June 24th, 2014
07:52 PM ET
6 months 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. moderate

    just saying
    obama refuses to negotiate. senate democrats refuse to vote on anything. how do you work with people like that? and then obama wants to pick and choose what laws he wants to enforce and which ones he wants to modify on a whim (ie. obamacare). it makes working with him impossible because he simpy cannot be trusted, as we have all found out the hard way when it came to keeping our doctors, hospitals and health plans.
    --
    You blaming Obamacare is a COP OUT, your just as bad as the corporations that blame Obamacare for dropping employee's insurance. It's a cop out, period. Is it perfect, absolutely not, but the last time I checked, there is hardly ANYTHING THAT COMES OUT OF WASHINGTON that works 100% the way it is intended, no matter what party is sponsoring the bill. Greedy politicians that continue to use this line over and over... "I'm fighting for what the American people want." make me sick! Until the Supreme Court reverses it's ruling on big business sponsoring government officials for re-election, and there are some restrictions put in place on the amount of money spent on lobbyist, NOTHING WILL CHANGE.

    This is 100% the problem with the "people' of this country! There is no middle-ground, it's the republicans fault or the democrats fault; they are NEVER both at fault! People are naive and lack the incompetence to think for themselves. Everyone thinks they have the right answer, or the other party is wrong, or it's the other ones not working together. It's all finger pointing!

    It's no wonder our Government has accomplished the least amount of work in our country over the last 12-14 years, and there are ZERO signs of it changing. WHY?! Because people continue to be uneducated about what and who they vote for in elections. Come on people, start educating yourselves BEFORE you vote; and if you don't know what your voting for, DON'T VOTE!

    June 25, 2014 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  2. Chris

    President Obama has issued fewer Executive Orders than any of his predecessors in the last thirty or forty years. There would probably be fewer if he hadn't been forced to deal with a blatantly obstructionist GOP in the House (for some reason, the electorate seems to enjoy a dyslexic government and keeps handing one of the houses of Congress to the political party not in the White House...).

    June 25, 2014 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  3. moderate

    *supposed to say *It is NOT perfect* in the first paragraph.....

    June 25, 2014 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  4. Belseth

    Where was Boehner's outrage when Bush Jr was using executive orders left and right?

    June 25, 2014 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  5. JTWrenn

    "If Boehner does decide to bring a lawsuit against the President, one avenue he could take is to convene a Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group made up of House Republicans"

    Am I the only one that thinks this sentence makes no sense? Bi partisan group of Republicans.....?

    June 25, 2014 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  6. denverboy

    What we have here is a the Squeaker Of The House who cannot even bring issues to the house floor out of fear of the Tea Party and Right wing nutsjobs in the GOP who will just shoot them down . The Lower House is a Non Functioning entity within our Government .. It's the DO NOTHING Congress .. SO Obama has no partner in governing this Nation . He was elected as well and acts ..Congress does nothing all the time day in and day out for the last 6.5 years ... They were shell shocked by a tanked economy and two wars and some real bad decision making by there Star Child GWB ...so now the GOP is about damage control they so it's just NO to everything and refuse to work on any issues except perhaps Benghazi and the IRS thing and the VA ... But as far as governing our Nation goes the day to day stuff that needs votes and debate Our Reps our OUT TO LUNCH ....SO the House Squeaker is going to sue Obama .. Why ? Because he's doing his job ? It makes the GOP look Bad it makes the Tea Party look worse ... Go ahead Squeaker it just makes you look vindictive and small but we all know that about you anyway ..

    June 25, 2014 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  7. Raoul Duke, Doctor of Journalism

    "Our first elected dictator must go." Gosh, what a bunch of excitable loonies you've become. "Sore loser" doesn't even begin to describe it. If we hadn't just gone through having Bush and Cheney stomp all over our freedoms without even a feeble protest from you teabags, it wouldn't be so ironically funny. Seriously, Gramps, the CIA Director got the Supreme Court to appoint his son President over the man who won the most votes, and you cheered! They stopped people from voting in Florida and you were happy! Now Obama pretty much does it by the book and you hate him. Easy to see what's in your little minds.
    "redistribute our wealth, and Obamacare is doing just that" Actually having insurance helps you hang on to your wealth by not losing your house and savings, but don't try to figure that out. Just repeat what you were told.

    June 25, 2014 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  8. russellmuscle1

    It's pretty easy to go along with these executive orders when you enjoy the outcome. However, when you are on the other end of these decisions, one of the people who could be negatively affected, your outlook changes quite a bit. All I will say is that even if you agree with Obama completely and feel that all of his decisions will ultimately be best for this country regardless of the obvious issues or clear reasons for opposition; he is setting a dangerous precedent. What that means is that Obama will not always be president, and regardless of what CNN or anyone else says about demographics......the Democrats will NOT always hold the power in Washington. You never know who the "sore losers" will be in 10 years. So, unless you have absolutely no ability to think past the moment, you must understand the implications of this. You will find yourself on the wrong side of a leader who uses his pen and his phone.

    June 25, 2014 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  9. Joe S

    Republicans have no shame – I really can't believe so many people actually vote that column. Self centered mentality is going ruin this country.

    June 25, 2014 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  10. RandyF

    Can we sue Congress members for malfeasance ?

    June 25, 2014 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  11. Joe S

    Self centered mentality is going ruin this country. Republicans have no shame – I really can't believe so many people actually vote that column.

    June 25, 2014 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  12. Carol

    Boehner, McConnell, etc. are the reasons Obama has to use executive orders. The GOP should be sued for accepting their paychecks over the last years for chasing Obama instead of doing their jobs.

    June 25, 2014 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  13. Joe S

    This post is a bit buggy.

    June 25, 2014 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  14. Regressive

    @russelmuscle:exactly!!!!these guys had no problem with hundreds of executive orders by Bush. Let's see how they feel next time a Republican is in the White House and there is obstructionism and filibusters coming from the left.

    June 25, 2014 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  15. craig

    Theotherguy you are 100% wrong just like your party which is dissolving into nothingness. This country is doing well in nearly every respect especially where I live. Housing is up everywhere, surplus in April, unemployment down, jobs up, wages up.

    You my friend are wrong and if you somehow live in a place where you feel the US government isn't working stop listening to Fox, stop lying and wake up and smell the roses. Obama will go down as one of our greatest Presidents ever and he has accomplished nearly everything in spite of no support from the traitors in the GOP. I'll agree, the GOP part of our government isn't working so of course our wonderful President goes around them, thank goodness! Oh, by the way your idiotic Keystone pipeline is already dead, dead as a doornail and thank goodness again Obama can do this without the support of you traitors.

    June 25, 2014 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  16. Jodo

    Good move. obama seems toi think that he was elected Aytollah and forgets that he is supposed to work for the people. Of course using the words 'work' and 'obama' in the same sentence is a stretch, but... he was hired to enforce the law

    June 25, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  17. joey

    please impeach him, I enjoy see repubs loose, just like with slick willy

    June 25, 2014 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  18. Tom Bukowski

    Sure, that's easier than doing your job, right John?

    June 25, 2014 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  19. TheThinker1958

    Democrats were suppose to reform the filibuster rules so a simple majority can decide things in the Senate, but they didn't. They keep putting their faith that Republicans will do the right thing one day. Now Obama is forced to use his Executive Authority, just like Bush did, and now he might be sued. Who keeps voting Republican?

    June 25, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  20. ItSoNlYmE

    Oh give me a freaking break already Johnboy. How about DOING WHAT THE VOTERS SENT YOU THERE TO DO instead?

    June 25, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    Nobody in government is listening to what the American people want. The republicans are as guilty of this as the democrats. If congress would work with the POTUS instead of trying to play political tug of war then executive order wouldn't be needed.

    June 25, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  22. Raoul Duke, Doctor of Journalism

    It's all talk for his ignorant voters. You know, the people who sincerely believe it is possible to repeal Obamacare? He will talk and then he will cry and they will end up voting for some tea party punk in his place anyway.
    "Republicans in the house have sent a budget every year, and on schedule, to the senate, but Reid throws it in the trash pile " Is that what you actually believe is happening? Are you really old enough to vote? Please don't vote until you educate yourself.

    June 25, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  23. Thomas

    Will House Speaker John Boehner sue Ted Cruz for Plagiarism , " GREEN EGGS AN HAM " ?

    June 25, 2014 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    "Boehner, McConnell, etc. are the reasons Obama has to use executive orders."

    They are also the reason he is a two-term President. The more they obstructed, the more voters turned out for Obama.

    "The GOP should be sued for accepting their paychecks over the last years for chasing Obama instead of doing their jobs."

    Agreed.

    June 25, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  25. carol baltzell

    If Boener and the GOP would do their job then there would be no need for executive orders.

    June 25, 2014 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34