June 24th, 2014
07:52 PM ET
5 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. Name JK. SFL. THE GOP HOWDEE GOWDEE SHOW with special guest ISSA the CLOWN

    OH, give it up BONNER, your just wasting more tax payers money, we know the RNC isn't going to waste their OWN money on your LOSER waste of time lawsuit, WHY DONT YOU DO YOUR JOBS instead of wasting MORE of OUR MONEY on top of the 24 BILZlION DOLLARS and more money on ISSA GASTPO fairy tale hearings but luckily ISSA will probably be KICKED OUT OF OFFICE in November !!!!!

    June 25, 2014 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  2. matthewin1976

    "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."
    Gosh these are such horrible things to do. Seriously the congress won't act and as he said he will if needed. We elected the President as well as congress. Someone has to step up and do something at least the President is willing.

    June 25, 2014 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  3. aceman

    whats wrong with the people in congress? they all have their heads up there arses and can'nt or don't now how to pull them out. they are so split in compromise they probably don't know the meaning of compromise. they are all for themselves thats why obama did what he did. why don't he just fire these guys its a normal job just like the rest do. thats why he's the president of the u.s. for them don't let the door hit your arse. Shape up congress men and women or ship out!!!!!!!!

    June 25, 2014 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  4. bbk

    Boehner should be sued as well, for allowing the terrorist Tea Party to hold the entire nation hostage.

    June 25, 2014 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  5. hubert39

    If Boehner sues it will be the first the thing he's done in about 7 years. Remember Boehner and his Congress has around a 12% approval rating. The were elected and sent to Washington to do, something. Not sit on their behinds.

    June 25, 2014 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  6. really

    Really BoneHead! please open yourself and the process of Constructed Malicious Obstruction to a higher court
    than the satellites that orbit your head. what a M☼r☼n!

    June 25, 2014 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  7. John

    What is the man supposed to do? Wait for Congress to act? If so, nothing would happen..........nothing.

    Good for him!

    June 25, 2014 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  8. doh

    Funny when Bush "W" was doing it, nobody was whining and being pansies about it all.

    June 25, 2014 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  9. an Iowan

    "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."
    Oh my!! Such terrible things!!!! Funny how Boehner was ok though with the Bush/Cheney admin abusing their executive power and causing the deaths of thousands of American soldiers and innocent Iraqi civilians by lying to the citizens of this country! Anything and everything done by Obama pales in comparison!!!

    June 25, 2014 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  10. Ralph H

    It's OK when the last two presidents did it but it's not for a Democratic president. What Boner is a joke

    June 25, 2014 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  11. Anonymous

    Rather than waste his time thinking about suing the president, how about if Boehner and his party members work at fixing what needs fixing in America. How about passing legislation to give us our unemployment extension back and help the economy and suffering Americans rather than play tit-for-tat games with the White House just because the president isn't a Republican.

    June 25, 2014 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  12. mgkdrgn

    Great .... another couple hundred lawyers getting our tax $'s at $200/hr, and in the end we'll have nothing to show for it but a warehouse full of paper.

    June 25, 2014 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  13. dk

    Executive orders issued:
    Obama – 175
    GW Bush – 291
    FDR – 3,522
    Eisenhower – 484
    LBJ – 325
    Nixon – 346

    We've got to stop being the party of stupid – Bobby Jindal

    June 25, 2014 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  14. mikeinmiami

    Someone please give john Boehner a pacifier and a fluffy stuffed animal. Maybe he'll stop crying.

    June 25, 2014 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  15. 1776usa2016

    Wow! Obama has issued exactly HALF as many executive orders as GW Bush but somehow it's ok for Bush but not for Obama.
    .

    June 25, 2014 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  16. sol

    Seems some determination long ago should have been made concerning limits of a President;s executive orders. The constitutionality of it is a question..

    June 25, 2014 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  17. Good Ole Poutrage

    Obama has signed fewer executive orders than any President since William McKinley. But NOW it's an abuse of power. Give me a break. This is just a GOP attempt to curb executive power because they know the writing is on the wall for 2016, 2020, and beyond.

    June 25, 2014 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  18. The GOP need to pack up and leave

    My moniker says it all. The GOP need to pack up and leave.

    June 25, 2014 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  19. Steve

    Did Boehner consider suing Bush after his 291 Executive Orders? How about Ronald Reagan and his 381 Executive Orders?

    June 25, 2014 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  20. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    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.

    A bunch of jealous hateful old men that are angry they are no longer in charge. Sure lets listen to a bunch of hicks and believe a professor of Constitutional Law doesn't know the Constitution. No wonder they call intelligent people elitist.

    June 25, 2014 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  21. Jimmyjam048

    Boner is a joke.

    June 25, 2014 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  22. Anonymous

    Mr. Boehner, as an American citizen, let me be absolutely clear when I say that President Obama represents my will and my desires for the future of this country far more than you or any other member of this current Congress. I applaud the president for having the cojones to get things done and not let the do-nothing legislative chamber full of squabbling man-babies get in the way.

    June 25, 2014 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  23. soulcatcher

    Don't you have something better to do than sue the president? Like maybe pass some legislation that helps all americans?

    June 25, 2014 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  24. Biggins

    Boo hoo! How is this ANY different then when Bush used executive orders to jam new laws through? Bush did this HUNDREDS of times, I'm not sure how many times President Obama has done this. He's just psychologically scarred from growing up with the last name Boner, which is understandable.

    Also, when Congress is split between GOP and Dems virtually NOTHING gets done (major issue with a strong 2 party system), so whoever is President at the time is forced to use executive orders or else we're paying ALL THESE CLOWNS ALL THIS MONEY FOR ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!! Every Congressperson/Senator (except maybe the President's) should be limited to ONE TERM ONLY! Then, whoever gets elected won't have to constantly capitulate and be afraid to do anything in order to save their re-election chances, they can actually be bold and address solving the REAL ISSUE THIS GREAT COUNTRY HAS without fear of being trounced during the next election cycle.

    Our very intelligent founding fathers recognized this, thus allowing the executive orders we have today. If the moron GOP tries to cut this back, then instead of getting a couple things done, we would get ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ACCOMPLISHED, whether its good, bad, or indifferent.

    Of course, at that point, I think the American ppl would realize that we don't need ANY OF THESE CLOWNS to represent us, with all the technology available today we are all perfectly capable of representing ourselves, which is what we as a country really need to do. However, these clowns are the ONLY ppl who can vote to dissolve Congress/Senate, and these guys/gals may be dumb, but they're not dumb enough to give up their golden tickets for the sweet gravy train ride they scored, so not sure how to get them to leave. We could probably save at least a trillion dollars a year plus put some good new laws in place without them at all.

    June 25, 2014 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  25. hypocrites!

    Boehner needs to work on his real job and quit pandering to the right wing nut jobs.

    June 25, 2014 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
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