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Minority Leader Boehner Details War Funding Moves, Energy Policy Debate

Lawmakers met Thursday to debate funding allocations for the Iraq and Afghan wars, while continuing to mull how to best address soaring gas prices. House Minority Leader John Boehner explains GOP priorities in the House and how Congress has handled its most pressing issues.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    And to our Newsmaker interview with House Minority Leader John Boehner.

    We recently sat down with Speaker Nancy Pelosi to discuss Democrats' priorities ahead of November's elections. And tonight we get the Republican view.

    The minority leader spoke to us a short time ago from the Capitol on a day when lawmakers reached agreements on funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the president's terrorist surveillance program.

    John Boehner, the House minority leader, thank you very much for joining us.

    REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), House Minority Leader: Judy, good to be with you.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Well, after months of no agreement, it now appears that Democrats, Republicans in the House and the White House have come to an agreement on continued funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    What turned the key on this? What was the breakthrough here?

  • REP. JOHN BOEHNER:

    Well, Judy, after months of a kabuki dance with Democrat leaders, they finally decided to reach across the aisle to Republicans. And we sat down and, in a matter of several hours, were able to put an agreement together.

    And I think it's a great victory for our troops and their families. This funds our activities in Afghanistan and in Iraq, provides additional and new G.I. benefits for our soldiers and their families, and at the same time provides some increased funding for the disasters that are — the flooding disasters going on in the Midwest.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Now, of course, those things that you mentioned on the domestic side cost money. Why were Republicans willing to go along with those things after earlier saying that was no-go?

  • REP. JOHN BOEHNER:

    Well, I think the important part on our side is that there were no tax increases in this bill. There are no extraneous spending items. There's no earmarks or pork in the bill. And those were issues early on that had concerns for members on my side of the aisle, and we were able to eliminate all of that, as well.

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