The PJ Tatler

Boehner: 'I Was the Tea Party Before There Was a Tea Party'

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told Fox in a wide-ranging interview today that he can definitely bring together disparate points of view within his caucus.

“Listen, I was the Tea Party before there was a Tea Party. I understand their concerns. I understand their frustrations. But we have a Constitution that we abide by and we’re going to live by,” Boehner said.

“And that means we’ve got separate and equal branches of the government. And whether people like it or not, Barack Obama is going to be the president for the next two years. We’ve got to find a way to hold him accountable and try to find common ground to get things done on behalf of the American people.”

Asked if this Congress is his “last time around,” the 65-year-old speaker replied, “No. No. No. I’ll be here for a while.”

On his invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Boehner said White House officials “don’t even try to hide” their antipathy toward Bibi.

“I believe that the prime minister of Israel has a strong voice. He believes that the threat of the Iranians having a nuclear weapon is a very serious threat,” Boehner said.

“The Israeli prime minister can also talk with some expertise about the growing threat of radical Islam. We’ve got a serious problem in the world, and the president just wants to act like it’s going to just disappear. And so as a co-equal branch of our government, I don’t have any problem at all in doing what I did to invite the prime minister to come to Congress and address those concerns.”

Boehner said he hadn’t heard of Jeremy Bird, who served as national field director for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, working in Israel to defeat Netanyahu, “but I don’t want to say I’m surprised or not.”

“But I would hope that would not be the case,” he added. “Israel has been our strongest ally in the region for decades. We have a great relationship with them. And we ought to what — look for ways to work together on behalf of our shared interests, not have the kind of antipathy that we’ve seen over the last several years.”

The Speaker said House Republicans are working on an Obamacare alternative. “There are three committee chairmen that have the jurisdiction over the health care policy in our country. And those three chairmen are working together to craft what we believe would be a better approach with regard to health care for the American people than Obamacare,” he said.

He also confirmed that his new lawsuit against Obama is coming together.

“The president’s overreach when he took executive action to — to deal with the immigration problems in our country, frankly, in my view, is a violation of our Constitution is — it’s a violation of his oath of office,” Boehner said. “I said in December, we were going to do everything to try to stop it. That’s why when we passed the DHS appropriations bill a couple of weeks ago, we took the president’s ability to do what he did away from him. That bill is awaiting action over in the United States Senate.”

The White House has vowed to veto such a bill, or any that strips funding for the immigration executive actions.

“But in addition to that, we believe that the filing of a lawsuit to try to stop the president from violating our Constitution is an important step for our institution,” Boehner added. “This isn’t about immigration. This is the president violating the Constitution, violating his oath of office and, frankly, not upholding the rule of law.”