Speaker John Boehner: Mandate In Obama's Re-Election Is for Congress to Work Together
Below are excerpts from Speaker of the House John Boehner's remarks from the Rayburn Room. These remarks are prepared for delivery. Watch the full video of his speech below.
"Let me start by offering my congratulations to President Obama and the First Lady, and to Vice President and Dr. Biden.
Like many Americans, I hoped the presidential election would turn out differently. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are good men, and great leaders. I wish Mitt, Ann, Paul, Janna and their families well.
The American people have spoken. They have re-elected President Obama. And they have again elected a Republican majority in the House of Representatives.
If there is a mandate in yesterday's results, it is a mandate for us to find a way to work together on solutions to the challenges we face together as a nation.
We know what the best thing would be.
It would be an agreement that sends the signal to our economy, and to the world, that after years of punting on the major fiscal challenges we face, 2013 is going to be different.
It would be an agreement that begins to pave the way for the long-term growth that is essential if we want to lift the cloud of debt hanging over our country.
We won't solve the problem of our fiscal imbalance overnight, in the midst of a lame duck session of Congress.
And we certainly won't solve it by simply raising tax rates or taking a plunge off the fiscal cliff.
What we can do is avert the cliff in a manner that serves as a down payment on - and a catalyst for - major solutions, enacted in 2013, that begin to solve the problem.
Mr. President, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives stands ready to work with you to do what's best for our country.
That is the will of the people. And we answer to them.
For purposes of forging a bipartisan agreement that begins to solve the problem, we're willing to accept new revenue, under the right conditions.
What matters is where the increased revenue comes from, and what type of reform comes with it.
Does the increased revenue come from government taking a larger share of what the American people earn through higher tax rates?
Or does it come as the byproduct of a growing economy, energized by a simpler, cleaner, fairer tax code, with fewer loopholes, and lower rates for all?
And at the same time we're reforming the tax code, are we supporting growth by taking concrete steps to put our country's entitlement programs on a sounder financial footing?
Or are we just going to continue to duck the matter of entitlements, and thus the root of the whole problem?
Shoring up entitlements and reforming the tax code - closing special interest loopholes and deductions, and moving to a fairer, simpler system - will bring jobs home and result in a stronger, healthier economy.
We're closer than many think to the critical mass needed legislatively to get tax reform done.
The president and I talked extensively about it during the summer of 2011.
During those discussions, the president endorsed the idea of tax reform and lower rates, including a top rate of lower than 35 percent.
Not a top rate of 39.6 percent. Lower than 35 percent.
Senator Pat Toomey and Chairman Jeb Hensarling, with the support of other Republicans, offered substantive proposals in so-called supercommittee last year that provided revenue via tax reform.
The American people recognize that getting our economy moving again is the only way we will ever be able to balance the federal budget.
The question we should be asking is not 'which taxes should I raise to get more revenue,' but rather: 'which reforms can we agree on that will get our economy moving again?'
This will take time. But if we're all striving for a solution, I'm confident we can get there.
Mr. President, this is your moment.
We're ready to be led, not as Democrats or Republicans, but as Americans.
We want you to lead -- not as a liberal or a conservative, but as the President of the United States of America.
We want you to succeed.
Let's challenge ourselves to find the common ground that has eluded us.
Let's rise above the dysfunction, and do the right thing together for our country in a bipartisan way."