WASHINGTON, DC -- House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) made the following remarks at American Action Forum's 5th Anniversary Gala, as prepared for delivery:
"Let me thank Doug Holtz-Eakin for asking me to be here. The timing couldn’t be better: just a couple of hours ago, we were at the White House talking about the first real entitlement reform in nearly two decades.
"Last year, after some 17 patches, I decided we had enough of the ‘doc fix.’ Going forward, new reforms mean doctors will be paid based on their performance. And beneficiaries will be able to think more like consumers when it comes to their health care choices.
"This is a free-market approach to reducing costs. And it will save taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars 20, 30, and 40 years down the road. We’re doing all of this without raising taxes. Much more needs to be done, but this is a good step.
"Now, to many, it seemed as if this agreement came out of nowhere over the last month or so. But we know reform like this doesn’t just happen. We know government isn’t going to come up with solutions like this on its own. A solution that breaks a cycle of short-term fixes? That saves taxpayers money? And doesn’t raise taxes? Washington isn’t going to come up with that.
"Those ideas come from people willing to push, test, and debate them in the public square. That’s a heavy lift, and it’s even heavier when those ideas challenge the bureaucracy and big government. But this is exactly what American Action Forum has done. And tonight I am here to say thank you for working on the frontlines.
"Together, we can look back on some hard-won accomplishments, including: Banning earmarks; Improving job training for the first time since the 90s Protecting 99 percent of Americans from tax hikes; And the most significant spending reductions in modern history, putting us on track to save taxpayers $2.1 trillion.
"This is some of what we have done in four years. While our economy has a long way to go, we know our policies are making a difference. But too many families are still struggling. Just imagine what we could do if we had four years of a president committed to doing the big things.
"That is why your work is more important than it has ever been. Because if we’re serious about governing, first we have to show we can govern.
"Finding common ground is one part of that, Another part is articulating a positive, conservative vision for the future. A balanced budget … a free-market alternative to ObamaCare … a plan to fix our tax code … a real national energy strategy. That’s all part of it.
"But we can’t just say our ideas are better and expect the American people to trust us – we have to show them our ideas are better. And that’s where the work of American Action Forum is so indispensable.
"Ladies and gentlemen: we are the luckiest people on Earth, to live in the land of opportunity and to have a free enterprise system. All we need now is a government that believes in those things and will defend those things against all enemies. It is a battle we cannot lose, and with your help, we will not lose. Thank you all, God bless the United States of America."