In Speech to The Ripon Society Today, Speaker Boehner Discusses President’s Handling of the Economy and State of the Union Address Tonight

Also previews Congressional agenda for the coming year, saying, “I am going to make it clear each and every day that we have our plan for American job creation.”

WASHINGTON, DC – Speaker of the House John Boehner (OH-8) delivered a speech to a luncheon meeting of The Ripon Society today, discussing not only the President’s handling of the economy and the State of the Union Address this evening, but the legislative outlook on Capitol Hill and the Congressional agenda for the coming year.

“One of the important things I learned in my 62 years on this earth is how to run a small business,” stated Boehner, who ran a plastics and packaging company in Ohio prior to his election to Congress in 1990. “I’ve got a pretty good idea of the challenges facing our business community. And I think it’s pretty clear that no one on the President’s economic team has any clue, because none of them have ever worked in a small business. They’ve never done anything. The President is going to show up tonight, and he is going to try to act like this is his first year in office. He’s going to try to act like the last three years he wasn’t here — like he was backpacking around Europe. But for the last three years, the President’s policies have not worked.

“They’ve been on a spending binge, they’ve been on a regulatory binge, and he’s going to act like he’s got nothing to do with what’s happening. Now, I don’t want to judge the President’s performance over the last three years based on my barometers. Why don’t we use his own barometers? You know, he’s the one who said that if we pass this stimulus bill, it will create a million new jobs immediately — when in fact, millions of Americans have lost their jobs since. The President said, ‘you pass this bill, and unemployment will not exceed 8 percent.’ Now we are at 35 consecutive months with unemployment over 8 percent. So instead of making things better, I would argue, that the President’s policies have actually hurt the economy. And I do believe, consequently, that the 2012 election is going to referendum on the President’s economic policies.

“He’s clearly trying to make this about everything other than his own records. So he’s going to beat up on the Congress and do a lot of other things. But our job is to drive that point home and we intend to do it. At the Member retreat, last week I talk about the importance of oversight. Oversight is there to drive a message to help educate members and educate others. When you look at all the policies coming out of this administration, we need to do a better job of holding them accountable and telling the stories about how these policies are damaging the private sector’s ability to create jobs. I just kicked off the retreat for the Energy and Commerce Committee, and just in that one committee you’ve got dozens and dozens of regulations that we need to explore. The Democrats are going to call this partisan politics, election year activities. But there are facts here. The facts are that these policies are getting in the way of creating jobs. In addition to that, I think it is our job to offer the American public a competing vision of what we would do if we had the majority, if we had the White House, and the Senate. So you’ll see us talking about the need to overhaul our taxes.”

“Our economy is being held back by a very uncompetitive tax system. On the corporate side, we are about to have the highest rate in the world. And that needs to be dealt with. On the personal side, it is so confusing, and the President is going to talk about how unfair the current system is. But you probably don’t realize that we spend $500 billion dollars as a nation complying with the current tax code. Five hundred billion dollars! I know what I pay my accountant, and it is ridiculous. This needs to be dealt with, and it’s not going to be easy. Neither one of them is going to be easy, but it is something the American people want, it’s something we want, and you will see us spending an awful lot of time talking about it.”

That said, Boehner concluded his remarks by making clear that Congress cannot tackle these challenges on its own.

“One of the biggest issues facing our country is the lack of leadership,” he stated. “If you watch the President, he started on Labor Day and he has not stopped. He gave up governing on Labor Day, and all he has done for the last four months is campaign each and every day. So where is he going today? He’s going to five battleground states to try and drive home and extend the speech that he’s giving tonight. This is not leadership. As I’ve made clear to the President a year ago and as I said to the media this morning, our job — even though we have complete different ideas about what role the Federal Government is — is to find enough common ground to do what the American people need us to do. To do that, it takes two. We are here and we are willing to help. We’ve got 27 bills sitting over in the United States Senate, jobs bills that they could deal with. But they want to lay it all off on us — that we are the problem.

“I am going to make it clear each and every day that we have our plan for American job creation. This plan was put together last May and we’ve been working on it all year. And as we get into this year, our main focus is going to be jobs. But if we want to get these enacted into law, it’s time for the President and Harry Reid and Senate Democrats to get off their duff and at least come to the dance floor and see if we can’t do something that looks good to the American people.”

The Ripon Society is a public policy organization that was founded in 1962 and takes its name from the town where the Republican Party was born in 1854 – Ripon, Wisconsin. One of the main goals of The Ripon Society is to promote the ideas and principles that have made America great and contributed to the GOP’s success. These ideas include keeping our nation secure, keeping taxes low and having a federal government that is smaller, smarter and more accountable to the people.