In an interview with ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, when asked if repealing the law remained his mission, responded: “The election changes that.”
He went on, adding: “It’s pretty clear that the president was re-elected. Obamacare is the law of the land.”
Headed by Boehner, the House has already tried to repeal the healthcare law, the signature domestic measure of Obama’s first term.
While a few provisions were eliminated or changed, Senate Democrats blocked outright termination of the law, Reuters claims.
The Republican added that parts of the law would be difficult to implement and that everything had to be on the table as lawmakers try to create a path to a balanced budget.
Boehner’s comments were immediately interpreted as a turning point in the year-long debate surrounding the president’s signature law, which has long been the target of repeal among House Republicans.
However, soon after the interview Boehner’s office released a statement to clarify that he still favored changing the legislation, if not eliminating it entirely.
“While Obamacare is the law of the land, it is costing us jobs and threatening our health care,” said Boehner’s spokesman Kevin Smith.
“Speaker Boehner and House Republicans remain committed to repealing the law, and he said in the interview it would be on the table,” he added.
Eddie Vale, a spokesperson for the pro-health care reform group Protect Your Care, said Boehner’s initially comments was “welcome news” but suggested that the Republican Party should stop trying to repeal any of the law’s elements.
“It’s welcome news that Boehner has finally gotten the message and will stop having the House waste time trying to repeal Obamacare,” Vale told reporters.
“But, if they want to fully accept reality, they also need to stop trying to repeal or defund any of its elements, including in the fiscal cliff negotiations.”
By the way, during the same interview with ABC, the Speaker also expressed his opinion considering raising of taxes, saying that it’s ‘unacceptable.’
“Raising tax rates is unacceptable,” Boehner said in his first broadcast interview since the election Tuesday. “Frankly, it couldn’t even pass the House. I’m not sure it could pass the Senate.”
Boehner also revealed that Republicans would put new tax revenue on the table as leaders work toward a deal.
“I would do that if the president was serious about solving our spending problem and trying to secure our entitlement programs,” he said. “If you’re increasing taxes on small-business people, it’s the wrong approach.”
However, the top Republican lawmaker added that he is at least willing to listen to President Obama’s proposals, even if they clash with his party’s principles.
“Of course, we’ll talk about it. We talk about all kinds of things we may disagree on,” Boehner said.
“I’m the most reasonable, responsible person here in Washington. The president knows it. He knows that he and I can work together. The election’s over. Now it’s time to get to work,” the Speaker concluded.