Speaker John Boehner spoke to a gathering of Senate Republicans on Thursday morning, laying out his plans for the 112th Congress and discussing how House and Senate Republicans can work together over the next two years.
The Ohio Republican told Roll Call following his remarks that his message to Senate Republicans was similar to the one he delivered Wednesday after accepting the Speaker’s gavel from Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
“The American people want us to cut spending; they want us to help create an environment to get the economy going again and create jobs,” Boehner said, adding that he expects the new House majority and the strengthened Senate minority to collaborate closely moving forward.
“We’ve had a close working relationship, and we’re going to continue that,” the Speaker said. Several Senate Republicans are former House Members, and the Ohioan has remained personally close with at least a few of them.
Boehner helped the Senate Republican Conference kick off its annual issues retreat at the Library of Congress with an appearance that lasted about 30 minutes and featured two rounds of applause that could be heard from outside the closed-door meeting at the southern end of the Library of Congress’ Thomas Jefferson Building. The retreat is scheduled to run until around 3 p.m. Thursday.
Meanwhile, Boehner dismissed a series of attacks launched at him and his newly minted majority by Senate Democrats.
Earlier this week, Senate Democratic leaders sent the Speaker a letter asking him to hold off on the planned vote to repeal the health care law, charging that eliminating the law would jeopardize prescription drug coverage for seniors. That has been followed by additional critiques, including one Thursday morning from the new Senate Democratic communications war room contending that House Republicans are backing away from their campaign promises to cut government spending.
“It’s just part of the process,” Boehner said. “I let it run off my back like a duck.”
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.