Speaker John A. Boehner expressed confidence that the GOP will retain control of the House in the 114th Congress at his first news conference since the end of the government shutdown — and a cascade of horrible polling for him and his party.
"I think as long as we stay focused on the priorities of the American people, I think we're gonna be fine," the Ohio Republican said Wednesday morning. "What are they concerned about? They're concerned about their jobs. They're concerned about their income. They're concerned about their own health insurance and how they're going to be able to afford it and how they're going to navigate through this bizarre plan that they now have to deal with.
"So our job is to stay focused on the issues the American people are most concerned about," Boehner said, "and I think if we do that, we'll be just fine."
In the wake of the shutdown and the possibility that Congress would fail to raise the debt ceiling by the deadline, Gallup reported on Oct. 9 that the Republican Party's favorability rating had fallen to 28 percent — down 10 points from one month earlier. Several other polling firms have reported record-low approval ratings for the party.
With the GOP ultimately unable to extract concessions on the 2010 health care law from President Barack Obama as a condition of funding government and raising the debt limit, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said in recent interviews that the Obamacare defunding strategy was a "tactical error" and that "there'll not be another government shutdown."
When a reporter asked whether Boehner agreed with McConnell that the defund strategy was ultimately not a good play, he demurred.
"We fought the fight," he said. "We didn't win, but we live to fight another day."
Boehner also took a question on whether a rewrite of the nation's immigration laws is still a priority for House Republican leadership.
"I still think that immigration reform is an important subject that needs to be addressed," he said. "I'm hopeful."