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John Boehner says blame for slow Congress lies with Democrats
Pushing back against claims he’s leading a do-nothing Congress, House Speaker John A. Boehner on Wednesday ticked off a half-dozen significant bills he and his colleagues have passed but that are awaiting Senate action.
From building the Keystone pipeline to streamlining the Education Department to repealing all or parts of Obamacare, Mr. Boehner said Republicans do have an agenda and they’ve passed it through their chamber.
“Every single one of these bills has been blocked by Washington Democrats. The Senate, the president continue to stand in the way of the people’s priorities,” the speaker said as he kicked off the House’s afternoon session.
The speech seemed designed to fix blame before Congress adjourns for the year with little to show in the way of major accomplishments.
President Obama has signed just 56 bills into law so far this year, which puts it on pace to break 2011’s record for the worst year ever — when 80 bills were passed and signed into law.
This year, the biggest accomplishments have been avoiding debt crises and — after a 16-day government shutdown — voting to reopen the government and keep it funded at least through mid-January.
Other bills that have been signed deal with more mundane issues, such as the one renaming a part of the tax code after former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison; renaming an air traffic control center in New Hampshire; and tweaking the boundary lines of federal property.
House Republicans and Senate Democrats have stalemated over just about every other big decision, including whether to increase or cut spending, whether to raise taxes, whether to pass a bill legalizing illegal immigrants, and how to tweak the Affordable Care Act that is beginning to affect more Americans more deeply.
All of those issues are at play now as negotiators are trying to hammer out deals on a farm bill and on a budget for 2014.
Mr. Boehner said his lead negotiators have “made serious, good-faith” offers to Democrats.
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