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. Carl

    President W. Bush issued 291 executive orders, so far President Obama 168. So, its okay if a Republican president issues executive orders?

    June 25, 2014 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  2. jhag39

    I'm less concerned about the number of times his predecessors issued executive orders than I am about the content of the oders. If DOJ and the WH get to decide which laws they chose to enforce, where does it end? There are, no doubt, countless laws on the books that need to be repealed.

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

    They are as two faced and see through as always know they are becoming the last choice for Americans every where. Desperate times for the Religious Right are ahead and they know it. People are done thinking backwards. It's time that Republicans Money hoarders are put out to pasture. And clearer heads prevail.. Ones that don't go looking for Wars to pump there own pockets with money.

    June 25, 2014 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  4. Yeager

    I knew it was over at "the police acted stupidly"........gone down hill ever since.

    June 25, 2014 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  5. KevIn

    Does it not get old for you guys to argue politics? There will always be opposing views, no matter who is the president. Get over it. There will always be a divided congress who doesn't get "things" done in someone's view. All because you're blinded by your political side. Hypothetically speaking, president Obama could cure aids, and the republicans would be blinded and say he didn't do anything. Likewise, for a republican, hypothetically saying, if he finds a cure for cancer, the dems would be so blinded and say he hasn't done anything or enough. Maybe, our first problem, is the "people" and not the government. Here are my suggestions.
    1. Open your minds. Some of you are racist. In the back of your head, you are. GET OVER IT. We're in 2014. Get with the times.
    2. Open your minds, and get rid of te ideology of being a republican or democrat. Instead, look at the world and wonder what you could do positively for the world, and not consider what you can get back. With this mind of thinking, we can evolve out of the republican and democrat divides. Instead, we would be one group as a whole, and work together for the greater good.
    3. Get rid of capitalism. I had an opportunity to have a high paying job, but instead took a very low paying job for something I love to do. I would give my last dollar(and I have) to a person of less fortunate. We can become a world of "I help you, and you help
    Me" and be ok. Greed needs to end.

    June 25, 2014 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  6. smartfor

    If Obama would just use his executive power to force the legalization of cannabis he would have HUGE support from the people!

    June 25, 2014 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  7. URKiddinMe

    Boehner thinks he has a brain within that empty skull of his, but he DEFINITELY doesn't. What gets me is that all of these people are just idiots and are all out-of-touch with reality and what's going on with the real world. I just don't understand how these people get into these positions. Oh, it's the people in this country who elect them.

    June 25, 2014 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  8. Alex

    So the republicans are going to run on nothing but negative attacks... again. They seem very good at firing up anger and hatred about phoney scandals. Too bad they don't have anything they stand for except giving money to defense contractors and tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy. So I guess if you agenda would not get you elected, then you should just go with shallow, stupid

    June 25, 2014 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  9. RollyBobo

    "The only thing that he doesn't criticize me about," the President added, to laughs.

    100% honest, I thought the president would be better at golf. I'm not sure why. *cough* Tiger woods *cough*

    June 25, 2014 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  10. Brian

    The GOP is a disgrace to America. No action on jobs or really any issue but repealing a law, the ACA, that is helping millions of Americans while offering zero alternatives. Vote 'em out.

    June 25, 2014 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  11. Cin99

    He would rather file a fruitless lawsuit then pass responsible legislation like immigration reform and a Jobs Bill. What a putzy move on JB's part. Do nothing Congress for sure!

    June 25, 2014 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  12. Name. willard

    I should be sue against obama what happened about fraud check scam from afrcian amercian

    June 25, 2014 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  13. Crane Kick

    Obama needs to be impeached. This man is unfit for office.

    June 25, 2014 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  14. Edward Snell

    It seems that the Republicans have forgotten how to make government work so now they are trying other ideas. I wish we had a congress that worked for the people of the United States. It's just so frustrating and embarrassing internationally.

    June 25, 2014 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  15. maraidia

    I hope this drunken bozo is spending his own money this time on this political Romper Room event. The last time a Republican obstructionist congress led By chief hypocrite Newt Gingrich (then cheating on his cancer stricken wife) pulled this political stunt, it cost taxpayers 65 million dollars. Compare that to the 15million spent to investigate the bombing of the world trade center.

    June 25, 2014 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  16. bribarian

    Give em hell Boehner, he deserves to be sued.

    June 25, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  17. Mugzee44

    Reagan, "The Conservative Poster Child" 381 Executive orders. The House of Representatives need to do their job so that President Obama doesn't have to do it for them.

    June 25, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  18. acole602

    In an election cycle that is clearly trending Republican, I can't imagine a better gift to the Democrats than a House-backed lawsuit against a sitting president. LOL

    June 25, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  19. ecoastdude

    The executive orders Obama make vrs the executive orders that other presidents have made are worlds apart.
    Obama is ordering things that hurt the people. Where other presidents were ordering things to enhance the people.
    Let's face it here, Obama is failing at everything he touches because of his divisive polices. Divide and conquer.
    Instead of uniting us he is dividing us to further his political goals. Un-American!

    June 25, 2014 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  20. Crane Kick

    I vote Democrat because I am against working and white people!

    June 25, 2014 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  21. Dirk

    This is a JOKE! stop wating our time and money on useless things like this! do your jobs and pass somthing that could help the American people!

    June 25, 2014 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  22. Logic_Is_Not_Common_Sense

    If the American people could do what Boehner intends, we'd sue the president and just about all of congress. They are all a bunch of chil ren (repubs and dems) unwilling to work together

    June 25, 2014 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  23. Groom with a View

    Lost sheep in both parties continue to be devoured by the Accuser of the brethren. Ignorant, either purposeful or deluted, shout out to continue the "Us verses Them" phony paradiym created to distract people from the criminality of the whole political system in Washington D.C. All those politicians, both Repubicans and Democrats, are nothing more than a den of thieves, a pit of vipers.

    Do not be distracted. All those criminals in Washington, including those demonic International Banksters, all deserve to be bound both hands and feet and tossed into the pit of Hell. Period.

    June 25, 2014 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  24. Simplefaith

    BOEHNER should be sued out of office. Why do voters keep voting for someone like John Boehner. His sole purpose in life is to bring the President down. Give us a break. Cantor has been taken out of office, it is now time to bring the Speaker DOWN. He does not represent the United States of America. He SUCKS. BOOOOOOOOOO!

    June 25, 2014 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  25. CucamongaKing

    I hope he does sue.

    Just makes republicans look even more like the conservative radio led NUTS they already are.

    June 25, 2014 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
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