June 24th, 2014
07:52 PM ET
3 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. CFSCOH

    The Ds want to blame the Rs for congress problems... Notice the key word here... BLAME. The whole time all this administration did was point fingers and blame someone else for incompetence.
    The president should be pro American. Should be all about America and what is best for America. The president should lead and pull both sides together for America.
    All this administration did was make the congress isle as wide as it can be... just the opposite of what he should have done. The is incompetent leadership! He can't blame anyone else for that.
    The news media is discredited by more and more people as they realize the bias reporting... helping to blame someone else, cover up, use smoke screens on demand of administration...
    We need an AMERICAN in the office... not some incompetent off the street in Chicago inexperienced bozo.
    Look around... The world is laughing at America because of him and his legacy political blunders.
    He can free Taliban generals for someone who was questioned as to AWOL... but can't get a decorated veteran out of Mexico for making a wrong turn at the border... even when a border guard understood and was about to turn him around and let him come back.

    June 25, 2014 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  2. skarphace

    When is he going to sue Bush? Oh, that's right. It was ok when Bush was doing it.

    June 25, 2014 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  3. Alina1

    There are so many problems in the US that cant be solved without Boehner and his "gang", but they don't care they will do everything possible to do not talk about our problems, its all about them and their HATE (not even disagreements). Why do we have to be with them if they are not with us?

    June 25, 2014 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  4. Peter

    Lost Sailor wrote:

    "no other president in history has played as much golf as this guy (Obama) has".

    Really? Who told you that?

    Do you have Google?

    Use it and get back to us, OK?

    Hint: Woodrow Wilson and Dwight Eisenhower.

    June 25, 2014 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  5. HistoryWritesItself

    Here is what people will remember from the Obama Presidency:

    1. He ended our longest wars in history
    2. Gay rights progressed more than ever in the history of mankind
    3. The most Americans ever in our history have access to healthcare
    4. His economic recovery is on a steady incline
    5. Passed wall street reform
    6. Found and served justice to Osama Bin Laden
    7. Revamped the US Auto Industry
    8. Improved the US worldwide image
    9. Expanded federal education programs and incentives
    10. Boosted fuel economy standards to reduce carbon emissions that will double fuel economy for all cars and trucks

    June 25, 2014 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  6. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Peter says:
    June 25, 2014 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm
    Saw this post:

    “Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross…..
    tommy smith says:
    June 25, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm
    While we’re at it, let’s also list his “firsts”.

    First President to refuse to show a valid birth certificate.”

    Oh my God. The birth certificate nonsense again!

    Will this madness ever end from these whack jobs?

    No. And you can't tell them they're wrong.

    June 25, 2014 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  7. dean patrick

    well, who said it is a "do nothing" Congress? They obstruct like no other Congress has in the history of the USA!!!!! Their popularity is in the single digits-equivalent to dog poop and head lice! Now, a boy named SUE.

    June 25, 2014 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    how about we sue the 'congress of no' for refusing to do the job they were elected to do – come to a compromise and represent all of us!

    June 25, 2014 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  9. skarphace

    Truth Slinger: "It's absolutely astonishing to Dems to think that they have to obey laws."

    Record so far: Obama, 168 EOs, Bush 291. It seems like Obama is having a hard time keeping up with you Republican lawbreakers.

    June 25, 2014 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  10. josh

    When right after Obama's first inaugaration the rats of the right held a meeting to obstruct everything and anything this president might propose in the midst of a crisis in our economy they violated their oaths to represent us ...the Obama derangement syndrome has caused the rise of the John Birch society in the form of the teaparty and has delayed and sabatoged our whi=ole way of life

    June 25, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  11. T. Marino

    Can I sue bonehead for not doing his job? These folks have some nerve. The party of "no" and the alcoholic is going to sue Obama. That is rich!

    June 25, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  12. Dick Cheney's Sneer

    The GOP is always right. Slavery was good economics for the South. And war is good for the GOP. We can commandeer oil fields and fund our cause! We can demand videos of every person's bedroom. We want to know what's going on in there. And if we don't approve, you will disappear. The GOP is right. The Handmaid's Tale will be reality soon. Off with their heads!

    June 25, 2014 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  13. skarphace

    CFSCOH: "The Ds want to blame the Rs for congress problems"

    Hmmm. What was the number one agenda that Republicans have had the last 5 years? To make our President fail. They didn't just hint at that, they said it outright, and before Obama was even sworn in. There is the root of your problems in Congress. When your goal is failure, then you reap what you sow.

    June 25, 2014 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  14. mcklapp

    This would have more credibility if the lawsuit were filed against G W Bush or Reagan. (Bush for ignoring passed laws and Reagan for authorizing the confiscation of private property without charges or compensation.)

    But then, who expects logic, consistency or ethics from the GOP anymore? They have become total obstructionists willing to destroy the country to protect only their version of it.

    June 25, 2014 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  15. Orso

    We should sue Boehner and the rest of the Republicans for taking a paycheck while doing nothing.

    We should also sue the Tea Party for blocking every effort of progress for this country.

    And while we are at it, we should sue Bush, Chenney, and everyone else in the previous administration for bringing us to this point.

    June 25, 2014 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  16. Nate

    The republicans and democrats both continue to support their party with sharp-tongued comments on here. I tend to be of the nature that if there is a policy of check and balance in place, it should be folllowed.

    Both parties are eager and willing to appear non-partisan...as long as they are getting their way.

    June 25, 2014 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  17. J.

    Executive action is nothing new. The powers of the Executive have been increasing for the past several decades. Obama is just the latest in a long line of Presidents to increase that power. If the President is truly abusing his power there is a remedy for this...it is called impeachment. The GOP does not want him impeached, they want the issue, it keeps their base fired up and the money flowing in. A lawsuit is just absurd. What is the court going to say, "Mr. President, no more executive orders!"...yeah right, not gonna happen. This is nothing more than an election year stunt.

    June 25, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  18. Xenon

    Whatever people! Why don't you make a difference ... vote for individuals based on issues rather than voting for a party.

    June 25, 2014 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  19. eric

    Be careful. You might just open up a whooping for your self and the GOP.

    June 25, 2014 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  20. Rick

    When the president doesn't follow the law then there IS no law.

    June 25, 2014 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  21. Steve

    GAG ME! This nauseatingly disgusting road blocker can't do anything but bark and complain through his bourbon and cigarette breath.
    Do any of them remember the shape our county was in when President Obama was sworn into office?!?!
    And where are we today? Far better off from where I sit.
    Enough said.

    June 25, 2014 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  22. rumisflute

    This type of move will be forever after be known as "pulling a Boehner".

    June 25, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  23. Wastrel

    It's a political question and no court will hear it. Boehner is an idiot.

    June 25, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  24. Bastage

    I want to sue Bohner for being such a crybaby.

    Who is with me on this?

    June 25, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  25. Snowy

    It's all propaganda. Bush, Jr. issued nearly 300 executive orders, Clinton over 360, and Bush Sr. issued 161 in his single term in office. Obama, with about 170 six years into his term, is on par with any of them. In fact, on an orders/day ratio, he is issuing *fewer* than almost any president since 1900. And despite what fearmongerers are telling the internet, he is NOT creating martial law, taking over the seaports, or setting up FEMA camps!

    June 25, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
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