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Hannity

Speaker Boehner Slams President Obama's Budget: 'If He Won't Lead, We Will'

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," February 16, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Tonight you'll hear from the man who's leading the Republican charge in Congress, my interview with the 61st Speaker of the House John Boehner. Now earlier today in his ceremonial office on Capitol Hill, I spoke with the speaker about the administration's reckless budget, the Tea Party and who he would like to see as the Republican nominee in 2012. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Mr. Speaker, thanks for being with us. I appreciate you being here.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER, R-OHIO, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Sean, always good to see you.

HANNITY: All right. So, you are speaker of the House. You've had lunch with the president last week. How is your relationship with the president going?

BOEHNER: We get along fine. And the lunch went pretty well. There are some areas that we know that we are going to fight over. But we spent most of lunch to trying to find common ground, to try to solve America's problems. And whether it is the corporate tax code which will make America more competitive and help create jobs in our country, the free trade proposals with Korea, Panama, Colombia, which again will provide for more job creation in America. There's some common ground out there. Maybe even on education to help educate more of America's kids.

But having said that, I was very disappointed when I saw his budget. You know, the president is elected to lead, and when you start talking about spending and debt and the mountain that we are putting on the backs of our kids and grandkids, I was really disappointed the president didn't act.

HANNITY: You, would you say this budget is dead on arrival in the House?

BOEHNER: This budget is going to kill job creation in America, because it spends too much, borrows too much and taxes too much.

HANNITY: All right. But when we he sends that proposal to the House, dead on arrival?

BOEHNER: It's dead, gone, over.

HANNITY: Gone, over. All right.

You sent a note to the president, after your meeting that you have with him last week, and in the letter you said that, you know, he still believes in stimulus spending, borrow and spending. You quoted 150 economists in the letter. Obviously, you are headed for some showdowns. Do you expect these to be contentious? Do you think you can develop a relationship that Ronald Reagan spoke about the relationship with Tip O'Neill and said, after six, we can have a friendly relationship but we're going to battle, have a battle in the arena of ideas?

BOEHNER: I don't know how it is going to work out. But, you know, I've told the president, Mr. President, I'll always be straight up with you. What you see is what you get. No games. The American people said loudly and clearly in November that they wanted spending to be cut. And these 150 economists that wrote a letter to me, agree that cutting spending will create a better environment for job creation in America. The president understands we want to cut spending. The question is how much?

HANNITY: Have you heard back when you wrote the letter?

BOEHNER: Not yet.

HANNITY: Not yet. Does his budget as I go through it, assumes a growth rate of four to five percent, which a lot of people including myself think it is a little bit unrealistic. And on the issue of the biggest spending items which is entitlements, he didn't touch the entitlement issue. Do you think that was done purposely?

BOEHNER: I don't know why it wasn't addressed. He created a deficit reduction commission a year ago. They've reported in December. But none of the ideas out of his own deficit reduction commission were part of his budget process. And again, I think the president has a responsibility here. He wasn't elected to just sit there in the oval office. He was elected to lead. And if he won't lead, we will. And I expect this spring when we put our budget together, Paul Ryan and the Budget Committee will in fact put everything on the table.

HANNITY: You promised a $100 billion in savings. Some of the items for example that are on the table, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, NPR, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities. When I said, do you think the president did this purposely, what I mean by that is this -- when you propose significant cuts to meet your promises that you made in the election, do you think the president is going to jump in and say, these Republicans want to hurt the poor? These Republicans are not being responsible? I have a quote of Nancy Pelosi saying that you are putting women and children last in terms of your priorities.

BOEHNER: Sean, we're broke. The American people understand that you can't continue to spend money that you don't have. This year, nearly 40 cents out of every dollar the federal government is spending we have to borrow from the Chinese. And as our kids and grandkids get to pay it back.

It is time for someone in this town to get serious by cutting spending. And this $100 billion that we'll cut this week, is just the beginning of the cutting that will come.

HANNITY: All right. We'll talk a little about the 100 billion mark. Because there was some initial discussion that maybe you wouldn't be able to reach that number. You are confident that you will reach that number. Are you going to produce your own budget and then send that up to the White House? Is that the plan?

BOEHNER: We will produce a budget here in the House sometime this spring. We'll send it over to the Senate where usually there's some kind of agreement between the House and Senate on our budget numbers. I've got real doubts whether we'll ever be able to come to an agreement with a Democrat-controlled Senate over a budget. But we'll continue to move our appropriation bills at levels that the House agrees to it.

Listen, we only control one half of one-third of the federal government. We've got to rely on the Senate to be able to produce and the White House to acquiesce to some of these spending cuts if we are going to make real progress.

HANNITY: The president since he's been in office has accumulated just a little under five trillion with the 1.6 trillion in debt this year. New debt added to the country. He has put us on a path to double the debt we have now which is 14 trillion, it's going to be somewhere around 23, $24 trillion. So, my question to you then is, when March 4th, comes around, which is the day the government runs out of money, all the Democrats in almost every interview they talk about, they mention Republicans want a government shutdown.

BOEHNER: The only people cheering for a government shutdown around here are Democrats, led by Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer. There's been no talk about shutting the government down on our side. Our goal here is to reduce spending. It isn't to shutdown the government.

HANNITY: All right. So, what happens March 4th, when we run out of money? Continuing resolutions, if you hit an impasse where the president is going to insist on his budget, he has the Senate going along with him, as you point out, you are one third of the government right now, running one third, how do you overcome that impasse?

BOEHNER: Well let's understand that the continuing resolution is to fund the government through the end of this fiscal year which ends on September 30th. So, we are trying to deal with last year's business. Remember, the Democrats in the House didn't do a budget. They did no appropriations bills and they left this mess on our lap. So, we are trying to figure out how to fund the government for the balance of this year, saving money on the process, while getting ready with our budget to deal with October 1st, the next fiscal year.

I don't know how this is going to play out other than we came here to cut spending and we are going to cut spending.

HANNITY: You did follow through on your promise to roll back Obamacare. It failed in the Senate, now you've got to battle over the funding of health care. How do you defund health care?

BOEHNER: Well it's going to happen in several steps, in the continuing resolution that we are debating this week in the House floor. We will have an amendment that will stop all funding from discretionary accounts, the funding of Obamacare. And I expect in the coming months, we'll have another opportunity to stop what is called mandatory spending that is buried in Obamacare. But you are going to see us do everything we can to prevent this law from being implemented.

HANNITY: You know, when you look at this election year that took place, this midterm, it was historic, biggest midterm in 70 years. You recently were quoted of saying that you should be a member of the Tea Party. Do you consider yourself a member of that Tea Party organization?

BOEHNER: I feel just as strongly about spending and debt and Obamacare as any Tea Partier in America. I said a year ago, that we should walk with the Tea Partiers, we should listen to them and we should work with them. And that's exactly what we've done over the last year. I appreciate the energy that they've brought to the electoral process. I think it is very, very healthy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: And coming up, the speaker shares his view of the Muslim Brotherhood and it is a far cry from what we've heard from President Obama. Plus, who should run in 2012 and is he considering throwing his hat in the race? That and much more straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY: And welcome back to "Hannity." And we'll continue now, more of my conversation with the Speaker of the House, John Boehner.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Let me ask you this. You said about the president in Egypt, you said that he handled it, a very difficult situation, as well as it could be handled. The president was asked a direct question on the Fox News Channel on Super Bowl Sunday, you know, whether or not he thought the Muslim Brotherhood was dangerous. He punted there. Do you think the Muslim Brotherhood is dangerous?

BOEHNER: I do think they are dangerous. I didn't mean to imply that the administration did everything correctly when it came to the handling of Egypt. But it is a very complex, and very difficult situation. When you look at what we want and what we expect, we want more freedom and democracy in Egypt and throughout the Middle East. But President Mubarak and his country have been strong allies of the United States for 30 years. And what we want, we want to continue to work with the pro-democracy forces in Egypt for a peaceful transition to a democratically elected government.

What we are not going to stand for are radical ideologies taking control of a very important country.

HANNITY: How do you stop the Brotherhood whose motto is, "The Koran our law, Jihad our way, and dying in the name of Allah is our highest hope, Allahu Akbar," that's the Muslim Brotherhood's motto. And they have mentioned yesterday that they are now organizing a political group when democratic elections --

BOEHNER: Well, there are other groups that will be organizing as well, getting ready for the election. And I think that if you look at the effort on the part of the United States in Egypt and elsewhere around the world, we work with local human rights organizations, pro-democracy organizations and I hope that we would continue those efforts in Egypt as we begin to prepare for elections.

HANNITY: What did you think in the middle of this Egyptian crisis when our National Intelligence director said the Brotherhood was a secular group, and Leon Panetta said, he read in the media that Mubarak would be gone by tonight. And he wasn't gone that night. Are we having issues with intelligence failure right now?

BOEHNER: Well, by and large, our intelligence folks have done a pretty good job. But there were some serious misstatements, I think along the way.

HANNITY: What do you think, recently, Congressman Chris Lee resigned. And there's reports that you had spoken to him, you had heard allegations that he might be involved in some behavior that would not be becoming of a House member. Did you speak with him?

BOEHNER: I don't disclose any private conversations that I have with my members. It is my job to hold members accountable. And I think members of Congress should be held to a high ethical standard. I've made this clear to my colleagues four years ago when they elected me the leader, that I was not going to tolerate it and I have not.

HANNITY: Let me ask you this, you decided to give back the plane that Nancy Pelosi had. And after the tragedy involving Congresswoman Giffords, you are still going to fly commercial. Do you think that has to be an issue addressed in terms of safety of members in terms of security? Would you support for example security for all members of Congress?

BOEHNER: We have worked very closely with our members, both Democrats and Republicans through the sergeant of arms office and the Capitol police to outline common sense step that members and staff can take to increase their security. We are continuing to work with all the members and their staff to make sure that the environment they work in is safer.

But I can tell you that freedom isn't free. There is a risk that happens every day, because what do members of Congress do? We are out in the public all the time. And in the case of Congresswoman Giffords, even if there had been a security detail there, it would not have prevented this tragedy.

HANNITY: Yes. What do you think is -- back to the budget for one second. Are you prepared to take on the entitlements? Are you prepared to take on Social Security?

BOEHNER: Everything is on the table.

HANNITY: What would you do in the case of Social Security? If that means testing, raising the retirement age --

BOEHNER: Let's not get the solutions in front of a discussion about the size of the problem. This is a serious problem. Americans know it is a serious problem. But I think we need to outline the details of how big the problem is. And once the Americans get their around the size of the problem, then I think people will be ready for a conversation about an array of possible solutions.

HANNITY: So, rolling back Obamacare, taking on entitlements which is the bigger part of the budget is on the table for you in a serious way?

BOEHNER: Absolutely.

HANNITY: So, we would expect that the House and Republicans will -- what?

BOEHNER: The greatest risk to our country is doing nothing. And that's the path the president took. We are not going to get on that path. It is time to confront the problems that face our country honestly, fairly and openly.

HANNITY: Last question. I've always felt that America is making a big mistake for national security reasons, economic reasons by not becoming energy independent. How big an item agenda is that and do you think you can expand drilling and do you want to see nuclear power? What would you like to see in terms of --

BOEHNER: I've been for an all of the above energy strategy for four years because it will produce more energy for our country, reduce our dependence on foreign sources, keep more of our money here and bring down the price of energy. But lastly, it will give us cleaner air as a result. It is time for us to get serious about this. In the coming months when people see their gasoline bills, they will be reengaged on this issue in a big way.

I can't get any of this done unless the American people stay engaged in this process. I need the American people as engaged today as they were on Election Day, because Congress will do what the American people demand every day, nothing more, nothing less.

HANNITY: Any predictions who is going to be the 2012 nominee?

BOEHNER: None whatsoever. Not me.

HANNITY: Not you?

BOEHNER: I can tell you that's the only --

HANNITY: You are never running for president?

BOEHNER: No, that's the last thing I want to do.

HANNITY: All right. Mr. Speaker, good to see you. Thank you.

BOEHNER: Sean, nice to see you. Thank you.

HANNITY: I appreciate it. Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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