Sheila McLaughlinHouse Speaker John Boehner theatrically mocked his fellow Republican Congressmen for being afraid to reform immigration policy when he spoke Thursday before the Middletown Rotary Club.
Boehner theatrically mocked his fellow Republican Congressmen for being afraid to reform immigration policy when he spoke Thursday before the Middletown Rotary Club in his home district.
"Here's the attitude. Ohhhh. Don't make me do this. Ohhhh. This is too hard," Boehner whined before a luncheon crowd at Brown's Run County Club in Madison Township.
"We get elected to make choices. We get elected to solve problems and it's remarkable to me how many of my colleagues just don't want to ... They'll take the path of least resistance."
Boehner said he's been working for 16 or 17 months trying to push Congress to deal with immigration reform.
"I've had every brick and bat and arrow shot at me over this issue just because I wanted to deal with it. I didn't say it was going to be easy," he said.
The GOP-controlled House has refused to pass the immigration proposal passed by the Democrat-led Senate that includes a path to citizenship for millions of people living illegally in the United States. Boehner has come under fire for siding with President Barack Obama's push to get reform passed.
Boehner's appearance in Butler County Thursday was part of a barnstorming effort in his home district leading up to the primary. Boehner faces three opponents in the GOP primary May 6.
On Wednesday, he visited Hartzell Propeller in Piqua, where he toured the company's headquarters and met with workers and company leadership to discuss issues facing local job creators. Boehner toured Kaivac Cleaning Systems in Hamilton on Thursday before heading to the rotary club meeting.
He was in Afghanistan last week.
He fielded a handful of questions from rotary members during Thursday's brown bag lunch event. The questions ranged from the Affordable Care Act to the tea party.
On what Republicans will offer to fix the Affordable Care Act: "When we were debating Obamacare in 2010 we offered an alternative that consisted of eight or nine points that would make our insurance system work a lot better.
"(To) repeal Obamacare … isn't the answer. The answer is repeal and replace. The challenge is that Obamacare is the law of the land. It is there and it has driven all types of changes in our health care delivery system. You can't recreate an insurance market over night.
"Secondly, you've got the big hospital organizations buying up doctor's groups because hospitals get reimbursed two or three times doctor's do for the same procedure just because it's a hospital. Those kinds of changes can't be redone.
"So the biggest challenge we are going to have is -- I do think at some point we'll get there -- is the transition of Obamacare back to a system that empowers patients and doctors to make choices that are good for their own health as opposed to doing what the government is dictating they should do."
On the tea party: "There's the tea party and then there are people who purport to represent the tea party.
"I've gone to hundreds of tea party events over the last four years. The makeup is pretty much the same. You've got some disaffected Republicans, disaffected Democrats. You always have a handful of anarchists.They are against everything. Eighty percent of the people at these events, are the most ordinary Americans you've ever met. None of whom have ever been involved in politics. We in public service respect the fact that they brought energy to the political process.
"I don't have any issue with the tea party. I have issues with organizations in Washington who raise money purporting to represent the tea party, those organizations who are against a budget deal the president and I cut that will save $2.4 trillion over 10 years. They probably don't know that total federal spending in each of the last two years has been reduced, the first time since 1950.
"They probably don't realize that we protected 99 percent of the American people from an increase in their taxes. They were against that too, the same organizations. There are organizations in Washington that exist for the sheer purpose of raising money to line their own pockets.
"I made it pretty clear I'll stand with the tea party but I'm not standing with these three or four groups in Washington who are using the tea party for their own personal benefit."
On funding being diverted from public schools because of federal mandates, such as No Child Left Behind and serving children with disabilities:
"I disagree with the idea that the federal law is mandating the shifting of resources. Every state had to implement No Child Left Behind. So what happened was every state capital in the country … loaded up every implementation bill with every crazy idea they ever had and blamed it on us, of course.
"All we said with no child left behind is that we ought have expectations for what kids learn and we ought to publish test results so that we know who is learning and who isn't.
"I don't think the issue with education is money. If money were going to solve the education problem we would have solved it a long time ago. I think there is a structural problem. It's not about our kids. Kids are in school 9 percent of the time between birth and age 18. That means 91 percent of the time they are home or they are out in their community. We have books. We have educational TV. We may go and visit places that help reinforce their education. Or they are out in the neighborhood or they are playing team sports or they are part of the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts. They are involved in things that reinforce their education.
"But it you are poor and you go to a rotten school or live in a rotten neighborhood, you have no chance. You are probably not going to get the basics. There's certainly not going to be reinforcement help throughout the community and this is where I believe that our current systems for passing knowledge from one generation to the next doesn't work well enough for enough of America's kids.
"I've been involved with the disability community and making sure that children that aren't as highly qualified have opportunities just like the rest of them. It's a balancing act in terms of how do you provide those services, how do you provide that education without unduly diverting resources for the rest of the kids."
On the future of job training: "What we are trying to do is take as many of these state and federal job training retraining programs and try to boil them down into less numbers of programs and less bureaucracy. I think where this conference is heading with the Senate is down to 15. Bureaucracy was eating up more than half the money dedicated to job training and retraining. It was staff ... buildings ... leases. The idea is to consolidate these programs so we get more money out so that community colleges, technical colleges and other programs can get people the skills they need."
On how the United States can pay back the $17 trillion is borrowed: "The first way to pay it back is quit making the number bigger. Seventeen-and-a-half trillion a year from now is going to be $18 trillion. So the first thing you have to do when you are in trouble is quit digging the hole. Once you quit digging the hole and get to a balanced budget, then it's a matter of getting the economy going again to start paying it off. You've got to control federal spending at the rate of inflation or below and you have to have economic growth that exceeds that. you can in fact over a period of time pay off the debt. Our budget passed right before Easter is a 75-year plan. "http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/politics/2014/04/24/boehner-mocks-colleagues-immigration-reform/8101699/