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John Boehner is best known as the Republican Speaker of the House, beginning in January 2011.
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In July 2011, Boehner was at the center of the debt crisis—drafting the Republican "Boehner plan" to counter Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's plan to end the crisis.
Boehner made headlines in early 2013, when he voted for a bipartisan bill (dissenting from fellow Republicans, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy) aimed at preventing the looming fiscal cliff crisis. The bill,
passed by the House on January 1, 2013 (it was approved by the Senate earlier that day), aims to reduce the national debt by raising taxes on the extremely wealthy—individuals earning more than $400,000 per year and couples earning more than $450,000. Just one week earlier, in late 2012, tense negotiations between Republicans and Democrats over spending cuts and tax increases had escalated into a bitter political battle. Around that time, Boehner received heavy criticism from Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who claimed that Boehner had made little effort to establish a deal due to wanting to protect Republican control in the House. "[The House is] being operated by a dictatorship of the speaker, not allowing the vast majority of the House of Representatives to get what they want," Reid stated. According to some reports, Boehner and Reid became involved in a heated verbal dispute, with Boehner allegedly cursing at the senator.
Criticism of Boehner has focused on his ties to lobbyists, especially in the tobacco and banking industries. Boehner has been skewered on Saturday Night Live, mocked for crying in public, as well as for his perennial tan. He has been re-elected to Congress 10 times.
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