Speaker of the House John Boehner charges that Democrats in the Senate have used “every excuse known to man” to avoid their “basic responsibility” of passing a budget.
In an interview with Fox News that aired on Tuesday, the Ohio legislator also said Democrats’ claim that Republicans in the House are sabotaging President Obama’s agenda to improve their chances of victory in November is “just outrageous talk.”
Interviewer Bill Hemmer said: “David Axelrod said over the weekend that Republicans on the House side have engaged in a reign of terror. He’s suggesting that House members are walking in lockstep as a party to stymie the president and make sure he makes no progress between now and the election. What do you think of those comments?”
Boehner responded: “It’s just outrageous talk. They’re trying to make this election, as I said earlier, about anything other than the president’s failed economic policies. So they’re going to look for every boogey man known to man. Listen, if Republicans were walking in lockstep, my job would be a whole lot easier.”
The House has passed 35 bills but they are bottled up in the Senate, he added.
As to why the Democratic-controlled Senate has not passed a budget in more than 1,000 days, Boehner told Fox: “I’ve heard every excuse known to man, but they don’t seem to move any of these bills. At some point, they’ve got to take some responsibility. The fact that they haven’t passed a budget in over 1,000 days, most Americans are scratching their heads.
“At a time when we have this fiscal nightmare, the most basic responsibility is to do a budget. But do you know why they don’t want to do a budget? Because they don’t want to show people how to address America’s big problems. They’re afraid that come Election Day someone will hold them responsible. You can’t continue to kick the can down the road and act like the problem doesn’t exist. Totally irresponsible.”
Asked about the scandal surrounding the General Services Administration, which is under scrutiny following the revelation that thousands in taxpayer dollars were spent to fund lavish conferences, travel and entertainment for GSA staff, Boehner declared: “This is outrageous. As someone who filled out their tax form and wrote checks last Sunday, it irritates me to no end. And I’m sure taxpayers around the country look at the abuse of their money as another example of Washington being out of control.
“We need to get to the bottom of it, understand how pervasive it is, make sure [those responsible] are held accountable, and put controls in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Turning to the November elections, Boehner said Republicans face a “big challenge” in their efforts to retain control of the House.
"I would say that there is a two in three chance that we win control of the House again," Boehner said.
"But there's a one in three chance that we could lose. We've got a big challenge and we've got work to do."
Republicans currently hold 242 House seats and Democrats have 190. There are three vacancies, all of them seats previously held by Democrats, according to USA Today.
That means Democrats need a net gain of 25 seats to win the majority. Only once since World War II has the party in the White House gained more than 15 House seats in a presidential election year, The Hill reported.
But Boehner said “we have 32 districts that are in states where there is no presidential campaign going to be run, no big Senate race, and we call these orphan districts. He added that 18 Republican-held seats in California, New York, and Illinois are “pretty vulnerable” in part because “we’re not likely to do well at the top of the ticket” in those states.
Boehner also noted that 89 freshmen Republicans are running for re-election for the first time.
He expressed concern that Republican donors will take the House for granted and contribute instead to the White House and Senate races.
Earlier in April, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that chances of Democrats retaking the House are greater than 50-50.
But House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said last week that Republicans will actually gain seats in the House in November.
“I’m very bullish on the House,” he stated. “I am very confident that we will strengthen our majority.”
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