As he accepts the gavel as the 53rd Speaker on Wednesday, Rep. John Boehner will emphasize humility rather than history, according to prepared remarks released by his office.
“The American people have humbled us” Boehner plans to say in his speech Wednesday afternoon after his swearing-in. “They have refreshed our memories as to just how temporary the privilege to serve is. They have reminded us that everything here is on loan from them. That includes this gavel, which I accept cheerfully and gratefully, knowing I am but its caretaker.”
The Ohio Republican has taken an understated approach to his ascent as Speaker, opting against lavish parties and instead striking Midwestern modesty at every turn. Still, Boehner will outline a handful of GOP priorities in his address that include much of the campaign rhetoric used by conservatives and tea party candidates throughout the year. Specifically, he will highlight the lagging unemployment rate, the massive health care reform law pushed last year by the Democrats and deficit spending as key targets for the new Republican agenda that officially kicks off Wednesday once all Members, including 87 new GOP Members, are sworn in to office.
The new Speaker will also hail the rules package the House is set to adopt later Wednesday, pointing out new policies that Republicans say will cut Congressional spending and create a more transparent chamber. Boehner’s prepared remarks state that the House under his gavel “will dispense with the conventional wisdom that bigger bills are always better; that fast legislating is good legislating; that allowing additional amendments and open debate makes the legislative process ‘less efficient.’”
Still, Boehner will recognize the partisan atmosphere of the new Congress, where Democrats still control the Senate, and he will issue a call for bipartisanship.
“A great deal of scar tissue has built up on both sides of the aisle,” Boehner acknowledges in his remarks. “We cannot ignore that, nor should we. My belief has always been, we can disagree without being disagreeable to each other.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, speaks with reporters in the Capitol after a speech on the Senate floor that accused the CIA of searching computers set up for Congressional staff for their research of interrogation programs.