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Posted at 10:50 a.m. on June 11, 2013
Speaker John A. Boehner ripped Edward Snowden, the leaker of secret National Security Agency programs, as a “traitor” in an interview on Tuesday morning in which he also reiterated his push for an immigration overhaul and entitlement cuts.
“The president outlined last week that these were important national security programs to help keep Americans safe,” the Ohio Republican said, adding that this particular program was within constitutional bounds. “The president also outlined that there are appropriate safeguards in place to make sure that … there’s no snooping, if you will, on Americans here at home. But the disclosure of this information puts Americans at risk. It shows — our adversaries what our capabilities are.”
Revelations about classified NSA activities and the 29-year-old defense contractor who leaked the information to the Guardian and Washington Post were among the many topics of conversation the Ohio Republican discussed with ABC news anchor George Stephanopoulos on “Good Morning America.”
The interview comes as the House heads into a busy summer legislative session, where Congress’ most powerful Republican will be challenged with shepherding through bills and initiatives that are likely to divide the two parties as well as spark rancor among some in his own GOP base.
Regarding immigration reform, Boehner reiterated his concerns about the bill the Senate is beginning to consider this week, saying he expected the House’s proposal to be “to the right” of the other chamber’s and that he hoped something tangible would emerge from the House Judiciary Committee by the end of June.
He would not answer, however, whether the House would consider as part of its immigration overhaul a pathway to citizenship, a controversial component of any reform package that some fear could derail the entire deal.
Boehner did signal, though, that he was prepared for a situation where the full House could consider any part of an immigration reform bill — pathway to citizenship included — and pass amendments without a majority of Republicans on board.
“I’ve allowed the House to work … well, more than any speaker in modern history, to the point where there are some bills that have passed with a majority of Democrats in favor, and a minority of Republicans,” he said, “and I’ve been criticized for it. What I’m committed to is a fair and open process on the floor of the House, so that all members have an opportunity.
“It’s not about what I want,” Boehner continued. “It’s about what the House wants. And my job … as speaker is to ensure that all members on both sides have a fair shot at their ideas.”
Boehner also reiterated that he still wants the next increase in the debt ceiling to be accompanied by an equivalent round of spending cuts. President Barack Obama has vowed not to negotiate over the debt ceiling.
Read the full transcript at ABC.