WASHINGTON (CN) – House Republican leaders said their priorities for the start of the next Congress in January were to create jobs, lower government spending and repeal the health care reform bill. “We think that Obamacare will ruin the best health care system in the country,” said Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio.
“We believe it will bankrupt our nation, we believe it needs to be repealed and replaced with common sense reforms to bring down the cost of health insurance,” said Boehner, who was unanimously elected by House Republicans on Wednesday to be the next Speaker of the House.
When asked when he planned to push forward legislation that would repeal health care reform, Boehner said House GOP would move “quickly enough.”
Republicans gained more than 60 seats in the House in November elections, giving them majority control in the next session.
On Wednesday, House Republicans elected Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., to be majority leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., to be House majority whip, and Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, to be GOP conference chairman.
House GOP leaders said they saw the gains as the electorate giving them a “second chance.”
“We understand this is not an affirmation of us but … a rejection of the policies of the president, the speaker and the Senate majority leader,” Hensarling said.
Boehner was asked how the party would lower spending with its duty to maintain entitlement programs, such as Social Security and Medicare.
“Whether we like it or not, the federal government has obligations,” Boehner said, adding that leadership would discuss what to do about raising the debt ceiling.
On Thursday, House Republicans adopted a voluntary ban on earmarks, or directed spending on certain projects, following Senate Republicans’ lead on Tuesday.
Republican leadership is scheduled to meet with President Barack Obama on Nov. 30.
Boehner reasserted his support for extending all Bush-era tax cuts, but said proceeding with the legislation was up to the current leadership.
“Better talk to those in charge,” he said.
Obama and congressional Democrats favor extending tax cuts for the middle-class and letting those for upper-income earners expire.