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


We have a serious problem. We've spent more money than what we've brought in for 55 of the last 60 years. There's no business in America that can survive like that, no family in America that can survive like that. And that's-- a government can't survive continuing to spend more than what we bring in. We have to address our long-term spending problem--

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you've got the sequester in place right now. Some have even said that that's holding back more economic growth right now. You're just gonna insist on more spending cuts right now?

BOEHNER: I'd say cuts and reforms that are greater than the increase in the debt limit. A lot of these things would be phased in over a long period of time-- that when you look down the road over the next 10, 20, 30 years, will have a dramatic effect-- on our budget deficit and our debt.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I think you know the president said he's not gonna go along with that. So are we headed for another kinda showdown like we had back in 2011?

BOEHNER: George-- for 20 years-- I've watched predecessors and my predecessors, leaders in both parties see this problem coming, and seein' it coming-- and doing nothing about it. 10,000 baby boomers like me retiring every day, 70,000 this week, 3.5 million this year. And this is just year three of the baby boomers-- beginning to retire.

And it's not like there's money in Social Security or money in Medicare. It's all been spent. And-- and so this-- this is a serious problem. It's not fair-- to my kids and yours, and their kids some day for us to leave them with a mountain of debt.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So if you can't convince the president, he holds firm, you're prepared to see the country go into default?

BOEHNER: No. Our goal here is not to default. Our goal here is to get ourselves on a sound fiscal path.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about immigration. It's on the Senate floor-- this week. Can you support the Senate bill?

BOEHNER: I've got real concerns about-- the Senate bill. I-- wanna applaud the efforts of the gang of eight in the Senate-- applaud my colleagues-- who've worked hard on this. But-- especially in the area of border security-- and internal enforcement of this system-- I'm concerned that it doesn't go far enough.

STEPHANOPOULOS: If it goes farther, are you prepared to sign on to a bill that has a clear path to citizenship for those who are now in the country illegally?

BOEHNER: George, what I've tried to do over the course of the last six months is to create an environment-- in the House where members from both parties can continue to work together. Seven-- we have a gang of seven. We have a bipartisan--

STEPHANOPOULOS: Used to be eight.

BOEHNER: Used to eight. But-- but we've got seven, bipartisan group of seven that have come to an agreement. Chairman Goodloe at the Judiciary Committee has been working through-- these issues with his members. And I'm hopeful that we'll have a product-- come out of the committee-- by the end of June. I believe that it's important for the House to work its will-- on this issue. And-- and I would expect that-- a House bill will be to the right of where the Senate is.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But still include a path to citizenship?

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