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. Organic1

    Wonder how long it will take Beam, I mean Boehner, to drop the 'lets make this president a one term'. But wait! He can call on the House to vote for the 55th time to repeal the ACA! More work from the obstruction crew...

    June 25, 2014 07:06 am at 7:06 am |
  2. JJ

    What Congressional process? Boehner isn't running a Congress, he's running an obstructionist, destructionist circus. Obama should sue HIM for not doing his job!

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

    All politicians suck! Period.

    June 25, 2014 07:08 am at 7:08 am |
  4. dave hylton

    Anything they can do to waste time and divert attention from what they should be doing.

    June 25, 2014 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  5. TexasVulcan

    How do you "convene a Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group made up of House Republicans". Wouldn't a "bipartisan" committee have both Democrats and Republicans?

    June 25, 2014 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  6. Andy

    This current congress hasn't been doing what those who elected them to do. Stop the earmarks, the pork, then bickering, and get work done.

    June 25, 2014 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  7. What the What

    Boehner is correct. Having the President using executive orders to go around Congress is setting a dangerous prescedent. But Congress is partly to blame for Obama taking that route. Maybe if Congress wasnt busy sitting on their hands when it comes to issues and pointing partisan fingers at each other instead of doing the work the people elected them to do.

    June 25, 2014 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  8. mique

    Sounds like Trump-ed up allegations. Prez is just doing his job where the republicants won't.

    June 25, 2014 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  9. Anton

    Can we sue Bonehead and the Rethuglican's for not doing their jobs?

    I mean we pay them.

    Can't we give them some job guidance or fire them for lack of work?

    June 25, 2014 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  10. BD70

    Good luck with the lawsuit. You will need it.

    June 25, 2014 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  11. miguel

    Sue? Impeach and remove this clown from office.

    NOTHING has gone right under Obama.

    June 25, 2014 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  12. humtake

    Yep, that's what this country needs. More divisions and lawyers in our top political offices. I'm a Republican who can't stand when Dems call us the party of no, considering that moniker was given to the Dems when Bush was in office. But in the spirit of fairness, Reps are whining now but once they are in office again they are going to do exactly what Obama is doing. That's how it works. Each new person in a powerful political office bends the rules and walks the line, so then the next President comes in and does the same thing because now he can always use the excuse that his predecessors did the same thing.

    It's never ending. And instead of trying to fix the problem, Boehner wants to continue the ridiculous partisan politics that has this country in a tight grip of idiocracy.

    June 25, 2014 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  13. RA

    where is Ken Star when the republicans need him? dang. I feel for poor Mr. Boehnic... He may bust a tear...


    June 25, 2014 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  14. Snowbugggy

    John Boehner, I have given you chance after chance, but in the end, one thing is very clear to me, you make me ashamed to be from Ohio.

    June 25, 2014 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  15. Mojo Risen

    John Boehner should be the one being sued for NOT DOING HIS JOB. He and his Republican buddies have done nothing but TRY to discredit, disrespect, pushback on anything and everything our President has tried to accomplish. Maybe someone needs to remind the RIGHT that President Obama was elected to office by the American people twice for his ideas, his agenda, his vision for country, not the Republican vision!! Underlining racist is evident here, everyone can see this, for shame, for shame Mr. Boehner. Take your BIG retirement $$ and just go away. You are no longer serving your country, you are serving your own ego. What is best for the country has been lost with the Republican party.

    June 25, 2014 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  16. AmericansRights

    Somebody needs to stand up to that goofball obama. He has broken so many laws and gets away with it. Get him out of there.

    June 25, 2014 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  17. Prez

    Looking at historical data shows that democrats always file more than republicans, easiest path to socialism

    June 25, 2014 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  18. liberal disease

    Get In Line Boehner,everyone wants to sue Barry

    June 25, 2014 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  19. WhoKnewIt

    ""The President has a clear record of ignoring the American people's elected representatives"

    So, does that mean that "we the people" can sue our "elected representatives" because they have a "clear record" of ignoring the American people that put them in office to speak for us? Heck of an idea!

    June 25, 2014 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  20. TheNakedEye

    It's about time.

    June 25, 2014 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  21. scott

    just another action to neuter the black guy...for 6yrs the r's had both houses and the white house and after bush issued executive orders did they say one word, no......so what is left??? it is because G*d forbid the black democrat is the man and the wasp white republican men cant take it, what are they going to do when they have to take it from hillary

    June 25, 2014 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  22. crabman1

    so when ya don't like the way the boss is doing things just sue--i should try that at work

    June 25, 2014 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  23. liz

    Really they never sued W maybe they should just try and do some actual freakin' work.

    June 25, 2014 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  24. bob@bob12412.com

    The President has certain powers and doesnt require Congress's permission for everything he does.
    Otherwise, there's little point in the Presidency.
    In addition, Obama has issued fewer Executive Orders than ANY OTHER president in history.
    This is nothing but Boehner starting his re-election campaign early.

    June 25, 2014 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  25. Chris

    I am neither for or against this move, but would like to see the Supreme Court decide on what could be done by the president with executive powers. Probably be one of the more lively debates in the court and would leave open the view of 'war powers' as well. Interpreting the constitution is one of the Supreme Court's duties.

    June 25, 2014 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
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