John Boehner biography
John Boehner is a Republican member of Congress from Ohio. He has been re-elected ten times, and became Speaker of the House of Representatives in January 2011.
John Boehner was born on November 17, 1949, in Reading, Ohio. One of 12 children born to Mary Anne (née Hall) and Earl Henry Boehner, Boehner grew up in a blue collar Catholic family in Southwest Ohio. He attended Moeller High School in Cincinnati, where he played on the school's football team.
After graduating from high school during the Vietnam War in 1968, Boehner enlisted in the Navy. Because of a bad back he was honorably discharged after eight weeks. Boehner decided to attend college, though it took him seven years to graduate, working different jobs to pay his way through school.
It was during college that Boehner met his future wife, Debbie. He was working the night shift as a janitor at a chemical company where Debbie worked in customer service, and the two began dating. In September 1973 Debbie and John married, and had two daughters, Tricia and Lindsey. The Boehners live in the Wetherington section of West Chester Township in Butler County, Ohio.
In 1977, Boehner graduated from Xavier University, earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He was the first of his family to attend college. He worked in the packaging and plastics before entering politics.
Election to Congress
In 1982, Boehner served on the board of trustees of Union Township in Butler County, Ohio. Three years later, Boehner was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives. In 1990, Boehner ran for U.S. Congress against incumbent Buz Lukens. Lukens was in the midst of a scandal about paying an underage girl for sex, and Boehner won the election.
As one of the House’s youngest members, Boehner was a part of the “Gang of Seven,” a group of freshmen Republicans who brought attention to corruption in Congress. By exposing scandals like the 1992 House Banking scandal, the Group of Seven helped Republicans gain control of Congress in the 1994 elections—and Boehner became a rising Republican star.
Boehner made a name for himself in Congress as an ardent social conservative, and championing pro-business and small government policies. In 1996, Boehner helped pass the Freedom to Farm Act, and in 2001 he championed the controversial No Child Left Behind Act. In 2006 he led the drafting of the Pension Protection Act, the most sweeping pension reform in three decades. Boehner voted to bail out financial institutions with the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, known TARP.
Speaker of the House
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.
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.