June 24th, 2014
07:52 PM ET
2 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. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    ok... And perhaps the people of Ohio can sue you for the fraud that you are, John!

    June 24, 2014 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  2. Simonzee1

    This is an absolute necessity.

    June 24, 2014 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  3. CryBabies

    But of course it will be because of his ethnicity.....I see it coming.

    June 25, 2014 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  4. Thomas

    House Speaker John Boehner is weighing whether to sue President GW Bush over his use of executive action.

    It took him long enough .

    June 25, 2014 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  5. j.v.hodgson

    I see the president invites Boehner McConnel to the White House to decide what and when Obama can do war powers wise ( executive orders) without congressional approval. They decline to be involved mainly because of what bush did executive order wise on this very subject. Do I smell utter hypocrisy? YES BIG TIME, not to say flip flopping as well.
    I find this strategy sickening its simply an attempt to effectively impeach the president without calling it impeachment
    Now when I am voting this fall I will ask myself ( Note PPACA already passed the Supreme Court) what value/ benefit, to all our current diplomatic, economic, social problems will this bring to our nation. Add to that always opposing any Obama laws and/or completely re-writing them ( even if Scotus approved) in the house or refusing to bring senate passed bills On EITC changes and Immigration, and refusing to bring to the floor minimum wage legislation.

    June 25, 2014 03:00 am at 3:00 am |
  6. jmix101

    Do it Boehner. Let's see were it goes.

    June 25, 2014 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  7. John

    Boehner should sue himself and all of his friends on the that side of the aisle for not doing anything to move forward what the country needs, but rather just obstruct progress. If you don't take part, life will pass you by Johnnie Suntan.

    June 25, 2014 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  8. Chuck

    Boehner and the rest of his do-nothing cohorts should stop finding ways to not get anything accomplished and should try getting some real work done for a change.

    June 25, 2014 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  9. Warren

    Do these people know that Obama can't run again? Why don't they do some real work? Where are the JOBS, JOBS, JOBS???

    June 25, 2014 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  10. kim

    isn't long past time that the crazy GOP gives up this witch hunt?

    June 25, 2014 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  11. ollie

    In actuality, and in the other way around, Obama should sue the GOP (party of no) for inaction and refusing to compromise.

    June 25, 2014 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  12. daveinasheville

    Last time Boehner tried a BLAG lawsuit it resulted in the striking down of a key section of the so-called Defense Of Marriage Act. But if he wants to try it again and risk the same kind of outcome, I guess he will...

    June 25, 2014 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  13. jnpa

    "Republicans argue Obama is breaching his constitutional power by side-stepping the legislative process."

    I wasn't aware that we currently have an active and viable legislative process. Maybe if the GOP would use the process as intending, then the POTUS would not have to use Executive Orders. I wonder if they ever thought of that!

    June 25, 2014 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  14. rconatser1

    How dare the president sidestep a congress with the only goal being to keep him from doing anything! Even if the number of his executive actions is still below his predecessor. Boehner and his GOP cronies are jokes. Putting "defeating Obama" above the interests of the country make you worthless and treasonous.

    June 25, 2014 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  15. stinkymcmulligan

    Sour grapes, Boehner.

    June 25, 2014 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  16. Luigi

    Bonehead, give it up, please. Trying to cover for your failings as a so-called leader.

    June 25, 2014 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  17. T Roe

    Hey Boner. Buy some rope and use it you worthless, childish, affront to America/mankind loser.

    June 25, 2014 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  18. Dave1157

    I enjoy watching the critics blast Obama for the number of executive orders he's issued, especially in comparison to previous presidents. But as usual, the facts don't support the hype.

    The previous ten presidents, beginning with Eisenhower, signed an average of 306 executive orders each. Obama has signed 180. The only two presidents who signed fewer than Obama were Ford and Bush 1 – both were in office for only one term. Prior to Eisenhower you had Harry Truman with 907 executive orders and Franklin Roosevelt with a whopping 3,522.

    Fact is, aside from the two I mentioned, you'd have to go back to the days of Grover Cleveland to find presidents who signed fewer executive orders than Obama. And imagine how low his number may have been had Congress put Americans ahead of their stated goal of bringing the president down.

    June 25, 2014 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  19. Sasha

    Every President, including that last one has always use executive orders. Just look up what Bush passed on his own accord. Good luck with the lawsuit, another waste of tax payers money.

    June 25, 2014 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  20. Eardley Ham Woodbury, MN

    Typical Repugnicant–don't legislate, just spew hate.

    June 25, 2014 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  21. Jody Muniz

    Desperate measures from a desperate man who has lost credibility catering to a desperate GOP. It
    s only going to get worse as we head into elections.

    June 25, 2014 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  22. amlcpamaine

    What a lame waste of time – just to shore up his base. The President should sue Boehner for refusing to do his job: bring legislation to the floor. This president has used executive orders just like every other president. This speaker of the House, however, has been the least productive in all our history – he'll go down in history books as by far the worst, most destructive sorry excuse for a "leader" ever. Unfortunately, all we taxpayers lose while they play their partisan games and while the lawyers (their true buddies) clean up.

    June 25, 2014 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  23. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    So basically this is just one side of the story. You think maybe it would have been helpful to the readers so they could make an informed opinion, if you would have said whether the Presidents actions were illegal? All you're saying is what the hateful conservatives are saying. This is no more than an opinion piece.

    Pathetic what journalism has come to.

    June 25, 2014 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  24. dave

    At least Boehner is doing something, it's outside the Legislative process, but it's something. Can't say he's completely do nothing. If he's successful in the lawsuit it might be the only thing he did. I guess when you're idle all the time you get bored. There's probably alot of other things he could be doing.

    June 25, 2014 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  25. NYVeteran

    I didn't elect you Mr B, but we did elect the President. I side with him, not planless obstructionists afraid of first time congressmen.

    June 25, 2014 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
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