Boehner: Obamacare is law of the land, Ryan not the GOP leader

<i>This post has been updated, as indicated below.</i>

WASHINGTON – In a wide-ranging interview, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said raising tax rates is “unacceptable,” vice presidential nominee Paul D. Ryan is not the new leader of the GOP and the reelection of President Obama means the nation’s new healthcare law is “the law of the land.”

Boehner spoke to ABC News’ Diane Sawyer on Thursday, his first post-election interview as the divided Congress prepares to negotiate with the White House over the scheduled year-end tax hikes and spending cuts that economists fear will put the economy back in a recession.

“I’m the most reasonable, responsible person here in Washington,” said Boehner, who is expected to remain speaker in the new House Republican majority. “The president knows it. He knows that he and I can work together. The election’s over. Now it’s time to get to work.”

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At the same time, Boehner reiterated his opposition to Obama’s insistence on allowing the top 35% tax rate to expire for wealthier Americans, those earning more than $250,000 a year for couples, or $200,000 for singles. It would revert back to the top bracket of 39.6%.

“Raising tax rates is unacceptable,” he said.

Boehner also suggested House Republicans would not entertain repeated votes to repeal the nation’s new healthcare law, as happened this past session of Congress.

“The election changes that,” Boehner said. “Obamacare is the law of the land.”


The speaker later tweeted that “our goal has been, and will remain, full repeal” of the healthcare law. Boehner’s spokesman provided a transcript of the exchange in which the speaker also said, “There certainly may be parts of it that we believe – need to be changed. We may do that. No decisions at this point.”

Asked if Ryan, the Wisconsin congressman who was plucked from the House Budget Committee chairmanship to be Mitt Romney’s running mate is now the party’s leader, Boehner said no.

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“Oh, I wouldn’t think so. Paul Ryan’s a policy wonk,” Boehner said. “I would expect he would continue as chairman of the budget committee.”


The Ohio Republican said he called it quits at about 11:15 p.m. on election night once Romney was poised to lose, but still “slept like a baby.”

[Updated, 3:54 p.m. Nov. 8: This post has been updated to include this quote: “There certainly may be parts of it that we believe – need to be changed. We may do that. No decisions at this point.” ]

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