Boehner talks Obamacare, immigration, legacy
July 21st, 2013
12:31 PM ET
1 year ago

Boehner talks Obamacare, immigration, legacy

(CNN) – House Speaker John Boehner vowed Republicans would continue to keep trying to put the brakes on Obamacare, saying the president's sweeping health care reform is "not good for the country."

In a wide-ranging interview with CBS's "Face the Nation," Boehner also refused to say whether or not he would support immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship, and further weighed in on what he hopes to be his legacy.

On health care, a debate shaping up to be a dominant issue in the 2014 midterm elections, Boehner said Americans can expect to see House Republicans staying on the offensive to take down the president's signature first-term accomplishment.

"The program isn't ready. This is not ready for prime time," Boehner said in the interview that aired Sunday. "And we're going to stay at it."

House Republicans passed two bills last week delaying key provisions in Obamacare, marking nearly 40 times that the GOP-controlled House has attempted to repeal or roll back parts of the law.

One measure delayed for one year the requirement that employers with more than 50 employees provide health insurance, something the Obama administration already announced it was doing earlier this month.

The other bill postponed for one year the mandate that individuals sign up for health care coverage. Republicans argue it's unfair for the White House to give businesses a reprieve, but still require individuals to comply with the mandate or face a penalty.

The speaker said Sunday that Republicans in the House have no intention of letting up.

"You're going to see a lot more of it. And you're going to see bipartisan votes coming out of the House to begin to derail this thing," he said, urging Senate Majority Harry Reid to put both bills on the Senate floor, a move unlikely to happen in the Democrat-controlled chamber.

Asked how he feels about presiding over one of the least productive Congresses in history, Boehner said his job isn't about creating laws.

"We should not be judged by how many new laws we create. We ought to be judged on how many laws we repeal. We've got more laws than the administration could ever enforce," he said. "Unpopular? Yes. Why? We're in a divided government. We're fighting for what we believe in. Sometimes the American people don't like this mess."

On another policy front, Boehner repeatedly declined to state his personal opinion on whether immigration reform should include a pathway to citizenship, a controversial provision opposed by many conservative Republicans.

"I believe that we have to deal with it," Boehner said, referring to immigration reform. But as members in the House negotiate and craft their own legislation, rather than taking up the version passed by the Senate last month, Boehner said it will make it more difficult to get a bill passed if he takes a hard position.

"If I come out and say, 'I'm for this and I'm for that,' all I'm doing is making my job harder," he said.

Boehner, who took over the speakership after the 2010 midterm elections, said his role as leader demands that he manage and facilitate conversations, not push ahead with his own agenda.

"The House should be allowed to work its will," he said. "Yeah, I've got certain things that I'd like to see accomplished. But this is not going to be about me."

Asked how he wants to be remembered, Boehner was prepared with an answer: "He was fair to all and protected the institution."

"When you look at my job, there's one person responsible for the institution of the House," he continued. "And that falls into my lap. It's my No. 1 responsibility. But in addition to that, I actually do believe that opening up the process, allowing committees to do their work, bringing bills through committee, and a more fair and open process on the floor, will begin to heal this institution.

"There's partisan scar tissue all over this place. But the more that I can open it up and allow members to work together, over time that partisan scar tissue will begin to melt and go away. It's a long-term proposition, but I'm committed to it."

- CNN Senior Congressional Producer Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.


Filed under: Congress • Health care • Immigration • John Boehner
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    He said in a Huff Post article that he wanted to be judged by the number of laws repealed. Still batting zero.

    Zero done is zero done.

    Come on Ohio - get this man off our payroll.

    July 21, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  2. OK fine.

    Legacy?

    Worst Speaker Ever

    July 21, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  3. Tomas

    This guy is such an idiot. Instead of trying to get something useful done, the republicans and Boehner continue to try and repeal Obamacare. Give it up already my god.

    July 21, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  4. Donkey Party

    States that have implemented "Obamacare" are already seeing the benefits, in the form of reduced premiums, as much, or greater than 50% less. Of course the GOP wants to stop this, anything that helps the country or makes the President look good is a no-no. The GOP hates America, what more do they need to do to prove it?

    July 21, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  5. Bessy

    What legacy ? The man is a loser and only does what he is told to do by the big money men. I hope Ohio sees what a loser he is and doesn't vote him back in office.

    July 21, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  6. Tom

    The role of the House is to repeal laws? I'll bet the founders of this country are spinning in their graves over that one.

    July 21, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  7. Former GOP

    ............Boehner's Legacy will be.......Every single ...STOP....sign in America will have his pic on the reverse side.

    July 21, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  8. texasnotea

    GOP game plan- SHOOT, ready aim!

    July 21, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  9. vic , nashville ,tn

    “'I'm for this and I'm for that,' all I'm doing is making my job harder,"
    Is it JOKE?
    "We should not be judged by how many new laws we create. We ought to be judged on how many laws we repeal.”
    Yes one law (Obama Care) repeal 37 times

    July 21, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  10. aloysious farquart

    Republicans continue to repeat the same behavior and expect different results. They're either drunk, high, or crazy.

    July 21, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  11. texasnotea

    Why on earth would the Speaker, or anybody else for that matter, want to deny the same health care benefits he has to all Americans? He also stated his job was to be fair to all Americans, but he lied. His job so far has been fair to his base and to heck with the rest of us.

    July 21, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  12. jinx9to88

    Legacy? Are you kidding me?

    July 21, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  13. Ed FL

    Normally it could be acknowledged that enough is said if BOEHNER could make a legitimate comment that made sense. Unfortunately this politico has spoken to many words and none of them did or will make any sense. Do not know how the people of OHIO ever voted for this turkey. This is the absolute worst and incompetent Speaker have to be given that job.

    July 21, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  14. CB FL

    His legacy should be that he has cost the taxpayers 50 million dollars trying to repeal the ACA. So see he is surely someone who cares about the debt.

    July 21, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  15. don in albuquerque

    Yep, a legacy of complete failure, lies, and Merlot.

    July 21, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  16. Vence

    Legacy of hate!

    July 21, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  17. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    2014 comes quickly for the lazy,do nothing Guns Over People tea potty.

    July 21, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  18. kafantaris2

    “[T]he American people don't like this mess.”
    That’s for sure.
    Time for House Speaker John Boehner to go.
    For the good of the Country.
    For the good of the Republican Party.

    July 21, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  19. Anthony in California

    Boehner is one huge FAILURE.

    Repealed NOTHING. OBSTRUCTED EVERYTHING. Accomplished NOTHING.

    July 21, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |