STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, as you know, a lot of people say that what makes us like Greece is putting the question of whether or not we're going to pay our bills, making that a political question. That's what the Economist said.
BOEHNER: Well, George, remember, again, this is about jobs. If we really are serious about getting the American people back to work, removing the clouds of uncertainty are important. We -- you look at the end of the year, we're looking at the largest tax increase in America history on January the 1st. We're looking at big cuts to our Department of Defense that are going to affect our ability to keep Americans safe. And we're looking at an increase in the debt limit. Why do we want to wait and rush this through at the end of the year after the election?
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you know this is not going to happen between now and the election.
BOEHNER: George, it's important that we actually do what the American people sent us here to do. Why do we always have to allow elections to get in the way of doing the right thing?
STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, you -- you talk about everything that's hitting at the end of the year. The National Journal, as I'm sure you saw this, has written about it, said that that big -- what -- fiscal cliff, that's what Bernanke called it, at the end of the year, is your last chance, Boehner's last chance.
And I want to read you a little bit of the article and get you to respond, because it was quite a piercing article in places. The writer, John Farrell, says, false starts and failures characterize John Boehner's nearly two-year record as speaker. As the leader of the House GOP, he has faced two crises of this scale and come up short on each occasion. No one has ever doubted his sincerity, his conviction or his patriotism. What they look for is his leadership.
BOEHNER: You know, George, I've never been shy about leading. But, you know, leaders need followers. And we've got 89 brand-new members. We've got a pretty disparate caucus.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Some say they're leading you.
BOEHNER: And it's hard to keep 218 frogs in a wheelbarrow long enough to get a bill passed.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Quite an image.
BOEHNER: But, you know, if -- if we weren't trying to do big things on behalf of our country, my job would be a lot easier. And the challenge that I have is that we always have some members who want to do more. Well, I want to do more, too, but Republicans are still a minority here in Washington. We got the Democrats controlling the Senate.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, you're the speaker of the House.
BOEHNER: I know. But we got -- Democrats control the Senate. We got a Democrat in the White House. And -- and our members are pretty frustrated.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Can you get more than half of your members to support a compromise with Democrats? That's what it's going to take.
BOEHNER: Oh, listen, we've worked with Democrats. You look through all these jobs bills in the Senate, 30 of them sitting over there, part of our plan for American job creators. All of them passed with bipartisan support.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Not on these big budget bills, though.
BOEHNER: So, on the budget, we've done a budget. Where's the Senate? Eleven hundred and twenty days since they have passed a budget.