July 1st, 2014
06:08 PM ET
4 months ago

Obama to Republicans: 'So sue me'

(CNN) – President Barack Obama dared Republicans to follow through on their threats to bring a lawsuit against his administration over his use of executive action.

"Middle-class families can’t wait for Republicans in Congress to do stuff. So sue me," Obama said Tuesday at an event in Washington.

"As long as they’re doing nothing, I’m not going to apologize for trying to do something."

Obama’s defiant attitude comes as House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, plans to propose legislation that could bring a lawsuit against him for implementing executive actions that the GOP contends amounts to a breach of his constitutional power by side-stepping the legislative process.

Obama: Boehner's lawsuit is 'a stunt'

Recently, Obama has ramped up his use of executive authority 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.

On Monday, Obama said he would start "a new effort to fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress."

Poll: Can Obama get the job done?

At Tuesday's event, Obama continued to harp on congressional Republicans to pass legislation - this time pushing them to invest in transportation.

Standing in front of Key Bridge, which connects the city's Georgetown-area to Virginia, Obama continued his stepped-up rhetoric hammering Republican for obstructing action in Washington.

A fundraising first for Obama

Obama proposed a long-term highway construction bill earlier this year that he says would spur job growth.

"It’s not crazy, it’s not socialism," Obama said of his transportation proposal. "It’s not the imperial presidency - no laws are broken. We’re just building roads and bridges like we’ve been doing for the last, I don’t know, 50, 100 years. But so far, House Republicans have refused to act on this idea."

CNN's Mike Ahlers and Rene Marsh contributed to this report.

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soundoff (1,488 Responses)
  1. Christian_Grey

    So how dumb are Americans...Do you women really think the GOP is out to get you? Can't you see through the political tricks being used to get your vote? Answer me this are you women, black people, and Latinos better off than you were 6 years ago? Open your eyes and try to think about what is going on

    July 2, 2014 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  2. Scott Weber

    "So Sue me"...Really? How presidential!?! Were the middle class invisible for the previous 5 years especially when partisan bills were passed to soak us with more taxes?

    July 2, 2014 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  3. Elle

    No matter what you believe or your flavor of politics, how can ANYONE deny with a straight face that this congress has done NOTHING for the American people in exchange to try and destroy the president.

    Is THIS what you voted for? An obstructionist congress who tries to deny Americans EVERYTHING?

    What happened to our country???

    July 2, 2014 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  4. Bridget

    The Republican stalling strategy that has enabled them to point their fingers at the Administration with the accusations of government ineffectiveness has been quite successful at convincing people to lose faith in government. I realize that their mantra of individual responsibility and rights is valid and necessary for a strong society. But I also believe that government plays an important role and should not be weakened to the point of being irrelevant. Kudos to the President for refusing to be held up by the stall tactics any longer.

    July 2, 2014 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  5. crilliethedog

    Sounds like the prez is getting a bit testy!

    July 2, 2014 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  6. nuclear mike

    "IMPEACH YOU Mr. President, would be a better phrase!

    July 2, 2014 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  7. Billy

    I am about as ANTI Obama as they come, but he kinda has a point here...

    July 2, 2014 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  8. Rob

    Any projects funded by the Fed Gov is in a sense socialism. We already have state road projects & state workers maintaining the roads. So Obama's grand idea is to hire more state employees to build more roads to be maintained by us tax payers?! How about approving the XL Pipeline. This will create new jobs that make money & in turn pay taxes. America cannot sustain this tax & spend or the conservative ideas of cut taxes & borrow. America has to cut back on entitlements & especially for illegals coming into this country. Please explain how it's good for the USA to continue to borrow money to spend people that illegal. This is a lie to think its good for the USA.

    July 2, 2014 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  9. Craig Allen

    These moves by Obama scare me. The founding fathers set up three separate branches of government for a reason. The Executive, Legislative, and Judicial to establish checks and balances. They did not trust a single entity to act for the public good. As I understand the Constitution, the Legislative Branch creates and passes the laws. The Executive enforces those laws, and the Judicial reviews the actions of the other two branches.

    It does not say, the President has to work with Congress unless they don't do his bidding. If the president is having a problem with Congress, then work with them. I don't see anyone in Washington actually working together. Lately it appears that Obama is more interested in getting his agenda done that working with those elected to review and legislate. I understand his frustration, but that does not relieve him of the responsibility to act in accordance with the law.

    July 2, 2014 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  10. Ken

    I say launch the lawsuit. This is a critical balance of power question. How far can a President go outside the boundries of Congress? Can a President order agencies to stop following aspects of laws Congress as passed? These are critical questions that only the courts can answer (and given the Constitutional based majority on SCOTUS, we all know how they will likely answer). So launch the suit, have some balls for once Boehner!

    July 2, 2014 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  11. CnN the new fox

    Wow cnn buried the stories of Obama being shutdown but the supreme courts and his declaration of acting alone on immigration. Instead they ran the Israeli story and some stories that would be found on E! They ran these stories for days on end while slowly getting rid of anything anti this admin. Than, Obama shows his arrogance again and they take disqus out of the article and put sound off instead. Cnn is truly become worse than fox was during the bush admin. It's disgusting.

    July 2, 2014 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  12. Joe

    barry is just upset that we have a congress and not commissars. The PEOPLE decide what gets done. And Congress are the PEOPLE'S representatives. House of Reps...its in the name. So time to compromise barry. do your job.

    July 2, 2014 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  13. Rudy NYC

    "So, sue me."

    Attention, this is a test of the conservative broadcast system. Those three words will be twisted and exaggerated by conservative broadcasters and pundits in your area. and throughout the country.. Had this been an actual emergency, the president's words will be ignored.

    For those of you who are too inexperienced with sarcasm to recognize it, you're looking at it.

    July 2, 2014 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  14. the reporter

    Sue him? Impeach him!

    July 2, 2014 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  15. Robert

    The idea of a lawsuit for executive action is a bit ridiculous, considering George Bush issued a lot more of them than Obama has.

    In response, I think Obama should send Boehner a box of Kleenex, and a note 'for your tears'.

    July 2, 2014 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  16. John Rosen

    Never in the history of the USA has any President acted like a three year old in the eyes of the nation and the world. Obama has brought shame on this country from abroad and within.

    July 2, 2014 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  17. I AM

    If the Republicans sue Obama, at least they will be doing something.

    July 2, 2014 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  18. SK

    "Obama to Republicans: 'So sue me'". Maybe you'll just be remembered as the worst and most un-American president in history.

    July 2, 2014 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  19. Ramon F Herrera

    Lawsuit Reason:

    "[mumbo jumbo, err, jksd] while being Black"

    July 2, 2014 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  20. George

    So arrogant that he is blind to what he is doing. He could have done so much good while in office, instead he wants to act like all past dictators.

    July 2, 2014 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  21. The Real Tom Paine

    What gets lost in the discussion of the use of executive actions is that Obama is far from the worst abuser of the practice. Presidents need to have this option in order to do their job and to lead the country: the Courts can decide if an action is legal or not, but for an incredibly ineffective Congress that has done nothing but present bills that have no chance of making it through their own chambers, much less reach the desk of the President. It does not matter if the President is a Democrat or a Republican, they need this option. For the Speaker to file this lawsuit as a stunt in order to keep his job speaks far more to the weakness of Boehner as Speaker than any overreach by the President. I'm sure that if we were talking about a Speaker Pelosi threatening a suit against a President Romney, the Right wingers would all be in favor of the President making recess appointment because it would be an demonstration of leadership, so please spare us the intellectual babyfood about dictatorships, etc., by Obama. This is nothing more than a cynical move to gin up the base, not to defend a principle on how to govern. Why the more clear-thinking people on the Right can't admit that defies description, unless they are so cowed by the whack-job chorus that they dare not speak out.

    July 2, 2014 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  22. HC

    In shane ... Peoples are stupid enough to support Republicians. Just like another Kenneth Stars collected 50 millions from tax money for doing nothing. Greedy and inshane.

    July 2, 2014 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  23. Sambell1

    Republicans have no answers on policy to fix problems. The only thing they support is lower taxes for the wealthy and deregulation for polluters and financiers. Go for it Obama, expose the phones!

    July 2, 2014 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  24. Dar

    Well if Obama would listen to the congress instead of acting like the republicans, maybe, just maybe something would get done.
    Both parties are acting the same way against each other and both parties are pointing the fingers at each other saying it is their fault!!!!!
    Kind of reminds me of two little kids that are trying to get out of trouble for doing something wrong. He did it, no he did it. What a bunch of B.S. Both parties need a trip to the wood shed if you ask me.
    I would have thought that Obama would have learned how to handle the Congress by now, but he is to ONE WAY to do that. On the other hand, the Congress should know better by now too. the whole system is nothing but a joke right now.
    We need a real leader that has some sort of a brain to work things out that will benefit the whole nation, not just a part of it. God help us all!

    July 2, 2014 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  25. FLUX

    OK lets hear all the comments from the right wing Republicans about the President's attempts to get something done for the country. Tell us how bad it is that the "other side" wants to actually do something other than to shut down the government and go on a paid vacation.

    July 2, 2014 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
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