November 18, 2015
Full Audio of Former Speaker’s Remarks Available at ForumClub.Org
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In his first formal remarks since handing over the speaker’s gavel and leaving Congress, former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) shared some of the lessons in leadership he acquired during a 25-year run on Capitol Hill and discussed the opportunity that exists to reset America’s economic foundation in the years ahead.
Speaker Boehner’s speech – the full audio of which is available here – was delivered to an audience at the Forum Club of Southwest Florida on Friday, November 13, 2015, fulfilling a speaking commitment Boehner had made months earlier, while still in office.
Speaker Boehner’s Nov. 13 remarks offer both a retrospective on his remarkable years in Congress and a forward-looking policy roadmap for capitalizing on the domestic energy boom, providing an early preview of some of the themes the former speaker is likely to emphasize in his post-congressional work.
In his speech, the former House Speaker said he worries the “supercharged” atmosphere in which politics and governing take place in America today may cause us to “miss our moment as a nation.”
“We’re in the midst of a domestic energy boom in America,” Speaker Boehner said, noting the boom that is underway in part because of bipartisan efforts in Congress that successfully fought efforts by the Obama Administration to block American-made energy production. “[The energy boom] gives us a chance to reset the foundations of our economy and is going to allow us to be more competitive around the world, [and] allow us to improve productivity faster than the rest of the world. [If] we’re serious about taking advantage of this opportunity, I believe there are some things we need to do.”
Among the steps America must take as a nation in the months and years ahead, according to Speaker Boehner:
- Tax reform. “We need to reform our tax code. Both the corporate tax code and the individual tax code need to be dealt with [and] need to be simplified. It would help to provide more growth and better wages.
- Education reform. “We educate just over half of the kids in America. It’s a disgrace,” Boehner said. We have an obligation as a nation “to help kids have an opportunity at a decent education. . .it ought to be the civil right of the 21st Century,” the former speaker declared.
- Entitlement reform. “We need to fix our entitlement problem,” Boehner explained, noting that critical entitlement programs like Medicare are on a collision course with bankruptcy. “We’re all living a lot longer, and these programs were never designed” to handle such pressures, the former speaker said. Boehner noted that changes made to Medicare on a bipartisan basis this year “will save almost $3 trillion in spending” in the coming years that would otherwise have been taken out of the pockets of future generations. “We don’t have to make major changes to these programs,” Boehner noted. “The sooner we tackle these [challenges], the easier it will be to put these programs on a sustainable foundation.”
- Immigration reform. “We need to fix our immigration system,” Boehner said, noting the issue “has become a political football” in recent years. “We need to strengthen our borders and enforce our laws. . .but we also need to find a way for those willing to learn English and civics and put them on a path to a legal status,” Boehner said. “The next president is going to have to take this on.”
Drawing on his own life experience, Speaker Boehner predicted America will rise to the challenge and embrace the goals he outlined.
“In America you have the freedom to invent, the freedom to try, and yes, the freedom to fail. . .but that philosophy has enabled us to be the leader of the world,” Boehner concluded. “This is the only country where the son of a bartender can grow up to become Speaker of the House.”