Photostream : New Speaker John Boehner leads House

U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) waits for members to arrive for a ceremonial swearing in on Capitol Hill January 5, 2011 in Washington, DC. The 112 U.S. Congress has convened on Capitol Hill today. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) has his Congressional lapel pin put on by a fellow congressman after arriving 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 Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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)

Newly elected US Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) holds up his gavel to the Republican side of the House during the opening session of the 112th Congress on January 5, 2011 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photo by TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Newly elected US Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) makes remarks during the opening session of the 112th Congress on January 5, 2011 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photo by TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Incoming House Speaker John Boehner salutes the assembled members of the U.S. Congress as he takes to the podium in front of the speaker's chair for the first time after being elected Speaker on the opening day of the 112th United States Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 5, 2011. Republicans are taking control of the U.S. House of Representatives since winning a majority in the November U.S. Congressional mid-term elections. REUTERS/Jim Young

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) (2nd R) reaches for Sophia Schilling to get her to participate in her father U.S Rep. Bobby Schilling (R-IL) (L) mock swearing in ceremony on 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 Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) (R) tries to get Sophia Schilling (L), the three-year-old daughter of Rep. Bobby Schilling (R-IL), to join a ceremonial swearing in on Capitol Hill January 5, 2011 in Washington, DC. The 112 U.S. Congress has convened on Capitol Hill today. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

New US Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) gives the oath of office to the 112th Congress on January 5, 2011 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photo by TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Boehner Becomes New House Speaker

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 05: 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 Obama legislative agenda. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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January 05, 2011 (KATAKAMI / VOA) — Republican John Boehner has become the new speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives as his party took power of the chamber Wednesday.

Boehner said voters sent a clear message in the November midterm elections that swept Republicans to a majority in the House and gave them a larger minority in the Senate.

He said Americans want lawmakers to take responsibility for tough decisions. Boehner said the government can no longer “kick the can down the road” and said Americans “voted to end business as usual.”

The House speaker is the top-ranking position in the chamber and is elected by members of the party in power. The speaker helps set the party’s legislative agenda and may preside over House debates, in addition to fulfilling regular duties representing his or her congressional district.

The 61-year-old Boehner represents a district in the state of Ohio. He is expected to take a more low-key approach to his transition to office than did his predecessor, Nancy Pelosi, the first female House speaker. Pelosi was selected Wednesday by Democrats to serve as House minority leader.

Boehner’s aides say he will take the first few days slowly, rather than imitate the flurry of activity during Pelosi’s first 100 hours as speaker.

Thursday, Boehner has arranged for a reading of the U.S. Constitution on the House floor, fulfilling the wishes of Tea Party-backed Republicans who say the country has strayed from its founding principles.

In coming days he also is expected to preside over a mainly symbolic vote to repeal the new health care reform law that was a top domestic priority of U.S. President Barack Obama. The repeal effort is unlikely to succeed, as it would have to be approved by the Senate with its Democratic majority and the president himself.

Boehner has said voters have sent a message to President Obama that the country needs to change course. He also said his Republican majority in the House will stand for a smaller, less costly and more accountable government.

Boehner, a small-business owner from a working-class family, was elected to Congress in 1990. He was one of seven freshman congressmen who gained notoriety by exposing corruption within the lawmaking body. Boehner is the sole member of that group still in office.  (*)

New US Congress Convenes

House Speaker-designate John Boehner of Ohio walks out of his home on Capitol Hill in Washington prior to the start of the 112th Congress, Jan 5, 2011

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New session began Wednesday, with a Republican majority taking control of the House of Representatives


January 05, 2011 (KATAKAMI / VOA) — A new U.S. Congress has convened in Washington.  Republicans now control the House of Representatives, and Democrats have a reduced majority in the Senate, giving the United States a divided legislature.

The 112th Congress features scores of new Republicans.  Most are still getting settled in their new offices and learning their way around the Capitol.

But the new legislators come infused with the ideological fervor that fueled their successful campaigns.  They view last November’s election as a national rebuke of President Barack Obama’s economic stewardship and a mandate to scale back the size and scope of the federal government.

Kentucky freshman Republican Senator Rand Paul told CBS’ Early Show he will not vote to raise the limit on federal borrowing unless spending is drastically cut. “All the new people coming to Washington are going to insist that if we raise the debt ceiling, it has to be linked to something,” he said. “From here on out, we are going to balance the budget.”

The Obama administration says failure to raise the debt ceiling would cause the U.S. government to default on its loan obligations and produce a catastrophic financial crisis.

House Republicans say their first act will be to vote to trim their own office payrolls.  Next week, a vote to repeal President Obama’s health-care reform initiative is expected.  New House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin ties repeal to national prosperity.

“This is related to jobs and the economy,” Ryan said. “The health-care bill has massive tax increases on individuals and employers that will cost us jobs.”

Ryan spoke on NBC’s Today Show.  Most political observers view the repeal effort as a symbolic act, since the Democratically-controlled Senate will not follow suit.

New House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio takes over from California Democrat Nancy Pelosi, who spoke about her party’s role going forward.

“We extend a hand of friendship [to Republicans] to create jobs, grow the middle class, and reduce the deficit.  We look for common ground to solve the problems of the American people,” Pelosi said. “But where we cannot find common ground, we must stand our ground on behalf of the pledge we take every day: ‘with liberty and justice for all.’  And that includes economic justice for all.”

The new Republican House majority has promised to change the way the chamber operates, with special reverence for the U.S. Constitution.  The founding document is to be read aloud in its entirety before the House gets down to business.  In the future bill sponsors will have to provide constitutional justification for legislation before it will be considered. (*)

The GOP Opportunity

 

John Boehner

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The main Republican task will be framing the issues for 2012.

 


January 05, 2011 (KATAKAMI / WSJ) — John Boehner takes the Speaker’s gavel from Nancy Pelosi today, and the transfer represents much more than a change in partisan control. It marks perhaps the sharpest ideological shift in the House in 80 years, and it could set the stage for a meaningful two-year debate over the role of government and the real sources of economic prosperity.

We say “could” because much depends on which Republican Party chooses to show up. Will it be the incumbent-protection and business interest-group machine that prevailed under the final years of Tom DeLay? Or will it remember that the real sources of it power and legitimacy are the tea party activists and independents who voted for Republicans in November? So far the signs suggest the latter, but the forces of Beltway inertia are formidable and will weigh on the drive to change the politics of K Street perks and payoffs.

***

Merely in taking the gavel, Mr. Boehner will fulfill his most important mandate, which is stopping the damage done by the two Pelosi Congresses. To adapt the Hippocratic Oath, first there will be no more economic harm. The GOP has already achieved a major victory on this score by preventing the tax increase that had been scheduled for this week.

That success alone seems to have had a cheering effect on the country’s economic mood, with businesses talking about new investment and investors bidding up stocks. Minority Leader Pelosi are three of the happiest words in the capitalist language.

The two-year tax reprieve was a compromise with President Obama, and there will be other bipartisan opportunities. One will be passing the Panama, Colombia and South Korea trade accords that Democrats ignored. A second will be war funding, and perhaps a third on promoting school choice as part of rewriting the No Child Left Behind Act. There may also be narrow spending cut deals if Mr. Obama concludes he must change his fiscal image from the man who has added $4 trillion to the deficit in two years.

 

John Boehner

Immigration reform should in theory be possible as well, given the business need for more skilled workers and the desire among immigrant groups for more legal paths to citizenship. It is also in the GOP’s political interest to take the issue off the table. But we fear Mr. Obama will want to play for the Hispanic vote in 2012 by portraying Republicans as anti-immigrant, and too many Republicans are also happy to call any compromise “amnesty” for their own political ends.

We do not expect much other common policy ground. The lesson we draw from the last two years is that Mr. Obama is a determined man of the left whose goal is to redistribute much larger levels of income across society. He may give tactical ground when he has no choice, as he did on taxes to avoid a middle-class tax increase. But he will resist to his last day any major changes to ObamaCare and the other load-bearing walls of the entitlement state. His abiding goal is to reverse Reaganism—permanently.

This means that Republicans should not expect much progress in reforming Social Security or Medicare, and they shouldn’t fall into the trap of proud but pointless votes on either one. Some of our friends on the right are already saying the GOP should march into the fixed bayonets on these programs, even if Senate Democrats are sure to kill their reforms. But one lesson of Newt Gingrich’s failure in 1995 is that such changes can’t be achieved from Capitol Hill amid Presidential opposition, and the GOP should not help Mr. Obama repeat Bill Clinton’s Mediscare campaign of 1996.

This cautious advice does not apply to ObamaCare, which Republicans should do everything in their power to undermine, defund and stigmatize. Mr. Boehner has planned a repeal vote in the House for as early as next week, and Mr. McConnell should quickly get Democrats on record in the Senate.

This will begin to frame the stakes for 2012, and from there the GOP can attack ObamaCare piece by piece. Postpone next year’s tax increase on branded pharmaceuticals and biotech, reform and restore funding for Medicare Advantage, repeal the long-term care insurance program that is already scheduled to be broke within a decade. Such votes will honor GOP campaign promises, continue to educate voters about the bill’s flaws, and perhaps even force Mr. Obama to use a veto or two.

The other advice we’d offer is to keep in mind that Republicans did not run in 2010 to be national accountants. While cutting spending to reduce the deficit, they should keep the political and policy focus on promoting economic growth and private job creation. This should be the larger avowed purpose of their cuts in spending, their scrutiny of new regulations, their proposals for tax reform, or their questioning of the Federal Reserve.

Thanks to the failure of the Obama-Pelosi spending stimulus, the voters are once again listening to Republicans on the economy. They should not cede that ground back by turning into mere deficit scolds.

 

***

In his personal modesty and rhetorical restraint, Mr. Boehner seems to understand that Republicans can’t govern from the House. What they can do is stake out a GOP agenda that begins to repair the damage of the Pelosi years, begins to shrink and reform the government, and tees up the debate for 2012. This is the great Republican opportunity of the 112th Congress.  (*)

 

Boehner Appoints Rep. Kevin Brady as Vice Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee

House Speaker-elect US Representative John Boehner

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Washington, Dec 15 (KATAKAMI / GOPLEADER.GOV) — Speaker-designate John Boehner (R-OH) today announced the appointment of Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) as Vice Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC):

“Kevin Brady has been, and will continue to be, a leader in Republicans’ efforts to cut spending, rein in the size of government, and help small businesses create jobs, consistent with the GOP’s Pledge to America. His background as an advocate for small businesses and expertise on economic and trade policy will be key assets for our Conference as we develop solutions to grow our economy and create jobs for middle-class families. I look forward to working with him in his role as Vice Chairman.”

NOTE: Brady also serves as a senior member of the House Ways & Means Committee.   (*)

Obama, Republicans in tax face-off at White House

President Barack Obama (left) and House Speaker-elect US Representative John Boehner

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November 30, 2010 (KATAKAMI / Reuters) – President Barack Obama faces off with Republican congressional leaders over taxes on Tuesday in a test-of-wills that could foreshadow how the White House works with the opposition party in the coming two years.

Obama will host Republicans John Boehner, the next Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Mitch McConnell, the party’s leader in the Senate, as well as Democrats Nancy Pelosi, the current Speaker, and Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, at 10:30 EST at the White House.

Taxes will be at the top of their agenda.

With a broad victory in November 2 elections behind them, Republicans are eager to force Democrats to agree to extend Bush-era tax cuts for wealthy Americans as well as the middle-class constituency that concerns Obama the most.

Democrats have been in disarray about how to proceed, despite an impending deadline: the tax cuts expire at the end of this year, and Obama is keen to avoid a situation in which American families making less than $250,000 a year face a tax hike on Jan 1.

To prevent that, he may have to agree to extend cuts for Americans of all income levels for one to three years — an onerous option to many Democrats, but one that may be the most likely outcome if the two sides agree on anything at all.

Obama has said the United States cannot afford to pay the $700 billion it would cost to extend tax cuts for the rich, but he has also signaled a willingness to compromise after the “shellacking” his party received in this month’s election.

The White House said a deal was unlikely to be reached at Tuesday’s meeting, which Obama said he hoped would jump-start a better relationship between him and the newly empowered Republicans.

“My hope is that tomorrow’s meeting will mark a first step toward a new and productive working relationship,” Obama said. “Because we now have a shared responsibility to deliver for the American people on the issues that define not only these times but our future — and I hope we can do that in a cooperative and serious way.”

House Speaker-elect US Representative John Boehner speaks during a press conference November 18, 2010 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Boehner now awaits near-certain election by the full House as speaker when Republicans step into Congress on January 5 after seizing the majority from US President Barack Obama's Democrats. (Photo by KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

GET THE JOB DONE

Boehner and McConnell, who could become Obama’s main adversaries next year, wrote in an opinion piece that their party would insist on extending tax cuts for everyone during the “lame duck” congressional session that ends this year.

Republicans will control the House and have greater strength in the Senate next year.

“If President Obama and Democratic leaders put forward a plan during the lame-duck session to cut spending and stop the tax hikes on all Americans, they can count on a positive response from Republicans,” the two men wrote in a Washington Post piece published on Tuesday.

“If the president and Democratic leaders don’t act before the end of the year, however, House and Senate Republicans will work to get the job done in the new Congress. But we hope it doesn’t come to that.”

The Republicans will put that position on the table during the meeting with Obama, which will also be attended by Vice President Joe Biden, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, budget director Jack Lew and other congressional leaders.

Obama invited the congressional leaders for a White House dinner earlier this month, but it was put off for scheduling reasons, which some Democrats interpreted as a Republican snub of the president’s outstretched hand.  (*)

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