Speaker John Boehner told fellow House Republicans in an Easter week memo that his decision to allow the sequestration cuts to take effect has forced President Barack Obama and the Democrats to confront economic issues they have long been avoiding.
“We forged a new tactical plan that focused on using our limited leverage to maximum effect in support of the reforms needed to support economic growth and job creation for all Americans,” Boehner wrote in the memo distributed to House Republicans on Thursday.
“Republicans may be the minority party in Washington — but because we forged a plan together and have stuck to it, our actions as a team over the past couple of months have made a difference for all Americans,” Boehner added, according The Washington Post
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The memo noted that GOP efforts had forced Senate Democrats to produce their own budget plan for the first time in four years and had made the president focus more attention on the importance of addressing entitlement reforms. But it did not address controversial social issues such as immigration and gun control, which the Senate will debate after Congress returns April 8.
Boehner's memo followed on the heels of Congress’ approval of a short-term spending plan that included the $85 billion in automatic across-the-board spending cuts that began March 1 and will keep the government funded through the end of the fiscal year.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi later dismissed the speaker’s comments in a statement saying, “If they don’t have the Congress lurching from manufactured crisis to crisis, then they’re passing gimmicks that do nothing to address the urgent priorities of the American people.”
Boehner also urged his House conference to focus on the GOP’s core beliefs going forward.
“Republicans are the party of economic growth, and growth is what matters most to American families and small businesses who are struggling to make ends meet,” he wrote.
The speaker cited many other GOP successes, saying:
- “President Obama’s strategy of using hyperbole and scare tactics to parlay sequestration into further tax increases failed;”
- “The No Budget No Pay initiative forced the Democratic majority in the Senate to pass a budget for the first time in four years;”
- “On [March 22], the Democratic-controlled Senate endorsed construction of the Keystone XL pipeline;”
- “Pressure is mounting on the Democratic majority in Washington to balance the federal budget and identify meaningful entitlement reforms they’re willing to enact.”
But Republicans also need to focus on areas that still need to be addressed, Boehner says.
- “The economy still isn’t growing as it should be growing;”
- “The national debt continues to grow;”
- “The private sector is still struggling amid policies that make it harder for individual Americans to get a high-quality education, acquire new job skills, and balance the demands of family and the workplace;”
- “The spending cuts implemented under sequestration still need to be replaced with better spending cuts that help move us to our goal of a balanced budget within the next decade;”
- “The national unemployment rate remains far above the levels that were promised [by] President Obama;”
- “Five years of the Obama presidency have proven we cannot borrow and spend our way back to prosperity.”
But a solution is possible, Boehner says. “That’s why House Republicans set the goal of balancing the budget within the next decade, and have made it a top priority.”
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