WBEZ | Speaker John Boehner http://www.wbez.org/tags/speaker-john-boehner Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Boehner's implosion saves Obama http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-12/boehners-implosion-saves-obama-104530 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS4275_Election%202010_12.jpg" title="Speaker John Boehner blew it" /></div><p>Just yesterday I was moaning about how President Barack Obama was about to give away the store -- <em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-12/once-more-boehner-gets-better-obama-104476#comments">again</a></em> -- but thanks to John Boehner&rsquo;s implosion, he&rsquo;s been saved from himself.<br /><br />In the meantime, we&rsquo;ve been <a href="http://www.thenation.com/blog/171840/why-democrats-must-break-obama-social-security-cuts">spared a possible Social Security cut</a> and a few other unnecessary giveaways Obama had put on the negotiating table. At least for now.<br /><br />Why did GOP Speaker of the House walk away from Obama&rsquo;s deal? Well, maybe because conservative groups like Club for Growth, Heritage Foundation (<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-12/scorched-earth-tea-partyer-jim-demint-resigns-senate-104253">Oh, Jim DeMint</a>!), Freedom Works and every Tea Party club in the country was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/20/fiscal-cliff-house-boehner-plan-b_n_2341539.html">against a deal of any kind</a>, especially if it involved raising taxes on at least two gazillionaires. Or maybe because Boehner <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2012/12/right-ballistic-over-john-boehner-purge-84612.html">removed a bunch of uncooperative right wingers</a> from crucial committee posts just a few days ago -- <em>talk about bad timing! </em>-- and they decided it was payback time, making it impossible for the Speaker to get the necessary votes out of his own conference.<br /><br />What exactly did Boehner think was going to happen when he walked away from Obama&rsquo;s swag bag to pursue a bill that not only the president had promised to veto (yeah, I know: he&rsquo;d also <em>promised</em> Social Security wouldn&rsquo;t be a part of the deal) but that hard-knuckled bespectacled Nevada Mormon, Harry Reid, had promised to asphyxiate upon arrival on the senate floor? He probably thought that he&rsquo;d use the bill to publicly posture, hoping Obama would follow historical patterns and agree, if not to the $1 million tax threshold, maybe higher than the $400,000 he&rsquo;d already bowed to.<br /><br />I don&rsquo;t know, maybe Boehner was <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/eric-cantor-plays-loyal-lieutenant-to-boehner/2012/12/18/14cce838-4782-11e2-b6f0-e851e741d196_story.html">set up by Eric Kantor</a>, the Republican House Majority Leader. Last time around, Kantor was a thorn not just in Obama&rsquo;s side but also in Boehner&rsquo;s. This time, he and that sneak Paul Ryan -- <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324677204578187852220502168.html">anybody seen <em>him</em> lately?</a> -- decided to fade stage right and let Boehner do whatever.<br /><br />And maybe, just like with those Mitt Romney polls that showed him winning up until the last minute, Boehner began to believe his own BS, began to think, like Kantor said less than 48 hours ago and with such certainty, that he had the votes.<br /><br />What&rsquo;s next? The Democrats will likely, and <em>heroically</em>, draft something now and start recruiting Republicans who don&rsquo;t want to go over the cliff. Or the Senate will act on House bills it&rsquo;s already got, reconciling something to death. Or we&rsquo;ll go over the cliff, which no one wants but which will be blamed squarely on the GOP now. The deadline is year&rsquo;s end.<br /><br />For Boehner, though, the worst cliff might come a little later: January 3, when the GOP elects a Speaker.</p></p> Fri, 21 Dec 2012 09:57:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-12/boehners-implosion-saves-obama-104530 What House Speaker Michael Madigan is up to http://www.wbez.org/story/what-house-speaker-michael-madigan-91448 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-02/RS2798_AP080109029993-madigan.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>House Speaker Michael Madigan is one of Illinois' most mysterious politicians. He's so guarded, even his mere utterances can make a big splash.</p><p>Last month was no exception. Madigan raised eyebrows after attending a fundraiser for U.S. House Speaker John Boehner - as in Republican, John Boehner. Then a week later, he skipped the "Democrat Day" rally at the Illinois State Fair.</p><p>So what's the story behind Madigan's recent behavior and what does it mean for the 2012 election cycle? WBEZ's Kristen McQueary, who's been looking into this, talked with Alex Keefe.</p></p> Fri, 02 Sep 2011 11:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/what-house-speaker-michael-madigan-91448 Deal averting shutdown proves compromise is alive, if not well http://www.wbez.org/story/budget/2011-04-08/deal-averting-shutdown-proves-compromise-alive-if-not-well-84977 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-09/Sen Min Leader Mitch McConnell_Getty.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Reports of the death of compromise in Washington are greatly exaggerated.</p><p>That's one important message from the 11th-hour agreement that averted a partial shutdown of the federal government Friday night.</p><p>"No compromise" has been the rallying cry of the Tea Party movement. Some Republican lawmakers have echoed that.</p><p>But the agreement reached Friday was the epitome of compromise. Republicans had come into the negotiations demanding $61 billion in spending cuts from the remainder of fiscal year 2011 which ends in September.</p><p>GOP lawmakers also wanted numerous policy riders on the legislation that would have placed restrictions on social policies. They included the by-now infamous Planned Parenthood rider to bar the organization from receiving any federal funding.</p><p></p><p>By the time negotiations ended late Friday, Republicans had agreed to $41 billion in cuts, including $2 billion in a stopgap bill that funds the government through next Thursday, and had dropped most of their policy riders.</p><p>For their part, Democrats had initially offered a far smaller menu of cuts, then begrudgingly got up to about $30 billion before finishing about $11 billion above that level.</p><p>Meanwhile, Senate Democrats agreed to allow votes on defunding the Affordable Care Act and Planned Parenthood and agreed that there would be no additional funding of Internal Revenue Service agents to enforce the new health care law's individual mandate provisions.</p><p>The defunding votes aren't expected to pass in the Senate but, again, it was a a not inconsiderable concession by Democrats to promise the floor votes at all. The health care law vote, for instance, will likely cause heartburn for some Democrats facing tough re-election fights, like Sen. Clair McCaskill of Missouri and Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska.</p><p>That a compromise was possible and a shutdown averted at least proves that Democrats and Republicans are capable of bridging fierce differences, if only when they are staring into the abyss.</p><p>Heading into the fights over raising the federal debt-ceiling as well as the fiscal 2012 budget, the agreement establishes what is possible. Not that those fights will be easy.</p><p>The dynamics of each of those will be different because of their greater significance.</p><p>The debt ceiling is about the "full faith and credit" of the U.S. which has even greater long-term consequence than the 2011 budget.</p><p>And the 2012 budget fight will in large part be a battle over the future of the Medicare and Medicaid entitlements.</p><p>But with lawmakers clearly blinking at the prospect of shutting down the government if even for a few days, it's difficult to imagine them wanting to cause the worldwide financial disruption by failing to increase the debt ceiling.</p><p>Of the three major players in the shutdown showdown, Speaker John Boehner probably had the most to gain and lose if the government had been forced to partially close.</p><p>The other major players, President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, had already proven their ability to get major complicated legislation over the finish line, past resistance in their own and opposition parties.</p><p>If Boehner hadn't been able to close a deal, it would have thrown into doubt his ability to deliver during future negotiations with the White House and Senate.</p><p>Instead, he has achieved an important success. He showed he can ride herd on his Tea Party firebrands enough to successfully close a deal like the spending agreement.</p><p>He can also take credit for forcing Democrats to accept a historic level of spending cuts.</p><p>Boehner told reporters late Friday:</p><p><blockquote></p><p>As you all know, this has been a lot of discussion and a long<br />fight. But we fought to keep government spending down because it<br />really will, in fact, help create a better environment for job<br />creators in our country.</p><p></blockquote></p><p>But Democrats were spinning the agreement as a victory, too. The hallmark of a compromise is when both sides can claim a win.</p><p>Obama's reaction to the agreement was upbeat and confident, as though things had worked out exactly as he had envisioned.</p><p>With the Washington Monument clearly visible through the White House window behind him, the president provided viewers a visual reminder of what was averted, the closing of tourist attractions like the world's most famous obelisk.</p><p>But was particularly striking was how quickly the president moved to co-opt the Republican spending-cut message.</p><p>Obama said:</p><p><blockquote></p><p>This agreement between Democrats and Republicans, on behalf of all Americans, is on a budget that invests in our future while making the largest annual spending cut in our history. Like any worthwhile compromise, both sides had to make tough decisions and give ground on issues that were important to them. And I certainly did that.</p><p>Some of the cuts we agreed to will be painful. Programs people rely on will be cut back. Needed infrastructure projects will be delayed. And I would not have made these cuts in better circumstances.</p><p>But beginning to live within our means is the only way to protect those investments that will help America compete for new jobs — investments in our kids' education and student loans; in clean energy and life-saving medical research. We protected the investments we need to win the future.</p><p></blockquote></p><p>As a sign of how far the discussion has shifted in Washington since Election Day, Reid also spoke of the importance of spending cuts.</p><p>And he gave credit to some players in the drama who haven't gotten much attention in recent days but who apparently played a role in urging Republicans to come to an agreement — the business community. He thanked the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable for their help.</p><p>A Democratic president and Senate majority leader talking about spending cuts and praising big business. It was definitely a sign of the times. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. </p> Sat, 09 Apr 2011 00:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/budget/2011-04-08/deal-averting-shutdown-proves-compromise-alive-if-not-well-84977 House OKs Keeping Government Open 3 More Weeks; Unhappiness Reigns http://www.wbez.org/story/budget/2011-03-15/house-oks-keeping-government-open-3-more-weeks-unhappiness-reigns-83775 <p><p>House Republicans, Senate Democrats and the White House appear to agree on two things at least: the federal government shouldn't be shut down and funding the government via stopgap spending bills is no way to run a government.</p><p>Aside from that, they don't agree on much else. Which is why on Tuesday the House voted again to fund the government for three more weeks past Friday with a piece of legislation that would cut an additional $6 billion in spending. The vote was 271-158.</p><p>Fifty four Republicans voted no, however. They wanted bigger cuts. Only six voted against the last continuing resolution three weeks ago.</p><p>Likewise, fewer Democrats voted Tuesday for the stopgap, 85 versus 104.</p><p></p><p>That amount, added to what has been cut and signed into law already, would bring to $10 billion the amount of spending cuts, getting Republicans closer to the $61 billion in cuts contained in HR 1 which the House approved several weeks ago. The legislation failed in the Democratic-controlled Senate.</p><p>The $6 billion in cuts includes $2.6 billion in earmarks and $1.74 billion in money that was allocated for last year's Census but not spent.</p><p>As a way to give the austerity a bipartisan flavor, some of cuts included by the House Appropriations Committee came in programs President Obama didn't request money for in his budget. Or they were proposed by Senate Democrats.</p><p>The House Appropriations Committee provided <a href="http://appropriations.house.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressReleases.Detail&PressRelease_id=273&Month=3&Year=2011">a list</a> of the cuts in a news release last week.</p><p>Republicans and Democrats are so far apart on the larger spending bill to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, it seems unlikely that they'll be able to bridge the gaps in three weeks.</p><p>President Obama and Senate Democrats have said they will refuse to sign onto spending reductions in federal outlays they consider "investments" such as Pell Grants and Head Start.</p><p>They have also warned that reducing government spending could slow the economy down, hurting a far from robust recovery.</p><p>Republicans, on the other hand, have said that spending cuts are essential to the creation of jobs.</p><p>On Tuesday, Speaker John Boehner pointed <a href="http://www.speaker.gov/UploadedFiles/JEC_Jobs_Study.pdf">to a report</a> by the Joint Economic Committee of Congress' Republicans that made a case for spending cuts contributing to job growth.</p><p>It was a document that, to say the least, wasn't likely to persuade many, if any, Democrats. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1300230128?&gn=House+OKs+Keeping+Government+Open+3+More+Weeks%3B+Unhappiness+Reigns&ev=event2&ch=129828651&h1=House+Appropriations+Committee,Budget,Speaker+John+Boehner,federal+spending,federal+deficits,Congress,Democrats,Economy,Republicans,It%27s+All+Politics,Governing,Politics,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=134574526&c7=1014&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1014&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110315&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=134576000,133744148,132676104,132077942,131220601,130215202,129919600,129866764,129865776,129828651&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Tue, 15 Mar 2011 17:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/budget/2011-03-15/house-oks-keeping-government-open-3-more-weeks-unhappiness-reigns-83775 Boehner Should Face Primary Challenge: Top Tea Party Activist http://www.wbez.org/story/budget/2011-03-03/boehner-should-face-primary-challenge-top-tea-party-activist-83317 <p><p>Signs abound of the pressures on Speaker John Boehner and other House Republicans to show real results on spending cuts.</p><p>An <a href="http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/MSNBC/Sections/NEWS/A_Politics/___Politics_Today_Stories_Teases/2-24-28-11.pdf">NBC/Wall Street Journal poll</a> found, for instance, that those voters focused on spending cuts are the voters who matter most to Republicans — their base.</p><p>As a writer for MSNBC's <a href="http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/03/03/6179186-first-thoughts-chased-by-a-tiger">FirstRead observed</a> (apparently based, in part, on some additional data or cross tabs not in the published poll document) :</p><p><blockquote></p><p>Consider: 33% of Tea Party supporters, 34% of Republicans, and 35% of McCain voters list deficit/spending as the top issue the federal government should address, compared with 23% of independents, 24% of suburban women, 19% of seniors, and 19% of those ages 18 to 34 who say that. By contrast, 35% of seniors, 39% of 18- to 34-year-olds, 40% of independents, and 41% of suburban women believe job creation/economic growth is nation's top issue. And two-thirds of independents, seniors, 18- to 34-year-olds and suburban women say they are concerned that major cuts to government spending could impact them and their families, versus roughly half of Republicans, McCain voters, and Tea Party supporters who think that.</p><p></blockquote></p><p></p><p>Actually, you might expect that percentage of Tea Party Republicans citing cutting deficits as their highest priority to be higher.</p><p>But clearly, Tea Party conservatives place greater importance on that than other voters.</p><p>In the FirstRead post, Bill McInturff, a Republican pollster who conducted the survey along with Democrat Peter Hart, said the results highlight the pressures on congressional Republicans:</p><p><blockquote></p><p>"It may be hard to understand why a person might jump off a cliff, unless you understand they're being chased by a tiger," he said. "That tiger is the Tea Party." McInturff's explanation: The Americans who are most concerned about spending cuts are core Republicans and conservatives, not independents or swing voters.</p><p></blockquote></p><p>Of course, those "core conservatives" are part of the platoons of activists that can make a Republican incumbent's life miserable during a primary campaign.</p><p>Which helps explain why so many people are noting a blog post by one of those worrisome tigers, Judson Phillips, founder of Tea Party Nation, in which he calls for a primary challenge to House Speaker John Boehner.</p><p>In a post (behind a sign-in wall) headlined, "The Honeymoon Is Over: It's Time To Primary John Boehner," Phillips tells Boehner:</p><p><blockquote></p><p>"You look like a fool... Charlie Sheen is now making more sense than John Boehner...</p><p>"Early on, the GOP promised to cut $100 billion from the budget. The Republicans in the House quickly went squishy on that and had to be cajoled into cutting only $61 billion. Now, John Boehner is saying when the Senate comes back and they start negotiating...the $61 billion figure is not safe...</p><p>"Where are the calls for the cutting of 'hundreds of billions?' They certainly are not coming from Boehner. Boehner is simply going to the old tried and true Republican tactic of saying, 'we promised you we would vote on it, and we did!'</p><p>"No, John. You were not put in the Speaker's chair simply to have votes and pat yourself on the back. You were put in the Speaker's chair to do something."</p><p></blockquote></p><p><blockquote></p><p>"There is no other way to put this. The Tea Party movement should find a candidate to run against John Boehner in 2012 and should set as a goal, to defeat in a primary, the sitting Speaker of the House of Representatives."</p><p></blockquote></p><p>Sitting speakers generally don't find themselves losing re-election. Rep. Tom Foley, a Washington State Democrat, was the last one that happened to in 1994, the Gingrich Revolution election.</p><p>Before that, you have to go all the way back to Republican Rep. Galusha Grow in 1862.</p><p>So the force, of history at least, is with Boehner. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1299182536?&gn=Boehner+Should+Face+Primary+Challenge%3A+Top+Tea+Party+Activist&ev=event2&ch=129828651&h1=Tea+Party+Nation,Judson+Phillips,Budget,Speaker+John+Boehner,Congress,Economy,Republicans,It%27s+All+Politics,Politics,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=134232919&c7=1014&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1014&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110303&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=134235904,134235891,133744148,132676104,130215202,129866764,129865776,129828651&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Thu, 03 Mar 2011 13:31:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/budget/2011-03-03/boehner-should-face-primary-challenge-top-tea-party-activist-83317 House GOP Big Winner On Bill To Avert Government Shutdown http://www.wbez.org/story/congress/2011-03-01/house-gop-big-winner-bill-avert-government-shutdown-83221 <p><p>The House's GOP leaders appear to be the big winners following passage Tuesday of legislation to temporarily fund the federal government for two weeks and cut $4 billion from current federal spending to boot.</p><p>That more than 100 Democrats joined Republicans in a whopping 335-91 vote for the stopgap spending bill was the kind of showing that would let Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) boast of a major bipartisan success and neutralize any Democratic charges of partisanship.</p><p>Republican leaders incorporated proposed spending cuts Obama had made in the two-week bill, making it easier to co-opt many of the House Democrats.</p><p>The win allowed House Republicans to stay on the offensive while forcing Senate Democrats and the White House to keep playing defense.</p><p></p><p>That would make both Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and President Obama losers to some degree. Oh, and House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) who voted against the two-week extension would be a loser, too, after being abandoned by so many in her Democratic caucus.</p><p>Reid has been in retreat on the spending issue. He's had to go from saying that a short-term spending bill with deep cuts was unacceptable to accepting exactly such a piece of legislation.</p><p>On Tuesday, Reid indicated the Senate would quickly take up the two-week spending bill and looked for passage before Friday when a partial shutdown could occur if additional spending isn't enacted.</p><p>Reid and President Obama had pushed for a longer extension. They didn't get it.</p><p>Having won Tuesday's battle, Speaker John Boehner made clear he would keep the pressure on Reid until the next battle, which is guaranteed to happen no later than two weeks from Friday when the new continuing resolution would expire.</p><p>From <a href="http://www.speaker.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=226821">Boehner's statement</a>:</p><p><blockquote></p><p>"Today's vote by the House gives Senator Reid another two weeks to consider H.R. 1, legislation passed by the House that would fund the government through September while providing billions in spending cuts needed to help create a better environment for job creation. The House approved H.R. 1 ten days ago, but the Senate, unfortunately, has taken no action on H.R. 1 or any other legislation that would keep the government operating for the remainder of the fiscal year. Stopgap measures like the one approved in the House today are only needed because the Democrats who run Washington failed to pass a budget last year and are now failing to listen to the American people who want to keep the government running while cutting spending.</p><p>"The Washington spending binge that has left us with fewer jobs and more debt must come to an end, and the onus is on Leader Reid and Senate Democrats now to follow our lead and help make that happen. Noted economists from around the country, including Stanford economist John B. Taylor, agree that spending cuts like those in H.R. 1 will help boost our economy and create new jobs. And so I urge Senator Reid to use this additional time to bring H.R. 1 to a vote – or outline for the American people his plan for cutting spending and keeping the government running."</p><p></blockquote></p><p>H.R. 1, of course, is the legislation passed by the Republican House that cuts $61 billion from current fiscal year 2011 which ends in September.</p><p>Obama and Reid have said that bill, which would make extraordinarily deep cuts in the 12 percent of the federal budget that consists of discretionary spending, is totally unacceptable. The president has <a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/legislative/sap/112/saphr1h_20110215.pdf">threatened to veto it</a> should it reach his desk.</p><p>Before that happens, however, there are likely to be more short-term spending bills. And House Republicans have just proved they can get closer to their goal incrementally. Four billion dollars down, $57 billion to go.</p><p><blockquote></p><p></blockquote> Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1299025631?&gn=House+GOP+Big+Winner+On+Bill+To+Avert+Government+Shutdown&ev=event2&ch=129828651&h1=Speaker+John+Boehner,Rep.+Eric+Cantor,House+GOP,White+House,Congress,Sen.+Harry+Reid,Economy,It%27s+All+Politics,President+Obama,Politics,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=134177332&c7=1014&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1014&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110301&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=132676104,131539387,131357655,130357600,130215202,130040966,129866764,129828651,126026613&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Tue, 01 Mar 2011 17:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/congress/2011-03-01/house-gop-big-winner-bill-avert-government-shutdown-83221 Gov. Chris Christie Charms, Disses Washington http://www.wbez.org/story/around-nation/2011-02-17/gov-chris-christie-charms-disses-washington-82468 <p><p>In a city with a reputation for overly well-coiffed politicians whose tendency is to speak from both sides of their mouths, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's visit Wednesday to Washington was bracing. (NPR's Don Gonyea had a <em><a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/02/17/133831805/N-J-Gov-Christie-Takes-On-Taboo-Topics-With-Gusto">Morning Edition</a></em><a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/02/17/133831805/N-J-Gov-Christie-Takes-On-Taboo-Topics-With-Gusto"> report</a> on the visit.)</p><p>Even a journalist who normally delights in skewering politicians for their foibles, like the Washington Post's Dana Milbank, seemed won over by the XXL Republican known for his blunt-talking style.</p><p><a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/16/AR2011021605970.html">Milbank wrote</a> after Christie's appearance at the American Enterprise Institute for the governor's first major Washington speech:</p><p><blockquote></p><p>As he has before, Christie ruled out a run for the White House - not the non-denial denials of his peers, but a categorical denial. "What do I have to do short of suicide to convince people I'm not running?" he asked. "Apparently I actually have to commit suicide."</p><p>Setting aside his own presidential ambitions for now makes Christie's warning to Washington all the more potent - and the jaundiced pols of this town would do well to listen as the fat governor gives them the skinny.</p><p></blockquote></p><p></p><p><blockquote></p><p>"You just have to have the spine to say, 'I'm going to take the risk,' " the governor coaxed. "I think that's what we elect leaders for. Hence the name."</p><p></blockquote></p><p>Christie definitely has a middle-class Everyman persona that makes him an attractive politician even to cynical journalists.</p><p>Anyway, Christie portrayed himself as leading by example when it came to risk-taking. The dangerous political move he took Wednesday, by his lights, was to take on Social Security.</p><p>Specifically he said the age to for claiming full benefits needed to be higher.</p><p><blockquote></p><p>You're going to have to raise the retirement age for Social Security. Whoa-ho! I just said it, and I'm still standing here. I did not vaporize into the carpeting, and I said it.</p><p>We have to reform Medicare because it costs too much and it is going to bankrupt us. Once again, lightning did not come through the windows and strike me dead!</p><p></blockquote></p><p>Actually, Christie might want to have his staff do some Googling before his next big Washington speech.</p><p>From <a href="http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/106135-boehner-raise-social-securitys-retirement-age-to-70">a story in The Hill</a> from June 2010 quoting then House Republican minority leader Rep. John Boehner:</p><p><blockquote></p><p>"We're all living a lot longer than anyone ever expected," Boehner said in a meeting with the editors of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "And I think that raising the retirement age — going out 20 years, so you're not affecting anyone close to retirement — and eventually getting the retirement age to 70 is a step that needs to be taken."</p><p></blockquote></p><p>That actually got a bit of attention after Boehner said it, with Democrats pouncing, vainly hoping the comment would scare enough voters to keep House control in their hands.</p><p>That Boehner made his statement at a time when he was trying to win control of the House for Republicans and the largest GOP majority possible is arguably much braver than Christie saying it.</p><p>Voters knew Boehner would be in a position as speaker to do something about raising the Social Security retirement age. As a state governor, Christie isn't.</p><p>And "reforming Medicare" isn't really that brave a stand for Christie to take. Virtually every politician across the ideological divide agrees Medicare needs to be reformed because its rising costs are insanely unsustainable and threaten national solvency.</p><p>The question is how do you reform it? How much do you reduce benefits to beneficiaries? Do you give senior citizens vouchers to partly or fully privatize the system? It's over such details that bravery is needed because, whatever's decided, many voters are going to be unhappy.</p><p>All this isn't to say that Christie isn't right to chide Washington politicians for being unwilling to be the first to walk through the electoral landmines on some of these issues. Eventually, any great endeavor in a democracy takes leadership.</p><p>But knocking Washington politicians for not talking about raising the Social Security retirement age is perhaps not the best example he could have used to make his point. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1297958227?&gn=Gov.+Chris+Christie+Charms%2C+Disses+Washington&ev=event2&ch=129828651&h1=In+the+States,Speaker+John+Boehner,Gov.+Chris+Christie,New+Jersey,Republicans,It%27s+All+Politics,Around+the+Nation,Politics,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=133817789&c7=1014&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1014&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110217&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=133835493,132676104,131551096,130435329,129865776,129828651&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Thu, 17 Feb 2011 08:54:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/around-nation/2011-02-17/gov-chris-christie-charms-disses-washington-82468 From The House: Tune In At 11 For The Reading Of The Constitution http://www.wbez.org/story/around-nation/house-tune-11-reading-constitution <p><p>When the now-Republican controlled House of Representatives convenes this morning, <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/01/06/132699825/congress-day-two-cut-spending-read-constitution" target="_blank">as we said earlier</a>, one of the first bits of business will be the reading of the U.S. Constitution. It should begin around 11 a.m. ET. This is thought to be the first time in the history of the House it's been done.</p><p>If you want to watch and listen, there are several options -- including:</p><p>-- A live feed at new Speaker of the House <a href="http://speaker.gov/" target="_blank">John Boehner's official website</a>.</p><p>-- <a href="http://c-span.org/Live-Video/C-SPAN/" target="_blank">C-SPAN.org</a>.</p><p>-- The cable news networks, of course.</p><p>We'll aim to have the audio added to this post later today.</p><p>It doesn't hurt to have a copy handy to read along. You might <a href="http://archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html" target="_blank">choose this one</a> at the website of the National Archives. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1294326428?&gn=From+The+House%3A+Tune+In+At+11+For+The+Reading+Of+The+Constitution&ev=event2&ch=103943429&h1=Speaker+John+Boehner,U.S.+Constitution+,House+of+Representatives,National+News,Politics,The+Two-Way,Around+the+Nation,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=132703130&c7=1001&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1001&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110106&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Thu, 06 Jan 2011 08:23:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/around-nation/house-tune-11-reading-constitution