Transcript: Exclusive Interview With House Speaker John Boehner on NSA Leak, Immigration Reform And More


BOEHNER: Well, that's interesting, George. Because it really is our number one priority. If you look at-- the last four years, we've had anemic economic growth. There aren't enough jobs. People's wages aren't growing. And frankly, I believe the president's policies are getting in the way of creating more jobs.

So we're focused on fixin' our tax code to make America more competitive-- dealing with our looming debt crisis that's out there, making sure that we get more American made energy. Tryin' to get rid of the red tape that comes out of Washington. But the president-- and the administration, continue, whether it's the EPA harassing all kinds of Americans-- whether it's-- Obamacare, which is like a wet blanket hanging over the economy-- these are getting in the way of creating more jobs in our country.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And on the four-- on the four proposals you mentioned, the four goals you mentioned, is anything going to happen this year? Anything signed into law?

BOEHNER: Well, that'll be up-- to our colleagues in the Senate and the president. The House is gonna continue to do its work. It's-- it's all we can do--

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you're not that optimistic.

BOEHNER: Well, I've been around Washington a while, George. And you've been around it a while as well. We've got divided government. We got Republicans that control the House. We've got Democrats control the Senate and the White House. They have different thoughts about-- a lot of these issues. But if we're serious about getting Americans back to work, helping-- to improve-- their take home pay-- we've gotta-- we've gotta stop some of these policies--

STEPHANOPOULOS: But is there any kind of-- any kind of conversation goin' on between you and the president on these big-- economic issues right now? Any hope for the kind of bargain you've worked on in the past?

BOEHNER: Well, most of what we've talked on-- in the past is about dealing with the-- our long term spending problem, and-- tryin' to fix-- our tax code. We can't cut our way to prosperity, nor can we grow our way out of this mountain of debt.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The deficit's comin' down--

BOEHNER: We have to-- the deficit is coming down. Because the president got a tax increase on January the 1st. And we agreed a year and a half ago-- to cut spending. But we've gotta do both. We've gotta deal with our long term spending problem. We've gotta fix our tax code-- to make it-- fair for all Americans. Bring the rates down and clean out the-- the underbrush. It'll help our economy grown and help Americans' wages increase.

STEPHANOPOULOS: In the past, it now looks like the-- the-- the country's not gonna hit another debt limit till probably sometime-- in the fall. In the past, you've said that you would only approve an increase in the debt limit if it was matched by spending cuts equivalent to the increase. Is that still your position?

BOEHNER: It is. I believe that if we're gonna increase the-- the debt limit, there oughta be cuts and reforms in place-- that are greater than the increase in the debt limit. What-- what I'm tryin' to do, George, is to leverage the political process in Washington to produce more change than what it would produce if left to its own devices.

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