John Andrew Boehner (pronounced /ˈbeɪnər/ BAY-nər; born November 17, 1949) is an American Republican politician who is currently serving as the House Minority Leader in the 111th Congress. He serves as a U.S. Representative from Ohio's 8th congressional district, which includes several rural and suburban areas near Cincinnati and Dayton and a small portion of Dayton itself.
Early life, education and career
Boehner was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of Mary Anne (née Hall) and Earl Henry Boehner. He has lived in Southwest Ohio his entire life. He graduated from Cincinnati's Moeller High School in 1968, when U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War was at its peak. Boehner enlisted in the United States Navy but was honorably discharged after eight weeks for medical reasons.He earned his bachelor's degree in business from Xavier University in Cincinnati in 1977. He subsequently accepted a position with Nucite Sales, a small sales business in the packaging and plastics industry, where he eventually became president of the firm.
Early political career
In 1981, Boehner served on the board of trustees of Union Township, Butler County, Ohio. Boehner then served as an Ohio state representative from 1985 to 1990.
U.S. House of Representatives
Gang of Seven
In 1990, Boehner was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in the 102nd Congress. During his freshman year, Boehner and fellow members of the Gang of Seven took on the House establishment, Republicans and Democrats alike, and successfully closed the House Bank (House banking scandal), uncovered "dine-and-dash" practices at the House Restaurant, and exposed drug sales and illegal cash-for-stamps deals at the House Post Office.
Contract With America
Boehner, along with Newt Gingrich and several other Republican lawmakers, was one of the engineers of the Contract with America in 1994 that helped catapult Republicans into the majority in Congress for the first time in four decades.
From 1995 to 1999, Boehner served as House Republican Conference Chairman. There he championed the Freedom to Farm Act.
Following the election of President George W. Bush, Boehner was elected as chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee from 2001 until 2006. There he authored several reforms including the Pension Protection Act and a successful school choice program for low-income children in Washington, DC. He was also a major force in the passage of No Child Left Behind, saying it was his “proudest achievement” in two decades of public service.
Boehner was elected by his colleagues to serve as House Majority Leader on February 2, 2006. The election followed Tom DeLay's resignation from the post after being indicted on criminal charges.
Boehner campaigned as a reform candidate who wanted to reform the so-called "earmark" process and rein in government spending. He defeated Majority Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri and Representative John Shadegg of Arizona, even though he was considered an underdog candidate to Blunt. In the second round of voting by the House Republican Conference, Boehner received 122 votes compared to 109 for Blunt. Blunt kept his previous position as Majority Whip, the No. 3 leadership position in the House. (There was some confusion on the first ballot for Majority Leader as the first count showed one more vote cast than Republicans present, due to a misunderstanding as to whether the rules allowed Resident Commissioner Luis Fortuño of Puerto Rico to vote or not.)
After the Republicans lost control of the House in the 2006 elections, the House Republican Conference elected Boehner Minority Leader. Elected on January 4, 2007, he is the highest-ranking Republican in the House. According to the 2008 Congress.org Power Ranking, Boehner is the 6th most powerful congressman (preceded by Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Hoyer, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sander M. Levin, Dean of the House John Dingell, and Appropriations Committee Chairman Dave Obey, all Democrats) and the most powerful Republican.As Minority Leader, Boehner serves as an ex officio member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
A profile in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review said, "On both sides of the aisle, Boehner earns praise for candor and an ability to listen." And the Cleveland Plain Dealer says Boehner "has perfected the art of disagreeing without being disagreeable."
John Boehner has been classified as a "hard-core conservative" by OnTheIssues. Although Boehner has a strong reputation and conservative voting record, when he was running for House leadership, religious conservatives in the GOP expressed that they were not satisfied with his positions. According to the Washington Post: "From illegal immigration to sanctions on China to an overhaul of the pension system, Boehner, as chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, took ardently pro-business positions that were contrary to those of many in his party. Religious conservatives — examining his voting record — see him as a policymaker driven by small-government economic concerns, not theirs.
On May 25, 2006, Boehner issued a statement defending his agenda and attacking his "Democrat friends" such as Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Boehner said regarding national security that voters "have a choice between a Republican Party that understands the stakes and is dedicated to victory, and a Democrat Party with a non-existent national security policy that sheepishly dismisses the challenges of a post-9/11 world and is all too willing to concede defeat on the battlefield in Iraq."
On October 3, 2008 Rep. Boehner voted in favor of the Troubled Asset Relief Program believing that the enumerated powers grant Congress the authority to "purchase assets and equity from financial institutions in order to strengthen its financial sector."
Boehner has been highly critical of several recent initiatives by the Democratic Congress and President Obama, including the "cap and trade" plan that Boehner says would hurt job growth in his congressional district and elsewhere. He also led an opposition to President Obama's stimulus and to the President's budget proposal, promoting instead an alternative economic recovery plan and a Republican budget (authored by Ranking Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc.). He has advocated for an across-the-board spending freeze, including entitlements.
Connections to lobbyists
In June 1995, Boehner provoked contentions of unethical conduct when he distributed campaign contributions from tobacco industry lobbyists on the House floor as House members were weighing how to vote on tobacco subsidies.Boehner eventually led the effort to change House rules and prohibit campaign contributions from being distributed on the House floor.
In the November 2006 election, Boehner defeated the Democratic Party candidate, U.S. Air Force veteran Mort Meier, 64% to 36%.
See also: United States House of Representatives elections in Ohio, 2008#District 8
In the November 2008 election, Boehner defeated Nicholas Von Stein, 68.7% to 31.4%.
See also: United States House of Representatives elections in Ohio, 2010#District 8
Boehner is opposed by Democratic nominee Justin Coussoule and Constitution Party nominee Jim Condit in the 2010 election.
Boehner and his wife Debbie were married in 1973. They live in the Wetherington section of West Chester Township. They have two daughters, Lindsay and Tricia.
Barone, Michael, and Grant Ujifusa, The Almanac of American Politics 2006: The Senators, the Representatives and the Governors: Their Records and Election Results, Their States and Districts (2005) pp 1328–32.