WASHINGTON, DC – At a press conference today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) addressed President Obama’s continuing refusal negotiate a path forward on funding the government, raising the debt limit, and protecting all Americans from ObamaCare. As Boehner noted, presidents of both parties have repeatedly negotiated over these issues, and “there’s going to be a negotiation” here as well. Following are Boehner’s remarks:
On the House Effort to Avert Democrats’ Government Shutdown, Provide Fairness for All Under ObamaCare:
“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 the government, keeping it open, and providing fairness to the American people under ObamaCare. They refused to do it.”
On the History of Attaching Policy Changes to Government Funding Legislation:
“Now over the last 30 years, dozens of times, there have been negotiations over funding 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 Opportunity Scholarships for kids here in D.C. were 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 government.”
On Previous Presidents Negotiating with Congress Over the Debt Limit:
“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 last 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 Reagan sat down with Tip O’Neill in the 1980s. President Bush, in 1990, went out to Andrews Air Force Base and got into a long debate and negotiation 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 the 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 short of it is, there’s going to be a negotiation here.”
On the Need for President Obama to Negotiate on the Debt Limit:
“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 Congress, we can begin that conversation.”