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. s

    Funny Congress doesn't like executive orders but they do like to skip the war powers act on the current situation in Iraq.

    June 25, 2014 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  2. JustMe

    tommy smith
    "While we're at it, let's also list his "firsts"."

    All false. Just looking at the list makes me laugh and sad that once again someone get's a spam email and takes it as gosple without research. All those points are false and proven. My favorite "First President to have a social security number from a state he has never lived in." SS# are FEDERAL!

    June 25, 2014 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  3. Political Points

    Everything any politician ever does is political. No matter the intenction, the political thought comes first. It's a way to get the GOP base going.

    June 25, 2014 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  4. Name

    When it come to nonsense repudblicans are #1

    June 25, 2014 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  5. Nick

    What part of his oath doesn't he get? "Faithfully execute" means enforce laws passed by Congress, not change them at will because you think you're above the elected representatives of the people. If Obama can ignore the law without penalty, why should the rest of us be held to a different standard?

    June 25, 2014 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  6. Bill

    In this country anyone can file a lawsuit against anyone else for anything. There was an article yesterday discussing the possibility of this lawsuit. It said the courts have stayed out of these issues and refused to hear them. The courts have basically said Congress and the President need to act like adults instead of petulant children and work out their differences themselves.

    June 25, 2014 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  7. stopterror

    Obama is criminal, sue him

    June 25, 2014 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  8. Larry Bishop

    well the list as to why is near endless. He has no intention of upholding any laws he does not like. Period. All this talk about emigration is related to the fact our government does not enforce it. Changing the ACA willy nilly along with other laws congress passed. If anything he should be held to account for the long list of lies he told during his 2008 election campaign dealing with the NSA, posting bills for x number of days before he signs them and never issuing a signing statement.

    June 25, 2014 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  9. ireuel

    For the ones that keep repeating the talking points about the number of Executive orders produced by past President. It is not the number it is the content of said Executive Orders. If you think the massive invasion to our southern border is not a direct reflection of the Executive Order for dream act. Then you are very shallow in your research of this whole thing. We can not afford any more people on federal assistance. I know I hate children, women and may have shot Bambi. Lets not forget I just might be racists. See these terms are throw around every time you disagree with the left. They have zero basis in the actual issue. WE can not keep taking everyone that shows up at our southern border in. First of all this could quite possibly cause unknown health issues, because no one is checking them, they don't have time to check them all. Then they pack them on a plane and deliver them to all around this country? Dudes and Dudets This is dangerous. OH I get it, it will be a bunch of my Democratic votes? Never mind the ends justified the means. Hope you all with jobs came cough up a little more tax money, because they will not lead to a recovery. They will only take the lead in the free government hand outs. Seems we would do anything to maintain power, including putting people in danger of some sickness that got though the border. WOW. and I am heartless. This is what that one Executive order has caused, for Votes?

    June 25, 2014 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  10. Oliver

    I seem to remember that this precedent started with the previous president. My, how Boehner's memory has failed him. Perhaps he should get that checked.

    June 25, 2014 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  11. Brigitta Ross

    Seriously? "Boehner,Kerry,and their ilk need to start doing some real work 4 a change! So tired of the baby games these gutless wonders play. This is so old and 2016 can't come soon enough!

    June 25, 2014 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  12. NOTAGOPFAN

    Well well well Mr. Speaker. Get this through your head. If the GOP actually WORKED with the president instead of being obstructionists, he would NOT have to use his executive powers to help the citizens of the U.S.

    June 25, 2014 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  13. wolf

    The point of the executive orders is to do exactly what Bhoner is suing him for. What an imbecile.

    June 25, 2014 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  14. nitrous

    What a waste of time & resources. On whose dime does he plan to do this?

    June 25, 2014 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  15. John

    Obama is going to lose on this.

    June 25, 2014 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  16. Kregg

    just like beohner saying "I promise, you will never see 0bamacare in action"... famous last words...

    June 25, 2014 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  17. EJ

    @ Tommy Smith

    Do you believe in everything you find on the internet? The majority of your supposed "firsts" are complete fiction.

    June 25, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  18. Mr.Manny

    Seriously? Instead of working on our country they wanna sue... where is that money coming from? US the U.S. Tax Payer!! Do your damm job!!! Politics aside Republican or Democrat just do your job as we appointed you!! Sick of this i hate you, your liberal, your conservative. i don;t care what you are, just work on our country and stop wasting tax payer money.

    June 25, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  19. Jim

    Lawsuit? I think they should take a step further and arrest the guy, he has broken out laws, behaved in way that brings shame on the USA and the office, and endangered many lives, including some already lost due to his complete failure. Its time to take the gloves off and remove this guy from the White House Congress which is provided for by our founding fathers.

    June 25, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  20. Mark S.

    Executive Orders per President:
    Franklin D. Roosevelt 3,522
    Harry S. Truman 907
    Dwight D. Eisenhower 484
    John F. Kennedy 214
    Lyndon B. Johnson 325
    Richard Nixon 346
    Gerald R. Ford 169
    Jimmy Carter 320
    Ronald Reagan 381
    George Bush Total 166
    William J. Clinton 364
    George W. Bush 291
    Barack Obama 168
    Boehner is an idiot who is just looking for attention and trying anything he can to save his dying party.

    June 25, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  21. Climberdave

    Where was all the anger when GW Bush was signing any one of his 298 EO's (compared to Mr. Obama's 168). Just another dog and pony show. Nothing to see here, move along.

    And lets not forget Regan's 381 EO's

    June 25, 2014 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  22. Mr. Dank Stuff

    More grasping for straws. I see a tea party member is going to sue over election results too. The GOP is dead. Talk to me dead man

    June 25, 2014 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  23. namegoeshere

    Bush Jr had 291 executive orders. That's over 100 more than Obama. I'm assuming Boehner is suing Bush Jr too?

    June 25, 2014 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  24. RomneyWho

    Staggering, slush mouth Boehner, if you can't handle it, "MOVE, GET OUT OF THE WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

    June 25, 2014 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  25. ireuel

    Why do people believe and repeat what their side tells them? Simple they are to lazy to do the research themselves. Second question, How will we ever pay back the 18 trillion dollars we are in debt? Simple we will not. Pretty soon we might just be crossing borders too. Want to bet the countries we try to enter will be so friendly? Silly left, when we don't get our way we executive order it. Now do we remember President Clinton when he had to work with Republicans? You know it seemed to work. But Nooooo the current President is his way or the Executive order way. Remember the content not the number. Just wonder who threw the first stone back in 2009? Hey left good luck in November. ROTFLMAO.

    June 25, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
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