House Speaker John A. Boehner said he expects to be speaker again next year, but declined Monday to say he would definitely serve out another full term in Congress.
“I’m running for re-election, I expect to be speaker,” said Mr. Boehner, speaking in San Antonio to the Texas Tribune and the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.
And in another interview aired Monday, the speaker pushed back against the growing sentiment in Congress that it’s time to revisit pork-barrel spending, or earmarks, against which Mr. Boehner led the fight when the GOP took control of the House in 2011.
“As long I’m here, no earmarks,” the Ohio Republican told Fox News’s “Opening Bell” program.
Mr. Boehner has long been an opponent of earmarking, and has never requested one during his more than two decades in Congress.
“I started this effort in 2006 to get rid of earmarks. We are not going back to the nonsense that went on before then,” Mr. Boehner said.
The Ohio Republican just won his primary last week, easily seeing off a tea party-backed challenger, though there are some Republicans within Congress who have said they would like to see the party have new leadership.
Mr. Boehner said he has good relationships with those on both sides of the aisle, including some of his most ardent critics within the GOP, but acknowledged that sometimes he has to bend his own will to match that of his troops.
“A leader without followers is simply a man taking a walk,” he said in a 35-minute chat from San Antonio with Texas Tribune Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith.
He recalled last year’s spending fight, when he urged House Republicans not to tie Obamacare funding to a government shutdown, only to see most of his troops reject his arguments and insist on taking a stand.
Mr. Boehner said it turned into a “predictable disaster.”
Despite saying he expects to be speaker, he declined to guarantee he will serve another full term in Congress. He said he is turning 65, and can’t foresee what will happen.
One area where he is still battling many in his own party is immigration. He said he does still want to get an immigration bill done, but repeated his insistence that President Obama make some form of overture to prove to House Republicans he would enforce any law Congress passes.
Mr. Boehner also delved slightly into the policy specifics on immigration, saying that any pathway to citizenship for current illegal immigrants would have to be okay with legal immigrants who suffered through the process correctly.
“Here’s the test — there are a lot of people who waited in line, went through the process, as the law points out. Some of them it took 10 years, 20 years, to get through the process. They are the people I will look to,” he said.