There’s a strong relationship between America and Israel. They are an important ally, and we will continue to work towards strengthening that relationship.

Posted by Speaker John Boehner on Monday, March 30, 2015

In an interview with Dana Bash airing on CNN’s “State of the Union” this morning, House Speaker John Boehner discussed a range of issues, including this week’s House-passed bill to strengthen Medicare and protect seniors’ access to care, the strength of the U.S.-Israel relationship, the national security challenges we face, and more.  Following are a few key excerpts from the interview:

On this Week’s Bipartisan, House-Passed Legislation to Strengthen Medicare, Protect Seniors Access to Their Doctors & Save Taxpayers Billions:

“Over the last several months, we’ve been trying to find a way to change the way we pay doctors for Medicare patients.  And when you look at the agreement that we came to, it’ll strengthen Medicare, make it easier for patients to find doctors, and a fairer way of paying doctors for the services that they render.  And I was happy that my Democrat colleagues and I were able to come to an agreement to strengthen Medicare, extend the children’s health plan, extend the authorization for community health centers, and make a bunch of other changes that, frankly, in the long run, will be good for our country.”

On the Strength of the U.S.-Israel Relationship, & the Common Security Threats We Face:

There are serious issues and activities going on in the Middle East and I think it’s really, really important for Members of Congress to hear from foreign leaders, other governments, other parts of their government, to get a real handle on the challenges that we face there. … There’s a strong relationship between America and Israel.  A very strong relationship between the United States Congress and Israel.  And I think over the last several months that relationship has been strengthened, and frankly, part of my goal in going to Israel is to continue to strengthen the relationship that we have between America and Israel.  They’re an important ally.”

On the Challenges Facing a Two-State Solution in the Middle East:

Boehner: “How do you have a two-state solution when you don’t have a partner in that solution?  When you don’t have a partner for peace?  When you’ve got – when the other state is vowing to wipe you off the face of the earth.  And so until, until there’s a willing partner willing to sit down and have peace talks, I think it’s irrelevant whether we’re talking about a two-state solution. …  I think it’s an aspirational goal.  I think when the Prime Minister kind of walked back his comments he realized it’s an aspirational goal, but we’re nowhere close to having anything like it because you’ve got Hamas controlling what goes on on Gaza, and they don’t seem to be interested in peace.”  CNN’s Dana Bash: “But, you still believe in a two-state solution, correct?  You believe in a Palestinian state?” Boehner: “Yeah, as long as you’ve got a willing partner willing to hold up their end of the deal.”

On Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Address to Congress & the Threat Posed by Iran:

“I had one goal, and that goal was to make sure that the American people heard, and the Congress heard, about the serious threat that Iran poses not only to the Middle East, but for the rest of the world, including the United States.  And there’s nobody who can talk more clearly about this.  The president doesn’t want to talk about it.  Doesn’t want to talk about the threat of radical Islam and the fact that he has no strategy to deal with it.  And when you begin to see all these leaks that probably came out of the White House in terms of what the Iranian deal was starting to shape up to be, there’s a lot of concern in Congress on a bipartisan basis, and I’m glad that he was here and frankly, the speech he gave was the clearest speech I’ve heard in 25 years about the real threats that face our country.”

On the Iran Nuclear Talks & the Prospect for Further Sanctions:

“Well, let’s wait and see if there’s an agreement.  I’ve got serious doubts – I had serious doubts over the last year whether there could be an agreement and I still have serious doubts.  We’ve got a regime that’s never quite kept their word about anything.  I just don’t understand why we would sign an agreement with a group of people who, in my opinion, have no intention of keeping their word. …. Listen, the sanctions were working.  They would have never come to the table, and frankly we should have kept the sanctions in place so that we could have gotten to a real agreement.  And, the sanctions are going to come, and they’re going to come quick.”

On Applying the Skills Learned Growing Up in a Large Family to the Job of Speaker:

“Listen, it’s a big job, somebody has to do this.  And you know, all the skills I learned growing up are the skills I’ve needed to do my job.  Grew up in a big family – 11 brothers and sisters – you have to learn to get along with each other, get things done together.  And you know, today’s political environment’s a little different than it was when I first got here.  So that the job that I have is far more challenging than what I think some of my predecessors have had, but I enjoy it every day.”