Democrats have been on a job-destroying spending spree that has left us with nothing but historic unemployment and the most debt in U.S. history. If they want us to help pay their bills, they are going to have to start cutting up their credit cards.”

The reference to help with paying bills was a nod to the looming vote on increasing the federal debt limit. The Republican leadership used the retreat to prepare lawmakers for the fact that they will be called on to approve an increase in federal borrowing power, a vote many find objectionable. However, Republicans made it clear at the three-day meeting that they intend to demand substantial spending as their price for the debt limit hike.

It was notable that in his remarks, Mr. Boehner referred to “job-destroying spending” rather than the job-killing phraseology that Republicans have typically favored. Some Democrats have suggested that term is inappropriate in the wake of the shootings in Tucson.

Before Republicans boarded their buses to return to Washington, Reince Preibus, the newly elected chairman of the Republican National Committee, mingled with the lawmakers.   (*)

Photostream : House Speaker John Boehner, Leader Eric Cantor and Whip Hoyer Sign Books of Well-Wishes & Condolences Honoring Victims of Tucson Tragedy

Washington DC, Jan 12 (KATAKAMI / SPEAKER GOV) — Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) today signed Books of Well Wishes & Condolences for the victims of Saturday’s tragic shooting in Tucson, AZ.  These books have been made available to the public in the rotunda of the Cannon House Office Building and will remain there throughout the week.  Below are photos of Boehner, Cantor and Hoyer signing the books:


Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) signs the book of condolences and the book of well wishes for the victims of the Tucson, Arizona shooting before attending a prayer service for them in the Capitol in Washington January 12, 2011. A 22-year-old man has been charged with trying to assassinate assassinate Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in a shooting rampage that killed six people and wounded 14 in Tucson. Giffords is fighting for her life in a Tucson hospital. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Speaker of the House John Boehner (L) and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (R) sign the book of condolences and the book of well wishes for the victims of the Tucson, Arizona shooting before attending a prayer service for them in the Capitol in Washington January 12, 2011. Standing behind is House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. A 22-year-old man has been charged with trying to assassinate Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in a shooting rampage that killed six people and wounded 14 in Tucson. Giffords is fighting for her life in a Tucson hospital. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Speaker of the House John Boehner (C) looks on as House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (L) and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer sign books of condolences for Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords before attending a prayer service for her in the Capitol in Washington January 12, 2011. A 22-year-old man has been charged with trying to assassinate Giffords in a shooting rampage that killed six people and wounded 14 in Tucson. Giffords is fighting for her life in a Tucson hospital. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Speaker John Boehner : Honoring Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

John Boehner

By : Speaker John Boehner

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YOUTUBE : Speaker Boehner’s Remarks on Resolution Condemning the Attack in Tucson, AZ

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) gave these remarks Wednesday morning on the House floor :

Washington DC. Jan 12 (KATAKAMI / THE HILL.COM) — Today, we are called here to mourn.  An unspeakable act of violence has taken six innocent lives, and left several more – including our colleague, Gabrielle Giffords – battling for theirs.  These are difficult hours for our country.

Among the fallen is Gabe Zimmerman, a member of Congresswoman Giffords’ staff … a public servant of the highest caliber … one of our own.

Even in our shock, we are composed and determined to fulfill our calling to represent our constituents.  This is the great cause for which Gabe gave his life.  Like us, Gabe swore on oath to uphold and defend the Constitution.  At the time of the attack, he was engaged in the most simple and direct of democratic rituals: listening to the people … to his neighbors.

The brutality that shattered Saturday morning’s calm was devastating, but brief.  Bravery and quick thinking prevented a massacre, turning innocent bystanders into heroes.  The service and skill of first responders and medical professionals saved lives.  Law enforcement officials are working to ensure swift justice.  Look to Tucson right now, and you will be reminded that America’s most plentiful source of wealth and strength is her people.

We are so thankful Gabby is still with us.  We are so thankful that two of her staffers who were also wounded – Ron Barber and Pam Simon – are still with us.  These are days they were not supposed to see, and we can only pray there will be more of them.

In her stead, Gabby’s staff has pressed on, opening for business Monday morning, right on schedule.  The men and women who faithfully serve the people of Arizona’s Eighth Congressional District have signaled that no act – no matter how heinous – will stop us from doing our duty and being among the people we serve.

To all of the dedicated professionals we rely on to make this institution work, to each of you: thank you for what you do.  To Gabby’s staff – and their families: please know that our hearts and prayers go out to you.

This body has yet to fully register the magnitude of this tragedy.  We feel a litany of unwanted emotions no resolution could possibly capture.  We know that we gather here without distinction of party.  The needs of this institution have always risen above partisanship.  And what this institution needs right now is strength – holy, uplifting strength.  The strength to grieve with the families of the fallen, to pray for the wounded, and to chart a way forward, no matter how painful and difficult it may be.

Today it is not ceremony, but tragedy that stirs us to renew our commitment to fulfill our oaths of office.  Let us not let this inhuman act frighten us into doing otherwise.  The free exchange of ideas is the lifeblood of our democracy, as prescribed by the First Amendment, that beacon of free expression Congresswoman Giffords recited in this well just days ago.  These rights have not been handed down by dictate – they have been preserved and protect through generations of hard sacrifice and commitment.  We will continue this unfinished work.

We will do it for Christina Taylor Green, Dorothy Morris, Phyllis Schneck, and Dorwan Stoddard, ordinary citizens who died participating in their democracy.  We will do it for Judge John Roll.  We will do it for Gabe Zimmerman.  And we will do it, God-willing, with Gabrielle Giffords.

Our hearts are broken, but our spirit is not.  This is a time for the House to lock arms, in prayer for those fallen and wounded, and in resolve to carry on the dialogue of democracy.  We may not yet have all the answers, but we already have the answer that matters most: that we are Americans, and together we will make it through this.  We will have the last word.

God bless this House.  God bless this Congress.  God bless America.  (*)

John Boehner opposes gun-free zone measure

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, speaks during a news conference as he reads a statement condemning the attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., at the West Chester Township Hall in West Chester, Ohio, Sunday Jan. 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)

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WASHINGTON, Jan. 12 (KATAKAMI / UPI) — House Speaker John Boehner opposes a gun control bill proposed by a fellow Republicans in response to the Tucson shootings, his spokesman says.

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., chairman of the Homeland Security Committee said Tuesday he would introduce legislation forbidding anyone to carry firearms within 1,000 feet of members of Congress.

King said the legislation is meant to protect the public as well as officials.

“The fact is they do represent the people who elect them, and it’s essential, if we’re going to continue to have contact, that the public who are at these meetings are ensured of their own safety,” he said.

Spokesman Michael Steel told The Hill Boehner, R-Ohio, would not support King’s legislation while the office of Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said he would have to review the measure before taking a position.

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., and Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., also are preparing legislation to ban high-capacity ammunition magazines like those used by alleged Arizona gunman Jared Loughner. But Rep. James Moran, D-Va., said: “Anything you can get through the gun lobby is going to have little consequence. I don’t see the likelihood of much progress.”  (*)

Speaker Boehner: No New Gun Control

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) speaks about the shooting in Arizona during a news conference in West Chester, Ohio, January 9, 2011. A gunman shot U.S. congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in the head, seriously wounding her, and killed six other people in a shooting rampage at a public meeting in Tucson on Saturday. REUTERS/Jay LaPrete



Jan 12 (KATAKAMI / FRUMFORUM.COM) — The Hill reports:

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is rejecting gun-control legislation offered by the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee in response to the weekend shootings of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and 19 others in Arizona.

Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) announced plans Tuesday to introduce legislation prohibiting people from carrying guns within 1,000 feet of members of Congress.

King, who has previously called for the removal of illegal guns from the streets, made the announcement alongside New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, one of the nation’s loudest voices for stricter gun laws.

King said the legislation is not intended only for the safety of government officials but also to protect the public. He said elected officials are not necessarily more important than constituents, but by protecting them in this way, they would feel safer in meeting federal officials at public events.

“The fact is they do represent the people who elect them, and it’s essential, if we’re going to continue to have contact, that the public who are at these meetings are ensured of their own safety,” King said.

King’s legislation got the cold shoulder from Boehner and other Republicans after it was announced.

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said the Speaker would not support King’s legislation.

The office of Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said the majority leader is reserving judgment until the King bill is finalized.

“Mr. Cantor believes it’s appropriate to adequately review and actually read legislation before forming an opinion about it,” Cantor spokesman Brad Dayspring stated in an e-mail.

The immediate rejection of King’s legislation by Boehner illustrates the difficulty gun-control advocates will face in moving forward with any legislation.  (*)

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner Observes National Moment of Silence with Ohio Lawmakers

Ohio Senate President Tom Niehaus, U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, Ohio Speaker Bill Batchelder and other Ohio lawmakers observe the national moment of silence at 11 a.m. yesterday in the Ohio Statehouse.

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Washington DC, Jan 11 (KATAKAMI / SPEAKER.GOV) — Saturday’s senseless attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) that killed six and wounded more than a dozen has prompted an outpouring of support from across the nation.  On Sunday afternoon Speaker Boehner spoke from West Chester, Ohio, on a bipartisan conference call with members of Congress and staff, saying:

“…an attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve.  This is a time for the House to pull together as an institution — one body, unified in our common purpose of serving the American people and fighting for the freedom and justice guaranteed to all by our Constitution.

“What is critical is that we stand together at this dark time as one body.  We need to rally around our wounded colleague, the families of the fallen, and the people of Arizona’s 8th District.  And, frankly, we need to rally around each other.”

Observances will continue throughout the week in Washington, where House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) postponed Congress’ legislative schedule.  Tomorrow the House will consider a resolution expressing the sense of the House of Representatives with respect to the tragic shooting.

At 1 p.m. Speaker Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will host a bipartisan congressional prayer service for lawmakers in the Capitol Visitors Center.  (*)

REMARKS: Speaker Boehner Addresses Tragic Shooting in Arizona

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) speaks about the shooting in Arizona during a news conference in West Chester, Ohio, January 9, 2011. A gunman shot U.S. congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in the head, seriously wounding her, and killed six other people in a shooting rampage at a public meeting in Tucson on Saturday. REUTERS/Jay LaPrete

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WASHINGTON, DC, Jan 9 (KATAKAMI / SPEAKER.GOV) — Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) made the following remarks from West Chester, Ohio this morning regarding the tragic shooting in Arizona:

“Good morning. The thoughts and prayers of the House and the nation are with Congresswoman Giffords and her family. We’re also praying for the families of Judge Roll and all of those who were taken from us yesterday so senselessly. Among the fallen is Gabe Zimmerman, a member of Congresswoman Giffords’ staff, and I’ve directed that the flags on the House side of the Capitol be flown at half mast in honor of Gabe’s death in the line of duty.

“An attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve. Such acts of violence have no place in our society. I want to commend the federal, state and local officials, as well as the Capitol Police, for all of their efforts. And I’ve told the FBI Director that the House stands ready to assist in any way possible.

“Last night, the Majority Leader announced that the normal business of the House in the coming week has been postponed so that we can take necessary action regarding yesterday’s events. The Majority Leader will announce a revised schedule.

“To the members of the House and their staffs, I ask that you on this Sabbath day that we keep Gabby and her staff in our thoughts and prayers. Public service is a high honor, but these tragic events remind us that all of us in our roles in service to our fellow citizens comes with a risk. This inhuman act should not and will not deter us from our calling to represent our constituents and to fulfill our oaths of office. No act, no matter how heinous, must be allowed to stop us from our duty.”  (*)

Gabrielle Giffords Reaction: Boehner Sees "Attack on All Who Serve"

Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona's 8th District is sworn into the 112th Congress by House Speaker John Boehner (Credit: AP)

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January 08, 2011 (KATAKAMI / CBS NEWS) — House Speaker John Boehner today said he was “horrified by the senseless attack” on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and her staff today in Tucson, Ariz.

“An attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve,” Boehner, a Republican, said in a statement.

At least five people were killed in the shooting, including Federal Judge John Roll and a nine-year-old girl. The gunman, identified as 22-year-old Jared Loughner, opened fire at a supermarket where Giffords was meeting with constituents, billed as “Congress on Your Corner.”

Giffords was shot in the head, but doctors said this afternoon that she had come through surgery and that they were “very optimistic” for her recovery.

“Acts and threats of violence against public officials have no place in our society… This is a sad day for our country,” Boehner said.

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH)

Boehner was one of several senators, representatives and others who made or released statements in the aftermath of the shooting in Arizona. Below is a sample of the statements:

President Obama: “It’s not surprising that today Gabby was doing what she always does — listening to the hopes and concerns of her neighbors. That is the essence of what our democracy is all about. That is why this is more than a tragedy for those involved. It is a tragedy for Arizona and a tragedy for our entire country.” (Read more of Mr. Obama’s comments.)

Vice President Joe Biden: “Gabby is one of the finest members of Congress I know. She is a principled leader and a consensus-builder. She has spent her time in office working her heart out to improve the lives of the people she represents. And she loves her husband and family above all else. On this tragic day, Jill and I are praying for Gabby’s recovery, and we hold her family in our hearts. Chief Judge John Roll was a dedicated jurist whose death is a terrible loss to Arizona and to the country.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.): “This terrible act of violence is a national tragedy, and today is a very sad day for our country… Congresswoman Giffords is a brilliant and courageous Member of Congress, bringing to Washington the views of a new generation of national leaders. It is especially tragic that she was attacked as she was meeting with her constituents whom she serves with such dedication and distinction.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.): “I am horrified by the violent attack on Representative Gabrielle Giffords and many other innocent people by a wicked person who has no sense of justice or compassion… Whoever did this; whatever their reason, they are a disgrace to Arizona, this country and the human race, and they deserve and will receive the contempt of all decent people and the strongest punishment of the law.”

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.): “Caryll and I send our most heartfelt condolences to the family of Judge John Roll and the others who were killed and injured today in Tucson. Judge Roll, who presided over the federal District Court in Arizona, was an exceptional judge and a good friend. We pray for the recovery of Representative Giffords and the others who remain in critical condition. Congresswoman Giffords is also a good friend, and I find it especially saddening that such a heinous crime would occur while she was fulfilling her congressional responsibilities.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.): “This is a sad day for our country, and acts of senseless violence such as this one affect us all. Congresswoman Giffords is one of our most dynamic members of Congress. As a representative of a neighboring state, I have watched her career closely and admired her work on behalf of the state of Arizona. I know she will be in the thoughts of every American – and in particular those who dedicate their lives to public service as she and her staff have.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.): “This senseless attack today in Tucson is a national tragedy, and all America mourns those who lost their lives in the very act of public service. I join the entire Congress in condemning this horrifying act of violence.”

Rep. Raul M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.): “I am sickened by the horrific attack in Tucson today and saddened by this senseless violence. This is a tragedy for Arizona, our nation, and our democracy. Gabrielle never let fear or intimidation prevent her from serving the people of Arizona. My thoughts and prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords, her husband Mark, her staff, all those who were injured, and their families.”

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R): “I am just heartbroken. Gabby is more than just a colleague, she is my friend. She has always been a noble public servant. My thoughts and prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords and her family, the Congresswoman’s staff and their families, and well as the other victims of this senseless and cruel violence.”

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.): “My tears are flowing, and I am stunned and angered that Gabby Giffords was savagely gunned down while performing her congressional duties. I am praying for Gabby, and my thoughts, prayers, and deepest sympathy go out to her family, as well as the families of each of the victims. Gabby Giffords governed with integrity and wisdom. We came to Congress together and I had the privilege of knowing her as a friend and colleague.”

Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.): “It is with profound sadness that the members of the Blue Dog Coalition received the news of this terrible act of violence against Congresswoman and fellow Blue Dog Coaliton member Giffords and members of her staff. She is not only an exceptional member of Congress who has dedicated her life to serving the people of Arizona, but a true friend to all of us who have the privilege of serving with her.”  (*)

Speaker Boehner Condemns Attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords

House Speaker John Boehner

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Washington, Jan 8 (KATAKAMI / SPEAKER.GOV) — Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement condemning the attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and members of her staff today in Tucson, AZ:

“I am horrified by the senseless attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and members of her staff.  An attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve.  Acts and threats of violence against public officials have no place in our society.  Our prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords, her staff, all who were injured, and their families.  This is a sad day for our country.”

New House Speaker Boehner Promises To End 'Business as Usual'

House Speaker John Boehner (r) hugs outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after receiving the gavel during the first session of the 112th Congress, on Capitol Hill in Washington, 05 Jan 2011

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January 05, 2011 (KATAKAMI / VOA) — Both houses of the new U.S, Congress convened in Washington Wednesday to have their members sworn in to office.  Republicans now control the House and have a larger minority in the Senate and are promising to change the way things get done on Capitol Hill.  Our correspondent reports on a day of ceremony and celebration before fierce legislative battles begin.

The new Republican-controlled House elected John Boehner to be the new speaker to replace outgoing Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi by a vote of 241 to 173, with 19 members voting for other lawmakers or voting present.  House clerk Lorraine Miller announced the result.

“Therefore the honorable John A. Boehner of the state of Ohio, having received the majority of the votes cast, is duly elected Speaker of the House of Representatives of the 112th Congress,” said Miller.

Nancy Pelosi was the first woman Speaker of the House in U.S. history. The new House Minority leader passed the gavel over to Boehner.

“We now engage in a strong symbol of American democracy – the peaceful and respectful exchange of power.  I now pass this gavel, which is larger than most gavels here, but the gavel of choice of Mr. Speaker Boehner,” said Pelosi. “I now pass this gavel and the sacred trust that goes with it to the new Speaker. God bless you Speaker Boehner.”

The House chamber was filled with the newly elected members of Congress, who were accompanied on opening day by their spouses, children and grandchildren and other relatives.  Incoming Speaker Boehner greeted his wife, two daughters and 10 of his 11 brothers and sisters who were in the chamber.  He wiped tears from his eyes as he gave his first speech as Speaker.

“The American people have humbled us,” said Boehner. “They have refreshed our memories as to just how temporary the privilege to serve is.  They have reminded us that everything here is on loan from them.  That includes this gavel, which I accept cheerfully and gratefully, knowing I am but its caretaker.  After all, this is the people’s House.”

Republicans swept midterm elections across the country in November, resulting in divided government in Washington.  Speaker Boehner said voters sent a clear message that they are not happy with the state of the country.

“We gather here today at a time of great challenges.  Nearly one in 10 of our neighbors are looking for work.  Health care costs are still rising for families and small businesses.  Our spending has caught up with us, and our debt will soon eclipse the size of our entire economy.  Hard work and tough decisions will be required of the 112th Congress. No longer can we fall short.  No longer can we kick the can down the road.  The people voted to end business as usual, and today we begin carrying out their instructions.”

Both Boehner and Pelosi vowed to look for common ground to work across party lines wherever possible. But many of the new lawmakers sworn in Wednesday in the House and Senate are staunch fiscal Republicans supported by Tea Party activists, who advocate a very limited role for government and low taxes and may be reluctant to compromise with Democrats.

One of the first items on House Republicans’ agenda is to cut governments spending, starting with cutting their own operations budget.  House Republicans have also vowed to vote next week to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature domestic accomplishment, health care reform.  Efforts to repeal the reform are likely to fail because Democrats still hold a majority in the Senate.

On the Senate side, Democratic Senate Majority leader Harry Reid said he will press ahead with President Obama’s agenda to create jobs and put the economy on a more solid footing.  But Reid will also face stronger opposition from a strengthened Republican minority.  (*)

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