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


BOEHNER: I'll let-- I'll let— what I've committed to is to continue to work with all parties. And I'm-- some of these questions, let's be honest. They're gonna be decided on the House floor. I believe in an open process. And I believe-- in this case, a lot of these big questions will be decided on the House floor--

STEPHANOPOULOS: But in the end, you're gonna have to make the big call. You're gonna have to make the call on whether or not to allow a vote on a bill-- that perhaps doesn't get a majority of Republicans. (COUGH) In the past, you have not been willing to do that. Are you willing to do it now?

BOEHNER: George, I-- listen. I've allowed the House to work with-- t-- well, more than any speaker in modern history, to the point where there are some bills that have passed-- with a majority of Democrats-- in favor, and a minority of Republicans--

STEPHANOPOULOS: And you're willing to do that with immigration.

BOEHNER: --and I've been criticized for it. What I'm committed to is a fair and open process on the floor of the House-- so that all members-- have an opportunity.


BOEHNER: It's not up-- it's not about what I want. It's about what the House wants. And my job is-- as speaker-- is to ensure that all members on both sides have a fair shot at their ideas--

STEPHANOPOULOS: And if that means-- if that means putting on the floor a bill that will get more Democrats than Republicans, the majority of Democrats, not--

BOEHNER: I-- I don't believe that will be the case.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you're open to it?

BOEHNER: We're gonna let the House work its will.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me ask you about this-- these investigations into the Internal Revenue Service. Last week-- you said it was inconceivable, I believe-- that President Obama did not know about this before he said he knew about the problems at the IRS. Do you still believe that? And what is it based on?

BOEHNER: Well, it's based on the fact that-- many of his senior staff-- knew about it-- and have known about it for some time.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Only this year--

BOEHNER: And-- well, over the last three or four months. George, I-- I know how I operate with my senior staff. I meet with 'em every morning. It's an opportunity for me to download-- what I pick up. It's an opportunity that-- for them to download what they're pickin' up. And-- and it would be inconceivable in my operation-- that-- that my staff would know it and I wouldn't.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you think the president isn't being straight with the American public here--

BOEHNER: I-- I-- I just said I think it's inconceivable.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But he said that's the fact.


STEPHANOPOULOS: You don't-- you don't buy it?

BOEHNER: Well, it just-- it just doesn't-- it-- it doesn't pass the straight face test. How could-- how can your chief of staff-- your general counsel know, and you not know? But-- the more important point, George--

STEPHANOPOULOS: It's a pretty serious charge.

BOEHNER: --is that there's a serious problem at the IRS. Our goal is to-- is to root out-- the problem. What happened on this case-- what's happened s-- in some other cases-- the IRS-- plays an important role-- in our government. People-- already have doubts about the IRS. And all this has done is raised even more doubts. And then when you look at the fact that the IRS under Obamacare, is the agency-- charged with enforcing Obamacare-- I think-- scares-- the dickens out of most Americans.

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