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U.S. House Speaker John Boehner Calls on Obama to Explain ‘Contradiction’ on Libya

Speaker of the House John Boehner

 

 

March 23 (KATAKAMI.COM / BLOOMBERG) — U.S. House Speaker John Boehner asked President Barack Obama to explain the “contradiction” between U.S. goals for regime change in Libya with a United Nations mandate limited to curbing Muammar Qaddafi’s ability to attack civilians, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.

In a letter today, Boehner asked the president how the Libyan leader would be removed from power if the UN resolution authorizing force against Qaddafi “makes clear that regime change is not part of” the international mission.

U.S. and allied aircraft and missiles attacked Libya on March 19 to impose a “no-fly” zone to blunt the ability of Qaddafi forces to target civilians.

In Boehner’s two-page letter to Obama, the speaker complained of ‘conflicting messages from the administration” and coalition nations producing “a lack of clarity over the objectives of this mission.”

The Ohio Republican asked a series of questions about the U.S. and allied military operation, saying the American people need to know “what our national security interests are, and how it fits into our overarching policy in the Middle East.” Boehner said these concerns “point to a fundamental question: What is your hallmark for success in Libya?”

‘Troubled’ Lawmakers

He also said many lawmakers “are troubled that U.S. military resources were committed to war without clearly defining for the American people, the Congress and our troops what the mission in Libya is and what America’s role is in achieving that mission.”

Boehner requested from Obama details about the “engagement strategy” for the Libyan opposition forces.

“If the strife in Libya becomes a protracted conflict, what are your administration’s objectives for engaging with opposition forces, and what standards must a new regime meet to be recognized” by the U.S., Boehner asked.

Obama’s advisers said taking military action was necessary to prevent the deaths of civilians, and that the pace of the president’s decision-making on the issue allowed the U.S. to draw in international partners.

Multilateral support for the mission was “fundamental,” Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, told reporters aboard Air Force One as Obama returned today to Washington from a trip to Latin America.

By marshaling allies for the aerial campaign, the U.S. cost is “significantly” reduced, Rhodes said.

Boehner asked Obama if he expected to seek supplemental appropriations for the mission.

Democratic Support

The Democratic chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said today his chamber won’t constrain Obama’s direction of the attack on Qaddafi’s forces.

Opponents of Obama’s decision to support the mission won’t come “anywhere near success” getting the votes needed to curtail it, Senator Carl Levin of Michigan told reporters on a conference call.

When Congress returns from a recess next week, opponents of the U.S.-led operation may try to cut off funding or force a vote on congressional authorization under the War Powers Resolution of 1973, which requires the president to seek approval from Congress for military actions.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said the administration has had “a great number of consultations with Congress” on the reasons for the military action.

‘Regrettable’

Boehner, though, told Obama that it was “regrettable that no opportunity was afforded to consult with congressional leaders” before the decision to attack Libya.

Senator Dick Lugar of Indiana, the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, today called for a panel hearing on the mission. Such proceedings are “especially vital because the Obama administration did not consult meaningfully with Congress,” Lugar said in a letter to committee Chairman John Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat.

Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, the chamber’s No. 2 Democrat, said Obama briefed a bipartisan group of congressional leaders for an hour on March 18, the day before the military operation began. “I’ve been kept informed the entire way,” Durbin told reporters today on a conference call.

‘Criticism Is Apt’

Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the second-ranking House Democrat, said in “some sense the criticism is apt” because “I don’t think there was a lot of consultation.”

In an interview, Hoyer said “there was certainly no consultation” at the briefing of congressional leaders. He said lawmakers were “informed of an action the president was going to take within, frankly, minutes of the ending of the meeting.”

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California urged more consultations with lawmakers. “U.S. participation is strengthened by the president’s continued consultation with Congress,” she said in a statement.

While Obama has said Qaddafi should give up power, Pentagon officials have said that the Libyan dictator isn’t a target of the attacks.

Coalition attacks on government tanks, artillery, supply lines and communication points are “pressurizing Qaddafi’s forces,” said U.S. Rear Admiral Gerard Hueber. Still, government forces have increased their attacks and killed 16 people in Misrata and six in Zentan, opposition spokesman Abdulhafid Ghoda told reporters in Benghazi.

Obama said yesterday that the U.S. goal is to transfer command of the operation to an international coalition that will be orchestrated by North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies. The U.S. and its coalition partners are trying to resolve a disagreement over the role of NATO in the command structure of the operation.

In his letter, Boehner pressed Obama for details on which nations “will be taking the lead” and “are there clear lines of authority and responsibility and a chain of command?”   (*)

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2011 in World News

 

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House Speaker John Boehner presses Obama to define Libya mission

Speaker of the House John Boehner

 

WASHINGTON, March 24, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM / AP) – President Barack Obama came under pressure from Republicans on Wednesday to outline the U.S. goals in Libya, where American aircraft and warships are part of an international campaign enforcing a no-fly zone, as lawmakers sought to protect Congress’ constitutional role in military decisions, AP reported on Wednesday.

In a letter to the White House, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said while he respected Obama’s authority as commander in chief, he complained that the president ordered the military into combat without clearly describing the mission and U.S. role for the American people and Congress. Boehner insisted that certain questions be answered on U.S. strategy, the cost of the operation, the continued support of coalition partners and whether it was acceptable for Gadhafi to remain in power after the military effort is over.

“Because of the conflicting messages from the administration and our coalition partners, there is a lack of clarity over the objectives of this mission, what our national security interests are and how it fits into our overarching policy for the Middle East,” Boehner wrote. “The American people deserve answers to these questions. And all of these concerns point to a fundamental question: What is your benchmark for success in Libya?”

Boehner said he hopes the president will provide a clear and robust assessment of the mission and how it will be achieved. The letter was dispatched to the White House while Obama was en route home from a trip to Latin America that was overshadowed by events in Libya.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi wasn’t as pointed in her statement in which she said the no-fly zone prevented an imminent humanitarian crisis. But she added, “Decisions made in the days ahead are strengthened by our NATO partners’ participation. U.S. participation is strengthened by the president’s continued consultation with Congress.”

Deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters traveling with the president on Air Force One that the administration has consulted with Congress throughout the process.

“We consulted before we took military action and continue to brief Congress and believe it’s very important to have a very close and important dialogue with Congress about what we’re doing in Libya,” Rhodes said.

Boehner’s letter does not call for a vote in the House on the commitment of U.S. military resources, as some individual lawmakers have demanded. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, pointed out on Wednesday that under Senate rules any lawmaker could call for a vote on authorizing military force. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., said he expected strong bipartisan support for Obama. They made their comments in a conference call with reporters.

Separately, Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, the top Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, called for prompt hearings on Libya. “In my judgment, hearings on Libya are especially vital because the Obama administration did not consult meaningfully with Congress before initiating military operations,” Lugar said.

 

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2011 in World News

 

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Speaker Boehner Honors The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Speaker of the House John Boehner

WASHINGTON, DC, Jan 17 (KATAKAMI.COM / SPEAKER.GOV) — Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement in recognition of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day:

“With words that continue to inspire, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. challenged our country to look inward and honor the promises our forebears made to secure the blessings of liberty.  Reverend King stressed faith and grace in his quest to achieve freedom and equality for all, preaching that the ‘time is always right to do what is right.’  Recent events have reminded us that whatever our differences may be, we can disagree without being disagreeable to each other, and we can seek to be right without being self-righteous.  Reverend King led a committed life, and it is right that we continue to honor his memory and reflect on his legacy.”  (*)

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2011 in World News

 

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Boehner Ends Retreat With Warning About Spending ‘Illness’

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) salutes colleagues before receiving the Speaker's gavel from outgoing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi following his election in the House chamber January 5, 2011 in Washington, DC. The 112th U.S. Congress was sworn-in today, with Republican legislators taking control of the House of Representatives and expected to begin attempts to dismantle portions of U.S. President Barack Obamaï¿?ï¿?ï¿?s legislative agenda. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

BALTIMORE, January 15  (KATAKAMI.COM / THE CAUCUS) — House Speaker John A. Boehner closed down the Republican retreat here Saturday with a final declaration that the new House majority is serious about reducing federal spending.

“Washington has an illness,” Mr. Boehner said, according to remarks distributed by his office. “The illness is spending. The debt is a symptom of that illness. The American people want it cured.

“President Obama and Congressional Democrats have been on a job-destroying spending spree that has left us with nothing but historic unemployment and the most debt in U.S. history. If they want us to help pay their bills, they are going to have to start cutting up their credit cards.”

The reference to help with paying bills was a nod to the looming vote on increasing the federal debt limit. The Republican leadership used the retreat to prepare lawmakers for the fact that they will be called on to approve an increase in federal borrowing power, a vote many find objectionable. However, Republicans made it clear at the three-day meeting that they intend to demand substantial spending as their price for the debt limit hike.

It was notable that in his remarks, Mr. Boehner referred to “job-destroying spending” rather than the job-killing phraseology that Republicans have typically favored. Some Democrats have suggested that term is inappropriate in the wake of the shootings in Tucson.

Before Republicans boarded their buses to return to Washington, Reince Preibus, the newly elected chairman of the Republican National Committee, mingled with the lawmakers.   (*)

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2011 in World News

 

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Photostream : House Speaker John Boehner, Leader Eric Cantor and Whip Hoyer Sign Books of Well-Wishes & Condolences Honoring Victims of Tucson Tragedy

Washington DC, Jan 12 (KATAKAMI / SPEAKER GOV) — Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) today signed Books of Well Wishes & Condolences for the victims of Saturday’s tragic shooting in Tucson, AZ.  These books have been made available to the public in the rotunda of the Cannon House Office Building and will remain there throughout the week.  Below are photos of Boehner, Cantor and Hoyer signing the books:

 

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) signs the book of condolences and the book of well wishes for the victims of the Tucson, Arizona shooting before attending a prayer service for them in the Capitol in Washington January 12, 2011. A 22-year-old man has been charged with trying to assassinate assassinate Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in a shooting rampage that killed six people and wounded 14 in Tucson. Giffords is fighting for her life in a Tucson hospital. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Speaker of the House John Boehner (L) and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (R) sign the book of condolences and the book of well wishes for the victims of the Tucson, Arizona shooting before attending a prayer service for them in the Capitol in Washington January 12, 2011. Standing behind is House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. A 22-year-old man has been charged with trying to assassinate Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in a shooting rampage that killed six people and wounded 14 in Tucson. Giffords is fighting for her life in a Tucson hospital. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Speaker of the House John Boehner (C) looks on as House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (L) and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer sign books of condolences for Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords before attending a prayer service for her in the Capitol in Washington January 12, 2011. A 22-year-old man has been charged with trying to assassinate Giffords in a shooting rampage that killed six people and wounded 14 in Tucson. Giffords is fighting for her life in a Tucson hospital. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2011 in World News

 

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Speaker John Boehner : Honoring Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

John Boehner

By : Speaker John Boehner

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YOUTUBE : Speaker Boehner’s Remarks on Resolution Condemning the Attack in Tucson, AZ


Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) gave these remarks Wednesday morning on the House floor :

Washington DC. Jan 12 (KATAKAMI / THE HILL.COM) — Today, we are called here to mourn.  An unspeakable act of violence has taken six innocent lives, and left several more – including our colleague, Gabrielle Giffords – battling for theirs.  These are difficult hours for our country.

Among the fallen is Gabe Zimmerman, a member of Congresswoman Giffords’ staff … a public servant of the highest caliber … one of our own.

Even in our shock, we are composed and determined to fulfill our calling to represent our constituents.  This is the great cause for which Gabe gave his life.  Like us, Gabe swore on oath to uphold and defend the Constitution.  At the time of the attack, he was engaged in the most simple and direct of democratic rituals: listening to the people … to his neighbors.

The brutality that shattered Saturday morning’s calm was devastating, but brief.  Bravery and quick thinking prevented a massacre, turning innocent bystanders into heroes.  The service and skill of first responders and medical professionals saved lives.  Law enforcement officials are working to ensure swift justice.  Look to Tucson right now, and you will be reminded that America’s most plentiful source of wealth and strength is her people.

We are so thankful Gabby is still with us.  We are so thankful that two of her staffers who were also wounded – Ron Barber and Pam Simon – are still with us.  These are days they were not supposed to see, and we can only pray there will be more of them.

In her stead, Gabby’s staff has pressed on, opening for business Monday morning, right on schedule.  The men and women who faithfully serve the people of Arizona’s Eighth Congressional District have signaled that no act – no matter how heinous – will stop us from doing our duty and being among the people we serve.

To all of the dedicated professionals we rely on to make this institution work, to each of you: thank you for what you do.  To Gabby’s staff – and their families: please know that our hearts and prayers go out to you.

This body has yet to fully register the magnitude of this tragedy.  We feel a litany of unwanted emotions no resolution could possibly capture.  We know that we gather here without distinction of party.  The needs of this institution have always risen above partisanship.  And what this institution needs right now is strength – holy, uplifting strength.  The strength to grieve with the families of the fallen, to pray for the wounded, and to chart a way forward, no matter how painful and difficult it may be.

Today it is not ceremony, but tragedy that stirs us to renew our commitment to fulfill our oaths of office.  Let us not let this inhuman act frighten us into doing otherwise.  The free exchange of ideas is the lifeblood of our democracy, as prescribed by the First Amendment, that beacon of free expression Congresswoman Giffords recited in this well just days ago.  These rights have not been handed down by dictate – they have been preserved and protect through generations of hard sacrifice and commitment.  We will continue this unfinished work.

We will do it for Christina Taylor Green, Dorothy Morris, Phyllis Schneck, and Dorwan Stoddard, ordinary citizens who died participating in their democracy.  We will do it for Judge John Roll.  We will do it for Gabe Zimmerman.  And we will do it, God-willing, with Gabrielle Giffords.

Our hearts are broken, but our spirit is not.  This is a time for the House to lock arms, in prayer for those fallen and wounded, and in resolve to carry on the dialogue of democracy.  We may not yet have all the answers, but we already have the answer that matters most: that we are Americans, and together we will make it through this.  We will have the last word.

God bless this House.  God bless this Congress.  God bless America.  (*)

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2011 in World News

 

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John Boehner opposes gun-free zone measure

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, speaks during a news conference as he reads a statement condemning the attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., at the West Chester Township Hall in West Chester, Ohio, Sunday Jan. 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)

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WASHINGTON, Jan. 12 (KATAKAMI / UPI) — House Speaker John Boehner opposes a gun control bill proposed by a fellow Republicans in response to the Tucson shootings, his spokesman says.

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., chairman of the Homeland Security Committee said Tuesday he would introduce legislation forbidding anyone to carry firearms within 1,000 feet of members of Congress.

King said the legislation is meant to protect the public as well as officials.

“The fact is they do represent the people who elect them, and it’s essential, if we’re going to continue to have contact, that the public who are at these meetings are ensured of their own safety,” he said.

Spokesman Michael Steel told The Hill Boehner, R-Ohio, would not support King’s legislation while the office of Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said he would have to review the measure before taking a position.

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., and Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., also are preparing legislation to ban high-capacity ammunition magazines like those used by alleged Arizona gunman Jared Loughner. But Rep. James Moran, D-Va., said: “Anything you can get through the gun lobby is going to have little consequence. I don’t see the likelihood of much progress.”  (*)

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2011 in World News

 

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