WASHINGTON, DC – At his weekly press briefing today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) discussed House Republicans’ continuing focus on Americans’ top priorities – jobs and the economy – highlighting this week’s vote on the earmark-free water resources bill, and a recently-announced agreement on a job training measure mirroring the House-passed SKILLS Act.  Following are excerpts of Boehner’s remarks:

On House-Senate Agreement on Job Training Legislation Mirroring House-Passed Skills Act:

“This week House Republicans are again taking action on jobs to help middle-class families and small businesses.  First, yesterday an agreement was reached on legislation to streamline and strengthen our job training system to make it more effective for those who need a job.  For Americans who are having a hard time finding the skills they need for the jobs they want, these reforms will help close that gap.  It’s the same approach Republicans championed in the SKILLS Act, and I want to thank Chairman Kline and Representative Foxx for their hard work on this issue.”

On House Passage of Earmark-Free Water Resources Bill:

“Secondly, this week the House passed, on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis, a water resources bill that will help economic growth in our country.  This bill reforms the way our country develops and maintains vital ports and waterways, and in so doing will help strengthen our economy and keep America competitive.  Notably, this bill is earmark-free.  I hope the Senate will act on both of these measures.”

On House Republicans Standing Pat Against Senate Dems’ Push to Bring Back Earmarks:

“You know, under both Republican and Democrat majorities of the past, the use and the number of earmarks skyrocketed.  When the American people entrusted Republicans with the majority here in the House, we pledged that we would do things differently.  So when it comes to earmarks, we’ve kept our promise.

“For the fifth year in a row, we’re doing appropriation measures without earmarks.  Defense authorization bill. No earmarks.  Highway bill. No earmarks.  And now the water resources bill. No earmarks.

“Now we’ve got the two top Democrats in the Senate who are plotting to try and reinstate pork-barrel earmarks into bills.  Now let me just say this: My position hasn’t changed, and the position of our team has not changed.  This is more than just about dollars and cents; it’s about earning the trust of the people that we serve.  And as long as I’m Speaker, there will be no earmarks.”