June 24th, 2014
07:52 PM ET
4 weeks ago

Boehner plans lawsuit against Obama over executive orders

Updated 3:15 p.m. ET, 6/25/14

Washington (CNN) – House Speaker John Boehner Wednesday told reporters that he plans to sue President Barack Obama over his use of executive action.

"I am," the Speaker said when asked if he was planning to initiate a lawsuit.

"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 added at a news conference on Capitol Hill.

Boehner announced later Wednesday that in July he would bring a bill to the House floor authorizing a Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group to file the lawsuit against the President. He last convened the group in 2011 when the White House said it would no longer defend the anti same-sex marriage law, the Defense of Marriage Act.

The group is made up of the top three House GOP leaders and the top two Democratic leaders.

In a memo to House members announcing next month's vote, Boehner indicated the legal action would cover a number of issues but did not cite specific cases of executive overreach.

"On matters ranging from health care and energy to foreign policy and education, President Obama has repeatedly run an end-around on the American people and their elected legislators, straining the boundaries of the solemn oath he took on Inauguration Day,' the memo said.

The Speaker denied that the move was about energizing Republicans ahead 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.

The White House responded Wednesday to Boehner's plans to bring a lawsuit against the President, pointing the blame at the GOP for uncompromising opposition to Obama's policies.

"For a long time we have seen Republicans block progress in Congress, a range of bills that would promote economic strength but in this case it seems that Republicans have shifted their opposition into a higher gear," spokesman Josh Earnest said at the White House press briefing.

"Frankly, it's a gear I didn't know previously existed.'

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 halt 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 the 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.

CNN's Dana Davidsen contributed to this report.

soundoff (838 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    You will all get what you deserve.

    June 25, 2014 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  2. Tired of the Lies

    GOP is not racist, We are doing this because the people demand we do something. SO.. why did you not sue BUSH, CLINTON, ETC.. My god man.. What about.. Franklin D. Roosevelt Total 3,522

    So, why sue.. here is a list of what the POTUS and others have done.
    Richard Nixon Total 346
    Gerald R. Ford Total 169
    Jimmy Carter Total 320
    Ronald Reagan Total 381
    George Bush Total 166
    Bill Clinton Total 364
    George W. Bush Total 291
    Barack Obama Total 168

    June 25, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  3. jake from state farm

    well... I'm gonna sue...Benghazi. So there!

    June 25, 2014 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  4. ARMYCSM

    MISSISSIPPI you made me think differently of you. You weren't fooled Great Job!!

    June 25, 2014 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  5. jojo62

    Suing! There should be an effort to Impeach Obama.

    June 25, 2014 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  6. Bill R.

    I'm a registered Democrat, but I am increasingly concerned about President Obama's use of Executive Orders and/or to revise laws (e.g., ACA). We would not want a Republican President following this example in the future. It'a all about Checks and Balances.

    June 25, 2014 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    The whole lot of them, Republicans and Democrats are nothing but liars and thieves destroying the foundation and freedom on which this county was founded. They all should be fired for incompetence.

    June 25, 2014 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  8. ricardo1968

    Republicans are done. No honest debate, and really, no vision to debate. I hope we can teach them a lesson in the midterms. We need old school Republicans to conduct our foreign policy before the world falls to pieces. End the tea billy movement.

    June 25, 2014 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  9. John

    What nonsense. More hyperbole from the ineffective GOP.

    June 25, 2014 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  10. El Lobo

    El mucho wino bohner is so afraid of losing his seat and getting sent to the nose bleed section, he will do anything to cowtow to the teabaggers and the right wing fringe loonies. oh well it only millions an millions of taxpayer money to pay lawyers and there aides 5000 dollar billable hours. got keep them lawyers happy. sad worthless bum.

    June 25, 2014 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  11. amazed2

    The man working to provide healthcare to all citizens, protect our environment, tax the richest Americans more fairly, end stupid wars, regulate corporate runaway and greed, bring reasonable gun control laws, work for immigration reform... and you're going to sue him? For doing his job? For doing something? For respecting science? For being black? Hell will be packed with republicans.

    June 25, 2014 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  12. Spotlight

    Obama is easily the worst president in US history

    June 25, 2014 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  13. kobrakai7474

    Speaker Boehner is doing what Speaker Boehner does best: Blowing smoke about whatever phony baloney issue he can use to keep the loud, but tiny, tea party minority in his party happy. We can only hope the tea party types actually goad him into filing his threatened suit. Then, we can let the Supreme Court decide these issues once and for all, and, once decided by the Supremes, this is a dead issue. Boehner may just be considering a decision that will result in the largest change in the way our nation is ruled since the passage of 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments at the end of the American Civil War, and it is not likely to end in his favor. John Boehner's legacy may end up being that he effectively neutered the American Congress forever, all because a couple of yahoos in his party forced him to do something very stupid.

    June 25, 2014 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
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