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Boehner Questions Obama's Commitment to Defeating ISIL

Boehner Questions Obama's Commitment to Defeating ISIL

By Adam O'Neal - September 18, 2014

A day after the House approved President Obama’s plan to arm and train Syrian rebels, Speaker John Boehner questioned if the president’s goal “truly” is to destroy ISIL and criticized him for lacking a specific plan to defeat the terrorist organization. 

“If [destroying ISIL] truly is, in fact, the mission, I don’t see the overarching strategy that’s going to allow us to accomplish that,” asserted Boehner. “But I am still waiting to see the bigger picture of how we win this war, how we destroy ISIL. I’ve not seen it yet.”

He defended the House’s passage of the bill, however, noting that “there was no reason not to do the minimum the president asked us to do.” 

The Ohio Republican also praised Rep. Paul Ryan’s recent anti-poverty agenda (“it’s going to get a lot more attention”) and offered lukewarm support for Rep. Dave Camp’s tax reform plan (“I think it’s a good starting point.”) 

Boehner’s remarks came after he delivered an economic speech Thursday afternoon at the American Enterprise Institute. In that address, the Ohio Republican called for tax reform, deficit reduction, changes to the legal system, improvements in education, and for transforming the country’s regulatory environment. 

“We do these five things in a meaningful way, we can reset the foundation of our economy for the next two or three generations,” he said. “Provide a reliable stream of good-paying jobs.  More stability and security, straight on through retirement.  And more opportunities for every American to get ahead, not just get by.” 

For anyone who’s followed Republican politics in the last few years, the speech offered few surprises. Boehner noted during the question-and-answer session afterward that “I gave a version of this speech a year ago.”

Adam O'Neal is a political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at aoneal@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearAdam.

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