Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner, R-Ohio, came out more bullish than ever in a press conference on Thursday, buoyed by Republican sweeps in the House and Senate in Tuesday’s midterm elections. Boehner reiterated assertions that he would focus on the economy, repeal the Affordable Care Act and move forward with the Keystone XL pipeline. He also spoke about President Barack Obama’s vow Wednesday to move forward unilaterally on immigration if Congress would not act.
“Our immigration system is broken and needs to be fixed,” Boehner said. “If he acts alone, he will poison the well, and there will be no chance of immigration reform moving forward in this country. It’s a simple as that.”
Boehner metaphor alert on Obama and immigration: "He is going to poison the well... When you play with matches, you will burn yourself."
— Tim Hanrahan (@TimJHanrahan) November 6, 2014
Boehner said Americans are divided over what to do about the nation's millions of immigrations living here illegally. “What held us back was a flood of kids coming across the border,” he answered when asked why his House didn’t act on an immigration bill this year. “This is not politics. This is doing the right thing for the country,” he added.
Boehner and Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who will soon take the reins as majority leader, published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, outlining their plans for their tenure as Congressional leaders. They said they would first focus on jobs and the economy. “Enacting such measures early in the new session will signal that the logjam in Washington has been broken and help to establish a foundation of certainty and stability that both parties can build upon,” the op-ed read.
“Americans can expect the new Congress to debate and vote soon on the many common-sense jobs and energy bills that passed the Republican-led House in recent years with bipartisan support but were never even brought to a vote by the outgoing Senate majority,” Boehner wrote in a separate statement on his outlook for the 114th Congress.
Boehner is a strong opponent of Obama and has threatened to sue him for what he called his excessive use of executive actions throughout his presidency. With the Senate under Democratic control since the 2006 Senate elections, Boehner stood as the strongest Republican voice in Congress during Obama’s presidency.
“Republicans had a good night,” Obama conceded Wednesday. He said he was ready to work with GOP leaders during his last two years in office.
Boehner is expected to be re-elected as speaker on Nov. 13. No other Republican has come forward and announced their candidacy. McConnell, Boehner and the Democratic Congressional leadership will meet with Obama on Friday.