Boehner takes Pelosi to task


House Minority Leader John Boehner delivered scathing criticism of the chamber’s operations Thursday and promised major congressional reforms if he becomes speaker following the November elections.

“The House finds itself in a state of emergency. The institution does not function, does not deliberate and seems incapable of acting on the will of the people. From the floor to the committee level, the integrity of the House has been compromised,” Boehner said in a much-touted speech Thursday afternoon at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research.

He made clear that the problems go back many years and that, when they ran Congress, Republicans were guilty of abusing House rules on debate and procedure. But Boehner was especially pointed in criticizing recent House actions and inaction, including Democratic leaders’ failure this week to permit a vote on tax cuts that are scheduled to expire in December.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office — along with the White House — issued lengthy rebuttals to Boehner’s speech.

“Leading independent advocates for congressional reform credit House Democrats for taking tough action that ensured unprecedented levels of accountability and transparency,” said Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami. “No speech or pledge by Mr. Boehner is going to change the Republicans’ dismal record. When the GOP was in charge, they quadrupled earmarks and legislated behind closed doors on behalf of corporate special interests.”

The speech did not name Pelosi — nor other current or past House leaders. But Boehner’s critical references to the speaker are unmistakable. And his speech may become a frequent reference point for Republican candidates during the closing weeks of the GOP campaign to take control of the House.

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