John Boehner plans lawsuit against Obama over executive orders
WASHINGTON — House Speaker John Boehner Wednesday told reporters that he plans to sue President Barack Obama over his use of executive action.
“You know the constitution makes it clear that the president’s job is to faithfully execute the laws and in my view the President has not faithfully executed the laws,” Boehner said at a news conference on Capitol Hill.
The Speaker denied that the move was about energizing Republicans ahead of the midterm elections.
“This is about defending the institution in which we serve. If you look back over the past 235 years of our history there’s been movement between the inherent powers of the executive branch vs the inherent powers of the legislative branch and what we’ve seen clearly over the past 5 years is an effort to erode the power of the legislative branch,” the Speaker said in response to a question from CNN.
Republicans argue that the President is breaching his constitutional power by side-stepping the legislative process. Obama has used executive actions as a way to bypass a deeply divided Congress, avoiding inaction on issues the White House has made hallmarks of the President’s second term agenda.
So far, the Republican-controlled House has passed two bills aimed at curbing executive orders by the President, neither of which have gone anywhere in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi Wednesday called the lawsuit “a subterfuge” and said Republicans in Congress are “doing nothing” and “they have to give some aura of activity.”
Pelosi said the House GOP effort to challenge the Defense of Marriage Act in court wasted $2.3 million in taxpayer money, and said “here we go again.”
Obama has used his executive authority to push through a number of issues. Most recently, he directed the Department of Labor to extend family leave to same-sex couples. Previously, he raised the minimum wage for federal contractors and halted deportations for many children in the United States illegally.
Rank and file House Republicans have been pushing for months for top GOP leaders to file a lawsuit.
Conservative Republicans have long complained that the President has overstepped his authority – citing the series of changes that Obama has made on his own to tweak the implementation of Obamacare.
Congressional Republicans, fueled by anger from their grassroots supporters, also argued it was time to explore legal action when the President began saying in January that he had a “pen and a phone” and would take action on key priorities if Congress failed to move legislation.
One avenue Boehner could take is to convene a Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group — something he did in 2011 when the White House said it would no longer defend the anti same-sex marriage law, the Defense of Marriage Act.
Since there is only a day and a half left before Congress heads out for a week long recess, the lawsuit is not expected to be filed until next month. The lawmakers who make up the group – the top three House GOP leaders and the top two Democratic leaders – will have to meet and vote — and — that isn’t expected to happen until after Congress gets back from 4th of July break.
Boehner just so happened to be with the President on Tuesday, along with Vice President Joe Biden, at the White House to meet with members of the 2013 U.S. and International Presidents Cup teams. And the mood didn’t seem to be too tense between the House leader and the commander-in-chief, given reports of Boehner’s possible lawsuit.
Obama joked: “I’m joined by two of my favorite golf partners, the Vice President of the United States Joe Biden and Speaker of the House John Boehner.”
Commissioner Tim Finchem jokingly said that he’s been keeping track of who criticizes the President about his golf game, and Boehner was not among his critics.
“The only thing that he doesn’t criticize me about,” the President added, to laughs.