Boehner Capitulates: ‘Obamacare is the Law of the Land’

By Matt Cover | November 9, 2012 | 12:40pm EST

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

( -- Although the Republican-dominant House of Representatives controls the federal purse strings, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said that Tuesday’s election victory by President Barack Obama changed how he will approach the GOP goal of repealing the health reform law, saying that the president’s reelection made it “the law of the land.”

“Well, I think the election changes that. It’s pretty clear that the president was re-elected. Obamacare is the law of the land,” Boehner told ABC News’ Diane Sawyer in an interview Thursday when asked if the House GOP would still make repeal its mission.

However, Boehner also said that the law was still “on the table,” noting that he still considered it bad policy and that it was not off limits as he begins negotiations with Obama over key budgetary issues.

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As House Speaker, Boehner can prevent any funding for Obamacare or any aspect of it through amendments to funding legislation, to a continuing resolution, or by simply not allowing a floor vote on the funding.

“I think there are parts of the health care law that are going to be very difficult to implement and very expensive and, at a time when we’re trying to find a way to create a path toward a balanced budget, everything has to be on the table,” he said in the ABC interview.

When pressed, Boehner clarified that no decision had been made yet over which parts of the law would be included in negotiations, saying that parts of the law could be on the table.

“There are certainly maybe parts of it that we believe need to be changed – we may do that, no decisions at this point,” he said.

Boehner repeated during the interview that he viewed Obama’s reelection and Republicans’ failure to achieve a Senate majority as a mandate from the American public for the two parties to work together, saying that it was simply the hand he was dealt.

President Barack Obama speaks in the East Room of the White House. (AP Photo/Luke Sharrett pool)

“I may not like the five cards that were dealt to me but those are the cards I’ve got in my hand,” he said. “Now my job on behalf of the American people is to find a way to work with my Democrat colleagues and our Democrat President to solve America’s problems. If there was one mandate that came out of the election, it was [to] find a way to work together to address our problems.”

Boehner’s office clarified his remarks about repeal of Obamacare on Thursday, after excerpts of the interview were released to the public. His official Twitter account posted a message saying that he remained committed to “full repeal” of the law.

“ObamaCare is the law of the land, but it is raising costs and hurting #smallbiz. Our goal remains #fullrepeal,” Boehner tweeted.

Boehner spokesman Kevin Smith also clarified the Speaker’s intentions on Obamacare, saying that House Republicans were committed to repealing the law despite the reelection of its namesake president.

“While Obamacare is the law of the land, it is costing us jobs and threatening our health care,” Smith told the liberal website Talking Points Memo. “Speaker Boehner and House Republicans remain committed to repealing the law, and he said in the interview it would be on the table.”

Obama’s reelection has made repeal of the law extremely difficult for Republicans after they failed to secure a Senate majority and a President who would sign repeal legislation. Obama has repeatedly stated that he has no intention of negotiating over the law and Senate Democrats have refused to vote on multiple repeal bills sent to them by the House.

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