Boehner: ‘I’d Like To’ Clear the Plate for the Next Speaker, Ryan Would Be ‘Great Speaker’

Outgoing House Speaker Representative John Boehner (R-OH) stated he’d “like to” clear the plate for the next speaker and that he hopes Paul Ryan runs for speaker and would be “great” on Tuesday’s “Special Report” on the Fox News Channel.

Boehner said, “We’ll be talking to our members tonight and tomorrow about the debt ceiling. Listen, I’ve made clear, we’re not going to default on our debt. And there are several paths forward that I’m going to lay out for the members, and — but we’re going to find some path forward here in the next few days, so we’re going to move.”

He also said it would be “difficult” to get a clean debt ceiling increase, and blamed President Obama for walking away from negotiations, adding, “I don’t like the idea of doing a clean debt ceiling, but we’re going to talk to our members, and we’ll find a way forward here in the next couple of days.”

When asked if he would “try to clear the plate” for the next speaker, Boehner responded, “Well, we’ve tried to do as much as we could. My big priority this week, is to re-authorize the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program, a program I started 10 or 11 years ago, and it’s helped — helps about 1,700 kids here in DC go to a school. It empowers their parents. But, dealing with the debt ceiling is a big priority. I think the Ex-Im Bank is going to be dealt with through a discharge petition, I expect to see that on the floor early next week. And I also expect you’ll see action on the highway bill before the end of the month as well.”

Asked again if he would clear the plate, Boehner answered, “I’d like to if I could.”

Boehner further said that, “we’re going to repeal as much of Obamacare as we can through the reconciliation process, the budget process, which isn’t all of it, but you can basically gut Obamacare, which is what the House bill will do.” He also stated such a bill “could be on the floor as early as this week. If not, it’ll be on the floor next week.”

Boehner also discussed Rep.e Paul Ryan (R-WI) potential run for the speakership. He stated that he doesn’t know what Ryan will do, but “I think Paul would be a great speaker. I think he’s got the skills to do the job, and I think he also has the credentials to reach out to traditional conservative organizations, to help bridge the gap that we have in the House today.” He later stated, “I hope he does decide to run, and if he does, I think he’ll be elected.”

Boehner added that he believes Ryan will be able to get the votes necessary to win if he runs, and “I’ve made it clear to the members that I’m committed to an orderly transition to a new speak. But I’ve also made clear I expect to be out of there by the end of this month. And I have confidence that I’ll be out of there by the end of this month.”

As far as the timeframe, Boehner said Ryan’s decision could come sooner rather than later.

“I do expect that we’ll know later on this evening what his answer is,” Boehner added.

Boehner also defended his record as speaker, stating, “We got an awful lot of things done. If you look at the four and a half years, or almost five years that I’ve been speaker, we protected 99% of the American people from an increase in our taxes. We saved $2.1 trillion in spending over ten years. There’s a reason that the budget deficit is one-third of what it was when we came into power. We made the first major entitlement reforms in 20 years, saving Medicare over the course of the next 30 or 40 years, $2.9 trillion. there’s a lot that we can point to, and there’s another long list of things that didn’t happen, because we had a Republican majority here in Washington.”

He also argued the House has “absolutely” done an effective job using the power of the purse “to the extent that we can, and we’ve moved bills to the Senate. But you know in the Senate if you have 54 votes, you don’t have a majority. you’ve got to have 60 votes to move things in the Senate. And so there’s a lot of things that couldn’t happen in the Senate, that came out of the House. It’s part of the legislative process.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett