House Speaker John Boehner Friday accused President Obama of being “AWOL for about eight months” as he campaigns non-stop for re-election.
Boehner’s remarks came during a visit to United Performance Metals here where he listened to the concerns of local small business owners.
During the open forum, business owners asked questions about the upcoming presidential election, President Obama’s health care law, and the uncertainty of the economy, among other items.
Before opening the forum for questions, Boehner began by slamming President Barack Obama for being “campaigning 24/7.” The West Chester Republican added that Obama is trying “to make this election about everything other than his policies,” which the Speaker said “have failed.”
The Ohio Democratic Party countered that thanks to Obama, Ohio has added 140,000 jobs over the last two years and the state’s unemployment rate has fallen from 8.6 percent when he took office to 7.5 percent today.
“While President Obama has helped our economy start to turn the corner, Speaker Boehner, Robert Portman and Mitt Romney want to bring back the failed policies that sparked the economic crisis,” Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern said in a statement.
Boehner told the group of business owners that the country had racked up more than $5 trillion in national debt in the last three and a half years and has a $1.3 trillion deficit for this year.
“While the president and I tried mightily to reduce this giant debt, it is continuing to build,” Boehner said. “In the year and a half that I have been Speaker, my biggest disappointment is that I couldn’t come to an agreement with the President to reduce our debt and our deficit so we could get America on a firmer fiscal path.”
During the forum itself, the upcoming presidential election was brought up. In response, Boehner shared his confidence in Romney.
“For Mitt Romney to be basically tied with the President of the United States today, after getting his rear end kicked from one end of the country to the other by his political opponents in the primary, is really pretty remarkable,” Boehner said.
“This election is going to be about the economy. It is going to be about jobs. The president’s policies have failed and have actually made things worse. I believe Mitt Romney has a great success story and a great economic plan that will stand in sharp contrast to the President. Watch it all unfold. I think it will unfold pretty well.”One of those policies discussed during the forum, was the President’s 2010 health care reform law.
“Under ‘Obamacare’ it would be more attractive to our company to violate federal law then pay a $340,000 a year fine to not provide healthcare to our employees than to face the rising costs and decreasing benefits that we see every single year,” said Laura Doerger-Roberts, president of Hamilton-based Vinylmax Windows, which employs around 170 workers.
“It eliminates choice for the employee and the employer about what type of health care is appropriate for an individual’s needs.”
Doerger-Roberts said her company currently pays $7,000 per employee to provide health insurance. Under the health care reform law, Doerger-Roberts claims that she could pay a $2,000 fine and remove that benefit.
Boehner agreed with the small business owner and wanted those healthcare decisions to be out of the government’s hands.
“In my opinion, it will the ruin the best health care delivery system the world has ever seen and it will bankrupt our country,” Boehner said.
“There are flaws in our current system, but we can fix those flaws without putting the government in charge of our healthcare.”
One of the last items brought up by the group of business owners was the uncertainty of the economy and its affect on their businesses.
“One of the things that is killing all of us is the uncertainty and our reluctance therefore to hire people because we don’t know what is around the corner,” said Trevor Stansbury, president and founder of Supply Dynamics in Loveland.