Best Known For
John Boehner is best known as the Republican Speaker of the House who began serving in January 2011.
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In January 2011, John Boehner became the Speaker of the House, dominated by Republicans after their sweep in the 2010 mid-term election.
As Speaker of the House, Boehner has led the Republican opposition to many of President Obama's policies. Boehner voted against the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, against health care reform and against withdrawing troops from Iraq. 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.
In October 2013, the U.S. government shutdown due to Congress' inability to compromise on a national spending deal. With the initiation of universal health care, better known as Obamacare, the House refused to pass a bill that would not include anti-Obamacare amendments. Although Obamacare was still put into action, the shutdown of the government was used as a way to bargain for an amended spending bill. At the head of Congress during the government shutdown is Boehner. In response to Obama's declaration that negotiations for the bill won't commence until the debt ceiling is lifted and the threat of the government shutdown is removed, Boehner said that agreeing to those terms would mean the "unconditional surrender by Republicans."
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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