Boehner: Obama broke his promises, Republicans kept theirs

President Obama's record is "littered" with broken promises, from the stimulus package to Obamacare, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Saturday.

But House Republicans? "We've kept our pledge," Boehner said in the weekly GOP address, "Our majority in the House has made your priorities our priorities."

The speaker bragged on his party's record, noting that the House GOP has banned earmarks "and, for the first time since the Korean War, we've cut total federal spending two years running."

He also credited his party with protecting "99 percent of Americans from tax increases," reforming student loan interest rates and passing three free trade agreements that will pay "big dividends for the economy."

"So imagine what we could do if the powers-that-be in Washington changed course," he said, touting proposals that would restructure job training programs, expand domestic energy production and repeal and replace the president's health care law. He urged Senate Democrats to take up similar bills.

Notably absent from the list: Immigration reform, an issue that unites Democrats, divides Republicans and recently landed Boehner in hot water with some of his more conservative members.

The Senate passed a comprehensive immigration bill last June, but the House has been unable to follow suit. And on Thursday, Boehner mocked some House Republicans for shying away from the issue, caricaturing their reaction before a rotary club meeting in his Ohio district: "Ohhhh, don't make me do this. Ohhhh, this is too hard."

His ribbing earned him a rebuke from Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, a prominent conservative in the House, who said he was "disappointed" by the speaker's remarks.

"The problem is Obama, not House Republicans," Labrador said in a statement, according to National Review. "Speaker Boehner should have made that point, instead of criticizing the people he is supposed to be leading."

"I know Speaker Boehner sincerely cares about immigration reform as much as I do," he added. "If he wants the Republican Conference to follow him on this issue, he needs to stand up for House Republicans, instead of catering to the media and special interest groups."

In his own address Saturday, the president parried Boehner's economic message with some populism, calling on Congress to pass a minimum wage increase.

"Two months ago, I issued an executive order requiring workers on new federal contracts to be paid a fair wage of at least 10 dollars and 10 cents an hour," Mr. Obama said. "But in order to make a difference for every American, Congress needs to do something. And America knows it."

Polls do reflect strong support for hiking wages: A Quinnipiac survey in January showed 71 percent of voters in favor of raising the minimum wage. Even 52 percent of Republicans were supportive.

"The problem is," the president explained, "Republicans in Congress don't support raising the minimum wage. Some even want to get rid of it entirely."

Some Republicans have warned that raising the minimum wage could depress job growth. Make workers more expensive for companies to hire, they argue, and companies will hire fewer workers.

The president vowed to press on, though. "I'll keep up this fight," he said. "Because we know that our economy works best when it works for all of us, not just a fortunate few. We believe we do better when everyone who works hard has a chance to get ahead. That's what opportunity is all about."

  • Jake Miller

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