(Updates with Democratic response)
(CNN) – House Minority Leader John Boehner is stepping up criticism of his Democratic colleagues, telling the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that "they're snuffing out the America that I grew up in."
Boehner's comments are the latest indication the Ohio Republican is aggressively setting his sights on the November elections as it appears increasingly possible his party could take control of the House.
"Right now, we've got more Americans engaged in their government than at any time in our history," he told the paper in comments published Tuesday. "There's a political rebellion brewing, and I don't think we've seen anything like it since 1776."
But Boehner, who most certainly would become speaker next year should the GOP take control of the chamber, stopped short of predicting Republicans will gain the 40 seats necessary to oust Democrats from control.
"The American people have written off the Democrats," he said. "They're willing to look at us again."
The top House Republican also previewed the GOP's top priorities should he take control of the speaker's gavel, including a repeal of the recently passed health care legislation.
"We are going to do everything we can to make sure that this law and this program never really takes effect," Boehner said. "One option would be to repeal the $534 billion in Medicare cuts, which pay for more than half of the law's provisions. "They're going to need money from the Congress to hire these 20,000-plus bureaucrats they need to hire to make this program work. They're not going to get one dime from us."
Boehner also suggested raising the social security retirement age to 70 for those who have at least 20 years left before retirement as a possible way to finance the ongoing wars
"We need to look at the American people and explain to them that we're broke," he said. "If you have substantial non-Social Security income while you're retired, why are we paying you at a time when we're broke? We just need to be honest with people."
In a statement released Tuesday, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen said Boehner's comments are "a wake-up call to the American people about the dangers of turning back the clock to a Republican Congress."