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. Orolandes O'Rourke

    So let me get this straight. Bush uses more executive orders and all previous Presidents combined for the last 100 years and they're ok with that, but Obama uses them and it's Whoa there fella....

    June 25, 2014 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  2. Jerry

    This BIMBO has to be most arrogant President in history. He and his cronies side step the Congress and the Constitution to get what he wants. The free loaders love him but he is bankrupting our country and causing us to become a third world country.

    June 25, 2014 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  3. Meyer C. Dhoates

    The American people should sue John Boner for wasting the taxpayer's time and money with his do nothing policy in the House. The party of No needs to be replaced in the next election. Evey incumbent should be voted out of office regardless of their party. Enact term limits for the House and Senate. Put an end to PAC's. It's time to end the era of the best politicians money can buy.

    June 25, 2014 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  4. Raoul Duke, Doctor of Journalism

    All talk. He will huff and puff and blow no one's house down. The whole GOP needs some Preparation H. Don't worry, Obama will fix the mess your drunken bushboy left us in eventually.

    June 25, 2014 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  5. TxCentrist

    There was a time when we had a choice at the polls. But Boehner and his motley crew of neo-cons and Tea Partiers have changed that. That band of do-nothings obstruct congressional action to the point of paralysis and then want to sue or impeach Obama for trying to get something done in spite of their inaction. A TV drama plot with this premise would be deemed too stupid to be believable.

    June 25, 2014 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  6. Jim M

    So how much will this nonsense lawsuit cost tax payers?

    June 25, 2014 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  7. rockysfan

    Boehner, you, your tea turds and the rest of the rethugs have a lot of nerve even mentioning suing the President. Who heads the party of No? That would be YOU Boehner! Who has been consistently saying no on immigration reform? That would be YOU Boehner and the rest of your sorry party. Not buying the bs you are selling. Move along. Oh, wait, hoping that happens in November for lots of you! :)

    June 25, 2014 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  8. Jerry

    Everthing is controlled by the Liberal Media to flow to the citizens. we can never get the TRUE story because of their bias. we will learn in the future just how corrupt and how much illiegal actions went on in the administration. Then who will laugh????

    June 25, 2014 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  9. Jerry

    Biden is already rubbing it in our faces that we the taxpayers will take care of them the rest of their lives...
    Obama and some of his cronies better hope they can stay out of jail once the binds are removed and jstice is dolledout to them...

    June 25, 2014 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  10. Michael

    Obama abuses executive orders. This is great news!

    June 25, 2014 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  11. oldleftcoastdude

    he Tea Party candidate in Mississippi is threatening to sue over his loss to the incumbent; Boehner is threatening to sue over Obama's use of Executive orders. C'mon guys, is that the best you can do?

    June 25, 2014 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  12. TheSadTruth

    Yet Boehner has never publicly denounced Bush and Cheney fir manufacturing the Iraq War over faked reports of WMDs and terrorist involvement by Hussein.

    Pure partisan crybaby tactics...

    June 25, 2014 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  13. jacknyd

    These are the facts. The guy is out of control

    NUMBER OF EXECUTIVE ORDERS ISSUED by U.S. Presidents in the last 100 years:

    Teddy Roosevelt – 3
    All Others until FDR – 0
    FDR – 11 in 16 years
    Truman – 5 in 7 years
    Ike – 2 in 8 years
    Kennedy – 4 in 3 years
    LBJ – 4 in 5 years
    Nixon -1 in 6 years
    Ford – 3 in 2 years
    Carter – 3 in 4 years
    Reagan – 5 in 8 years
    Bush – 3 in 4 years
    Clinton – 15 in 8 years
    George W. Bush – 62 in 8 years
    Obama – 923 in 3 1/2 years! More than 1000+ and counting Executive Orders in 6 years..
    Read some of them below – unbelievable!
    Next step -dictatorship . ( Looks like we are there already!)

    June 25, 2014 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  14. the man

    Orolandes, you might want to check your facts bud. According to the American Presidency Project, Bush used 291 Orders during his two terms. Clinton used 364, Reagan used 381, Carter used 320, Nixon used 326, Johnson used 325, Eisenhower used 484, and Truman used 907. I'm not even going to keep going down the list.

    The gripe here is that Obama is issuing many of these executive orders ILLEGALLY.

    June 25, 2014 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  15. julie

    oh please....boneher is just pissed cause he didn't get the chance to popo/reject/deny what the prez wants to do, he will be fine once he gets his tan refreshed and throw back a few whisky sours...lol

    June 25, 2014 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  16. Tewrobert

    SUE SUE SUE.......If you think Bushy is guilty then sue him too.......Sue them all.......it will be on the tax payer anyway, What a joke....Dog and Pony show as usual......Boner would have to have a spine to sue Obama.....

    June 25, 2014 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  17. jacknyd

    Now look at these:
    EXECUTIVE ORDER 10990 - allows the government to take over all modes of transportation and control of highways and seaports.
    EXECUTIVE ORDER 10995 - allows the government to seize and control the communication media.
    EXECUTIVE ORDER 10997 - allows the government to take over all electrical power, gas, petroleum, fuels and minerals.
    EXECUTIVE ORDER 10998 - allows the government to take over all food resources and farms.
    EXECUTIVE ORDER 11000 - allows the government to mobilize civilians into work brigades under government supervision.
    EXECUTIVE ORDER 11001 - allows the government to take over all health, education and welfare functions.
    EXECUTIVE ORDER 11002 - designates the registration of all persons. Postmaster General to operate a national registration.
    EXECUTIVE ORDER 11003 - allows the government to take over all airports and aircraft, including commercial aircraft.
    EXECUTIVE ORDER 11004 - allows the Housing and Finance Authority to relocate communities, build new housing with public funds, designate areas to be abandoned, and establish new locations for populations.
    EXECUTIVE ORDER 11005 - allows the government to take over railroads, inland waterways and public storage facilities.
    EXECUTIVE ORDER 11049 - assigns emergency preparedness function to federal departments and agencies, consolidating 21 operative Executive Orders issued over a fifteen year period.
    EXECUTIVE ORDER 11051 - specifies the responsibility of the Office of Emergency Planning and gives authorization to put all Executive Orders into effect in times of increased international tensions and economic or financial crisis.
    EXECUTIVE ORDER 11310 - grants authority to the Department of Justice to enforce the plans set out in Executive Orders, to institute industrial support, to establish judicial and legislative liaison, to control all aliens, to operate penal and correctional institutions, and to advise and assist the President.
    EXECUTIVE ORDER 11921 - allows the Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency to develop plans to establish control over the mechanisms of production and distribution, of energy sources, wages, salaries, credit and the flow of money in U.S. Financial institution in any undefined national emergency. It also provides that when a state of emergency is declared by the President, Congress cannot review the action for six months. Read up on Marshall Law..!
    Feel free to verify the "executive orders" at will.....and these are just the major ones. I'm sure you've all heard the tale of the "Frog in the Pot"... Watch Obama's actions, not his words! By his actions he will show you where America is headed .

    Obama has issued executive orders that seek to "harmonize" U.S. Economic regulations with the rest of the world. These executive orders are yet another incremental step that is pushing us closer to a North American Union and a one world economic system.

    June 25, 2014 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  18. me

    Frivolous lawsuit... another great move brought to you by the GOP... being such a crybaby, why am I not surprised Boehner, would do such a thing? Of course, the dolts who back the right will also cry about how Obama is so unfair and socialist further proving just how they spin things worse than the "lame stream media"! Guess that is the right's answer to anything that doesn't go their way. Give them the chance and the right will ruin our country, then blame Obama... they are a laughing stock and a danger to this great country. Please GOP and tea party dingle berries, grow up!

    June 25, 2014 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  19. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "if you're racist and you know it sue the prez" *clap clap*...
    -----------------------------------------------------
    If you're racist and you know it, and you really want to show it, if you're racist and you know it sue the prez *clap clap*!
    Good one!

    June 25, 2014 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  20. TheoldChief

    "The President has a clear record of ignoring the American people's elected representatives and exceeding his Constitutional authority..."
    While I agree with Mr. Boehner, he forgot to mention how the American people's elected representatives have ignored the American people. But I guess that's how we like it, as evidenced by our continued re-election of career politicians. Sad.

    June 25, 2014 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  21. Anonymous

    well what did those cry babies think would happen when they openly declare they will not vote for anything the president wants? what a bunch of cowards. go ahead, and go to court

    June 25, 2014 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  22. CoachLew

    Two of my most favorite people and one jokester going to go golfing together but wait a minute Mr. President I am going to sue you for misuse of just about everything you do or say so do you still want me to ride in your club car? What's that" Joe, what about a can of worms? Man we are not going fishing Jokester. Now where were we, Oh to send troops back to Iraq or stop the drug trafficking or close our borders or put thousands of military advisors in the Ukraine? Nope, when should I use the 5 iron, thanks Boehn.

    June 25, 2014 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    How dumb can you become?
    ----------------------------------------------------–
    When it comes to Republicons? The possibilities are endless....

    June 25, 2014 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  24. Mich

    Why is he so mad? Obama used his executive priviledge 180 times while George W Bush used it 290 times. He must really be upset with George W.

    June 25, 2014 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  25. The Doctor

    Can we as citizens sue Congress for shutting down the government and not working while collecting paychecks and benefits? Yep as a member of Congress that make them federal employees, those are the ones with the cushy jobs and big payckecks. Boehner, how many days have you actulally worked this session? Hmmmmmm, bet everyone who has written a comment on this page has worked longer and harder than you....

    June 25, 2014 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
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