In advance of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday, House Speaker John Boehner said the No. 1 concern for the country is jobs—and also stressed the need for entitlement reform.
Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” the Ohio Republican told anchor Chris Wallace that House Republicans passed 30 jobs-related bills in 2011—only to watch those stall in the Senate. Boehner was also quick to note that House Republicans are not responsible for recent legislation that provided only short-term solutions for a payroll tax holiday and Medicare payments to the nation's physicians.
“The president asked us to extend the payroll tax credit, make sure that we extended unemployment insurance with reforms, and make sure that doctors that dealt with Medicare payments were adequately reimbursed—and he asked us to do it for a year,” Boehner said on the weekend program. “We did it for a year. It was the United States Senate who decided—‘No, we're just going to do it for two months. We can't agree on how we're going to offset these costs—so we're just going to kick the can down the road.' ”
When asked if the House will pass a budget this year that includes serious entitlement reform—as it did last year with House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) plan to reform Medicare and Medicaid—Boehner did not provide specifics, but said the House will have a budget.
“That was one option on how we could save Medicare—there are other ideas,” Boehner said, referring to Ryan's blueprint last April. “Paul Ryan and Ron Wyden, Democrat senator from Oregon, came up with a bipartisan proposal
,” he continued. “The idea here is that we've got to make changes to Medicare, otherwise it will not be there for seniors who count on it. So we will do a serious budget,” he said.