OTR Interviews

Boehner to GOP: No 'spiking' the ObamaCare football -- What's behind the speaker's message?

House speaker tells party members not to gloat if the Supreme Court strikes down Obama's health care reform law, but what's the real message?

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," June 21, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Speaker John Boehner warning his House Republicans there will be no spiking of the ball. What is Speaker Boehner talking about? The possibility the Supreme Court throws out President Obama's health care law. If that happens, Speaker Boehner tells his colleagues "We will hot celebrate when millions of Americans remain out of work, the national debt has exceeded the size of our nation's economy, health costs continue to rise, and small businesses are struggling to hire. Obamacare has contributed to all those problems. Repealing it completely is part ever the solution but is only one part."

RNC Chair Reince Priebus joins us. Good evening, sir.

REINCE PRIEBUS, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: How are you, Greta?

VAN SUSTEREN: Very well. I guess that was a little bit of a political theatre because he puts that statement out and then suddenly we get one from Leader Pelosi. Did the Republicans need that warning from the speaker?

PRIEBUS: Well, I think it sets the stage and puts the priorities on the table. And what the speaker's priorities are I think are the priorities of the American people, which is don't rush to judgment, don't throw something together like Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi did on this health care bill. Think through it and make sure we can preserve the best health care system in the world and actually tackle the real problem which is the rising cost of healthcare.

And so the president doesn't want this campaign to be a referendum on Obamacare. If he did, he would be out there bragging about it, but he's not. So I think the Republicans will be ready for anything. Whether the Supreme Court throws the whole thing out, throws the mandate out, maybe they don't do anything.

Whatever the case is, we are going to be focused on making sure we are pointing out to the American people that America deserves better. This president didn't follow-through on the promises he made to the American people. And we're going to focus in on jobs and the economy and what we are really talking about is the very health of the United States of America when it comes to the economy, and that's what we need to be focused on. We are focused in on the future of America.

VAN SUSTEREN: I can tell you that the acrimony on Capitol Hill is alive and well. It's still growing. Let me read you the statement from the other side of the isle from Leader Pelosi. She said "It's a sad day when Republicans continue to cheer against the health benefits Americans are already enjoying while running out the clock on the economy and pursuing policies that are dangerous to a thriving middle class. No one except perhaps House Republicans actually believes they are focused on the economy." So I think the leader of the Democratic Party has a very different view of what is going on than the Republicans, but it demonstrates the level of partisanship on Capitol Hill.

PRIEBUS: Yes, but it is also the level of hypocrisy and the fact that Nancy Pelosi would rather whistle past the graveyard than focus in on what is really important in this country. And if Barack Obama had accomplished just one-third of the promises he made to the American people we wouldn't be in the ditch right now.

And so maybe she should focus in on the debt that's out of control. Maybe she should focus in on the deficits that weren't addressed. Nancy Pelosi ought to get to work and actually help pass a budget that hasn't happened in this country in over three years and it didn't happen when she was in control and Harry Reid was in control. They haven't done their jobs.

And so I think if Nancy Pelosi could be in charge of the Democratic Party and make this a referendum on Obamacare across the country, she thinks it's so great, then make it election on a referendum on Obamacare and see who wins. I feel pretty good about our chances.

VAN SUSTEREN: It's almost a dirty little secret among lawyers about this health care law. If you told me what you wanted in terms of the result, I could write you an airtight decision supporting either side. I know everyone is really divided on this, but we really now have nine justices that will make the decision, and people always complain about judges legislating, but these nine justice less make a decision whether the commerce clause is this wide or this wide. There's no scientific formula, no law written out there. It's just what they happen to think how broad the commerce clause should be. It will be fascinating to watch. This is one of the most interesting legal cases and it also has created such political division in this country. And meanwhile the American people really need healthcare and we need to resolve this for them.

PRIEBUS: Well, first of all, Europe doesn't work in Europe. Europe isn't going to work here. I don't disagree with it that it will probably be a close decision. But the idea you are going to force Americans through the federal government to buy private insurance is something that I personally as a lawyer, and I know you are a lawyer, too, I just can't see driving that truck through the commercial clause and making that happen. It will be a close decision.

VAN SUSTEREN: But that is sort of a policy in how you view the commerce clause. But someone else might view it very differently and may accept the argument that because many people will not, everyone is going to end up in the commerce of medical field, but because so many will. I don't know how they are going to decide.

PRIEBUS: But the fact that you are breathing doesn't mean that the federal government has a right or the authority under the constitution to force you to purchase insurance and force small businesses to buy the insurance for their employees. I mean, this is part of our problem, Greta, with this president.

VAN SUSTEREN: I'm going to take the last word. But if they throw out the mandate, I don't see how they can help but throw out the entire statute, because there is no severability clause. But we will see what happens next week. Thank you, Reince.

PRIEBUS: All right, Greta.