7/23 @ 10:00 AM ET | GOP Leadership Press Conference - WATCH LIVE HERE

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) made the following remarks on the floor this evening: 

“The American people don’t want a shutdown and neither do I.   I didn’t come here to shut down the government.  I came here to fight for a smaller, less costly and more accountable federal government. But here we find ourselves in this moment dealing with a law that’s causing unknown consequences and unknown damage to the American people and to our economy.  And that issue is ObamaCare. 

“For those of you who don’t recall, it was passed in the middle of the night - 2,300 pages that no one had ever read - and it’s having all types of consequences for the American people, our constituents, having all kinds of consequences for employers.  And as a result, over the last year or so, last couple of years, the president has given his friends in the labor unions some 1,100 waivers to this law.  This summer, the president decided, well, we’re not going to enforce the employer mandate.  Big employers around the country were all upset about having to make sure they provided health care for their employees, causing big problems.  The result of all this is you’ve got employers all over the country who can’t hire people, who are cutting the hours of their workers.  It’s having a devastating impact.  Something has to be done.

“So, my Republican colleagues and I thought we should defund the law for a year.  We thought we should delay it for a year. Our friends over in the Senate don’t seem to want to go down that path.  But I’m going to tell you what: this is an issue of fairness.  How can we give waivers and breaks to all the big union guys out there?  How do we give a break to all the big businesses out there, and yet stick our constituents with a bill that they don’t want and a bill they can’t afford?  That’s what this fight’s all about.

“I talked to the president earlier tonight, ‘I’m not going to negotiate, I’m not going to negotiate, I’m not going to do this.’  Well, I would say to the president: this is not about me, and it’s not about Republicans here in Congress.  It’s about fairness for the American people.

“Why don’t we make sure that every American is treated just like we are.   But no, under the law, there’s – in some decision – there’s this idea that we’re going to get some exemption.  No, we’re not going to get an exemption.

“So the bill before us is very simple.  It funds the government and it says, ‘let’s treat our constituents fairly.’  No more mandate for the next year that you have to buy insurance that you can’t afford.  No more mandate that members of Congress get some so-called exemption.  Both, those are the only two issues here.  All the Senate has to do is say yes and the government’s funded tomorrow.  Let’s listen to our constituents and let’s treat them the way we would want to be treated.”