Transcript: Rahm Emanuel and Rep. John Boehner

White House Chief of Staff and GOP House Minority Leader on "This Week" Sunday.

ByABC News
April 17, 2009, 8:57 AM

April 19, 2009 — -- STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning and welcome to "This Week."

More change from Obama. On Cuba.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The United States seeks a new beginningwith Cuba.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Terrorist interrogations.


(UNKNOWN): The president moved swiftly to end that practice.


STEPHANOPOULOS: And the economy.


OBAMA: We cannot rebuild this economy on the same pile of sand.We must lay a new foundation for growth and prosperity.


STEPHANOPOULOS: As the president rounds out his first 100 daysand the new Congress returns from its first recess, what's next on theagenda? We'll ask our exclusive headliners, White House Chief ofStaff Rahm Emanuel and House Republican Leader John Boehner, only on"This Week."



(UNKNOWN): No more bailouts!


STEPHANOPOULOS: Tax day tea parties. Boom or bust? That andthe rest of the week's politics on our roundtable, with George Will,Cokie Roberts, Sam Donaldson and Peggy Noonan.

And as always, the Sunday funnies.


(UNKNOWN): Nothing shakes a politician up like a complimentarybag of tea.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Hello again. Ninety days into his term,President Obama's wrapping up his second overseas mission today andcoming home to his next set of challenges in Congress. That sets thetable for our exclusive headliners this morning, beginning with thepresident's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel. Welcome back.

EMANUEL: Good morning.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you could not have been happy when you got upand saw the New York Times this morning. Headline talks about thepresident's softer stance. The first paragraph says he's shown awillingness to capitulate on some early initiatives. Then it goes onto quote Leonard Burman of the Urban Institute, and he says that -- hesays, "the thing we still don't know about President Obama is whathe's willing to fight for. He likes giving good speeches, he likesthe adulation, he likes to make people happy, but it's hard to thinkof a place where he's taken a really hard position." Your response?

EMANUEL: Well, George, let me approach this from two sides, if Ican. As you noted, we're into only 90 days. What have we gotten donein those 90 days? First, we passed the largest recovery act to putAmericans back to work. We've gotten in place the financing to helpstabilize the credit system throughout the financial system. Ahousing plan so people can keep their homes, and millions of Americanscan refinance. We started the ending -- we started the process to endthe war in Iraq, put in place a policy in Afghanistan and Pakistanarea that will change that area and take the fight to the terroriststhat exist there. We also started the credit flowing to smallbusinesses.

So in the first 90 days, a lot has been done both to get theeconomy moving again and change America's foreign policy and itsobjectives...


STEPHANOPOULOS: Is that the easy part, though?

EMANUEL: Well, if you think that's easy, George, and you've beenin the White House, I would suggest in the fist 90 days, it's quite alot to take on, but the American people asked for us to roll up oursleeves every day and get to work on behalf of them.

Second, let me squeeze it from this side, or address the questionfrom this side. You could not report on the challenges of the fightswith the special interests if it wasn't for what we've initiated underPresident Obama. A, taking on the banking industry as it relates tothe student loan. We basically said we're going to cut you out, put$94 billion that we subsidize you with, and we're going to give itdirectly to the students who are trying to go to college.

In the area of healthcare reform and getting costs under control,we said to the insurance industry, we're eliminating your subsidiesand only going to pay you what basically 100 percent on the dollar,but not 115 cents on the dollar, and you're going to compete for thatmoney. And that saves the taxpayers about $170 billion...


EMANUEL: George, George, finally, on the oil and industry, weeliminated their taxpayer subsidies and put that money intoalternative energy. So every one of the fights that you're engagedover the next six to nine months were ones that we initiated in takingon those special interests.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, you had two important ones, healthcare andenergy. And when you look at those issues, what the president hasdone in his first 90 days, achieved a lot of his major initiatives, asyou pointed out, but with very little Republican support. Only threeRepublicans on the stimulus package; none for the president's budget.

To get healthcare, energy, regulatory reform, the president isgoing to need Republican votes. What adjustments is he willing tomake to get them?

EMANUEL: Well, you just said adjustments. The first questionwas we're compromising too much and now are you saying how are yougoing to compromise to get those done? We set the goals. The goalsare getting healthcare costs under control. The goals are having anenergy policy in which America is independent of its tie to foreignoil and having a policy in which America basically has an energypolicy that frees itself from exporting $700 billion of wealth to theMideast. Those are the objectives. Now, he's open to different roadsto get there, but what he's not open to is compromising on the...


EMANUEL: ... healthcare costs under control and ridding us ofour dependence.

Now, as President Obama said when asked by a congressman at oneof the task force on healthcare -- not on healthcare, on fiscaldiscipline. You know, the Republican congressman said we're being cutout.

EMANUEL: He says, well, you should be included; that's fair, butyou have to come constructive.

And when you're the party of no; when you're the party of never;when you're the party of no new ideas, that's not constructive.

So my recommendation is, we'll work with people of all sides'ideology to get things done. And I think you'll see this on Tuesday.The president will sign a landmark legislation for national service.

And the sponsors are President -- Senator Kennedy and SenatorHatch, a Republican.


EMANUEL: And if you go through the process on kids' health care,national service, as well as getting resources necessary forstabilizing the banks, every one of those votes has been bipartisan.

The challenge will be, will the Republicans come to the tablewith constructive ideas?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about the big issues. On healthcare, on Republican idea on health care is to tax employer benefits.The president blasted Senator McCain for that idea during thecampaign, yet it's now being joined by some Democrats as well.

Is the president willing to consider that as a way to pay for hisplans to expand coverage?