• With: Rep. John Boehner


    This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," November 4, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

    BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Welcome to Washington. I'm Bret Baier.

    We begin tonight with a special edition of "Special Report" in the Rayburn Room, just off the House floor, named for historic speaker of the House, Sam Rayburn.

    Today, we are speaking with the man expected to be the next speaker of the House, Congressman John Boehner.

    Congressman, thanks for being here.

    MINORITY LEADER REP. JOHN BOEHNER, R-OHIO: Bret, it's good to be with you.

    BAIER: First, let's start with the news of the day. The president is signaling he will be willing to make the middle class tax cuts permanent, but perhaps only extend temporarily the tax cuts for top earners for one or two years.

    Would you accept a temporary extension on the top tax cuts?

    BOEHNER: Bret, in our Pledge to America, we made clear that we believe that all the current tax rates should be extended for all Americans and permanently. And the American people spoke on election night. They elected Republicans in droves. And what we're going to fight for is -- is for all the current rates to be extended. We don't want to increase taxes on any Americans.

    BAIER: So there's no compromise here?

    BOEHNER: We do not want to raise taxes on any American.

    BAIER: I know. The president is saying he wants to reach out, he wants to meet with you, he thinks there could be a deal here. You're saying no.

    BOEHNER: Listen, Democrats still control the Congress for the next two months. And I suspect we're going to have a whale of a fight over taxes and spending.

    The American people spoke on election night. It was their opportunity to send Washington a message. And they -- the message they sent was stop the tax hikes and stop the spending.

    BAIER: So in the lame duck session, you expect some kind of deal to be worked out?

    BOEHNER: I have no idea.

    BAIER: Because you're not in control...

    BOEHNER: We're not -- we're not in control. And I've not been party to any of these conversations. I'm for extending all of the current tax rates for all Americans.

    BAIER: Do you see elements -- when you do take control -- that you can compromise with the president on?

    BOEHNER: Bret, I am not going to compromise on my principles nor am I going to compromise the will of the American people. To the extent that the president wants to work with us on reducing the size, scope and the intrusion of the federal government, we're willing to work with him.

    The American people spoke pretty loudly the other night. They want us to stop the spending. And it's going to be our principal goal.

    The second goal is that they want jobs in America. And you can't have jobs in America when -- when you have all this uncertainty coming out of Washington. And when you extend tax rates for a year, you leave all the uncertainty hanging out there. People are going to invest. Like me, when I ran my small business, they want some certainty about what the future is going to look like so they can calculate a return on investments. You can't do that by these temporary extensions and other gimmicks.

    BAIER: All right, so I know you're a football fan, but this is an ice hockey analogy.

    Do you look at a Republican House of Representatives as a goalie trying to stop the bad pucks from getting through with a glove and a stick or are you an offensive player trying to move the puck forward?

    BOEHNER: Bret, I've always believed that if you never got off the offense, you never had to worry about playing defense. And I would suspect that you'll see the -- the House move on offense, listening to the will of the American people.

    We're going to have a -- a giant class of some 80-plus new members between the seats we've picked up and retiring members. They're going to make up one third of our conference. And the best way to unite them with the existing members that we have here is to follow the will of the American people and that's what we will do.

    BAIER: But you a Democratic-controlled Senate or you -- and you will. And you'll have a president -- a Democratic president in the White House. So in your mind, is gridlock good?

    BOEHNER: No, the American people want us to find common ground. And I'm hoping that the president heard what the American people had to say the other night...

    BAIER: OK, but what about one thing that you can find common ground with the president on right now, today? What can you say yes, we can come halfway today?

    BOEHNER: I told -- talked to the president yesterday. And I told him when it comes to the free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, that we'd be clearly interested in working with him. But there are responsibilities that I have in that effort and responsibilities that he has in that effort. And we talked about it.

    BAIER: People say on Capitol Hill -- so nothing else right now?


    BOEHNER: You asked for one.

    BAIER: OK.

    BOEHNER: I gave you one.

    BAIER: You gave me one. OK.

    People here on Capitol Hill say Democrats, Republicans and appropriators are up here. The Appropriations Committee is responsible for doling out money, historically.

    Are you going to change the way the Appropriations Committee works?