WASHINGTON — In a radio interview with Sean Hannity on Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner found himself on the receiving end of criticism from the Fox News host and conservative personality about the Affordable Care Act not yet having been defunded.
Some conservative Republicans and outside groups have urged Boehner and other House leaders to cut funding to the act as part of a continuing resolution to fund the government, or during the next debt limit fight — and Hannity echoed that trope.
"At some point...are Republicans just doing this symbolically?" Hannity asked. He added, "If we're going to stop this monstrosity, it would take very bold action by the House. Is that something that you're prepared to do?"
"Sean, we're the minority party in Washington, D.C.," Boehner responded. "You've got a Democrat president, you've got a Democrat Senate. It's very difficult for us to impose our will on them."
"I'm giving you a lot of credit," Hannity countered. "I don't want you to be defensive here."
Boehner has needed to play defense on this issue to some extent within his own conference, which includes members for whom cutting funding to the Affordable Care Act is such a priority that they would accept extraordinary measures to accomplish that goal, such as shutting down the government or refusing to increase the debt limit.
In their discussion, Hannity pressed Boehner on those options, but the speaker said he would support neither.
"There will be opportunities ahead," Boehner said. "But do you want to risk the full faith and credit of the United States government over ObamaCare? That's a very tough argument to make."
After the tense exchange, Boehner ended the interview on a friendly note. "Sean, it's always good to be with you, sweetheart."