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The House of Representatives on Thursday bid farewell to a leader who has long supported the business community and fought for bold policies that have helped grow the economy. Fortunately, the House ushered in a new leader who's been just as staunch a supporter of America's job creators.
"We congratulate Rep. Paul Ryan on becoming the new speaker of the House and look forward to working with him and his team," U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue said in a statement following the passing of the gavel from Speaker John Boehner to Ryan on Thursday. "He is an innovative, creative, and often courageous lawmaker."
During his four years as speaker, John Boehner presided over one of the most bitterly divided and persistently gridlocked congressional chambers in recent memory. And yet, the Ohio Republican managed to oversee - and in several cases spearhead - successful efforts to rein in federal spending and refute overreach, cut taxes and pass Trade Promotion Authority, each of which stand to help grow the economy.
"He rose above politics time and again, often at great personal sacrifice, to make the tough decisions our country desperately needed," Donohue said in an earlier statement following Boehner's retirement announcement in late September. "We thank him for that service."
He added that "we will miss his deep understanding of the positive role business plays in society."
Boehner's strong support for the business community likely stems at least in part from his personal experience working in and running small businesses in Ohio. First, he grew up cleaning floors and waiting tables at his family's tavern. Later in life, Boehner ran a small company in the plastics and packaging industry.
"His experience in the private sector - meeting a payroll, paying taxes, dealing with government red tape - prepared him well to be a reformer in the public sector," Boehner's website explains.
However, as can be expected in a legislative body as divided as Congress these past few years, Boehner also left some unfinished business on the table - business that now falls to Speaker Ryan.
The gavel appears to be in good hands, as Ryan has many times stood up to fight for the interests of U.S. companies large and small. He's widely known for advancing policy ideas and legislation that would provide a more workable tax system for our nation's job creators. But he has also fought to limit the reach of federal regulators and to retract some of the most harmful provisions of Obamacare.
Now, it will be up to him to lead the House in taking some of that important work - much of which was started under Boehner - across the finish line.
"With budget fights and debt limit increases off the table until 2017, Speaker Ryan has an opportunity to focus the full attention of the people’s House on tackling some major issues that will fundamentally improve our economy," Donohue said. "We stand ready to work with him to bolster the economy, create jobs, and provide opportunities to millions of Americans who want to work.”