June 24th, 2014
07:52 PM ET
8 years 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.

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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. IvanAps

    Am I the only one who finds it ironic that Boehner states that the President refuses to listen to what the elected officials want? Because it is pretty clear that for almost 10 years the elected officials he speaks of have refused to do what the voters have asked them to do. Gay Marriage? 59% approve, 34% against....yet they fight to ban it. Minimum Wage increase? 76% approve, 22% against....yet they fight raising it. Immigration Reform involving Path to Citizenship? 71% approve including 68% of Republican voters.....yet Republican leaders refuse to even discuss it. Too bad we can't sue the Congress and Senate for DOING NOTHING AT ALL FOR 10 YEARS STRAIGHT!!!!!

    June 25, 2014 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  2. ritmocojo

    If Obama gave the Tan Man a stick to defend himself with he'd only use it on himself just to spite the Prez.

    June 25, 2014 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  3. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Can't wait for the GOtP Clown Car show to start its new tour."

    Yeah. I'm dubbing it the "I'm With Stupid" Clown Car campaign.

    June 25, 2014 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  4. texasnotea

    Rather than suing why don't they work with the President to come up with solutions

    June 25, 2014 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  5. heyjoe1

    Finally, someone is going to do something about Obama's ruthless lawlessness.

    June 25, 2014 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  6. Malory Archer

    Clearly Dem's are too ignorant to realize what this lawsuit is about. It's not a monetary lawsuit like you people like to file over hot coffee, this is a lawsuit that would impeach this dictator from office!


    Clearly arshagarbon is too ignorant to realize that lawsuits cost money, and believe me crybaby and co. AREN'T going to hire Cousin Cletus with his mail order law degree to carry out their latest tantrum. Yep – "we the people" are going to be on the hook for the gazillions that will be funneled into the pockets of some deep-pocketed campaign contributors to whom they owe BIG for their elections & reelections.

    June 25, 2014 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  7. Fr33th1nk3r

    I am going to file a lawsuit against Mr. Boehner for my taxdollars he callously wasted on:
    * 63 failed attempts to defund the ACA (which is currently delivering on all its promises, I might add).
    * 2 government shutdowns
    * Multiple instances of stonewalling the current administration from adding more funding to veterans affairs (and then calling it a "scandal" when they uncover blundering incompetence at the VA).

    June 25, 2014 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  8. vaughndk

    This is kind of funny and pathetic: "The President has a clear record of ignoring the American people's elected representatives..." Our 'elected representatives', after elected, have always ignored the American PEOPLE who put them in office. Suing the President? That's a new low. I could care less about who is in what party but if the President was a Republican there is no way Boehner would even be discussing suing the President and that's what I can't stand about our political system. The parties fight each other just to fight. How about letting the American people vote on who we provide foreign aide to? Let us vote on proposed budgets. Let us vote on whether or not we should send troops to another country. It's our money that we pay in taxes, and our family and friends that get sent to pointless wars.

    June 25, 2014 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  9. Really?

    Perhaps, the President wouldn't need to use Executive Orders if Congress was doing their job!

    June 25, 2014 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  10. Malory Archer

    stevie steve
    Here come the zombies..... so quick to whine like sore little losers.....



    June 25, 2014 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  11. Yooper57

    Hey Joe what have the repukes done for this country since you elected the clowns NOTHING!!!!!!! At least the president does something since the clowns YOU elected can't make any decisions on anything.

    June 25, 2014 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  12. clevercandi

    Three little words: BRING. IT. ON.

    June 25, 2014 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  13. Fair is Fair

    It's not the QUANTITY of executive orders that really matters. It's what's in them.

    June 25, 2014 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  14. texasnotea

    Bigotry has no boundaries and stupidity runs the show over at the gop

    June 25, 2014 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  15. Tommy G

    It's about damn time!!! Obama has been usurping Congressional power repeatedly. This must stop or we are heading towards a dictatorship fast.

    June 25, 2014 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  16. Padraig

    "Bipartisan... made up of house Republicans". Oh, the irony.

    June 25, 2014 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  17. Bb8371

    Someone need to check for a Brain, he says the most ludicrous things.. Almost like he has no idea who has what authority even though it is self explanatory.....EXECUTIVE ORDER. !!! Hummm only a GOP needs an explanation of whT this means.. Is there an IQ limit for this party ? Just asking ??

    June 25, 2014 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  18. just saying

    Rather than suing why don't they work with the President to come up with solutions

    obama refuses to negotiate. senate democrats refuse to vote on anything. how do you work with people like that? and then obama wants to pick and choose what laws he wants to enforce and which ones he wants to modify on a whim (ie. obamacare). it makes working with him impossible because he simpy cannot be trusted, as we have all found out the hard way when it came to keeping our doctors, hospitals and health plans.

    June 25, 2014 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  19. kathy

    Oh Good Lord Boehner. . . ..Give it a rest.

    June 25, 2014 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  20. larry

    Fair trial, impeachment and jail......

    June 25, 2014 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  21. FLIndy

    I have never seen such a dispicable, treasonous opposition in my life. The Repubs/Tea Party has refused since Day 1 to work with this President on anything and everything and now they are whining that he is using Executive Orders. Give me a break....how may executive orders did Bush sign? All they do is waste our tax money to fulfill their dreams of getting back into power. They have really shown their true colors since Barack Obama was duly elected to govern our country...pathetic!!

    June 25, 2014 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  22. Dan

    How about we sue Boehner for his do nothing congress.

    June 25, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  23. Cry Baby

    Wah! Wah! I am going to tell my mommy too...

    June 25, 2014 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  24. ron

    will he cry when he files? He always cries!

    June 25, 2014 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  25. bill

    "The President has a clear record of ignoring the American people's elected representatives ....." – the problem is that the "elected representatives" are ignoring the will of the American people. I suppose the GOP/Tea Party feels like all of those filibusters represent the American interests better than legislating.

    June 25, 2014 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
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