WASHINGTON, D.C., April 14, 2011 — Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), today addressed the membership of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of American (IIABA or the Big “I”).
Boehner and Landrieu delivered keynote speeches at the legislative conference breakfast which occurs just prior to the association’s annual Big “I” Day on Capitol Hill. Every year more than a thousand agents and brokers visit Capitol Hill offices to lobby members of the House, Senate and their staffs on issues that directly impact independent agents and consumers.
“So it’s good to be here with people who actually create jobs,” said Boehner to the hundreds of small business owners in the room. “Here in Washington there are a lot of people who think they know something about creating jobs but they have never actually done it. I’m humbled to say that I have met payroll and I have created jobs.”
Boehner discussed the new health care law, tax and spending issues, financial services regulation and recent remarks by President Barack Obama on the federal budget. Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) met with the president yesterday.
The speaker said he told the president, “that taxes were not going to be a part of this conversation.” He said the Republican leadership discussed “the need to grapple with entitlement programs for those 54 and younger” while not affecting those 55 and older and added that “doing nothing will mean this fiscal recklessness will continue.”
Boehner also discussed last year’s overhaul of the health care system. He said he is going to do everything possible “to dismantle this program piece by piece.”
“The Big ‘I’ is honored that during such a pivotal year, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) kicked off our annual agent pilgrimage to Capitol Hill,” says Robert A. Rusbuldt, Big “I” president and CEO. “Our members greatly appreciated his insights on the important topics facing our independent agents and brokers, their businesses and the American economy.”
Sen. Landrieu discussed many of the challenges small businesses face including health care and insurance regulation.
“With the challenges before our nation today, I think this is one of the most important components of our efforts to put this recession behind us, to break free, to create a more vibrant, open and opportunity for economic growth and development,” said the chair of the Senate Small Business Committee. “Economic growth and development is not just going to come from the big international industrial manufacturing companies; it’s going to come from small businesses and you’re it.”
Sen. Landrieu indicated that she supported the health care bill but that it wasn’t perfect and supported the repeal of the 1099 form requirement.
“I understand that some of the insurance companies decided to take [the Medical Loss Ratio] out of the commissions of the agents—that was not our intention,” said the Louisiana Democrat. “I would like to work with you to try to fix that rather than repealing it. I fought to keep the insurance industry as part of this mix but we want the insurance industry to be responsible and accountable and we certainly want the agents to be respected and valued.”
“Sen. Landrieu’s leadership is pivotal to small businesses across the country,” says Charles E. Symington, Jr., Big “I” senior vice president for government affairs. “We look forward to continuing to work with her on the numerous issues that directly impact the 300,000 professionals we represent and insurance consumers.”
In November 2010, John Boehner (R-Ohio) was elected to represent the eighth congressional district of Ohio for an 11th term. After more than two decades on Capitol Hill, he was formally elected as the 53rd Speaker of the House on Jan. 5, 2011. In his congressional career, Speaker Boehner has served in many prestigious posts including House Republican Conference Chairman, Chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee and House Republican Leader. In the last Congress, as the Minority Leader, he was a leading opponent of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Although the bill was ultimately signed into law, had it not been for his efforts the final language would have been even more destructive to small business. Prior to serving in public office, Speaker Boehner ran a small business in the plastics and packaging industry. Speaker Boehner also received the Big I’s Legislator of the Year Award in 1998.
In addition to chairing the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) serves on the Committees on Appropriations and Energy and Natural Resources. She was first elected to the United States Senate in 1996 and is currently serving a third term. Previously, she served in the Louisiana state legislature and as state treasurer.
Founded in 1896, the Big “I” is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of more than 300,000 agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance—property, casualty, life, health, employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com.