House Minority Leader Boehner Declares ‘State of Emergency,’ Promises Reform if GOP Wins Control

Sep 30, 2010 5:16pm

ABC News’ Devin Dwyer reports:    House Minority Leader John Boehner today decried what he called the “collapse” of the 111th Congress that has led to adjournment of the House for the November recess without passing a budget, leaving the body in a “state of emergency.” “I’ve been here nearly 20 years. I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly. And lately, there’s been a lot of ugly,” Boehner told a friendly crowd at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. “These wounds have been self-inflicted by both parties. If we don’t fix them, it’s possible no one will be able to.” Boehner said that if Republicans regain the majority in November he would vigorously pursue reforms to restore fiscal discipline, improve transparency and work to break through the gridlock in the House. “Let’s do away with the idea of comprehensive spending bills. Let’s break them up. That would encourage scrutiny and make spending cuts easier,” Boehner proposed.   He also suggested implementing a “cut-as-you-go” rule.  “Very simply, under cut-go, if you intend to create a new government program you must also terminate or reduce an existing program of equal or greater size in the same bill,” he said. On earmarks, Boehner said he could not guarantee that Republicans would extend their current moratorium in the new congress but insisted he opposes them entirely. ”The future of a moratorium will be a collective decision made by our members,” he said. But “I am here to tell you we are not going to see earmarks as we’ve seen them in the past under a Republican majority if I’m Speaker of the House.”  Democrats criticized Boehner’s remarks, calling him a hypocrite who has been part of the problem. “No speech or pledge by Mr. Boehner is going to change the Republicans’ dismal record,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a statement. “When the GOP was in charge, they quadrupled earmarks and legislated behind closed doors on behalf of corporate special interests. ” And Congressman George Miller, who chairs the Education and Labor Committee, rebuked Boehner for citing their history together on the committee as an example of bipartisanship.  ”John Boehner’s approach to legislating this entire Congress, including on education, Wall Street reform, economic recovery, small business tax cuts, and the environment… has been obstruct, delay, oppose, then repeat the same,” Miller said in a statement. As members of Congress return to their districts for the election, polls show voters increasingly disillusioned with their representatives and their behavior in Washington. Forty-five percent of Americans give Congress a “poor” job performance rating, according to the most recent poll by the Pew Research Center. 

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