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. CryBabies

    Tampa Tim....Thankyou for your wonderful "insights" to how most Americans feel about Republicans. Someday, maybe, you'll wake up.........maybe.

    June 25, 2014 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    Can I sue Boehner for incompetence?

    June 25, 2014 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  3. David

    How come my "moderated" comments never make it to publication?

    June 25, 2014 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  4. john

    Frivolous lawsuits beats hard work any day

    June 25, 2014 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  5. deee510

    Bonehead and his crew spend their work hours with this kind of hypocritical nonsense instead of doing their job helping the country.

    June 25, 2014 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  6. TheLostSurveyor

    Really? If these guys want peoples support. They should spend more time actually negotiating with the opposition and letting the government actually function again. This all or nothing strategy they are currently employing. While it may play well with their activist base. It does nothing but alienate them from more moderate Americans. These are supposed to be adults that we have elected to represent us. Yet the current situation in DC looks more like kindergarten schoolyard. We deserve better.

    June 25, 2014 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  7. hottpoker

    He's suing the president to appear to be doing somethin. But he can't hide the fact that he's useless as Speaker.

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

    It seems the Republican party is just a broken record that keeps repeating the same words over and over again. Hopefully there will be enough voters disgusted with the nonsense to vote them all out of office.

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

    Obama isnt even an American Get him out of office now

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

    Really?? The First Black President Turned out to be a Law Breaker???" which White President do you want me to start with???

    June 25, 2014 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama


    " ... to control all aliens ..."

    Oh, dear. What could he be thinking? We've got enough problems in the world that he wants to control those pesky aliens (should they ever come flying out of their spaceships knocking on Earth's door).
    You're a hoot my friend!
    Regarding my comment yesterday: this site is nothing but us preaching to the choir. But you already know that.
    Insofar as where else can we go, well I volunteer with groups that get people to go out there and vote. We transport, make phone calls, etc.
    Other forums? Well there are political forums at the grassroots level that you can tap into.
    But you're right, if you're trying to multi-task get your chores done and shoot the crap with the usual suspects no place better than right here at CNN where Red Meat Fridays comes on Wednesdays and sometimes Tuesdays!!

    June 25, 2014 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  12. Linda M.

    JEEZ LOUISE! Why don't they try something different and unique, like oh, um....GOVERNING?! What a bunch of losers those Republicans.

    June 25, 2014 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  13. rtrauben

    Can I sue Boehner for wasting the American peoples time and general incompetence?

    For those at his level of responsibility there must be point where grandstanding must
    end and statesmanship begins.. His desire to play to the base is less than we need
    from someone 2 hearts from the Presidency.

    June 25, 2014 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  14. mm

    Can you say...'Boehner doesn't have a leg to stand on' ?

    This is down right pathetic on his part. Does he realize that we all know that every president for the past, what 60 years (both parties) have utilized executive orders more than Obama?

    How stupid does he think this country is?

    June 25, 2014 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Bonner disgusts me. I do believe they are trying to revive their dying base. No luck there!

    June 25, 2014 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    I can see the arrogant Republicans on here are as bad as your arrogant foolish das in the House was it the Same group of Republicans that did shut down America?Get real the Republicans stll digging a huge hole and cant get out of it now Boehner is a fruitcake get rid of him and I just might sue him lol.

    June 25, 2014 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  17. Name

    After his friend Eric Cantor left he has no agenda and friends to talk so lets obstruct the president.

    June 25, 2014 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  18. Charles

    This is just the totally mindless and useless acts tha the republicans have been carrying out since the President took office. They have offered up absolutly (0) ZERO solutions for the countries problems and instead have done their damnist to create more hate and devide in the nation. The republican party has become an anacronism for total uslessness and aging dementia.

    June 25, 2014 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  19. Traci Gilmartin

    Ronald Reagan issued nearly 3 times the amount (along with tripling the national debt) when he was in office than President Obama has.

    Why is Boehner suing Obama instead of Reagan? I understand the one is no longer living but that never stopped the GOP for going after corpses before!

    June 25, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  20. Thomas

    And how much will this legal dead end lawsuit cost ?

    Why not sue Ahmed Chalabi " CURVBALL " for fraud and conspiracy over the WMD bad info in Iraq .
    We could have a class action suit , maybe recover a few trillion ?

    I'm sure compensation would most likely go to the lawyers .

    June 25, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  21. yeahright

    Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross...
    While we’re at it, let’s also list his “firsts”.
    ..My God, where do you people get these lies from???

    From chain emails (which this is copied and pasted from).... also known as the same place they get their "facts".

    June 25, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  22. rtrauben

    thanks gary and been there for putting Boehners groundless remarks in historical perspective.

    June 25, 2014 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  23. sandcanyongal

    If Boehner is suing Obama for the petty reasons listed in the article he's a freaking nutbar and should be removed from office. The Republican party is out of their minds. On the other hand, why don't the reader Google Wikipedia Energy Act of 2005. Read line by line.
    it seeks to increase coal as an energy source while also reducing air pollution, through authorizing $200 million annually for clean coal initiatives, repealing the current 160-acre (0.65 km2) cap on coal leases, allowing the advanced payment of royalties from coal mines and requiring an assessment of coal resources on federal lands that are not national parks;
    it provides incentives to companies to drill for oil in the Gulf of Mexico;
    it exempts oil and gas producers from certain requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act;
    it extends the Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act through 2025;
    it authorizes cost-overrun support of up to $2 billion total for up to six new nuclear power plants;
    it directs the Secretary of the Interior to complete a programmatic environmental impact statement for a commercial leasing program for oil shale and tar sands resources on public lands with an emphasis on the most geologically prospective lands within each of the states of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming.[11]
    This bill exempted fluids used in the natural gas extraction process of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) from protections under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, and CERCLA.[21] It created a loophole that exempts companies drilling for natural gas from disclosing the chemicals involved in fracking operations that would normally be required under federal clean water laws — see exemptions for hydraulic fracturing under United States federal law. The loophole is commonly known as the "Halliburton loophole" since former Halliburton CEO Dick Cheney was reportedly instrumental in its passage.[22] The proposed Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act would repeal these exemptions.

    June 25, 2014 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  24. herchato

    Sounds like the Tealiban is back in action!

    June 25, 2014 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  25. get realist

    Oh boy.... and the GOP continues to dig their own grave...

    June 25, 2014 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
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