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Speaker John A. Boehner: 2014 Washington Forum

Speaker John A. Boehner headshotJohn A. Boehner

Speaker of the United States House of Representatives

Speaker John A. Boehner was elected to represent the eighth congressional district of Ohio for a 12th term in November 2012. Boehner is a national leader in the drive for a smaller, less costly, and more accountable federal government. The second oldest of 12 brothers and sisters, Boehner has lived in southwest Ohio his entire life. He grew up mopping floors and waiting tables at his family tavern, Andy's Cafe, and played football for legendary coach Gerry Faust at Cincinnati's Moeller High School where he graduated in 1968.

Boehner's first run for public office was for a spot on his neighborhood homeowners association, followed by a seat on his township board of trustees. He was elected to the Ohio General Assembly in 1984 where he served until the voters of southwest Ohio sent him to Congress. Elected to Congress in 1990, Boehner quickly became a voice for reform. First, he adopted a "no earmarks" policy that he carries with him to this day. And as part of the "Gang of Seven," he and fellow lawmakers took on the House establishment – Democrats and Republicans. Together, they successfully closed the scandal-riddled House Bank, uncovered "dine-and-dash" practices at the House Restaurant, and exposed drug sales and cozy cash-for-stamps deals at the House Post Office.

In 1994, Boehner was instrumental in crafting the landmark Contract with America. One of the Contract's cornerstones – the Congressional Accountability Act, which required lawmakers to live under the same rules and regulations as the rest of the nation – bears the unmistakable print of his drive to change the way Congress works.

After Republicans won their first Congressional majority in several decades, Boehner's colleagues elected him to serve as House GOP Conference Chairman in the 104th and 105th Congress. In that role, he was a powerful voice in the fight to force Washington to stick to the strict spending limits in the Balanced Budget Act that let the economy grow and led to the first budget surplus in a generation.

As a member of the House Agriculture Committee, Boehner authored the Freedom to Farm Act, legislation reforming the Soviet-style farm subsidy programs that punish farmers and taxpayers alike. And in 1999, as Vice-Chairman of the House Administration Committee, he joined House leaders to announce the first-ever "clean" independent audit of the House, a reform he first called for as a member of the Gang of Seven in 1992. From 2001 to 2006, Boehner served as chairman of the House Committee on Education & the Workforce. There he co-wrote the bill establishing the first private school choice program in the District of Columbia, and worked with other reformers to ensure parental choice provisions were included in the bipartisan No Child Left Behind Act to reinforce its goal of bringing greater accountability to taxpayer-funded education programs.

Boehner's reputation as a serious legislator focused on real solutions continued with enactment of the Pension Protection Act – the most sweeping reform of America's pension laws in more than 30 years – which helped to ensure workers can count on their benefits when they retire.

In 2006, Boehner was elected by his colleagues to serve as House Majority Leader. On his watch, the House passed the first budget that held the line on spending in several years and adopted the first-ever reforms making the earmark process open and accountable. In 2007, Boehner began his tenure as House Republican Leader, uniting Republicans against job-destroying bills like ObamaCare and the Democrats' "cap and trade" national energy tax that were passed over the objections of the American people. And he helped ensure that our troops in harm’s way continued to receive the funding and resources they needed to succeed.

Under Boehner's leadership, Republicans launched several efforts to develop better, principled solutions to the challenges facing families and small businesses. Among them: the GOP State Solutions project, an initiative aimed at bringing reform-minded Republicans at the state and federal levels together to promote common-sense solutions from outside the Beltway. Also: the innovative America Speaking Out project which gave Americans a platform to discuss and share their priorities with national leaders – a platform that led to the Pledge to America, Republicans' new governing agenda for the country.

On November 17, 2010 – his 61st birthday – Boehner was elected by his colleagues to serve as Speaker-designate, and on January 5, 2011 he swore in the 112th Congress as the 53rd Speaker of the House. Boehner was re-elected by the House on January 3, 2013 to serve a second term as Speaker for the 113th Congress.

Under his leadership, the House majority has worked to make the legislative process more open and to ensure the priorities of the American people are reflected in the priorities of lawmakers. Boehner led the drive for an aggressive set of reforms that require bills to be posted online at least three days before a vote, make it easier to cut spending, require legislation to cite its authority in the Constitution, and more.

Boehner also led House Republicans in adopting the first ban on "earmarks" -- the secretive, pork-barrel spending he has opposed since his first days in Congress. Today, Speaker Boehner is focused on removing government barriers to private-sector job creation and economic growth, cutting government spending, reforming Congress, and rebuilding the bonds of trust between the American people and their representatives in Washington.